The upper (southern) part of the St. Johns, especially below Hontoon Island, has an unspoiled beauty, partly because much of the undeveloped land on either side is owned by county, state, or federal agencies that plan to keep it that way forever. Not only do these peaceful, uninhabited stretches evoke what Florida must have looked like before European explorers began arriving in the sixteenth century, they also reveal why Florida’s image in the nineteenth century was one of idyllic beauty.

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