This natural wildlife haven, nestled on San Pablo Road, offers nature trails, wildlife guides, picnic areas, fishing docks, and access to canoeing and kayaking. Metro Jacksonville goes exploring through this preservation gem.
Castaway Island Preserve consists of 235 acres, purchased on July 28, 2000 for $1,746,609, 25 acres, purchased on September 11, 2000 for $767,976, and 49 acres, purchased on December 8, 2000 for $1,138,768 by the City of Jacksonville. This site was purchased with the help of a Florida Communities Trust (FCT) grant. FCT reimbursed $1,427,754 to the City. The grant award agreement states that the City will provide a canoe launch, nature trails, waterway trails, information kiosks, and picnic areas on the site. An FDEP grant was awarded to control the exotic species on the site. The exotic species removal has been completed. The grant award was for $18,000. A Florida Inland Navigation District (FIND) grant was awarded for the construction of the trails, canoe launch and parking area for $700,000 ($350,000 from FIND and $350,000 from a City match).http://apps2.coj.net/parksinternet/parkdetails.asp?parkid=315
Things to do at the park.
The park's layout map.
Beautiful landscaping lines the road going into the park.
The park's visitor/information center.
There are several picnic benches and grills available for use.
Wildlife can be seen throughout the park.
Start of the sign-guided trail.
Looking to the right of the trail bridge toward the Intracoastal. This body of water is also interchangeably called Pablo Creek, Pablo River, and San Pablo River.
The trail leads into the preserve and around onto bridge lookout points. Along, signs give details on the "survivors of castaway island." Their corresponding footprints on the sidewalk let you know which you are approaching.
Dock to cast off canoes and kayaks. Fishing is also popular in the spot.
View of the overpass bridge into Mayport.
Visiting Castaway Preserve Park
The park is located on 2921 San Pablo Rd. S., between Beach and Atlantic Boulevards, closest to Beach. Parking is allowed from sun up to sun down, thus the park's hours.
Photos by Sarah Gojekian.