The shade of a palm tree. Calming surf. A salt breeze riffling the leaves of aromatic bay trees. Nearby, dolphins round up fish in the Tolomato River. With experiences like these, who wouldn’t want to be marooned on this barrier island? Linking salt marshes and pine flatwoods, open savannas and prehistoric villages, the hiking trails at Guana River State Park are long on scenery. Hike the 9-mile loop to sample it all, and you may never go home. Just 10 miles north of South Ponte Vedra Beach along State Road A1A, the trailhead is hidden in the woods at the dam.
drive time: Jacksonville: 1/2 hour
guides: 50 Hikes in North Florida, by Sandra Friend ($18). Free map available at trailhead kiosk.
contact: Guana River State Park, (904) 825-5071; www.dep.state.fl.us/parks/district3/guanariver/index.asp