Wednesday February 29, 2012 @ 10:01 am
Temperatures continue to rise as spring approaches in the Nation’s Oldest City. There is so much to experience in St. Augustine from the origins of our nation’s history to the warm sands of our endless beaches. Whether you’re interested in bringing the whole family to town or searching for a romantic getaway, St. Augustine has it all.
This week we encourage you to get outside and enjoy this weather at one of the beautiful state parks in our area! Park amenities typically include picnic areas, hiking trails, fishing areas, boat ramps, playgrounds and acres upon acres of beautiful Floridian nature ready for you to explore. We’ve put together a list of 10 state parks within a short drive from St. Augustine.
Within a 10 – 30 minute drive:
- Fort Mose Historic State Park (St. Augustine, FL): Located a few blocks north of the city limits, Fort Mose is not only a beautiful slice of land along the marshes of the intracoastal waterway, it's also home to one of the first legally sanctioned, free African-American settlement. On the last Sunday of each month, the park hosts a living history day where costumed re-enactors depict what life was like in the area hundreds of years ago. A visitors center and museum are located on the grounds as well as a dock that's perfect for a kayak launch!
- Anastasia State Park (St. Augustine Beach, FL): Just behind the St. Augustine Lighthouse lies one of the area's most beautiful, untouched beaches inside Anastasia State Park. Ranger-led bike rides along the beach and kayaking excursions in Salt Run are favorite activities within this beautiful state park. Mossy trees shelter a cozy campground just off the shore for those looking to stay overnight. During walks on the beach at certain times of year you can find starfish, shells, crabs and other creatures in the tidal waters and sand along the coast.
- Faver-Dykes State Park (St. Augustine, FL): South of St. Augustine on US1, Faver-Dykes is a piece of Florida's nature long forgotten. Enormous oaks, winding creeks and grassy marshes make this park a favorite for tent camping, fishing, kayaking and picnics. Pellicer Creek is one of the most pristine waterways in the state and an ideal spot for nature watching. Over a hundred different species of birds have been spotted in the park, many of which are seasonal visitors to the area during migration. Bring your binoculars, kayak and fishing pole for a great day at Faver-Dykes.
- Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve [North] (Ponte Vedra Beach, FL): North of Vilano Beach on A1A just before you get to Ponte Vedra Beach is a group of protected conservation areas nestled in the shrubs and marshes between the Atlantic and the Intracoastal. The GTM Reserve covers over 73,000 acres of land in two sections (the southern portion of which includes Faver-Dykes, Pellicer Creek and some other areas at the south end of St. Johns County). The northern portion consists of the Guana River Marsh Aquatic Preserve, Guana River Wildlife Management Area and Stokes Landing Conservation Area. Perfect for kayaking and bird watching, the GTM Research Reserve is home to 44 mammal, 358 bird, 41 reptile, 21 amphibian, 303 fish and 580 plant species.
- Washintgon Oaks Gardens State Park (Palm Coast, FL): Head down A1A from Crescent Beach and just beyond Marineland in Flagler County you'll come across a hidden treasure known as Washington Oaks. Gorgeous gardens of azaleas, camellias and roses as well as a number of exotic plants create the center piece of this beautiful park. Take a leisurely stroll along the trails past reflecting ponds and beneath moss covered oaks or take a lengthier hike into the woods to see more of the natural plants. You can also pop over to the beach side of the park for fishing off the sea wall or in the surf.
Within a 45 – 60 minute drive:
- Gamble Rogers Memorial State Recreation Area (Flagler Beach, FL)
- Bulow Plantation Ruins State Park (Palm Coast, FL)
- Bulow Creek State Park (Palm Coast, FL)
- North Peninsula State Park (Flagler Beach, FL)
- Ravine Gardens State Park (Palatka, FL)