What to do in Hontoon Island State Park

Long before Hontoon Island became a state park, the Timucuan Indians who thrived off the regions shellfish inhabited it. As a result of consuming the scrumptious food source for generations, shell middens were formed and are still visible today. It is a unique experience to visit this boat access only island, and then hike to the top of a shell midden to perch on a park bench and enjoy the silence of nature.

Several historic Indian artifacts from the island are on display at the Florida State Museum in Gainesville. Replicas are onsite near the ranger station, which is located by the slips and ferry dropoff. Wonderful views of St. Johns River, the surrounding woodlands and your spot of origination may be viewed. Soaring overhead is the wonderful birdlife. Eagles and osprey will catch your eye first.

In the mid 1800s, folks who offered their labor to the passing citrus ships inhabited the area. At one point, livestock were housed on the island as well. The Florida Park System bought the property in the late 1960s and has kept the island relatively undeveloped.

Located in central Florida, Hontoon Island State Park was purchased by the Florida State Parks System in 1967 and today remains a relatively undeveloped site enjoyed by nature and recreation enthusiasts. This park is a fun excursion that takes little effort to reach. All day a ferry transports small numbers of visitors back-n-forth from the mainland to the park. In addition, there are 40 boat slips on the island. Shore power and water hookup are available for overnight accommodations at the slips. No reservations are accepted for the slips which cost $12 per night which inludes electric and water hookup.

Fishing is a natural recreation at the park. Many anglers cast a line from shore and reel in largemouth bass, shellcrackers, catfish and bluegill. Picnic tables, grills, restrooms, biking roads, and trails are visible from the higher elevation.

A campground, primitive cabin community, and canoe rental are available for a small fee.

Visitors to Hontoon Island State Park enjoy a variety of water-related activities as well as hiking, biking, camping, and viewing historic shell middens and replicas of ancient Indian artifacts. Viewing the surrounding scenery and wildlife is a natural park feature.

Hontoon Island State Park is located six miles west of DeLand off State Route 44. The park is accessible only by private boat or ferry. The ferry operates from 8:00 A.M. till one hour before sunset. Parking is available on the mainland.

The eastern coast of central Florida is usually hot and humid with thunderstorms throughout summer. Average summer temperatures range between 81 and 83 degrees Fahrenheit (27 - 29 Celsius). Winters are mild and dry with temperatures averaging 58 - 64 degrees Fahrenheit (14 - 18 Celsius). Typical yearly precipitation ranges from less than 52 inches to about 56 inches. Lightweight clothing and sunscreen are highly recommended during the summer months. Sweaters and jackets are appropriate attire in winter.

2309 River Ridge Road
DeLand, FL 32720

Phone: 904-736-5309

  • Hontoon Island State Park Travel Q&A