The beautiful farmland of Hastings is full of outdoor adventures. Hastings is known as the potato capital of Florida, and is the agricultural center of St. Johns County. There are many crops grown in the southwest corner of our county including potatoes, cabbage, corn, onions, squash, broccoli, and cucumbers. The town was developed in the late 1880’s by Henry Flagler’s cousin, Thomas Horace Hastings, to supply fresh vegetables to the Ponce de Leon Hotel (what is now Flagler College).

This town is becoming a destination for agricultural tourism. Drive to Hastings and enjoy the playgrounds, farms, open fields, horses, and grazing cattle.

Al Wilke Park & Community Center

6140 Main St., Hastings, FL 32145

This park has a community center, a multipurpose field, a baseball field, tennis courts, a gymnasium, a basketball court, a weight room, swings, a picnic pavilion, and a brand new covered playground. This playground is fun for all ages, and includes a mommy and me swing, a tandem swing, a shade canopy, and climbing bars. The public library is just across the road where air conditioning and storytime can provide a perfect complement to this beautiful park.

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St. Johns County Equestrian Center Playground

8200 Smith Rd, Hastings, FL 32145

This is a 20-acre equestrian facility with 24 concrete block stalls, riding arenas, and a Community Center. A playground and picnic shelter are available to enjoy while watching horse activities or for an afternoon out. If you have a little one who loves horses, this may be the perfect picnic spot. The play structure is designed for children 5-12 years old and includes rotating chairs and climbing bars.

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Hastings Community Park

603 N Main Street, Hastings, FL 32145

This park has a paved path, a soccer field, a picnic pavilion, a playground, exercise stations, and a basketball court. There is a small paved walking trail around the perimeter of the park for walking with a stroller, skating, or a beginning bike rider.

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Railroad Park

101 Park Avenue, Hastings, FL 32145

This small playground has a covered picnic area and a gazebo. The park celebrates the importance of the Florida East Coast Railway to the community during its heyday. This park is a great stop if you are taking your children on the multi-use path at the Cora C. Harrison Preserve Trailhead because it is just off the trail near the potato growers association building. You can also grab some delicious food at one of the restaurants along Main Street.

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W.E. Harris Community Center and Park

400 East Harris Street, Hastings, FL, 32145

This community center, located in what was once Hastings Elementary School, has a playground, a gymnasium, meeting rooms, outdoor basketball courts, a computer lab, a library, and a weight room.

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Flagler Estates Park

9960 Oliver Road, Hastings, FL 32145

This park has a basketball court, a multipurpose field, a covered picnic pavilion, and a playground. The swings are for younger children and the climbing structure is designated for children 5-12. This is a community park in Flagler Estates, a community shared between St. Johns County and Flagler County. While you may not travel out of the way to visit this park, it is a lovely place for residents and visitors.

Cora C. Harrison Preserve Trailhead

9001 State Rd 207, Hastings, FL 32145

This trailhead to the Palatka to St. Augustine State Trail has restrooms, a water fountain, and a picnic pavilion. This trail is 12 feet wide with beautiful views of fields, wetlands, and forests. If you follow the trail to the west it runs alongside SR 207 and is less scenic than the Eastern portion. If you travel to the right, East of the trailhead, you have a perfect length of trail for young bikers to ride round trip and can avoid riding along the busy road or crossing State Road 207.

Hastings Community Park

603 N Main Street, Hastings, FL 32145

This park has a small paved path surrounding the basketball court, playground, and pavilion. This is a pretty place to walk with your children or let little ones practice biking or skating.

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Al Wilke Park & Community Center

6140 Main St., Hastings, FL 32145

This is a great court for a pick-up game. There is a small bench for spectators. The playground is nearby, making the court an alternative space for older kids while younger siblings play.

Hastings Community Park

603 N Main Street, Hastings, FL 32145

This court is great for practicing layups or playing H-O-R-S-E. There is only one Backboard and hoop. The park includes a short path and exercise features, so reward yourself with a few hoops during an outdoor workout.

W.E. Harris Community Center and Park

400 East Harris Street, Hastings, FL, 32145

The covered picnic area is directly beside the court, providing a shaded place for resting after an intense game, or a shaded spot for spectators. When the community center is open you can park in the fenced parking lot. The new indoor basketball gym is currently open for children 13-16 years old, Monday through Thursday 6 – 8 pm. The weight lifting room is open Monday to Thursday 5 – 7:30 pm.

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Flagler Estates Park

9960 Oliver Road, Hastings, FL 32145

This basketball court has a covered pavilion for resting and spectators. It is shaded by large trees and has a bench for resting.

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Al Wilke Park & Community Center

6140 Main St., Hastings, FL 32145

There are two unlighted tennis courts at this park. The court is smooth and in good condition.

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Al Wilke Park & Community Center

6140 Main St., Hastings, FL 32145

This park has a huge field perfect for soccer, baseball, kickball, football, flying a kite, or playing a game of tag.

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Hastings Community Park

603 N Main Street, Hastings, FL 32145

This is a small field with two upright metal goals. This is an excellent spot for an outdoor workout or to kick around a soccer ball with your kids. 

