BTI: one of the most unique beaches in Florida
Boasting one of the most unusual and breathtaking beaches in all of Florida, Big Talbot Island State Park is part of a stretch of natural beaches fronting much of northern Jacksonville's and southern Amelia Island's coastline. Big Talbot stands out as the most unique of these natural beaches, however, due to its geological features. This untamed beach abuts a backdrop of small cliffs known as "the bluffs," that are fronted by a driftwood forest of fallen, bleached white oak trees (many with root systems still intact). These fallen trees create a bit of a natural obstacle course, as they lay strewn along Big Talbot Island's northern stretch. Along the middle part of the shoreline, a short secluded sandy beach leads to a striking collection of reddish-brown rocks and outcroppings at teh beach's southern end. Sheltered by its protruding neighboring islands, Big Talbot Island boasts an incredible view of calm, turquoise waters framed by the wooded southern tip of Amelia Island and the bright white sand of Little Talbot Island's northernmost finger of beach. Located within the most northeastern part of the Jacksonville city limits, Big Talbot Island is an excellent destination for nature photography.
- National/State Park
- Family Travel
LTI: miles of undeveloped beach and nature trails
Travelers seeking a preserved natural beach devoid of development need not leave the city limits of Jacksonville. Little Talbot Island State Park is located in the northeastern part of Jacksonville, just south of Big Talbot Island and north of Ft. George Island along coastal route A1A. Little Talbot's five miles of beachfront is the centerpiece of the Talbot Islands State Parks, a mega-cluster of natural playground that includes Big Talbot Island State Park, Ft. George Island Cultural State Park, Pumpkin Hill Creek Preserve State Park, and Amelia Island State Park. In addition to beaches, visitors will also find hiking and kayaking trails, campgrounds and a couple of different picnic & parking areas. Exposed to the open sea, Little Talbot has waves like Jacksonville's main beaches do, but the beaches here are backed by acres of dunes and wild coastal scrub. A veteran of national "Best Beaches" lists, Little Talbot Island is also a very popular camping destination. There are two main parking and access areas at Little Talbot, but the north one is clearly the best for all-around beach use. The southern end is too close to dangerous currents where the St. Johns River empties into the Atlantic Ocean, thus signs are posted at that end stating that swimming is prohibited. The best part about the southern end though, is that the military ships stationed at nearby Mayport Naval Air Station are clearly visible to the south, past the flat expanse of beach across the inlet at Huguenot Park. That said, visitors are advised to stick with the north parking and access area for the best experience. Admission to the state park is $5 per carload (up to 8 people).
- Family Travel
- National/State Park
Centre Street: great pedestrian shopping & dining
Centre Street, in the Downtown Fernandina Beach Historic District, is lined with restored brick buildings that reflect the architecture of the 1800's and early 1900's. Occupying the first floors of these buildings are a number of interesting shops and restaurants, particularly between 6th Street and the Intracoastal Waterway. Centre Street is an awesome place to take an afternoon stroll or engage in a small-business shopping adventure with the family, even if shopping is not normally one of your favorite activities. Here one can find two great independent bookstores, a year-round Christmas store, a fudge and ice cream shop, an Irish shop, and various places offering all kinds of wares from clothing and art to beachy accents and shark's teeth. Last Black Friday, we actually left the abundant shopping options of Jacksonville behind to instead patronize the small shops of Fernandina Beach, and we plan on doing it again next year. A visitor center located a block from the Intracoastal waterfront provides a variety of free maps and literature for detailed information on Amelia Island and the greater Jacksonville area.
- Family Travel
- Historical Travel
Ride your Bike on the Beach
Walking or riding a bike on the beach is considered very relaxing by many people worldwide. While on Amelia Island, I spotted these two ladies riding their bikes and asked permission to take their picture. They said they are Amish.....a religious sect.....and of course their attire reflected the Amish tradition. The Amish tend to be a very , very conservative religious group and these ladies would probably NOT be seen on the beach in a bathing suit. They wear long dresses and usually white head coverings, such as a cap. These two ladies were polite and let me take their picture.
Stroll the downtown area.....
One of America's oldest pubs exists in downtown Fernandina Beach. Outside is a statue of Dick Tracy.....don't ask me why. I don't know!!! But all the tourists have their picture taken next to the statue. There are all kinds of speciality shops lining the main streets of town. Everything from fancy resort clothing, shells, shoes, ice cream shops, jewelry shops, eateries, to real estate offices. Most eateries have outside dining, in order to enjoy the wonderful weather. Off the main street of town, along the beach, you will always be able to find a seat outside.
Visit local churches ........and graveyards
Amelia Island has both the long established churches such as the Episcopal Church on the main street of town and some brand new churches such as the First Baptist Church. At least the building of the First Baptist is new. The membership/church body has been in existance for many years. One fine sunny afternoon, the accompanying photo was taken of this particular Baptist Church. It was not until the photo was downloaded that the "white dove of peace" was seen in the cloud over the church. This was astonishing ......can you see the white dove with its wings?
