Hontoon Island State Park

Located in the St. Johns River, Hontoon Island State Park is accessible only by boat, whether private or the official park ferry (which operates from 8 am until one hour before sunset). One of the main attractions to Hontoon Island State Park is the evidence of thousands of years of Native American occupation of the island that can be seen by walking through the park. Hontoon Island also offers a great museum and visitor center. Other attractions include the boating, canoeing and fishing.

On an idle zone in the St. Johns River, Hontoon Island State Park offers 40 boat slips for boat camping, each with drinking water, electric hookup and a restroom with hot showers. The nearby picnic area has tables and cooking grills.

Hontoon Island State Park also offers six rustic one-room cabins with bunk beds, vinyl-covered mattresses, overhead lighting, a ceiling fan and one electrical outlet. Each cabin also has a screened porch with table and chairs and a picnic table with a ground grill right outside the door. You'll need to bring everything else you want but remember, there are no restrooms, stoves, microwaves, heaters or air conditioners in the cabins. Restrooms and showers are in the central area of the nearby campground. The cabins also have a 2-night minimum stay on weekends and holidays.

The campground offers 12 tent sites, each with picnic table, ground grill and access to drinking water. The restrooms and showers are in a central location in the campground. There is a primitive youth camping area nearby that will accommodate up to 30 people.

The park offers canoe and tandem kayak rentals (with lifejackets included) but everything needs to be returned daily at least one hour before sunset. Fishing is allowed from just about anywhere you can get close enough to drop a line in the water.

For hikers there's a self-guided trail that leaves the ranger station and follows the Hontoon Dead River for 1.5 miles to the large Indian shell mound on the southwest corner of the island. The picnic area and playground are also near the ranger station.

For day-users, Hontoon Island State Park is open from 8 am until sunset, every day of the year. There is no formal charge for park entry or for a ride on the park ferry but donations are always welcome. Primitive Camping Fees: $18 per site per night (plus tax). Boat Slips: $18 per night (plus tax), includes water and electric hookups. Primitive Cabin Fees: $30 per night (plus tax) for up to 4 persons; $35 per night (plus tax) for up to 6 persons.

To get there: West of Deland on State Route 44, turn south on County Road 4110 and go to County Road 4125 (Hontoon Road). Turn left and go to River Ridge Road. Go left on River Ridge Road to the park entrance.