Walking on the Beach

Gentle surf at Little Talbot Island State Park Florida

Little Talbot Island State Park, Florida

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Clouds blocking the sun
Beautiful day at the beach
Photo credit: Garden of Aquarius

Today is the last day of March and we are having warmer days now that the wind is calming down. March was very windy as it usually is. I lost a few seedlings in the garden due to flying debris, it was no joke.

The beach is okay when it’s cold, but the wind makes it intolerable for me. So today was the day, first beach trip of the year. We have many options when it comes to beaches in Florida. There are many state parks on the ocean as well as at least 4 public beaches. While we love Guana River State Park, today we chose Little Talbot Island.

Little Talbot Island State Park, Florida Beach
Little Talbot Island State Park, Florida
Photo by: Garden of Aquarius

I prefer the State Parks. You have to pay to drive in, but it’s money well spent. Today, the guard at the gate warned us of unsafe currents and that the red flag was flying. The red flag restricts swimming altogether. The water is still way too cold for me to do anything above ankles anyway.

Red Flag means hazardous surf, no swimming
Photo credit: Garden of Aquarius
Red Flag means hazardous surf, no swimming
Photo credit: Garden of Aquarius

Once you drive through the gate, you drive along a winding road next to a large bike path. To your left and right are large sand dunes with sea oats blowing in the wind. Native Florida wildlife is everywhere around you. I saw honeysuckle trumpet plant, passionflower, prickly pear, daisies, and other flowering weeds.

Prickly pear growing on the sand dunes
Photo credit: Garden of Aquarius
Prickly pear growing on the sand dunes
Photo credit: Garden of Aquarius

There were a lot of jellyfish both beached and in the water despite no warning flag. A purple flag is a warning for Stinging Wildlife. These guys are as big as cantaloupes and they can still sting you even on the beach.

Beached jellyfish
Beached jellyfish
Photo credit: Garden of Aquarius
Jellyfish swimming in the Atlantic Ocean
Jellyfish swimming in the Atlantic Ocean
Photo credit: Garden of Aquarius

We found a good spot that was really far out due to it being low tide. Spread out the blanket, dropped our stuff, and began to explore. It’s nice to split off from conversation and just lose yourself in the sound of the ocean.

Low tide at Little Talbot Island State Park
Photo credit: Garden of Aquarius
Low tide at Little Talbot Island State Park
Photo credit: Garden of Aquarius

I love to walk to beach and look for treasures. Depending on the weather, you can find all kinds of interesting things. Some of our State Parks are great for finding shark’s teeth. This isn’t one of them, but I’m terrible at finding them anyway. Head over to Mickler’s Landing for the best chance at finding shark’s teeth.

Seashells, ocean plants, oyster shells
Photo credit: Garden of Aquarius
Seashells, ocean plants, oyster shells
Photo credit: Garden of Aquarius

Seashells, driftwood, crab shells, and ocean plants are littered all over the beach. It’s not so bad as we haven’t had much rain lately. Storms dredge up treasures from the deep and dump them on the sand.

Seagull feather on the beach
Seagull feather on the beach
Photo credit: Garden of Aquarius
Sea shell
Photo credit: Garden of Aquarius
Sea shell
Photo credit: Garden of Aquarius
Sea shell just slightly broken
Photo credit: Garden of Aquarius

I may be terrible at shark’s teeth, but I am the master at finding sand dollars. I found this little gem just barely poking out of the sand. I had my son wash it off, we snapped a pic and he promptly broke it. “Accidentally.” This is why we can’t have nice things. The photo is forever though!

Sand dollar
Photo credit: Garden of Aquarius

Sand dollars are beautiful. I love finding them. If you visit the ocean and find a sand dollar, be sure to leave it alone if it is alive. You can tell it’s alive if it’s slightly green in color and has a million little furry feet on the bottom. This is how they propel through the water. The white ones are dead and okay to take home with you.

Cleaned up just prior to being destroyed by a boy child
Photo credit: Garden of Aquarius

A note of caution, they could become very stinky if the animal inside hasn’t decomposed yet. We let ours dry in the sun outside on the porch before bringing them in for decorative purposes.

My son quickly redeemed himself after spotting dolphins in the surf. I redeemed myself by catching a photo! They are hard to catch on film. Once they surface you have to anticipate where they will pop up next. Thank you digital film. Here they are, there were at least three traveling together.

Dolphin in the surf at Little Talbot Island Florida
Dolphin in the surf at Little Talbot Island Florida
Photo credit: Garden of Aquarius

They were playing and avoiding the jet skis that were passing by. I missed a great shot of one slapping its tail on the water. It’s always a win when you get to spot a dolphin.

No water entry
No water entry
Photo credit: Garden of Aquarius

This area is where the St. John’s River meets the Atlantic Ocean, those two bodies of water, fresh and salt water, causes all kinds of dangerous conditions. The water there is extremely deep, there are lots of drop-offs.

Naval ships at Mayport
Naval ships at Mayport
Photo credit: Garden of Aquarius

The military base is across the river from this park and you can see the naval ships in port. The water is deep enough for them there. The cars on the beach you see in the distance are at Huguenot Memorial Park. That is the only beach here that you can drive on.

The sand wasn’t hot today and made it very pleasant to walk on. Sometimes the white sand can be so hot, flip flops are a must. But not today as it was a perfect spring, beach day.

Restricted nesting areas for coastal birds
Restricted nesting areas for coastal birds
Photo credit: Garden of Aquarius

At our State Parks, there are restricted areas for wildlife. There are areas for sea turtle nests and for coastal birds. This is a coastal bird nesting area. It is roped off to keep people from disturbing the nest.

The sea oats are also protected, as well as the sand dunes. You should stick to the paths for beach access and not cross over the dunes. Please also never pick the sea oats. They keep the dunes from eroding and the beach from washing away.

Driftwood tree
Driftwood tree
Photo credit: Garden of Aquarius

The last two years have seen prolific hurricane seasons. As a result, there are bare rooted trees washed up on the beach. There are also trees that just lost the sand beneath them like this palm tree. The root systems are cool to look at when they are tipped over.

Bare root palm tree
Bare root palm tree
Photo credit: Garden of Aquarius

The dead trees are left on the beach. As the tide comes in and out and deposits sand around and eventually over them, they help aid in slowing beach erosion. They are also really interesting to look at an examine.

black and white seagull
Hello seagull
Photo credit: Garden of Aquarius
Broken sea shell
Broken sea shell
Photo credit: Garden of Aquarius
Patterns in the sand
Patterns in the sand
Photo credit: Garden of Aquarius

There’s something about the ocean that heals the soul. I don’t know if it is the fresh, sea air, or the sound of the water crashing and rolling in, or the birds that call overhead, but there’s something.

Shallow tide pool at Little Talbot Island State Park
Shallow tide pool at Little Talbot Island State Park
Photo credit: Garden of Aquarius

I wouldn’t consider myself a beach person, but I get to a point where it calls to me. The ocean, it calls you. It beckons you to return when the soul is feeling dusty and burdened. The ocean washes away the troubles of life.

Atlantic Ocean surf at Little Talbot Island State Park Florida
Atlantic Ocean surf at Little Talbot Island State Park Florida
Photo credit: Garden of Aquarius

I hope you enjoyed walking on the beach with me today. Please check out my other article named “Walking in the Woods” to explore a forest in North Florida. Thank you for reading.

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