Active beach living in Northeast Florida.
Talbot Islands Tamed
Credit: Paul Morton / Alamy

Off Florida’s northeast Atlantic coast, the Talbot Islands are an outdoorsy mecca. The twin barrier isles—Big Talbot and Little Talbot—are just a few miles away from each other but deliver very different experiences, making a combination trip ideal. The former is all about Spanish moss-draped marshland, while the latter has five miles of beautiful beaches—but both put water sports at your fingertips.

Inn at Oak Street

Just two blocks from the St. Johns River, this three-story home has been carefully restored since it was built in 1902 as the home of a well-to-do entrepreneur. A pitched gable roof shelters the 600-square-foot main house, which has six uniquely decorated rooms. The look is a bit old-fashioned (floral blankets, ruffled bed skirts, patterned rugs) but all are comfortable and come with flat-screen TVs, WiFi access, a wine refrigerator, and daily breakfast, which is best taken on the 70-foot wraparound porch.

Little and Big Talbot Islands

Take the Mayport Ferry (cars $5) across to the beaches to a bird-filled state park that’s laced with a four-mile trail that loops past the park’s beach (Little Talbot) and the dramatically eroded Bluffs Scenic Shoreline (Big Talbot).

Cool Moose Coffee Company

Grab a caffeinated pick-me-up at the friendly shop.

Wine Cellar

For dinner, book a garden table by the St. John River, and order the escargot with creamy garlic-saffron sauce and the house-made flatbread.