One of Florida’s most unique and picturesque islands lies along the Atlantic Ocean just 28 miles from downtown Jacksonville. The black rocky shoreline and Boneyard Beach’s salt bleached skeleton oak and cedar tree lined shore make it unique and popular with visitors.
Guests to this Florida state park love to kayak, fish, picnic and explore the trails throughout the park’s lush maritime forest, scrubby flatwoods, boardwalks over saltwater marsh and out to the beach areas. They also enjoy having the opportunity to explore the other six nearby state parks for more trails, boating, swimming and camping.
Big Talbot Island State Park is one of seven island state parks in the Talbot Islands. These parks also include Pumpkin Hill Creek Preserve State Park, Amelia Island State Park, Little Talbot Island State Park, George Crady Bridge Fishing Pier State Park, Yellow Bluff Fort Historic State Park and Fort George Island Cultural State Park.
Experience the beauty inside Big Talbot Island State Park by re-discovering mostly untouched trails and beaches for yourself. Just imagine what it might have looked like to the ancient Timucuan peoples who lived here thousands of years ago. The shell middens located throughout the park are evidence of their presence here.
Pack a picnic lunch and relax under the shady oaks while taking in the views of Simpson’s Creek or along the Atlantic shoreline. The bluffs overlooking Nassau Sound are breathtaking!
Round out your visit by collecting shells, strolling along Boneyard Beach to see the unique driftwood there, taking a guided kayak tour of the salt marsh creek or catching some fish along Simpson’s Creek.
Swimming is not allowed at Big Island State Park due to the dangerous currents but you may swim along the beaches at the other state parks located nearby.
Here are some more activities that you can do during your visit to Big Talbot Island State Park:
Boating at Big Talbot Island State Park
Kayak, canoe or paddle board along Simpson’s Creek, Myrtle Creek, Nassau Sound and the Atlantic Ocean during your visit to Big Talbot Island. Boat ramps and launches are located at the north end of the park.
A nearby concessionaire, Kayak Amelia, offers canoe and kayak rentals as well as guided paddle trips, maps, souvenirs and snacks. Kayak Amelia is located between Big Talbot and Little Talbot islands.
Hiking at Big Talbot Island State Park
Explore the miles of trails that extend throughout the park’s maritime forest, wetlands, marshes, wildflowers and along boardwalks with observation points and out to the beach areas. Some trails are paved while others consist of historic unrefined paths that lead through lush maritime hammock and scrubby flatwoods.
Here are some of the trails at Big Talbot Island State Park:
- Timucuan Trail – This easy 6.3 mile paved multi-use trail begins near Simpson’s Creek and winds through the forested area overlooking wetlands and out to Spoonbill Pond boardwalk and Nassau Sound viewing platforms.
- Black Rock Trail – An easy 1 mile path through maritime forest and out to a picturesque rocky beach area.
- Old Kings Highway Trail – A moderate 4.5 mile trail through the palmetto trees and wildflowers. This older and often overgrown trail is also known as ‘Jones Cut’.
Biking at Big Talbot Island State Park
Bring your bicycle or rent one from a nearby concessionaire. Big Talbot Island State Park has miles of trails, both paved and unpaved, that flow throughout maritime hammock forests and along the salt marshes and beaches and from park to park throughout the Talbot Islands.
Kelly Seahorse Ranch, at Amelia Island State Park, offers daily bicycle rentals.
Fishing at Big Talbot Island State Park
The saltwater marshes along Big Talbot Island offer ideal fishing conditions for anglers of all ages. Catches include flounder, pompano, whiting, redfish, black drum and sea trout. Fish from canoe, shoreline, along the bridge overlooking Simpson’s Creek or from nearby George Crady Bridge Fishing Pier.
Just be sure to plan ahead and pick up a Florida fishing license.
Birding at Big Talbot Island State Park
Big Talbot Island State Park lies along the Great Florida Birding Trail. This makes it an ideal spot for viewing both native and migrating birds.
Bird watching is popular throughout all of the Talbot Islands so be sure to bring your binocular and bird lists. You may see egrets, ospreys, ibis, terns, wood storks, black skimmers, brown pelicans, woodpeckers, doves, owls and bald eagles.
Nature and Wildlife at Big Talbot Island State Park
Big Talbot Island State Park is a perfect spot to watch wildlife.
As you are walking or biking through the wooded trails you may glimpse white-tailed deer, opossums, raccoons, bobcats, gopher tortoises and many species of birds. Look up and you may see an intricate spider web and a large black and yellow argiope spider.
And, as you casually walk along the beach, you may see Atlantic bottlenose dolphins, Northern Atlantic right whales and other sea creatures.
Pets at Big Talbot Island State Park
Pets are allowed at Big Talbot Island State Park but must be supervised and kept on a hand held leash no longer than 6 feet. Pets are not permitted in any park buildings, boardwalks or beach areas throughout all of the Talbot Island state parks.
Camping Near Big Talbot Island State Park
Nearby Little Talbots Island State Park provides a camping area for guests who want to stay overnight in the Talbot Islands. The park has 36 campsites and is located at 12157 Heckscher Drive in Jacksonville.
Each campsite has electric and water hookups, a picnic table and a fire ring, and is within walking distance to restrooms, hot showers and laundry facilities. For reservations call: 800-326-3521.
Big Talbot Island State Park
State Road A1A North
Jacksonville, FL 32226
Here is a short YouTube video showcasing several attractions at Big Talbot Island State Park: