When my family visited me here in Jax (short for Jacksonville) this winter, I knew that I wanted to take them up exploring in the nature areas of northeast Jax. At the time, I hadn’t been in that area yet and was excited at the possibility of exploring somewhere new with my family, and not alone for once.
I’d read about Kingsley Plantation in the Fort George Island Cultural State Park, located in northeast Jax about 30 miles, 40 minutes of downtown Jax, so I decided that was the place we were going to visit! Unfortunately, it was New Year’s Day and I hadn’t considered that the old plantation inside the state park would be closed for the federal holiday. But, we made the best of our trip and still explored the state park.
There are two routes to get to the plantation and trailhead that we went to – one is entirely dirt, and the other is more circuitous but is paved for *most* of the drive (there is still quite a bit of dirt road to drive in order to get to the plantation and trailhead). It wasn’t fun in my little car, but my mom expertly drove it on the dirt road. The drive is beautiful, with trees covered in draping Spanish moss flanking the road.
Once we discovered that the plantation was closed (I’ll have to go back sometime soon!), we found a nearby trailhead and decided to park and walk around. I’d say hike, but considering how flat Florida is, it’s essentially just a walk in the woods. The forest was beautiful, with the same moss-covered trees that we drove through, and the trail had random patches of sandy terrain. There is, however, poison oak and ivy, so be careful what you brush up against or touch!
We didn’t really know where we were going, just that we had found a trailhead and wanted to explore. As with every trail here in Florida, eventually you end up at the water. We ended up at a beach that surprisingly had a ton of boats on a sandbar, and a few dead trees that were fun to climb.
You can walk along the beach for a while, but eventually it will end up in a cliff where the beach is eroded away and you have to go back to the trail to continue exploring. There are a few different trails that will lead you throughout the park, and in total, I think that my family and I ended up walking 3 miles or so.
Overall, I thought that this walk was very beautiful and interesting. I definitely want to go back to visit Kingsley Plantation – I just have to steel my nerve to drive on those dirt roads again!
Thank you for reading! Have you ever visited Kinsley Plantation? Let me know in the comments below and like this post if you want more like it!