Florida State Parks 75th Anniversary Logo
This exhibit featuring the archaeology of Hontoon Island is one of the many learning opportunities available at the Taishoff Family Visitor Center. A setting sun casts mellow red light behind the darkened Hontoon Island park sign. This black bear was captured on film by a visitor to Hontoon Island. Boat docks and a ferry await visitors at the front of Hontoon Island.
Hontoon Island State Park
A replica of the owl totem found at Hontoon Island in 1955.

History and Culture

Native American Indians gathered shellfish from the St. Johns River more than 2,000 years ago. The discarded shells accumulated over the years and can be seen from the hiking trail at the southwest corner of the island. Artifacts found on the island are displayed at the Visitor Center while replicas of totems carved from logs stand in the picnic area, paying tribute to the island's history. The island has also been a pioneer homestead, a boat yard, a center for commercial fishing and a cattle ranch throughout the years.

Visitors get into a boat alongside the Hontoon Island dock in 1970.


Water activities such as fishing and boating are an important part of Hontoon Island State Park. The dock, boat design, motors and personal attire have changed over the years, but the fun has remained the same.

Researchers hold the wooden owl-like totem found at Hontoon Island in 1955.

Owl Totem

In 1955, a dragline operation recovered a large wooden owl carving from the St. Johns River in the vicinity of the parking lot of Hontoon Island State Park near a burial ground that had been established more than 3,300 years ago.

A group of volunteer ferry captains in white uniforms gather at the park sign to pose for a photo.

Ferry Captains

Hontoon Island State Park has a long-standing tradition of seeking out volunteers to operate the passenger ferry that brings visitors to the island. These friendly folks are well-versed on the island's features and provide needed information to visitors during the short trip across the river.

This small rustic cabin is located on a wooded site far away from traffic.

Rustic Cabin

The six rustic camping cabins at Hontoon Island State Park provide elevated shelter from the elements without modern day conveniences. They have served park campers well for many years and remain in good condition.

This aerial photo of Hontoon Island shows the park docks, ferry and main building.

Hontoon Island

This 2004 aerial photograph shows the boat docks where visitors can camp overnight on their craft or stop in at the park for a day visit. Also shown is the dock, as well as the passenger ferry that shuttles visitors back and forth from the parking lot to the island.