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Beautiful place with a sad history

The main building, grounds and location beside the sea are really beautiful. You can imagine what... read more

Reviewed 1 week ago
Michael B
Orby, Sweden
Rich history

This place is so beautiful.. it definitely takes you back in time.. it's heartbreaking to know what... read more

Reviewed 2 weeks ago
Janna J
via mobile
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Reviewed November 9, 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.

Date of experience: November 2013
2  Thank Joe32926
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 31, 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!

Date of experience: October 2013
Thank samm656
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 24, 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.

Date of experience: January 2013
3  Thank Maurene_K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 22, 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.

Date of experience: October 2013
Thank 871DaleL
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 10, 2013

As someone else stated this is a very peaceful place. I got goose bumps when I saw the conditions that the former slaves lived under. How could we have been so cruel!l A great history lesson for children (and adults). A time in history that should not be forgotten.

Date of experience: December 2012
1  Thank spryfieldCanada
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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