Thursday, September 30, 2010

Big Talbot Island State Park

Big Talbot Island State
The temperatures in North Florida are finally cooling off a bit, signaling the arrival of fall. This is my favorite time of year because it means it's time to get back out and enjoy some of my favorite places around Jacksonville.  When I'm in need of an escape, my favorite thing to do is hit the road and head to one of Florida's many state parks or nature preserves.  Big Talbot Island is one of few undeveloped barrier islands along the Atlantic coastline, which makes it a great place for a nature enthusiast to enjoy wildlife viewing and beautiful scenery.  Enjoy a picnic in a very shaded picnic area overlooking the ocean. After you eat, take a short walk through the forest along the trail down to the beach. You're likely to see plenty of osprey, pelicans and other sea birds, and if you're really lucky, you may even spot a bald eagle. You won't find people sunbathing or swimming along the beaches of Big Talbot.  The only thing you'll see laying on the beaches here are the remains of live oak and cedar trees that used to grow along this barrier island.  They have been white washed and weathered from years of exposure to the elements.  The shoreline has suffered severe beach erosion in the past several years, which has created bluffs, exposing clay like soil and extensive root systems.  Take your time walking along the beach, but use caution as you may have to make your away over or around some of the trees, but that's half the fun. On your way out of the park, look up into the trees; you may see a raccoon keeping a watchful eye to make sure you don't take any souvenirs with you when you go.

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