An island in the St. Johns River, Hontoon Island State Park is accessible to boaters thanks to a marina big enough to accommodate a houseboat and to everyday visitors by a free ferryboat. It’s worth the short trip to see the bounteous wildlife of the St. Johns River, from wading birds to manatees to turtles lying in the sun.
Open: 8 AM until sunset daily
Leashed pets welcome
The Timucua lived on this island for more than 3,000 years, sharing the dark forests with the otter, the owl, and the deer. They carved totems of each to stand along the river. Three totem poles were found preserved in river muck and are now in museums, a rare find of the only ancient totem poles discovered outside the Pacific Northwest. Replicas stand near the picnic area.
In addition to an extensive forest road system for biking, the Indian Mound Nature Trail leads you back into the wilds of the island to find a massive midden – an ancient landfill of snail shells – topped with a massive oak tree.
Explore the park
- Houseboating the St. Johns - All is still, pristine, natural. Night closes in, and I hear the lapping of the river beneath my window as the houseboat gently rocks.
- Indian Mound Nature Trail - On Hontoon Island, the Indian Mound Nature Trail leads you through a ancient forest to an ancient midden on the edge of a vast swamp floodplain.
- PEAR Environmental Park and Hontoon Island - Two new Central Florida hikes are now available at Florida Hikes! Both offer virtual tours, so be sure to click on the Tour tab for an armchair walk through each hike. Hontoon Island State Park is the only Florida State Park reached by a free ferryboat; the island is in the middle of the St. …