Hontoon Island, DeLand
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It's fun to take the ferry the extremely short distance to Hontoon Island in DeLand. You stand on the dock and the ranger sees you from the other side, then he comes across to pick you up! The ferry is a pontoon boat. The water, covered in spots with water lilies, looks expansive under the blue sky. The song "Sitting on the Dock of the Bay" comes to mind!
Once at the island, you find a gift shop with camping supplies, and three rocking chairs where you can take in the views across the water. There's a one-room exhibit with archaelogical finds and info on the many animals that live safely on the island. One display shows points, projectiles, beads, pins, and tools collected by a young boy named Bill Carson. As an adult, he donated them to the museum. Some are thousand of years old. He gathered them after they spilled from transport trucks and barges that were taking indian shell mound material to be used for roads and driveways. Outside under a tree are wooden indian totem replicas of an otter and a giant owl that were excavated here in 1955! They are beautiful! The "owl clan" lived on the island.
There is a large playground that looks fun for kids, plus swings and baby swings. Plenty of picnic tables under moss-lampooned oak trees with views of the water add to the idyllic scene. On weekend afternoons families come here to enjoy the island.
Hikers also enjoy the long trails under amazing trees that reach up to find some light. The hiking trail hugs the shore giving hikers nice views of the water. At the end hikers find the indian shell mound.
We didn't do the hike because we were all alone on the island on a Sunday morning and the hiker had just told us five bobcats plus bears live on the island!
You can rent kayaks and canoes, and also camp on the island.
The drive to Hontoon Island, around Lake Beresford, is lovely because there are such pretty homes and mansions with large lots. Some are on the lake near the Yacht Club, and are beautiful. The Spanish moss hangs abundantly from giant trees and even all along telephone wires, making it look like someone just decorated the street for a party!
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Hontoon Island State Park is located at 2309 River Ridge Rd, DeLand FL 32720, call (386) 736-5309.
The last ferry leaves the island at 7:30pm in the summer months, or one hour before sunset all year long. The first ferry is at 8am. The ferry ride is free.
This is an interactive map, you can zoom and move it.
Overall Visitor Rating:
|Kids like the boat ride and the store has supplies.|