Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve | PARK AT A GLANCE

Cedar Point unit of the Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve

Cedar Point unit of the Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve

PARK OVERVIEW

The Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve was created in 1988 to protect the salt marshes and estuaries located north of Jacksonville, Florida. The park is bounded by the St. Johns River to the south and the Nassau River to the north. This is a rather unique National Park in that less than 30 percent of the land is actually owned by the National Park Service. The park is run jointly by the National Park Service, the state of Florida, and the city of Jacksonville. Much of the land is comprised of private property and the Florida state and Jacksonville city parks of Fort George Island Cultural State Park, Helen Cooper Floyd Memorial Park, Huguenot Memorial Park, and Big Talbot Island State Park. Little Talbot Island State Park, Betz Tiger Point Preserve, and Pumpkin Hill Creek Preserve State Park lie just outside the Preserve boundary. While there are no campgrounds or beaches run by the National Park Service, these parks offer all sorts of recreational opportunities.

Two-thirds of the Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve is made up of salt marsh: land of grass-covered islands surrounded by a maze of creeks and other small waterways. The park was created to put a halt to further development of the area, though people already living within the park boundary got to keep their land. Being a preserve, the traditional sports of hunting and fishing are still allowed (though hunting has so many restrictions that it is effectively not allowed).

The Preserve’s boundary also incorporates Fort Caroline National Memorial, a park that marks the general location of the first French settlement in North America. Fort Caroline is its own entity, having opened in 1953. However, as far as tourists and park employees are concerned, the Memorial and Preserve are all one park, and no distinctions are made between their borders.

Outdoor activities in the park include hiking on the trails at Fort Caroline, Cedar Point, and the Theodore Roosevelt Area, and boating, canoeing, and fishing in the salt marsh. The park also includes the word “Historic” in its name, and this refers not only to the Fort Caroline historic area, but also to the Kingsley Plantation located on Fort George Island. This plantation home dates to 1798, a time when Florida was Spanish territory. The main house at the plantation is open on the weekends while the grounds are open daily. As far as National Park Service property is concerned, unless you plan to engage in the water-based activities enjoyed in the salt marsh, a landlubber’s visit to Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve is pretty much relegated to visiting Fort Caroline and the Kingsley Plantation. Of course the surrounding state and city parks have plenty of land-based activities for visitors to the area.


OPERATING HOURS

The Visitor Center, which serves both the Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve and the Fort Caroline National Memorial, is open from 9 AM to 5 PM every day except for when closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day.

Fort Caroline National Memorial and its grounds are open Wednesdays through Sundays from 9 AM to 5 PM.

The Ribault Monument is open Wednesdays through Sundays from 9 AM to 4:45 PM.

The grounds of the Kingsley Plantation are open Wednesdays through Sundays from 9 AM to 5 PM, except for the above mentioned holidays. The main house is open on weekends from 10 AM to 12 PM and from 1 PM to 4 PM. It is closed at lunchtime.

The trails located in the Theodore Roosevelt Area are open daily from sunrise to sunset. This includes the Spanish Pond Trail.

Cedar Point is open daily from sunrise to sunset.

All times are subject to change, so before making travel plans be sure to check out the official Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve’s Operating Hours and Seasons web page for the latest schedule.


FEES

There are no fees for any National Park Service-run activities within Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve. The Preserve includes many Florida state and Jacksonville city parks, and these may have entrance and activity fees.


SCHEDULING YOUR VISIT

Visitor Center
Allow up to 1 hour

Fort Caroline Exhibit
Allow 45 minutes

Hiking Trails
6 hours worth of hiking

Kingsley Plantation
Allow 1-2 hours


Back to the Top


With a few exceptions, use of any photograph on the National Park Planner website requires a paid Royalty Free Editorial Use License or Commercial Use License. See the Photo Usage page for details.
Last updated on April 15, 2022
Share this article