Florida Guide > State Parks
WASHINGTON OAKS GARDEN STATE PARK
If you are a keen gardener, or even if you just like looking at lovely gardens, put this park on your must see list. It is situated in Palm Coast, 2 miles south of Marineland(off the A 1 A)
Twixt the Matanzas River and the Atlantic Ocean. the land was once owned by a relative of George Washington (the former president) A couple called Owen and Louise Young bought the land in the nineteen thirties in order that they could winter in warmer climes. It was this pair that we have to thank for the glorious gardens and later (in the sixties)they most generously donated it to the State.
The gardens are famous for the azaleas, birds of paradise and camellias which flourish within the protection of the oak hammock. There is also a rose garden with many different species.
If you have a bike, do bring it as there are many cycling opportunities within the 425 acres.
Anglers are also well catered for as you may fish from the sea wall or go surf fishing on the beach. Notable for whiting, red fish, flounder, blue fish and trout you will have a satisfying haul. You will need a licence (available from sports shops and the larger Walmarts that have a sports dep)
Of course you would expect there to be nature trails; and there are. Mala Compra loop is around half a mile longand straddles the estuarine tdal marsh and the coastal maritime hammock. The Bella Vista trails encompass maritime hammock and dense coastal shrub. The old AIA hike, the timucun Hiking Trail and the Jungle Hike are the options; which one to choose, leave time for all of them!
If you have children with you they are sure to enjoy the playground which is by the banks of the Matanzas River. In this area is also a great picnic spot with good shade from the oak treees. There are Barbecues here also.
The beach is home to the loggerhead turtle who enjoys the protection of the dunes. You may also spot a manatee in the river. Many songbirds inhabit this area and thrillingly during the autumn and winter you can see birds of prey.
There is a very unusul outcrop in the sea. thousands of years ago(during the ice age)the sea level was 25 feet higher than it is now. When the level dropped, the sandbar was exposed to the weather and eventually bound the bar into a coquina rock. This is very beautiful and will only have been seen as it is now in the last 5000 years
Full address is 6400 Oceanside Bvd. Palm Coast Florida 32173 tel 386 446 6781 and opening is 365 days of the year 8am til dusk.
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