Length: 5.5 miles (one way-shuttle required)
Put in: From Jacksonville: From I-95 or SR 9A, exit to Heckscher Dr/ SR 105. Follow northbound signs for Heckscher Drive (actual direction is easterly) and drive past Little Talbot Island State Park. 1/2 mile past entrance to the Park turn left at kayak/sign for Kayak Amelia.
From Amelia Island – South on A1A, over Nassau Sound Bridge, 4.5 miles on right at kayak/sign for Kayak Amelia. Fee: $1/person. Launch is gravel ramp and a floating dock at low tide. Phone, water, restroom, picnic shelter, cold drinks/snacks, and some supplies.
Take out: From Jacksonville: North on I-95 or SR 9A, exit to
Heckscher Dr/SR 105. Follow northbound signs for Heckscher Drive (actual direction is easterly) about 20 miles to Big Talbot Island State Park’s northern end. Turn left just before crossing the Nassau Sound Bridge.
From Amelia Island – South on A1A, over Nassau Sound Bridge, to the first right turn after the bridge and Big Talbot Island State Park boat ramp. There is a $3.00 user fee to launch. The launch area is a concrete ramp with floating dock with restrooms and water fountains available.
Route: Launch from Long Island Outfitters and paddle north on Simpson Creek. At mouth of creek, enter Nassau Sound and paddle northwest along shoreline of Big Talbot Island State Park. Pass under A1A Bridge and the adjacent fishing bridge (watch out for fishing lines!) and turn west into Sawpit Creek. Boat ramp is on left. Ride the tide – plan trip with low tide occurring mid-trip. Current goes out (north) from put in, then catch incoming tide in Nassau Sound.
Highlights: Views of salt marsh and oyster beds and an undeveloped shoreline. About 2 miles from launch is Half Moon Bluffs, an impressive cliff etched by water and wind. Where Simpson Creek meets the Nassau Sound there are sandy beaches good for swimming (note: water on the ocean side may have steep drop offs and swift currents). Roseate spoonbills, wood storks and oyster catchers are frequently seen feeding in the shallow water. At the northern end of Big Talbot Island is another bluff and ‘Dead Tree Beach’ with the remains of old oaks bleached by the sun.
Trail extensions: Paddle under the small bridge and past the take out on Sawpit Creek and on to the ICW and bear right around Sawpit Island. This 2.5 mile circumnavigation route has few places to stop but the short beach on the ICW side is a great location for shark’s tooth hunting.