Exploring Little Talbot Island’s undeveloped beach is a unique Florida experience.
Little Talbot Island is one of a handful of undeveloped barrier islands remaining in Northeast Florida. Boasting more than five miles of pristine beaches and three miles of bike trails, Little Talbot’s untouched natural beauty and diverse ecosystems beg to be explored. There is, of course, the white sand and rolling surf typical of many high energy coasts. But there is also the eroding sun-bleached roots and fallen trunks of cedar and palm that create a linear tapestry of natural sculptures.
Enjoy beachcombing, surfing, fishing, hiking, birdwatching, a winding kayak journey along the bluffs of Myrtle Creek and camping in a lush forest hammock. There is something for every outdoor lover on Little Talbot Island.
Bicycling can be enjoyed throughout the park, whether you prefer to stay on the paved two and a half mile Park Drive Timucuan Trail segment, or ride off road through the maritime forest on the Dune Ridge trail or along the hard packed sand of the beach. At the south end of the island there is a bike trailhead for the paved multi-use Timucuan Trail, part of the national East Coast Greenway Trail from Maine to Florida, that offers a shaded pavilion with benches, a water fountain, interpretive panels and free air to fill up your tires. A new segment of this trail now extends south across the Ft. George River Inlet heading towards COJ Huguenot Park. Bikes are perfect for overnight campers whose sites are an easy half mile trip from the beach. At low tide, ride two miles north to reach a strikingly gorgeous part of the park, the northern sand spit. Search for shells, sanddollars and sharksteeth and watch the shorebirds foraging in the mud flats.
A limited number of bicycles are available for rent for $2 per hour, $10 per day or $15 per weekend at the ranger station, 904-251-2320.
Helmets are highly recommended for all cyclists and Florida law requires helmets for cyclists age 16 and under.
Little Talbot Island State Park is the perfect place for bird watching. Whether you prefer seeing shorebirds along the Atlantic coast, wading birds in the marsh or song birds in the maritime hammock forest, bring your binoculars on your next visit. From migrating red knots and piping plovers to great horned owls and painted buntings, even the occasional and rare snowy owl, Talbot does not disappoint. Make sure and visit in the late spring and early summer to catch rare glimpses of nesting shorebirds and their young like Least Terns, Wilson’s Plovers and Black Skimmers. Ask the ranger station for a bird checklist on your way in!
Camping Full Facility
Little Talbot Island State Park is located near Jacksonville on one of the few remaining undeveloped barrier islands in Florida. The campground is nestled among ancient dunes in a lush maritime hammock of live oaks, American holly and southern magnolias. Each of the 36 campsites has 20 and 30 amp electricity, fresh water, fire ring and picnic table. The campground offers a laundry facility and two bathhouses with hot showers. Both restroom facilities are ADA accessible. A dump station is available at the campground exit for RV campers.
Long Island Outfitters is Talbot Islands State Park's canoe and kayak visitor service provider located on AIA between Little Talbot and Big Talbot Islands. The service is operated by Kayak Amelia and offers everything from basic rentals to special focus guided trips.
With over 5 miles of beach, Little Talbot is a surf fishing paradise. The list of species caught from this beach is long. Check with the ranger at the gate or strike up a conversation with one of the regulars; either should know what is biting and where. Pick up a copy of the free local edition of Fishing Connection magazine at the ranger station to get the inside scoop on nearby angling.
The coastal salt marsh on the "back" side of the island offers superb light tackle angling. From tailing redfish to bottom hugging flounder, ambushing trout to hard pulling black drum, you are sure to find something to "stretch your string." Bait fish like mud minnows and finger mullet may be caught using a cast net in the shallows. Shrimp, fiddler crabs and artificial lures are also popular options. The closest bait stores are White Shell Bait Shop at 7736 Heckscher Dr. or Amelia Island Bait & Tackle at 1925 S. 14th St. in Fernandina Beach. For a real experience, try a guided fly fishing or flounder gigging trip.
Little Talbot offers the opportunity of sampling a complete cross section of a coastal barrier island by foot.
Exposing a variety of the island's wildlife, the Campground Nature Trail is anchored at one corner of the campground by site #39 and provides a comfortable walk of approximately one mile. Beginning next to the salt marshes of Myrtle Creek, it then traverses the gentle hills of ancient dunes through the live oak maritime forest. Stop to read about the local flora and fauna at interpretive signs. For kids, pick up the Hike and Seek instructions from the ranger station, 904-251-2320, then search for hidden boxes with outdoor-themed treasures to collect. Campground is restricted to registered campers only. No day visitor use.