Take a Sunset Cruise on Amelia River
You can watch the sun come up over the Atlantic Ocean in the morning and then scoot over to
the western side of the island and watch the sun set over the Amelia River in the evening. There is a tour company which operates out of the harbor and offers sunset cruises. This cruise will take you past Cumberland Island, which is a very tiny island that is accessible only by boat. Wild horses still roam there and an elegant hotel named the Greyfield Inn still exists where you may book a room and dine in its exquisite restaurant. Cumberland Island is the well -kept secret island where John-John Kennedy and his bride were wed. The tour guide will show you photos of the wedding where friends of the Kennedy family spilled out into the nearby pig farm ( I kid you not!!!) because the tiny chapel simply could not hold everyone. The guests arrived in the middle of the night when no one would see them because of the secrecy. Don't you know the locals were tickled to know that their island was the chosen spot for John-John's wedding? Cumberland Island is now a state park and preserved by Florida. When the state wanted to remove the wild horses because of the difficulty of feeding them, the locals put up a big outcry. I believe the locals now help feed and care for the horses. If you are lucky on your cruise, you will see the horses on the shore. The tour guide is so knowledgeable and you simply cannot take in and remember all that he tells you. However, you will always remember the glorious sunset
that you see.
- Historical Travel
- Luxury Travel
Amelia Island Charter Fishing LLC
We went fishing with Amelia Island Charter Fishing LLC our Capt. Jeff Crumpton did a great job putting us on fish and entertaining the kids too! My husband is a fly caster, but we did not mention this. Capt. Jeff is a Orvis guide as well, we will be back to fish for redfish on what Capt. Crumpton called the flood tides and the winter time schooled up redfish bite.
- Family Travel
Local Coastal Decor
While visiting Amelia Island, take a moment to visit one of the local furniture shops and get a feel
for the local flavor of decorating. That "coastal" breezy feeling permeates a lot of Florida's decor and you will see billowy fabrics on the screened porches, also known as "lanai's" , lots of white fabrics, lots of blues, perhaps some shells, and signs that remind you that "Life is a Beach!!!" :-)
Another sign reminds you that "If you are lucky enough to be at the beach, you are lucky enough".
I have to say I agree. Put me on a beach and I am a happy camper.
Much of the decor in Florida and the Caribbean is influenced by both Spanish settlers and also
the British Colonial motif. The four poster bed in the accompanying photo is just one example of the British Colonial influence.
- Women's Travel
- Arts and Culture
Take the Mayport ferry over to Amelia Island
If you are driving to Amelia Island from the Mayport, Florida area, it is a treat to take the ferry
over the inland waterway to Amelia Island. Mayport has a large Naval base nearby and while waiting for the ferry you may be lucky enough to see a squadron of heilcopters high in the air, practicing their maneuvers. Once the ferry docks, all waiting vehicles , bicyclists, and pedestrians are boarded by the most friendly and humorous fellow who makes it his job to entertain you while directing you to "your spot" on the ferry. A quick 10 minute ride and you are ready to depart the ferry and begin a wonderous vacation on one of Florida's islands. Enjoy!
Post Office - this is one of...
Post Office - this is one of the most impressive buildings on Amelia Island. It's a design based on the Medici palace in Florence. Erected in 1910, it was built in honor of the island's European heritage. Catherine de Medici sent French Huguenots here to claim land for France.
Thomson Tabby House, Ft....
Thomson Tabby House, Ft. George Island - circa 1850, this type of dwelling consisted of a conglomeration of ground oyster shells, whole oyster shells and sand. This mixture was poured in layers and allowed to dry.
Tabby Houses at Kindsley...
Tabby Houses at Kindsley Plantation, Ft. George Island - a semi-circle of these unique two-room houses border the Plantation. Each served a family unit with a kitchen area and a sleeping quarter. Time apart from work and sleep was spent in a common area outside of the houses.
Kingsley Plantation, Ft....
Kingsley Plantation, Ft. George Island - circa 1780, this indigo and sea island cotton plantation was built on Ft. George Island by one of the compassionate slave owners of the time. Kingsley's slaves were taught 2 languages, they were evaluated for their strengths and taught to master them, they were encouraged to become self-sufficient, planting their own crops, raising their own livestock, etc. Kingsley, himself married one of his own slaves, moved her and their children to Haiti when laws in Florida changed for the worse concerning interracial marriages, and left her a wealthy Floridian widow when he succumbed on a business trip to the north.
St. George - hailing from...
St. George - hailing from Palestine around 1,000 AD, just about the time of King Arthur, this patron is honored in the east window of the Mission. Episcopal Churches always face east, in recognition of the resurrection of Christ.
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