When most people talk about Florida parks, they’re usually talking about the theme variety — Disney, Universal and all the other Orlando/Kissimmee theme parks that attract people from all over the country and the world.
But the Sunshine State has plenty of other kinds of parks:
- Three National Parks (Biscayne and Dry Tortugas by the Keys and Everglades in South Florida)
- Two National Preserves (Timucuan, here in Jacksonville, and Big Cypress down near Miami)
- 174 State Parks, trails and historic monuments
- 337 parks in the City of Jacksonville, making it one of the largest urban national park systems in the country.
On an incredibly hot Sunday in early July, we went to explore more of one of the many state parks located in the Jacksonville area: Big Talbot Island State Park. Located in the northeasternmost section of the city, the park is one the seven that make up Talbot Islands State Parks. The area is a maze of marshes, winding waterways and coastal islands that border both the Atlantic Ocean and Nassau Sounds. Big Talbot Island is, as its name indicates, an island, nestled between the Nassau Sound, Intracoastal Waterway and Simpson Creek. It’s an undeveloped slice of heaven only a few miles from condo- and house-lined beaches to the south and the subdivisions and neighborhoods that fill up the rest of the city.