The Dune Ridge Trail loop winds four miles through five distinct natural communities, including maritime hammock, beach dune, and depression marsh and finishes its last mile and a half with a breathtaking stroll on the sandy beach. Keep your eye out for colorful Painted Buntings from late spring to early fall who nest in the scrubby flatwoods here.
If you choose to hike the trails, always check in at the ranger station and remember your water, sunscreen and insect repellant. Sturdy shoes are recommended. Bring binoculars, a camera and a field guide to get the most out of your experience.
Few modes of dining are as enjoyable as eating seaside and al fresco, enjoying the cool breezes off the Atlantic Ocean. Seven large covered beach side pavilions are available for small groups of less than 12 persons for under 3 hour durations. Pavilions 1-6 are located at the North Beach Parking area. Pavilions 7-10 are located two miles away at the South Beach Parking area.
Several small mini pavilions are available near the North Beach on a first-come, first-served basis. All pavilions are conveniently located to parking areas, beach boardwalks and restroom facilities.
For more impromptu picnicking, pack a basket and blanket and walk the trail or the shoreline to get to a perfect secluded picnic spot in paradise. Make sure to pack in and pack out all of your trash. Take only pictures and leave only footprints.
Shelling is a favorite pastime of many visitors and the beaches of Little Talbot Island are a great place to find them. Collectors can find a multitude of species, including clam, scallop, oyster and periwinkle, as well as fossilized sharks' teeth. Plan your shelling around the low phase of the tide, which exposes the most beach area. Look in the "shell line" where the highest waves stop as they come upon the beach and deposit groups of shells. Please be aware that most everything you find on the beach was, is, or still could be alive and should be returned to the water if an animal is still using it. Pick up a shell and sharksteeth handout at the Ranger Station to help identify your beach treasures.
Please remember that driftwood is a protected feature of the park and collection is strictly prohibited.
The north beach area of Little Talbot offers one of the best surfing beaches in northeast Florida. While there are 5 miles of beach on Little Talbot Island, the northern section of the beach offers the best surf, with plenty of space to catch your own wave. Please be aware of other swimmers and always use caution while enjoying the ocean. There are no lifeguards on duty.
Swimming is permitted in the Atlantic Ocean at Little Talbot Island except in the vicinity of the Fort George River Inlet at the south end of the island. Pay attention to closed area signs south of boardwalk 3, and only enter water through beach accesses 1, 2 or 3. There is no further access to entering the water driving south of boardwalk 3. Boardwalk 4 may currently be used to access dry beach areas only. Ask for a map and more information about restrictions at the ranger station, 904-251-2320.
Please pay close attention to ocean conditions as the ocean always presents some degree of danger. The park displays a colored beach warning flag system at the park entrance which provides general surf conditions. Please swim at your own risk. No lifeguards are on duty.
Restrooms with dressing rooms and outdoor showers are located at both the North and South Beach parking areas.
Because Little Talbot is one of the few remaining undeveloped barrier islands, it provides many different natural habitats. These diverse habitats make for a wealth of wildlife within the park. Gopher tortoise and snakes can be seen throughout the park. Keep an eye out for raccoons, armadillos, opossums, white-tailed deer, marsh rabbits and even bobcats especially at dawn and dusk. The shoreline provides ample opportunity to view shorebirds, and the backside of the island is a haven for wading birds. Follow the Little Talbot Dune Ridge Hiking Trail over a cross section of ecosystems, and you may be surprised at what you find!
Here are some additional tips to increase your wildlife viewing experience at the park:
Wearing earth tones (khakis, browns, and/or earth greens) is best.
Avoid wearing scented lotions or perfumes.
Bring good binoculars. They are especially helpful for viewing shorebirds and wading birds from a long distance.
Be patient. Wait quietly.
Make sure to stay on the trails. Do not climb the dunes.
Viewing wildlife from a distance is the best way to experience wildlife in their natural habitat and allow them to enjoy the park that they call home.
Please do not feed, or harass any wildlife at the park.
Little Talbot Island State Park offers over five miles of beautiful beaches. With two parking areas and five boardwalks, access to the beach is easy. Three bathhouses with changing stalls and outdoor showers are also provided for your beach enjoyment. Revel in basking, shelling and surfing along undeveloped barrier island coastline. Check out the northern shoreline and its skeleton cedar and palm trees; sand, salt and sun bleached trees that have eroded from the dune bluff. Take in sweeping views of the Nassau Sound and an old shipwreck at the northern sand spit or watch the chop of the Ft. George River inlet as it snakes between the south end of Little Talbot and Huguenot Park. Wet a line in the breakers for whiting, flounder or pompano. Watch the laughing gulls and royal terns resting on the sand or brown pelicans and osprey dive fishing off the coast.
