• Activities:

    Chillin, Photography, Running, Swimming, Hiking

  • Skill Level:

    Intermediate

  • Season:

    Year Round

  • Trail Type:

    Loop

  • RT Distance:

    4 Miles

Beach
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Forest
Groups
Picnic Area
Scenic
Wildlife

This beautiful barrier Island is only a thirty minute drive from Jacksonville, Florida. The Dune Ridge Trail is a four mile loop that takes you through a tropical forest, sand dunes and out to the beach. From there you will walk a mile and a half along the Atlantic ocean on a beach covered in shells and driftwood back to the parking lot.

Starting in the parking, lot you are going to follow the road back to the ranger station and from there you can pick up the Dune Ridge trailhead. Once on the trail you can take a look at the sign with a map and small description of the trail. This hike is very straightforward and it is difficult to stray from the trail or get lost.

Once hiking, expect to see a large variety of trees, plants, and wildlife. The Dune Ridge trail is home to Live Oak, Southern Mangolia, Slash Pine, Ariel Gardens (Airplants), and a few different species of Palm Trees. While hiking you will see trees that grow in wild directions to reach the top of the canopy and absorb as much sunlight as possible.

While hiking, pay attention to the trail because there can be roots covered by leaves that are a tripping hazard. Although I said pay attention to the trail, also be aware that just off the trail in the forest you can spot wildlife roaming. I ran into two turtles, one crawled back into the forest away from me, and the other posed and modeled for me in the middle of the trail.

After making your way through most of the trail in the forest, you will come across a set of dunes that are great for photographs. Keep in mind that you are not allowed to climb or hike on the dunes. Shortly after the set of dunes, the trail opens up and you get your first glimpse of The Atlantic Ocean. This is my favorite part of the trail.

From here on out you are going to see an immense amount of beautiful driftwood brought in by the tides. The rest of the hike is only a mile and a half up the beach. Flying over the ocean and running along the water line you will see a few different species of birds. The one I followed and took photographs of was a sandpiper who just kept running along the beach being adorable. Once you get closer to the parking lot, you will probably run into more people chillin' and hanging out on the beach. I ran into one couple who built a driftwood fort for themselves on the beach. I snapped a picture and told them to have a wonderful day.

If you love forests, trees, plants, wildlife, the beach, and the ocean, this hike is perfect for you. The salty sea air will clear your mind and help you relax as you hike through beautiful landscapes. I loved this hike because it was a shorter distance but still had plenty of variety throughout the trail which made for a lot of great photos. I hope everyone enjoys this hike as much as I did.

Pack List

  • Trail Map
  • Water
  • Snacks
  • Shorts
  • Short Sleeved Shirt
  • Camera
  • Towel
  • Swimsuit (If it's Summer)
  • Hiking Boots or suitable athletic shoes
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Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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Varied trails from boardwalk to beach to thick forest. Really beautiful. Check the tides - high tide will block the north end of the beach trail.

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

Rad trail ends on a pristine beach!!!

almost 2 years ago
almost 2 years ago

Tommy DeVillers

I am a 22-year-old self-taught photographer based out of Madison, Wisconsin. I have been shooting for six years and am constantly improving and exploring my style of photography. I love to shoot nature, landscapes, and adventures and look forward to sharing them.

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