Big Talbot Island State Park is home to one of Florida’s most unique seal islands and beach communities. This premier Florida state park is the perfect location for wildlife viewing, exploring diverse habitats and of course, Boneyard Beach. Boneyard Beach is home to a huge collection of protected driftwood. Driftwood is an understatement as many of the ocean bleached “bones” are from towering ancient oaks and huge fallen cedar trees that litter the entire beach for miles.
Big Talbot Island State Park was used by the early Native Americans for thousands of years before European settlers arrived. In 1562 when the French Huguenots arrived on these shores, they found a large culture of Natives, naming them Timuctuan. Many of Florida’s landmarks are named after Timuctuan words, even Florida’s capitol, Tallahassee which means abandoned town.
By the time English explorer General James Oglethorpe arrived here in 1735, the Timuctuan had all perished. He named the islands after Charles Baron Talbot, the Lord High Chancellor of England. The area was converted into plantations that served the United Kingdom and it residents for many years to come. It would be another 100 years before Florida eventually became a state.
Today, the plantations are all gone, the forests have grown back and nature has reclaimed this once populated northeastern Florida barrier island. It is now home to some of Florida’s most unique hiking trails, fishing grounds and kayaking experiences in the state.
Kayaking has to be one of the most popular amenities in the park. Located between Big and Little Talbot Islands State Parks, Kayak Amelia and the Long Island Outfitters offer guide services, specialized kayaking adventures and kayak/canoe rentals fro guests of any of the seven Talbot Island State Parks. Reservations are always required for their many eco-trips and guided nature tours so call ahead at (904)251-0016.
If you have your own kayak, a $1 fee at the hand launch ramp will get you into the beautiful waters of the barrier islands many sloughs, marsh rivers and tidal inlets located at Big Talbot Island State Park. Access to the Atlantic Ocean is right around the corner from the ramp.
Kayaking and canoeing are just the beginning for boating adventures at Big Talbot Island State Park. A deep water boat ramp can allow you to take your motor boat into the Atlantic Ocean, Nassau Sound and the Intra-coastal Waterway for just a $4 fee.
For more information on entrance fees, hours of operation and other park amenities, visit the parks website here.