Remember to pay attention to ocean conditions at all times, as the ocean always presents some degree of danger. The park displays a colored beach warning flag system at the park entrance which provides general surf conditions. Lifeguards are not on duty and swimming is at your own risk. Swimming and wading is not allowed at the south end of the park, south of Boardwalk 4 due to drop-offs and dangerous currents of the Ft. George River inlet. Ask at the ranger station at 904-251-2320, for a map and more details of restricted areas.
All beach shoreline within the park is open to bicyclists and pedestrians, but not to motorized vehicles. Please walk bicycles on park boardwalks. Metal detecting is permitted south of Boardwalk 1, east of the dune vegetation on the beach. Collection of driftwood is prohibited. Pets are not allowed on park beaches.
Visitors to coastal parks are reminded to pay close attention to the Warning Flag Signs posted at welcome stations and on the beaches. These flags indicate the swimming conditions at the beach. Please use caution! Lifeguards are not provided.
Double red flags mean absolutely no swimming because of high winds and undertow currents.
Yellow flag means swim with caution and stay close to shore.
Green flag means that the waters are safe.
Purple flag means that marine pests are present.
Little Talbot Island State Park is committed to providing a variety of accessible amenities to all of its visitors. Those amenities include:
Two beach wheelchairs.
Ten pavilions near beach with picnic tables and grills.
Beach-side outdoor showers.
Benches, information kiosks and interpretive panels.
A wheelchair-friendly 2.5 mile segment of the paved Timucuan Trail multi-use pathway with covered bike pavilion, benches and interpretive displays.
UTAP Trail information for the Dune Ridge, Campground Nature Loop and Timucuan Trails.
Campground playground. Campground is restricted to registered campers only. No day visitor use.
Campground fishing dock, bait cleaning station and canoe/kayak launch. Campground is restricted to registered campers only. No day visitor use.
Park office buildings.
Our parks make every effort to accommodate all visitors. We have two ADA beach wheelchairs available for use on the beach. Please call 904-251-2320 to let staff know when you would like to reserve and use the wheelchair at no cost.
Located in our campground next to the tranquil salt marsh, our campfire circle is the perfect spot for your scout troop or youth group to gather. It features several rows of bench seating, fire pit, an elevated stage and white screen for presentations. Electricity is currently unavailable at the site but improvements are underway.
Canoe Kayak Launch
For those bringing their own kayaks or canoes the fees for using the hand-launch at Long Island Outfitters is $1 per person. Long Island Outfitters is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. throughout the year, however it is closed on Wednesdays, December through February.
The Florida Park Service Mission is to provide a delicate balance between high quality recreational experiences for our valued guests, including their pets, as well as the protection of our natural and cultural resources to ensure their preservation for future generations to enjoy. In order to accomplish this, our goal is to allow pets in areas where there are minimal impacts to these natural and cultural resources. Little Talbot has several areas that are sensitive to potential pet disturbances, such as the park shoreline and beaches where endangered nesting and resting shorebirds or turtles can easily be disturbed, causing them to vacate. The park works hard to minimize these impacts by providing signage in designated locations where pets are not permitted.
Well-behaved pets are welcome at Little Talbot Island State Park on all nature trails, hiking trails, paved roads, parking lots, campground, pavilions and picnic areas. They must be kept on a 6-foot leash at all times and cannot be left unattended. Pets are not permitted in buildings, boardwalks or on the beach.
Seven large covered beach side pavilions, 1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 8 and 9, are available in the picnic areas adjacent to the beach parking areas. Three additional large pavilions, 3, 6 and 10, are shared use and non-reservable. Each has eight picnic tables, two grills and can accommodate up to 40 people. Pavilions 1-6 are located at the North Beach Parking area. Pavilions 7-10 are located two miles away at the South Beach Parking area. Several small mini pavilions are available near the North Beach on a first-come, first-served basis. All pavilions are conveniently located to parking areas, beach boardwalks and restroom facilities.
Outdoor showers are available at both North and South beach parking areas at boardwalks 1, 2 and 4 to rinse off saltwater and sand after the beach.
The ranger station at the main entrance of Little Talbot Island State Park serves as an information hub for all of our seven parks. Open from 8 a.m. until sunset, rangers are available to answer questions, provide trail maps and brochures and provide recommendations for local activities. We invite you to stop by and view the interpretive displays of local wildlife, get your park passport stamped, shop for a park souvenir or chat with staff. Call the ranger station for more details at 904-251-2320