Looking for a way to spend the first day of 2021? How about a hike? Our traditional first-day group hike along the coast can’t happen but that doesn’t mean you can’t do it yourself. Not sure where to go to start the new year? No worries, we have some great suggestions for you of trails with views of the coast or another waterway.
- Little Talbot Island State Park’s Dune Ridge trail, one of Florida’s premier nature trails, meanders for two miles atop an ancient dune ridge under a canopy of live oaks, cedars and sabal palms in a lush maritime hammock. You can finish up your hike with a two-mile walk along Little Talbot Island’s picturesque beach. The park opens at 8 a.m. and will stay open until 5 p.m. There is a $5 per vehicle fee (up to eight people) to enter.
- Big Talbot Island State Park is another great option for a first-day hike. You can take the Blackrock Trail to the shoreline or the Big Pine Trail to the marsh. Hike through the maritime forest and head down and check out Boneyard Beach or Blackrock Beach. These beaches are famous for their whitened skeletons of driftwood trees. Big Talbot Island is open 8 a.m. until sundown and there is a $3 per vehicle fee.
- Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park would be a wonderful place to begin 2021. The park opens at 8 a.m. and there is a $5 per vehicle fee (up to six people). You could start your hike along the sandy beach which offers 1.5 miles of shoreline with multiple access points. After the hike along the coast, walk along the .25 mile Scout Trail or take a longer hike along the six-mile Wellness Trail.
- We also suggest checking out Dutton Island Preserve in Atlantic Beach which offers about three miles of hiking trails through pine flatwoods and live oak hammocks. Dutton Island I has hiking trails and boardwalks, a marsh observation deck, a fishing pier, and a kayak and canoe launch. Dutton II also has hiking trails, several marsh overlooks and a kayak landing. This preserve is open from dawn until dusk and there is no fee to enter.
A hike (or walk) in a park can start your new year off with a spot of relaxing exercise in a tranquil setting. And because Jacksonville boasts more than 100 miles of upland trails, you have plenty to choose from.
If you want to find a park closer to your neighborhood, you can view our parks page for information on any of the 23 or more parks and preserves that we support. Enjoy your day outside and happy new year!