This is Segment 24, Region L. This segment of the circumnavigational trail is steeped in history and blessed with outstanding natural beauty. Here Spain, France, England, the U.S. and Native American tribes wrested for control of Florida through the historic city of St. Augustine. Paddlers can literally touch this history by visiting many sites along the route.
The segment starts at Mellon Island or Faver-Dykes State Park, depending on where you put-in. Nearby (but some back-tracking) is Marineland, the world's first oceanarium.
Heading north on the old channel of the Matanzas River just past Mellon Island you can access the Fort Matanzas National Monument. Land near the dock along the east side of the river to tour the visitor's center and take a park service ferry over to the historic fort. Landing near the fort on Rattlesnake Island is not allowed.
Next stop, and a great place to spend the night, is St. Augustine. The Old Town and fort Castillo de San Marcos are favorite areas to explore in the city. Ghost Tours, Ripley's Believe it or Not and many other attractions are within easy walking distance of the St. Augustine Municipal Marina.
The end point for this segment is Palm Valley Road, 19 miles to the north of St. Augustine. Much of the land on the east side of the ICW along this final stretch is the Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve. Paddlers also enjoy paddling for several miles along the Guana River and Lake Ponte Vedra.
A portion of the St. Johns River from Palatka to Green Cove Springs runs through this segment. The river here becomes more than two miles wide, so stay along one shore or the other depending upon prevailing winds.
35.5 miles of Circumnavigational Trail
- Boat traffic can be heavy along the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW), especially on weekends and holidays
- Paddling the Atlantic is not recommended due to quickly changing conditions, and even in the ICW there is often a strong easterly shore breeze
Primary Campsites & Distances Between on Circumnavigational Trail
- Mellon Island to Moses Creek Conservation Area, 7 miles
- Moses Creek Conservation Area to St. Augustine, 9.5 miles
- St. Augustine to Palm Valley Road (Highway 210), 19 miles
- Police, Fire and Medical Emergencies: 911
- St. John's County Sheriff: 800-346-7596
- Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission Hotline: 1-888-404-3922
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