The St Johns river is unique in many ways. It has a very interesting ecosystem starting from the marshes of south Florida and moving north 310 miles north. Yes, you read that right, it flows south to north. It has brackish waters that support many types of species of fish, even sharks in some places. It’s widest point is 3 miles across. The photos we shared with friends gained a response of, “no way that’s a river”. We were fortunate enough to stay in a RV park right on the St Johns, and even had a gator as a neighbor. We didn’t mind, we never let Sam out with us when he was around. He always kept to himself, the best kind of neighbor. This river is unique in other ways besides the wildlife, is that it is such a large body of water, it has its own light house. You know me and light houses by now, so I was super excited to go see it. Right before it flows into the Atlantic, there is a large naval base, Mayport. We were lucky enough to see the Coast Guard doing fly overs on the day we went. The down side to the naval base is that is where the light house is. It has been decommissioned, so I couldn’t climb it anyway, but you have to drive down Mayport road and turn right to a pull off. Then, you can see the St Johns light through a fence.
The new, fully automated light house is further in on the naval base, and although you can catch a glimpse of it on a sunny day or see its light strobe at night, there’s no way to get a good picture of it from the road way anywhere. It’s square in shape, and looks nothing like its historic namesake. The St Johns River Light is something fun to go see, even if you don’t get to go inside the fence. If you are military personnel, you can go in and see both. Being at this end of the St Johns, in Jacksonville, you get “feel” just how massive this river really is. A huge tug boat looked small in this waterway.
There are several places along to pull over and enjoy the river, just watch out for the many old oyster shells lying around at most of the pull offs. And up here, closer to the port, you can smell the fish in the air for sure.
If your on the east coast, driving through Jacksonville, FL., it is worth a drive to see the large boats in port, here the aircraft above, and check out the St Johns River Light. Then, on your way further south, count just how many beaches (known as Jax Beaches) there really are! Hmm, could that be an up and coming blog for next time? Happy Travels everyone!