Indian River Lagoon Preserve State Park - Hiking

Please Note - as of October 2010 this state park was not officially open as of yet, so entering and visiting it is restricted. Enter at your own risk and if you do, please respect it as you would any state park - take nothing but photos and leave nothing but footprints!

This new state park has been created from land that was an old orange grove and land supervised by the St Johns River Water Management group. It is a very nice park to visit. The day I visited it I walked mainly the old roads that wind through the area. The total distance I covered was a little over 9 miles. As you wander the area you will come to areas of protected grass, as well as a few ponds and canals. I was lucky enough to see a variety of wildlife and wildflowers along the roads. A fair portion of the park borders the Indian River Lagoon so expect to have some scenic views of the lagoon. I’m sure you could bring a fishing pole if you so desire.

Honest Johns Fish Camp borders the park on the south - be aware that they don’t want anyone to enter their property from the state park. They have a barbed wire gates and some interesting, threatening signs to discourage all intruders. Don’t go on their land, but remember that you are on state property and they have no control over that. Maritime Hammock Sanctuary borders the park on the north. You can enter the state park from this EEL sanctuary. The Indian River Lagoon borders the park on the west. You might be able to find a spot to access the park from boat if you so wish. A housing development borders the park on the east.

As I walked the land I noticed a number of items that were remnants of the history of the area. Some small bridges going over manmade canals - no idea where they go, as I didn’t have time to explore them all. There is an historic marker on A1A that talks about the “Smith Family Homestead”; I would suspect that some of this area made up that homestead. Then there were telephone poles, maybe just osprey nesting poles, but not sure. I would suspect that the pond was manmade. Someone had roped off are area of what was posted as a "protected species". Some signs still refer to the SJRWMD, but I have been told that the land is now controlled by the Sebastian Inlet State Park management group, so don’t worry about those signs.

My walk registered on my GPS as 9.3 miles; this entailed almost all the roads that wind through the state park. I did some doubling back at times, but a fair portion of the walk was on different roads and trails. I parked at the South Beach Community Park, as there weren’t any other places that I could see - this may change in the future. I walked down the road towards Honest Johns Fish Camp, cutting into the area around the main sign. From there I headed out to Snagg Point and around that area. You will have some nice views of the Indian River Lagoon from this area. I ran into fences put up by Honest Johns Fish Camp at two places on the road. As I worked my way back I found what seems to be a bike trial being cut through the wooded area - no idea what it actually was. I then proceeded up to the Maritime Hammock Sanctuary, wandering around the edge of that for a while. I then worked my way back to the park entrance and back to my car.

I did see quite a few interesting items along the road, as I mentioned some interesting historical items as well as a variety of wading birds and songbirds. I also came across some very pretty wildflowers, as well as some pretty trees and bushes. There are mangrove trees all over the place, protecting the salt marshes and lagoon shoreline. You will also come across many aspects of the natural mosquito control practiced here. There were signs of some big gators in the area, but I didn’t see any. I’m sure that each time you go out here you will see something different.

As I mentioned the South Beach Community Park is right nearby. Here you will find picnic tables and grills, as well as a beautiful area to visit. The center itself is a full size community center, so stop and enjoy that if you have time.

Some GPS coordinates -
• Parking - South Beach Community Park: N27 56.173 W80 29.741
• Protected Grass:  N27 56.561 W80 30.107
• Snagg Point: N27 56.771 W80 30.670
• Honest Johns Fish Camp Gates: N27 56.013 W80 30.342 - N27 56.243 W80 30.296
• Maritime Hammock Sanctuary Border: N27 57.022 W80 30.389
• Smith Family Homestead Historic Marker: N27 56.311 W80 29.668

You can see other pictures of the area at -
Indian River Lagoon Preserve State Park Pictures

My hike can be viewed/downloaded at -
WIKILOC Hike

Here are some pictures from my visit (click to enlarge) -

My Tracks Through The Area
Welcome Sign
Indian River Lagoon View
Mangrove "Island"
Trail/Road View
Pond View
SJRWMD Sign and Gate

3 comments:

Keith said...

Biked the area this weekend. Beautiful spot, saw two gators. One little guy and one 10 footer

Anonymous said...

Was back there again. This time the big gator got a little too curious. Maybe because I had my dog or it was just bad timing . He went from the Mosquito control lagoon to the river side and stopped for a while on the road. The roads are all located on the dikes. In any case this gator was HUGE, easily over 10 feet. Just be heads up hiking here, it's wild Florida. Also saw a beautiful yellow rat snake and a Bald Eagle.

Anonymous said...

My son and I hopped the fence near Honest Johns and hiked north into the preserve this weekend. Many recently mowed paths through the weedy landscape let us choose a comfortable hiking distance. Spotted a healthy young gator and an osprey showing off his catch of the day. A quiet, peaceful (but never boring) walk on a cool winter day.