Let’s face it: St. Augustine is amazing, but it’s so much fun to hop in the car and explore a new locale. Luckily, the county below us has some really great family-friendly day trip options that are fun and budget-friendly too! This county is home to forty-five different parks and over 125 miles of canopied trails just waiting to be explored. Read on to discover all that’s waiting for you thirty minutes down the road in Flagler County.
Beachside & Beyond
This sleepy seaside town may be small, but it’s big on charm! There’s plenty of parking available for your next beach day, and the restaurants are top notch! If you get there in the morning, I highly recommend coffee and donuts from Swillerbees. Check out the fishing pier and the Flagler Beach Historical Museum.
I remember going on a field trip to Marineland as a little girl, and I love going back now! Marineland Dolphin Adventure originally opened up in 1938 as Marine Studios, where Hollywood filmmakers could get underwater footage for their films. The facility now focuses on the preservation and protection of marine life. Come face to face with dolphins with their 1.3 million gallons series of dolphin habitats, not to mention Neptune Park, where you’ll fine sea turtles and sand tiger sharks. You can even have a once-in-a-lifetime dolphin encounter at Marineland!
Washington Oaks Gardens State Park
Hidden off of scenic A1A is a beautiful state park called Washington Oaks. Its crown jewels are the formal gardens, filled with a variety of native and exotic plants, along with beautiful reflection ponds. This is the perfect setting for a picnic or a family photography session! The park also includes a number of short trails and a visitor’s center. Across A1A, you can walk down to the beach and explore some amazing coquina rock formations and tidal pools.
The Flagler Beach Farmer’s Market has been around since 1979! It takes place every Friday, from 9am to 1pm, only a block away from the beach on Moody Boulevard. It’s packed full of vendors with a variety of wares, such as fresh produce, plants, honey, baked goods, and handmade treasures. Further north on A1A, you can visit the Salt Air Farmer’s Market on Sundays from 10am to 2pm. This market makes it’s home within Marineland, and features homegrown produce, gourmet food, as well as artisan crafts.
This eight-acre park located within a maritime oak hammock is worthy of its own full day trip! Bing’s Landing houses a playground, fishing pier, boat launch, and even an archaeological dig from the historic Mala Compra plantation. While you’re there, make sure to grab a bite to eat at Captain’s BBQ, located within the park.
Bulow Plantation Ruins
Over 150 acres in southern Flagler County are home to the historic Bulow Plantation Ruins State Park. Check out the scenic walking trail throughout the park to see crumbling ruins of the former sugar mill, destroyed in 1836 during the Second Seminole War. This park also features picnic facilities and a boat ramp.
Moody Homestead Park
Nestled amidst beautiful 400-year-old live oak trees, this little park is the perfect spot for a family picnic. The Moody Homestead Park was originally the homestead of brothers Robert and I.I. Moody, who built their homes there in 1916. I.I. Moody is considered the founder of Flagler County.
Flagler County Airport
Okay, I know an airport isn’t necessarily an “attraction” in a town, but it just so happens that there’s a restaurant called Highjackers that is right off of the Flagler County Airport. It has a playground out back that gives kids a perfect view of airplanes and helicopters taking off and landing. I couldn’t tear my three-year-old away!
Historic Old Brick Road
Old Dixie Highway was a massive undertaking to create a network of paved roads from Chicago to South Florida. While most of the highway is long gone, you can still find a driveable, 10-mile stretch of old brick road in Flagler County. This section of the road was completed in 1916 with bricks from Birmingham, Alabama. It begins in little Espanola, then continues north to County Road 204. Four-wheel drive is not required, but do keep in mind it’s a rough road and take care driving it.
City of Palm Coast
Palm Coast Town Center
Central Park in the Palm Coast Town Center is the venue for so many events in Palm Coast! My family loves to check out Food Truck Tuesdays, the perfect dinner by the lake with delicious specialty food trucks from around the area. Here, you can also find 4th of July fireworks, music events, and much, much more.
Modeled after open-air markets of Europe, the European Village of Palm Coast is an adorable one-stop shop of restaurants, boutiques, lounges, and entertainment. My family is partial to Fifth Element for Indian food, but you really can’t go wrong with any of the food choices here! Stop by on Sundays for the Gourmet Farmer’s and Artisan Market.
Princess Place Preserve
In the northern portion of Palm Coast, you can find 1500 acres of natural Florida beauty at Princess Place Preserve. This preserve was originally named Cherokee Grove, until its owner married into Russian royalty and became a real princess! Here, you can camp, kayak, canoe, fish, hike, ride horses, and so much more. It also hosts an annual Native American festival in the spring.
Florida Agricultural Museum
Founded in 1983, the Florida Agricultural Museum seeks to educate the public about Florida’s past in agriculture through hands-on living history and demonstrations. Several historic buildings from across the state have been relocated to this museum for you to explore. My sons love to see the variety of farm animals here, from heritage cracker cattle, to horses and sheep! Be sure to keep an eye out for events hosted by the Ag Museum–they’re a hit with my kids.
Parks of Palm Coast
Palm Coast has stepped up their game with recent renovations of their parks, including the James F. Holland Memorial Park and the Palm Coast Community Center Park. Holland Park is styled after historic sugar mill ruins, with plenty of room for kids to run and explore. It even has a zip line! I tend to prefer the Community Center Park for my younger kiddos, which has a massive climbing structure in the center, and many smaller play structures and spinning equipment that kids love!