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Flagler Estates Park

9960 Oliver Road, Hastings, FL 32145

This is a medium-sized field with soccer goals. This field is ideal for soccer, kickball, football, flying a kite, or an outdoor workout.

Al Wilke Park & Community Center

6140 Main St., Hastings, FL 32145

This a nice baseball field with covered dugouts and uncovered spectator benches. There is a backstop near the multi-purpose field for additional play opportunities.

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Al Wilke Park & Community Center

6140 Main St., Hastings, FL 32145

This community center is open after school for teenagers (13-17), Monday through Friday, 3 pm – 6 pm. A staffed employee is at the center to watch over the kids while they socialize and do their homework. This is an incredible resource for our local teens.

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St. Johns County Equestrian Center Playground

8200 Smith Rd, Hastings, FL 32145

This Community Center is located at the St. Johns County Equestrian Center. The Center itself is aesthetically pleasing with a large parking area, ample space inside, and a wrap-around porch. The facility is available to rent for birthday parties, family reunions and meetings through St. Johns County Parks and Recreation. There isn’t a more lovely Community center in our county to gather with loved ones.

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W.E. Harris Community Center and Park

400 East Harris Street, Hastings, FL, 32145

The community center, in what was once Hastings Elementary School, has a newly renovated gymnasium, meeting rooms, a computer lab, library, and a weight room. The basketball gym is currently open for children 13-16 years old, Monday through Thursday 6 – 8 pm. The community center is open during the week from 7 pm – 8 pm. The weight lifting room is open Monday to Thursday 5 pm – 7:30 pm.  Table tennis is Monday and Wednesday at 5 pm. Many special events happen at the center including the Hastings Christmas Parade.

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Deep Creek Primitive Boat Ramp

7975 State Rd 207, Hastings, FL 32145

This is a primitive boat ramp good for kayaking and canoeing. The access point is at the intersection of 207 and deep creek on the west side of the road.

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Masters Tract Stormwater Treatment Facility

7756 Hub Bailey Rd, Hastings, FL 32145

This is an ideal spot for watching flocks of wetland birds. St. Johns County Audubon wants to encourage children to learn about birds and learn to love nature. They are offering free birding software for all students under the age of 18 to help them learn about our feathered friends. While I don’t have a camera advanced enough to capture stunning images of the birds we saw here, I can attest to the numerous avians viewable in this area.

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Deep Creek Conservation Area West

1101 George Miller rd, Hastings, FL 32145

This is a small dirt parking lot with access to a large man-made wetland. This is an excellent location for wildlife viewing. Deep Creek Conservation Area South is located at 9550 Cowpen Branch Road, Hastings, FL 32145, near this location. This trail does not have a public parking area.

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Ravine Gardens State Park

1600 Twigg St, Palatka, FL 32177, FL 32145

This spectacular 57 acre state park built in 1933, includes a playground, two suspension bridges, beautiful gardens, walking trails, hiking trails, a spring-fed creek, wildlife viewing, a 1.8 mile paved pedestrian road, and from January to March an amazing Azalea bloom throughout the park. There is an entrance fee of $5 per car and the park is open from 8 am until sundown. Palatka is located 10 miles SW of Hastings.

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Puc Puggy Landing Playground, Palatka Riverfront Park and Bartram Trail

100 Memorial Pkwy, Palatka, FL 32177

This beautiful park, 10 miles SW of Hastings, is along the St. Johns River. The playground includes a zipline, swings, climbing structures, and a slide. This park is a trailhead for the Bartram Trail. Puc Puggy (the name of this park) was the facetious name given to naturalist William Bartram by Seminole Indians, meaning “Flower Hunter.” Adjacent to the waterfront park is the St. John’s River Center, open 10 am – 4 pm Tuesday through Friday. This educational center focuses on the importance of the wetlands ecosystem and is a “must-see” for children. You can spend the afternoon in the park and then eat lunch in historic Palatka. Don’t miss the photo opportunities offered by the amazing murals throughout downtown.

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County Line Produce

848 State Rd 207, Hastings, FL 32145

Bring home some vegetables from Hastings to round out a wonderful day in the country. As the name implies, this Produce Stand is located on the line between St. Johns County and Putnam County. The stand is run by farmers who harvest from the fields and bring it directly to the stand to sell. The prices are great and you can’t get to produce fresher or more local. This market has been in business since 1965 and is open from November to June. Check out their Facebook page for up to date information about the available produce.

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LEAH NOEL

Senior Writer

Leah was born in the Wild West of California and raised in the beautiful bluegrass of Kentucky. She fell in love with the magic of St Augustine and moved here as a newlywed. She lives with four untamable children, a menagerie of animals and a loving husband. Leah spends most of her time trying to wrangle small beasts as they explore the world, tell her they don’t want what’s for dinner and complain about wearing shoes. Her favorite things are seeing the spark of discovery in little eyes and being creative. Leah loves to help and has a tender heart. She rarely meets someone she doesn’t like. Don’t be afraid to say hello if you see her out and about.