Jason & Lisa McEwen

Touring Kingsley Plantation

Jason & Lisa McEwen
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Duration:   3  mins

While staying at a campground near Jacksonville, RV Lifestyle and Repair Contributors Jason and Lisa McEwen took their family to Kingsley Plantation. It’s always good to have a few activities planned, especially when you RV with kids.

To get to their destination, they crossed the St. Johns River on a five-minute ferry ride. It was the first time the girls were on a ferry, and they were very intrigued by the idea of putting our car and ourselves on a boat. They pull into the dock, drive off the ferry, and head down a long, winding dirt road to get to Kingsley Plantation, which is a National Park. They have pamphlets ready for you so that you can take a self-guided tour.

Kingsley Plantation History and Scenery

The plantation house, owned by Zephaniah Kingsley, dates back to 1798 and is the oldest plantation home in the state of Florida. The home sits right on the river. Back then, homes were strategically built on the water, which made it easier to move and sell crops and bring in supplies. The home sits on a beautiful piece of land, with palm trees scattered across the backyard and tidal waters just beyond them.

Touring the Buildings and Grounds

You can explore certain rooms in the plantation home, including this kitchen, where an open fire served as a stove. Near the home is the barn, where the original walls, made of oyster shell concrete, also known as tabby, still stand. Inside, you can learn about old farming tools and day-to-day life.

A ¼ acre garden sits near the home, too, as a small representation of the crops grown. Back in the 1800s, Sea Island Cotton was the biggest crop; sugar cane and vegetables like corn, beans, and potatoes were grown here too. When the Kingsleys lived here, crops were spread across the entire 1,000-acre island.

Sitting at the plantation’s borders is a semi-circle of homes where 60-70 slaves stayed and worked the plantation. Each of the one-room buildings was made by hand from tabby, formed by mixing cooking oyster shells, which were plentiful in the nearby river, water, and sand to form concrete. You’ll also find a ranger station on site with a small store inside.

If you’re visiting Northern Florida and enjoy history, this is a great spot to tour. Want to learn about more hidden gems to visit with your RV? Join the RV Lifestyle and Repair family to unlock hundreds of helpful videos.

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