Are you looking for a new place to spend your RV vacation where it is always warm? Do you enjoy fishing, swimming, and other water sports? How does an island in Florida sound to you then? Little Talbot Island State Park is a 2,500-acre wildlife wonderland of salt marshes, dunes, and maritime forests just a short drive from Jacksonville. If you’re a wildlife lover, you can see plenty of critters in the park including rabbits, foxes, otters, deer, and even bobcats and alligators. Birds are plentiful as well with a large variety of feathered species.
One of the best features of the park is the weather. You don’t have to worry about it being too cold to do anything because this is sunny Florida, where it stays warm all year long. Although it has (rarely) gotten down to the upper 30s once every few years, the average winter temperatures are in the 70s and 80s. So, no matter what time of year you are taking your RV vacation, you can enjoy whatever sport you want.
Little Talbot Island State Park has it all from hiking to surfing and biking to canoeing. Whether you want to take a dip in the ocean, enjoy the pleasant waters of Simpson Creek, or brave the rushing waters of the Fort George River, there is plenty of water surrounding the park to choose from. Paddleboarding is a popular sport here as is kiteboarding, which is similar to surfing, but you get pulled along by a kite. Plus, there is a lovely pet-friendly campground on the island with electricity that can accommodate RVs up to 30 feet long. This might just be the best place for RV camping in the Jacksonville area, so hop in your motorhome and head down to Florida.
You may think that getting to an island in an RV or motorhome may be difficult, but that is not the case with Little Talbot Island State Park. In fact, it is only 26 miles from Jacksonville, which is the most populous city in the state of Florida. Located on FL-A1A, you will have easy access to the park from anywhere in the country since it is near I-10, I-95, and I-295.
Once you get into the park, you will likely want to leave your rig at the campsite and walk or ride a bike around the island. With so much to see and do in such a small area, you won’t need to drive to the beach or the restrooms because they are within walking or biking distance. If you didn’t bring your bike, you can rent one from the ranger station for a small fee.
If you enjoy visiting other state parks, you are in luck because there are several within just a few miles of Little Talbot. Big Talbot Island State Park is less than three miles away, which is famous for its “boneyard beach,” a beach covered with skeletons of giant trees. Fort George Island Cultural State Park is about seven miles to the south and has plant life that you cannot find anywhere else in the world as well as a huge fishing pier. And Pumpkin Hill Creek Preserve State Park is just 23 miles to the west where you can see over 4,000 acres of pristine land.
With most sites close to the water, the Little Talbot Island State Park Campground has some fantastic views right from your RV. Although there are 36 campsites, only 20 of these can accommodate RVs and trailers. With varying sizes from 15 to 30 feet in length, you will need to make sure you get a spot big enough for your rig when you reserve a campsite. You can cook indoors with the provided 30-amp electric hookup or outside on the campfire ring. And there is a large picnic table where you can enjoy your meal with the family.
Most of these sites are shaded by large mangroves, huge oaks, and pines covered in Spanish moss. You’ll be close to the creek as well as the ocean and river, so you’ll have plenty of choices for water fun. There are ADA-accessible restrooms, shower houses, potable water, and laundry facilities within walking distance, plus a playground to keep the little ones busy. Go ahead and bring your furbaby with you, as pets are welcome. Just be sure to keep them leashed, and keep them off the beach and boardwalk.
If you want to go surfing, make sure you bring your board when you come to Little Talbot Island State Park. The northernmost section of the beach is known as one of the best surfing beaches in northern Florida. There is plenty of space and the waves can break up to three and four feet high. If you want bigger waves, keep walking north and you are bound to find some. You just have to do some research or talk to the locals to find out when the best time to surf here is. They love bragging about their island. Keep in mind that there are no lifeguards on duty at the beach.
When the sun gets to be too much for you, jump in the ocean for a saltwater bath to cool off in. Or you can enjoy the cool waters of the Fort George River or Simpson Creek. You will need to bring some sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 to keep from getting a sunburn and be careful because there are no lifeguards on duty here. You will also need to pay close attention to which beach is open to swimming. Typically, you should only swim at the first three beaches because those south of Boardwalk 3 are usually dry beaches.
Don’t forget to pack your fishing poles and gear in the Airstream before heading out to Little Talbot Island State Park. With more than five miles of shoreline, you have plenty of space to toss in your line. Talk to the locals or the rangers to find out what is biting where and on what bait. On the southern side of the island, the salt marsh is great for light tackle if you want to catch trout, flounder, or redfish. You can also use live bait to catch the bigger fish on the northern end of the island. Make sure you have a Florida fishing license before tossing in that line though, or you could be paying a big fine.
According to the locals, the beach at Little Talbot Island State Park is one of the top five beaches to find seashells. When the tide is low, grab your shovel and bucket and head for the beach where you can find more than 50 different kinds of seashells. From oyster shells to periwinkle and even some shark’s teeth, you will be amazed at some of the cool things you will see here. If you stop by the ranger’s station, they can give you a brochure that teaches you about the different types of seashells you might find.
Attach that bike rack to the rig so you can bring the bikes on your island adventure because you can enjoy miles of beach riding during your visit. Many people are now enjoying the beach on fat bikes, which are mountain bikes with fat tires that make it easier to ride in the sand. If you would rather hit the trails, the Park Drive Timucuan Trail is about 2.5 miles of paved path that takes you along and through the forest. For off-road trailing, the four-mile Dune Ridge Trail is an amazing trek through the sand, moss, oaks, and pines.
Whether you are heading to Fort George River, Simpson Creek, or the Atlantic Ocean, make sure you grab your kayak or canoe so you can go on a little paddling adventure. You can launch your own personal boat from the boat launch at Long Island Outfitters for a small fee or choose a different place that is free but may not be as accessible. If you don’t have a boat with you, rent one from the Outfitters or Kayak Amelia, which offers guided trips as well.