Discover Hontoon Island, A Nature Walk

By Holly Giles | Field Trips

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 The wonderful weather beckons us to be outside!
We met up with some friends for a day at Hontoon Island State Park.
Come along with us to this hidden Florida gem.
Hontoon Island sits along the St. John’s river in Volusia County.  It is
accessible only by boat. It is a treasure trove of history and artifacts from
Indians and Spaniards. It is also an open playground for a
 group of energy filled kids!  
These are our neighbors and fellow homeschoolers. 
 We took our school outdoors today, as usual.
Hontoon is one of the places we have been meaning to visit
for about six years.  Do you have a local place like that? I think
about it and then forget. Once the weather cooled off and I passed
a sign for it on a recent trip, we set a date to go!
This fantastic park ranger greeted us as we got off the ferry. 
 She was full of great information, guiding us on the proper trails,
 stamping our State Park Passports and storing all of our
 lunch boxes under her desk!
As we hit the trail ready to romp the woods, we met up with 
our first animal encounter. Pigmy Rattlesnake. 
Ok, new plan.
ALL children MUST stay ON the trail! No woods
today.  These two mommies are not fond of reptiles.
We later learned that Hontoon Island has a large concentration
of pigmy rattlesnakes.  Maybe that should be on a sign.
Fortunately, the trail had a lot to offer. 
 They spied a snail on the move.
Four tree monkeys.  A rare sighting.
Fresh tracks.  The ranger told us on their morning walk
they found bobcat, bear and deer tracks.
We walked the trail to the pine flats and snapped a
a great shadow shot.
This owl carving is said to be a few thousand years old.
It was discovered during dredging of the river in 1955.
We capped off the day with lunch by the river,
 among beautiful moss covered oaks and cypress trees.
It was a great midweek encouragement to catch up with my friend,
and enjoy our children playing AND learning in the outdoors.
Call that mom you have been meaning to catch up with for…..ever.
Pack a lunch and meet up at a local spot to discover together. 
It is amazing what a little fresh air on Wednesday,
 can do for your Thursday and Friday.


About the Author

Holly Giles is a wife, mother, and storyteller. As an author and Florida Master Naturalist, she writes about heritage homemaking skills, motherhood, and why Florida offers the best hidden natural gems to explore as a family.

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