The scene was dramatic. My friends and I had descended down a steep bluff to a narrow beach facing Nassau Sound. Across the water was Amelia Island State Park; behind us tall live oak and cedar trees towered over both saw palmettos and, farther below, sand. On the beach lay the bleached trunks and branches of equally large trees, giving rise to the name “Boneyard Beach.”
To reach Boneyard Beach, we had parked in a shaded area complete with multiple picnic tables and overlooks providing views of the sound far below. The Shoreline Trail to the beach was so green, filled with the sound of bird song.
We walked, making it to the beach and threading our way between the downed trees and trunks. Some were truly massive, living for hundreds of years before ending up on the beach. Small waves crashed against the wood nearest the shore, where much was partially buried. The trees once grew on the island, but the power of the waves created the very 30-foot bluffs that toppled them into the saltwater. I’ve visited dozens of beaches in Florida and across the country, and I’ve never seen anything like it. It’s no surprise that Lisa Westberry photographed the beach for her annual photo contest win!
After Boneyard Beach, we hopped in the car to cross the A1A road to the park’s boat launch and wooden walk circling a small pool. The water was absolutely filled with birds, including Great Egrets, Snowy Egrets, Great Blue Herons, and many species of ducks. The air was alive with Tree Swallows, which zipped through the air like mini-airplanes in search of insect meals, their backs glinting blue-green and their stomachs bright white.
The boat launch leads paddlers and motor boaters into Clapboard Creek. Salt marshes surrounded us, their gold grasses providing a beautiful contrast to the blue of the water. Another Great Egret hunted in the shallows. If you can’t bring your own boat, rentals are available from nearby Kayak Amelia.
Unlike many other state parks, Big Talbot Island has multiple access points. Because of this, one of the best ways to see the park is on a bicycle! The paved, off-road Timucuan Trail parallels A1A for 2.9 miles, providing interpretive signs about the park’s natural and cultural history. It’s smooth enough for roller-blades and strollers, too! More segments of the trail are underway, with expansions planned for the future.
See all the Firsthand Florida Fun blog posts here.
About Erika: Erika Z. is a writer, birder and photographer living and working along the Emerald Coast of Florida. Her love of the outdoors and sense of adventure leads her to explore Florida’s state parks, state trails and historic sites in her free time.