Whether you’re a fan of unspoiled nature or fascinating history, you’ll enjoy visiting the Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve. The 46,000 acre preserve protects important, intercoastal waterway habitat, along with some of Florida’s richest history.
If you follow the flow of the St. John’s River, upon whose banks The Club Continental is perched, you’ll find that it eventually spills out into the Atlantic Ocean. This area of confluence, located just northeast of Jacksonville, is acre upon acre of unspoiled salt marshes, coastal dunes, and hardwood hammocks.
This seemingly endless expanse of forested marshland is teeming not only with wildlife but also history. Timucuan natives called the area home for thousands of years, thus the name – but that’s not all. You’ll also find the replica of a 16th century French fort, a 19th century plantation, a 20th century millionaires club, trails, boardwalks, and much more!
Visiting the Preserve
Visitors to the Timucuan Preserve will find much more than a day’s worth of attractions to explore and take in. In fact, it would be easy to spend an entire weekend here.
The Timucuan Preserve is located about an hour’s north east of Club Continental and admission is free. The park spreads to both sides of the river, with worthy attractions on both sides. Crossing the river on foot or by car is a snap with the St. Johns River Ferry.
The south side of the preserve is home to the Fort Caroline National Memorial and a variety of hiking trails. The north side includes Kingsley Plantation and the Ribault Club.
Timucuan Preserve Attractions
The Fort Caroline National Memorial is located on the south side of the river. Fort Caroline memorializes a short-lived French colony that existed here in the 16th century. The site includes a replica of Fort Caroline at one-third scale and exhibits on the Timucua-speaking people. The Timucuan Preserve Visitor Center is also located here.
The south side of the preserve also has many hiking trails and boardwalks leading to and through areas of interest. Places like the Theodore Roosevelt Area and Spanish Pond.
North of the St. Johns River, you’ll find Kingsley Plantation on Fort George Island. The Kingsley Plantation is home to Florida’s oldest surviving plantation house, built in 1798. Visitors can tour the house, slave quarters, barn, waterfront, and more to learn about the lives and times of those who lived here.
You’ll also find the Ribault Club nearby. This Colonial Revival mansion built in 1928 as a retreat for wintering millionaires. The Club is on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places and also serves as the Fort George Island Visitor Center.
People also come to the preserve to sail, kayak, and fish. A variety of good outfitters in the area offer both gear and guides for the Preserve.
Hungry? Don’t miss a chance to sample the offerings at Singleton’s Seafood Shack! Singleton’s is just down the street from the St. Johns River Ferry and has been serving delicious, just-off-the-boat seafood for over 40 years. The surroundings may be rough and plain but the food cannot be beat!
Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve
As you can see, there is more than enough to keep you busy at the preserve. So much so, in fact, that you could easily make a day-trip out of it. Spend the day exploring the wildlife and history at Timucuan, then make your way back south for a relaxing evening by the river at your home away from home, The Club Continental.
Be sure to visit the Preserve website to learn more about all there is to see and do here.