For a taste of tidal pools and black rock beaches in Florida, get out of your car and walk down to the unique shoreline of Big Talbot Island State Park.
Location: Big Talbot Island
Fees: $3 per vehicle
Open: 8 AM until sunset daily
Leashed pets welcome but not on beaches
Along SR A1A between Jacksonville and Amelia Island, north of Little Talbot Island.
The pirate Blackbeard landed on these shores, leaving behind rumors of buried treasure. But if you’re after a true treasure, bring a camera, as Florida’s most colorful bird, the painted bunting, nests here in the spring.
The Bluffs Picnic Area and Blackrock Beach Trail lead to one of the weirdest and most beautiful beaches in Florida, where black “rock” -- actually highly compressed peat and sand shaped by waves to look like rock -- lines the shore, forming tidal pools brimming with sea life.
Smidgens of sandbars offshore add to the tropical scene. The tidal marsh side of the island is popular for paddling through dense mazes of needlegrass. The Timucuan Trail, a paved bicycle trail, parallels A1A through the park. Camping is at adjacent Little Talbot Island State Park.
Explore the park
- Big Talbot Big Pine Trail - The southernmost trail on Big Talbot Island is the 0.8-mile Big Pine Trail, a short walk out to a bluff above the estuary through a maritime hammock riffled by breezes
- Big Talbot Bluffs Beach Walk - At low tide, a walk along Bluffs Beach from the Bluffs Picnic Area of Big Talbot Island State Park brings rewarding views of the unusual black "rocks" and shimmering waters
- Black Rock Trail - An unusual and picturesque geologic anomoly, Blackrock Beach at Big Talbot Island is covered with formations that look like black lava rocks but are made of sand
- Jones Cut Trail - The 1.5-mile Jones Cut Trail provides a meander into the heart of the maritime forest that carpets Big Talbot Island State Park, but it’s not the easiest trail to find