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“Very Good Historical Park”

Kingsley Plantation
Ranked #5 of 168 things to do in Jacksonville
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Middleburg, FL
Level Contributor
35 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“Very Good Historical Park”
Reviewed 20 November 2013

This is a great place to take your kids to learn about Northeast Florida history and sea plantations, something few people even know existed back in the 18th and 19th centuries. This is the only remaining example of this type of historical structure in Florida, to my knowledge. Very nicely kept and maintained.

Visited August 2013
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1 Thank John J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Cocoa, Florida
Level Contributor
158 reviews
46 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 55 helpful votes
“Step back in time”
Reviewed 9 November 2013

This is a look at American he slave quartershistory in the early 1800's. Plantation life was hard and cruel. The grounds are well maintained by the park service. However, the main house is not open except for two tours per day. If you add there any other time, you don't, get the full story. Seeing the slave quarters alone will give you chills.

Visited November 2013
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2 Thank Joe32926
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
toronto
Level Contributor
10 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Very impressed”
Reviewed 31 October 2013

We spent a few hours here and could of done more if all the houses were open. Lots of history here, we did an audio tour as well as a house tour with one of the rangers. The grounds are well kept, give yourself a few hours here, it’s worth it!

Visited October 2013
Helpful?
Thank sam m
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Dover, New Hampshire
Level Contributor
957 reviews
430 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2,956 helpful votes
“A LOOK AT 1800's SOUTHERN PLANTATION LIFE”
Reviewed 24 October 2013

On a driving vacation from Jacksonville to Savannah and back, I visited several national parks. The Timucuan Ecological & Historic Preserve was one of them. Kingsley Plantation is a unit of the Preserve.

During Florida’s plantation period from 1763 to 1865, Fort George Island was owned by many planters. The national park site name comes from one of those owners, Zephaniah Kingsley. The Kingsleys lived here from 1814 to 1837.

With an enslaved work force of about 60, the Fort George plantation produced Sea Island cotton, citrus, sugar cane, and corn. Sea Island cotton, a fine-quality, long-fiber cotton, was the fiber of choice for exquisite lace handkerchiefs, high-end linens, shawls, and luxury clothing.

Kingsley continued to acquire property in northern Florida. He eventually possessed more than 32,000 acres, including four major plantation complexes and more than 200 slaves. The slaves lived in 32 cabins constructed of tabby, a mix of lime, sand and water. Only 23 remain today.

The plantation era on Fort George Island concluded with the end of the Civil War. While a few more attempts at agriculture were made, the primary use of the island shifted from agriculture to recreation.

The approach to the national park is via an unpaved road. Be prepared for a somewhat bumpy ride in spots.

Entering the Kingsley Plantation site, you will come upon the slave cabins off to the sides of the path. They stand in sharp contrast to the plantation home ahead---rustic dormitory-style quarters versus spacious, comfortable quarters. All that separated them was about 2/10 of a mile of the plantation property. When I actually saw up close the living conditions for slaves in that era, I was thankful for them that they were freed at the end of the Civil War.

You can explore the grounds which also include the barn, waterfront, plantation house, kitchen house, and interpretive garden. There are info boards set up around the grounds.

Tours of the interior of the plantation house are by reservation only through the phone number given on the National Park Service’s web page for Kingsley Plantation under the Timucuan Ecological & Historic Preserve national park. The tours are limited to 11:00 A.M. and 3:00 P.M. on Saturday and Sunday only. There is no charge.

The tour of the plantation house was informative. The Kingsleys lived well but not royally.

The views on the back of the house, facing the water, are nice.

Other units of the Timucuan Ecological & Historic Preserve include:
- Ribault Club that was built in 1928 and is a monument to the resort era on Fort George Island. It's open Wednesday to Sunday 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM.
- Theodore Roosevelt Area which is a 600-acre area of hardwood forest, wetlands, and scrub vegetation. It is also rich in cultural history. There are a number of hiking trails.
- Fort Caroline National Memorial which memorializes the short-lived French presence in 16th century Florida. Its heritage is full of stories of exploration, survival, religious disputes, territorial battles, and first contact between American Indians and Europeans.

When one explores all the units of the national park, it becomes a five-star attraction.

Visited January 2013
Helpful?
3 Thank Maurene_K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Stow, Ohio
Level Contributor
136 reviews
34 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 81 helpful votes
“Plantation History”
Reviewed 22 October 2013

There is a lot of plantation history here. Unfortunately the main house is only open for special tours. Handicapped access is poor. The drive in is very nice. Gravel/sand road with lots of vegetation.

Visited October 2013
Helpful?
Thank Dale L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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