Hontoon Island is a state park rather than a residential area. The only access to the park is by using a free ferry or private boat across the St. Johns River. The park has a lot to offer those who come for a visit, whether it's just for the day or you plan to make use one of the many camping cabins available. The camping cabins are primitive, but they offer you and your family, including the one with the floppy ears, to spend a fun weekend without the creature comforts of home.
Hontoon Island State Park is only fifteen minutes from the central shopping district in town. Here you will find the usual Walmart Supercenter, a Publix Supermarket, and many other stores. There are plenty of local stores in the downtown area to check out and plenty of local and chain restaurants for you and your family to sample when no one wants to cook.
Hontoon Island State Park started as a private parcel of land owned by William Hunton in the 1860s. Like the original owner, the state has left the park in its primitive condition. You never have to worry about vehicular traffic as the only access is by using the docks on the St. Johns River.
If you're talking about giving you and your dog a nice safe place to go hiking, the terrain out here is variable and there are plenty of trails for the two of you to explore. They will take you deep into the woods where you and your pup can search for the many local inhabitants such as Florida black bears, deer, gopher tortoises, gators, and many others. Keep in mind that this is their home and some of them are quite vigorous in their attempts to defend it. In addition, if you pack food in, be sure you pack the trash out.
Hontoon Island is one vast green space of wetlands, creeks, ponds, the Hontoon Dead River, and the St. Johns River running on the west and east sides of the island respectively. There are two ways you can reach the island. The first is the free ferry that runs from the mainland to the island. The other is by private boat. There are 40 slips that you can stay in for the day or spend the night. They offer shore water and power connections, handling boats up to 60 feet long.
The park is also free to enter and is supported by the island store where you can buy gifts, souvenirs, snacks, and drinks. You and your four-legged friend can spend the day out hiking the trails and enjoying the spectacular scenery. Camp in the campground for the night and wake to the sound of Mother Nature's wakeup call before taking on another hike or spending the day fishing.