Hontoon Island has been in use by humans for at least the last 4,000 years. Used by early Native Americans as a place of worship, fishing and everyday life. Nearly 2,000 years worth of everyday objects to wooden totems have been uncovered on Hontoon Island. A large mound is located on the south side of the island.
Over the years, the early settlers became part of history as European settlers arrived to this area. Commercial fishing set up shop on the island as well as a boatyard, small village and cattle ranch in the early 1800’s. By the 1950’s the settlement had long been abandoned until phosphate was discovered. A dragline uncovered a large owl totem, directly where the parking lot at Hontoon Island State Park is located.
Today, the park is visited by the curious and adventure bound travelers who wind through this great state all year long. With private boat or ferry access only, it makes this Florida state park a hidden gem that is relatively unused by visitors during certain times during the year. The ferry service is operated on a volunteer basis as this has been the long standing tradition that the park should be available to all visitors for free. Donations keep these boats afloat so don’t forget to tip!
The visitor center and marina are the first thing you come to when you arrive on the ferry from across the parking lot located on SR44 west of Deland, Florida about six miles. Restrooms, hot showers and the picnic pavilion are all nearby. The park office and playground are directly south of the covered pavilions.
There is a lot to see and do at Hontoon Island State Park, so you may want to stay the night. Three different types of camping experiences allow visitors at the park to have a real Florida experience. Boaters have the option of staying onboard and hooking up to the electric and water services at the marina.
Bring your tent and grab a rustic backwoods camp spot. Elevated tent platforms, picnic tables and fire rings provide the perfect night of Florida camping. A restroom with hot showers and potable water really makes it well worth the trip.
If you’re not into that rustic of a camping experience, six rustic cabins are available for rent at Hontoon Island State Park. Bunk beds, an electrical outlet, ceiling fan with light and access to the shared bathhouse ensure your stay is cozy but still very rustic. Bring your own lines and camp supplies; there is no kitchenette in these cabins. A fire ring and picnic table provides a camp kitchen and the screened porch is the dining area!
For more information about how to get to Hontoon Island State Park, reservations, fees and other park operation questions, visit the official Florida state park website here.