Camping the Islands of North East Florida
Little Talbot Island's campground
Just 17 miles north of Jacksonville, Florida, Little Talbot Island State Park's campground is one of my favorite spots to camp. The State Park is located in a wildlife preserve area with full facilities which are kept clean by volunteers who camp there for 1,2 or 3 months at a time. The salt marshes of Myrtle Creek lie just behind the campground and provide a beautiful area to fish, canoe, kayak, sight see or just relax. There is a small dock with a great spot to clean your fish, any waste rinses into the creek to the crabs waiting below. kayaks are available for rental just up the road. Each campsite is equipped with electricity, running water, a picnic table and a ring fire pit. The playground is near the center of the campground and there are hot showers, washers, dryers, and a payphone at each of the restrooms.
Visit Florida State Parks Website for more information
On one of our trips to the island as I cleaned up the campsite at dusk my husband went down to the creek to check on the tide, planning to do some moonlight fishing. He had accidentally left a zip lock bag of the squid near his fishing poles at the edge of the woods. I came eye to eye with a pretty large raccoon on our site about three feet away from me. I tried to shoo him off but he had caught scent of that squid and had a friend with him they were not about to leave hungry. I thought they were ready to fight me for that squid! I just about ran into the screen house part of our tent! OK I did run and zipped the screen as quick as I could. Just then my husband came back down the trail trying to pass by the site on his way to see if his new fishing buddy cared to join us in some moonlight fishing. As I am saying "get over here", he is saying he will be back in a couple of minutes he is just going a few sites over. We normally keep all food items and coolers in the trunk of the car on any camping trip. I am glad it wasn't a bobcat! This is a wild life preserve area all food items must be kept cleaned up this includes bait.
Little Talbot Islands beach
The park schedules special events on the beach side which include informative talks about the barrier islands and wildlife in the area.The beach is located across the street with shaded picnic areas and nearly deserted beaches. Its the kind of place where sea turtles come to lay their eggs. Volunteers keep track of these nests, mark them as protected and rope them off. If your lucky enough you just might see a nest full of sea turtles hatch. Speaking of luck Pirates are known to have been in the area and with the history of the islands I cant help but watch for doubloons when I walk the beach at low tide. My grandson loves to play in the tide pools left on the shore, build sand castles, fly kites or play with his boogie board in the surf. To the very south of the island you can view wind surfers and people fishing off Huguenot the barrier Island just south of ittle Talbot Island..
Huguenot Park and Campground
Located just south of Little Talbot Island is Huguenot Park where you can drive right on to the beach. The beach on the Atlantic side of Huguenot can get quite busy during the day and can look like a sandy parking lot during low tides. Dogs are permitted at the southern end but not to the north. Rescue teams and lifeguards are on duty. On the western side of the island the water is much calmer at the family beach. The campground which normally fills the center of the island and gets much quieter after dusk when non-campers head home was damaged during hurricane Mathew and is currently closed. At night ships passing through the shipping canal on their way to Blount Island's marine terminal are a beautiful site with their lights shining in the darkness just a few yards from shore. The campsites were just a sand dune away from the beaches and I hope they are able to repair and reopen them for camping. During weather resulting in higher than normal tides there may be temporary closures or limited beach access.
George Crady Bridge Fishing Pier
Seven miles north of Little Talbot State park is the George Crady Bridge Fishing Pier a pedestrian only fishing bridge a mile long open 24 hours a day all year long. This bridge spans Nassau sound and is spotted with beach umbrellas and people fishing throughout the year day and night. We were lucky enough to get a site on Little Talbot during the kids annual fishing clinic one year. Check out the pictures from that weekend! The first 500 kids to register received a free fishing pole. The annual fishing clinic normally has a huge turnout, provides kids with free fishing poles, a small tackle box, and lunch after the fun. Bait is provided on the bridge during the fishing clinic and it is a fun family event. Even if you don't make it to the fishing clinic you are bound to meet up with other people fishing here on any given day or night.