Tomoka State Park



There are endless destinations in America that one can explore, and throughout our travels, we have had the pleasure of meeting some pretty incredible people in epic and diverse locales. And one place that is close to our hearts is the great state of Florida. Christopher grew up here, surfing endless waves as a kid, and now that the girls are a little older, we love sharing the beauty and diversity of Volusia County.


During the filming of Travel With Didiayer, we naturally had to include Daytona Beach and made sure we ventured off the long stretch of coastline to experience the rich biodiversity and natural wonders at Tomoka State Park, which is just one of our many stops in this episode.




After setting up a day camp in one of the spacious camping spots at Tomoka State Park, yep that's right, you can camp here in the park. We decided to explore some of the historical areas and learn some more history about the land and who once lived along this peaceful shoreline. "Native American's once dwelled here, living off the land, and fishing in the lagoons." As shared on the State Parks website.




"Tomoka State Park is located on a peninsula at the junction of the Tomoka and Halifax rivers, an area that has provided food and shelter to Native Americans for thousands of years. Much of what we know about these early inhabitants comes from archaeological excavations within the park.



Researchers suggest that the land containing the Tomoka Mound Complex just south of the Nocoroco village site was occupied as early as 5000 B.C. These early occupants were ancestors to the Timucua who lived later in the area. The mound complex is made up of 10 mounds.

Archaeological excavations have been able to tell us how these people lived and what the environment was like. They used tools made of non-local stone that came from the Florida Peninsula through trade. Remains of freshwater snails indicate that the water surrounding the site was fresh before changing to the slightly salty brackish that it is today. An interesting detail is that no pottery was found, perhaps because the culture existed before pottery came into use. They might have used organic containers to cook and hold food.



The site was then occupied by a band of the Timucuan Indian tribes of South Georgia and Northeast Florida. The tribes were all different politically but are grouped together since they spoke different dialects of the Timucua language. The Timucua lived in a village called Nocoroco, first reported on by the Spanish diplomat Alvaro Mexia in 1605. Nocoroco was occupied for hundreds of years before the arrival of Europeans.

Because of its location at the tip of the peninsula, it is thought that Nocoroco was an important village. There is evidence of hunting, fishing, and gathering. What happened after the Spanish encountered the village is unknown, but the Timucua and their settlements were devastated by exposure to European diseases. Any remaining members most likely were absorbed into the Seminole Tribe.

The land occupied by both the Tomoka Mound Complex and Nocoroco was passed into British possession after being granted to Richard Oswald in 1766 along with 20,000 acres to establish the Mount Oswald Plantation. An enslaved workforce grew and harvested indigo, rice, timber, sugar, and oranges. The site was abandoned in 1785 after the British withdrew from Florida following the American Revolutionary War.

Spain regained control of Florida after the war and, in an effort to encourage settlement, began offering land grants in 1790. When Florida became a territory of the United States in 1821, the grants were upheld if settlers could prove the grant documents were valid and someone could provide testimony.

The land containing Tomoka State Park was abandoned in 1835 during the Second Seminole War. In 1937, the Florida Board of Forestry acquired the first parcels of land that would become Tomoka State Park. Additionally, the Nocoroco Site was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973. This designation recognizes Nocoroco as one of the nation’s historic places worthy of protection and preservation.






The kids had an amazing time playing, walking the trails, and spotting birds and butterflies.

It was amazing to learn that Tomoka State Park has over 160 species of birds, especially during the spring and fall migrations. And protects one of Florida's beloved creatures, the endangered species such as the West Indian manatee.



After taking everything in on land, we met up with Captain Scott, co-owner with his wife & Ashely who run the Tomoka Outpost store inside the Tomoka State Park.

This dynamic duo is passionate about the environment and sharing the wonders of the park and all that it has to offer. The store supplies everything you need to have a safe and fun adventure during your time in the park. They offer canoe rentals and boat tours. Of course, we couldn't resist the invitation to climb aboard Captain Scott's boat with his family for a private tour of the waterways. We all just took it in, as Captain Scott shared the history of the area and what we may encounter. It was a peaceful ride, and as the sunset in the West, the golden hues made the backdrop of this adventure magical. Stay tuned! We will be sharing this story in the 4th season of Travel With Didiayer.




Be sure to visit the Tomoka Outpost. Captain Scott and his wife Ashley are always around to greet visitors looking to explore the area. They offer kayak and canoe rentals 6 days a week. Booking ahead is highly suggested. Call 386-673-0022 or drop them an email at Tomokaoutpost@aol.com.


TOMOKA OUTPOST CAMP STORE HOURS OF OPERATION

Sunday 9am-5pm

Monday 9am-5pm

Tuesday 9am-5pm

Wednesday CLOSED (Camp store & Rentals Closed)

Thursday 9am-5pm

Friday 9am-5pm

Saturday 9am-5pm


*Kayak/Canoe rentals must return by 4:30pm at the latest

*All days/hours are weather permitting

***Always the Tomoka Outpost Facebook page for updates or special hours notices/changes.

If you ever find yourself in Florida, this is one destination you will want to visit. Captain Scott and Ashely are such great hosts, you'll be booking this trip more than once!


The Tomoka State Park is located at 2099 N. Beach Street, Ormond Beach, FL 32174. It costs $5 per vehicle, and is open from 8:00 a.m. until sundown, 365 days a year.

To learn more and book a stay at the Tomoka State Park visit FLORIDA STATE PARKS. Here, you will discover much about this rich environment.

Here is a list of the most common questions answered, courtesy of the Florida State Parks website.


