FORT GEORGE ISLAND CULTURAL STATE PARK
Native Americans feasted here, colonists built a fort, and the Smart Set of the 1920s came for vacations. A site of human occupation for over 5,000 years, Fort George Island was named for a 1736 fort built to defend the southern flank of Georgia when it was a colony. Today?s visitors come for boating, fishing, off-road bicycling, and hiking. A key attraction is the recently restored Ribault Club. Once an exclusive resort, it is now a visitor center with meeting space available for special functions. Behind the club, small boats, canoes, and kayaks can be launched on the tidal waters.
To reserve the Ribault Club for a special event, contact Amelia Occasions at 904-251-1050. Located approximately 16 miles east of downtown Jacksonville on State Road A1A, or three miles south of Little Talbot Island State Park.
For an eco-friendly experience you won't soon forget, sign up for a guided tour of Fort George Island on a cross terrain Segway with Ecomotion Tours. This 2 hour tour departs from the historic Ribault Club and visits the Kingsley Plantation while traveling along more than 3 miles of maritime forest, abundant with plant and animal life. No experience necessary, but advance reservations are required so please call 904-251-9477 for more information.
Fort George contains the longest record of civilization in Duval County. The huge shell mounds found on the island are evidence of Indian habitation dating back over 7,000 years. A major food source for the native people were the oysters and fish found in the surrounding waters. After eating the edible portion, the oyster shells were discarded, accumulating over the years to form enormous shell middens seen today.
Originally called Fort Saint Georges, the fort was built in 1736 by General James Olgethorpe, founder of Georgia Colony. The fort no longer stands and its location has not yet be determined. Rising 65 feet above sea level, Mount Cornelia is reputed to be the highest point on the U.S. Atlantic coast south of North Carolina?s outer Banks. To learn more about Fort George island and its former inhabitants take the 4.4-mile self-guided Saturiwa Trail tour. Guided tour books are available at the Talbot Islands Ranger Station.
The Ribault Clubhouse Water access, (unimproved boat ramp) behind the Ribault Clubhouse, is available for launching canoes, kayaks, and small flat bottom boats.