Category Archives: Parks & Recreation

Float Down the Ichetucknee River

Tubing is the premier activity in Ichetucknee Springs State Park, where the crystalline Ichetucknee River flows 6 miles through shaded hammocks and wetlands.  On a hot summer day, there’s no better way to relax and cool off!

In addition to tubing, visitors can enjoy picnicking, snorkeling, canoeing, swimming, hiking and wildlife viewing.  Several vendors outside the park rent tubes and canoes.  There is an in-park shuttle service during the summer season.

Ichetucknee Springs State Park is located in Fort White, Florida, about an hour and forty-five minute drive from Jacksonville.  The South Entrance, where most visitors come for tubing, is on US 27.  The North Entrance, which offers hiking trails and a trail leading to Blue Hole Spring, is on SR 238.

For more information, park hours and fee schedule, visit the state park website .
Helpful hint:  This park is very popular on summer weekends!  Arrive early to ensure entry.

Hike the Willie Browne Trail in the Theodore Roosevelt Area

No, we’re not talking about taking a trip to the Dakotas.  The Theodore Roosevelt Area is located right here in the East Arlington neighborhood in Jacksonville, Florida.  It is a 600 acre treasure of hardwood forest, wetlands, and scrub vegetation.

The land was once owned by Willie Browne, who lived his entire life in a small cabin on the property.  Though real estate developers offered him millions of dollars, Willie refused to sell.  Instead, in 1969, Willie donated all his land to the Nature Conservancy and requested that the property be named for his hero, former President Theodore Roosevelt. Thank you, Willie, for your gift to future generations!

  “I want this place saved,” Willie said.  “So you can come see God.”

Visitors today can experience miles of wooded trails, vast grassland, and panoramic marsh views.  Ancient piles of discarded oyster shells give clues to an extinct Timucuan culture.  Pillars from the Browne cabin and the Browne family cemetery are on the property.

Helpful hints: The entrance is at 13165 Mt Pleasant Road, just across from the Fort Caroline National Monument. Parking, facilities, and trail maps are at the entrance. Bring insect repellent!
For more information, visit the National Park Timucuan Preserve website.

Enjoy a Quiet Stroll at Walter Jones Historical Park

A visit to Walter Jones Historical Park is like a trip back to Old Florida.  The 11 acre riverfront park is filled with historical treasures, including a 19th century restored farmhouse, barn, sawmill, winery and museum.

The Webb Farmhouse was built in 1875 for Major William Webb, a retired United States Army officer, and was later the home of Walter Jones, proprietor of the Mandarin Store and Post Office.  It has been restored to its turn of the century appearance.

The park is definitely a nice spot to have a picnic in.  There is a wide paved walkway through shaded trails, a riverfront boardwalk, and a long pier extending into the St. Johns River.  Facilities include picnic pavilions with grills.  The museum and farmhouse are open on Saturdays and by appointment.

The park is located on Mandarin Road, one block north of Loretto and is operated by the Mandarin Museum and Historical Society.  The Society also presents a number of popular programs and festivals throughout the year.  For more information, visit their website at