Bicycling

"The Tomoka Hiking and Biking Trail provide opportunities for hiking and bicycling.

  • Helmets are highly recommended for all cyclists and Florida law requires helmets for cyclists age 16 and under.

Boating

Boating is popular at Tomoka State Park. A boat ramp in the park allows access to the Tomoka River and its surrounding tributaries.

All of the waters in the vicinity of the park are designated manatee sanctuaries. Boaters should use extreme caution while navigating these waters to help protect these endangered marine mammals.

  • Idle and slow speed zones are strictly enforced.

Camping

Located in a shady hammock near the Tomoka River, each of the park's 100 campsites has a picnic table, grill, electric hook-up, and water. A dump station is located within the park. Three restrooms with hot showers, two of which have accessible facilities, are located in the campground.

  • Well-behaved pets are allowed in the campground in accordance with our Pet Policy.

  • The maximum recreational vehicle (RV) length is 34 feet.

  • For reservations, visit the Florida State Parks reservations website or call 800-326-3521 or TDD 888-433-0287.

Camping, Primitive Group

The youth group camping area accommodates up to 35 people. The site includes picnic tables, grills, a large fire circle, and restrooms with hot showers. Youth groups must be accompanied by adult chaperones.

  • Call 386-676-4050 for youth camping reservations.

  • Pets are permitted in accordance with our Pet Policy.

Fishing

The waters surrounding the park are popular for fishing. A survey by the Florida Marine Research Institute has identified 90 different species of fish in the Tomoka River, including important game fish such as red drum, black drum, sheepshead, spotted sea trout, common snook, and tarpon.

  • Size and bag limits are strictly enforced. All of the current regulations are available at the park.

  • All fishing within the park must conform to regulations concerning size, number, method of capture, and season.

  • A fishing license may be required. More information is available at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s website, Fishing in Florida.

Geo-Seeking

Explore the park in a new and challenging way. Experienced Geocachers have requested permission to hide caches containing trinkets, treasures, or information in various places around the park. Please check the Geocaching website for the most up-to-date information and clues to locate these caches.

  • Operation Recreation GeoTour

Hiking

Tomoka State Park has a half-mile interpretive trail that winds its way through a hardwood hammock that was once inhabited by Timucuan Indians. Visitors will pass through the ancient Timucuan village site of Nocoroco, a once-thriving community along the banks of the Tomoka River.

Using a little imagination, one can visualize what it might have been like to live here a thousand years ago.

  • Biting insects can be annoying during the warmer months; hikers should be prepared for them and bring along insect repellent.

Paddling

The rivers and tributaries offer a beautiful place to observe the varied bird and marine life of the area. Canoeists are advised to use the rivers and creeks and not to venture into the Tomoka Basin except on very calm days. This large, open body of water can get quite choppy during windy conditions and sudden summer thunderstorms. Canoe and kayak rentals are available at the park store by calling 386-673-0022.


Picnicking

Tomoka State Park offers five separate picnic areas throughout the park. There are covered pavilions with grills located in these areas for larger groups. Restrooms are located in each picnic area.


Wildlife Viewing

Wildlife viewing experiences will vary depending on the season. Some of our year-round residents include white-tailed deer, gopher tortoise, bobcat, and a variety of snakes. In the cooler months, you will be more likely to see migratory bird species, which are heading south to escape the cold weather, while the warmer months will bring out gopher tortoises and snakes.

Rattlesnakes are prevalent in the area and are perfectly camouflaged in the grass and leaf litter, so please use caution and watch where you step.


Accessible Amenities

Tomoka State Park is committed to providing a variety of accessible amenities to all visitors. Those amenities include:

  • Picnic pavilions with tables and grills.

  • Paved nature trail.

  • Park concession.

  • Fishing pier and dock.

  • Camping (primitive).

  • Recreation hall rental.

Service animals are welcome in all areas of the park.

Boat Ramp

A boat ramp is located in the park allowing access to the Tomoka River and its surrounding tributaries. All of the waters in the vicinity of the park are designated manatee sanctuaries.

Boaters should use extreme caution while navigating these waters to help protect these endangered marine mammals.

  • Idle and slow speed zones are strictly enforced.

Interpretive Exhibit

Throughout the park, visitors will find interpretive plaques and signs that outline the area's history as well as the park's natural and cultural resources. Visitors will learn about the Timucuan Indian village called Nocoroco, the area's earliest residents.

Visitors can learn about the Mount Oswald Plantation and how indigo was processed to produce dyes. Some signs are along the roadside while others are found on the trails describing the types of the ecosystem that are being traversed as well as park plant and animal inhabitants.


Laundry

Laundry facilities are available in the campground for use by registered campers.


Meetings and Retreats

Tomoka Recreational Hall is perfect for company luncheons, group meetings, corporate training, family reunions, weddings, and other special events.


Nature Trail

The Tomoka Hiking and Biking Trail provide opportunities for hiking and bicycling.

  • Helmets are highly recommended for all cyclists and Florida law requires helmets for cyclists age 16 and under.

Parking

There is ample parking for all types of vehicles.


Picnic Pavilion

Five picnic pavilions are available throughout the day-use areas of Tomoka State Park. They accommodate between 24 and 36 people, with additional outlying tables, grills, and restroom facilities within walking distance.

  • Four of these pavilions can be reserved up to 60 days prior to the event.

Restroom Facilities

The Oak Pavilion, Nocoroco Point, Sunset Pavilion day-use areas, and the marina boat ramp area all have accessible restroom facilities.


RV

Both RVers and tent campers enjoy this park."


Factual Information Provided By FLORIDA STATE PARKS.