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Parks & Preserves

Check Out These Local Nature Spots

Washington Oaks Gardens State Park

Washington Oaks Gardens State Park is famous for it’s beautiful formal gardens of both native and exotic plants from around the world, but it also is well-known and well-loved for its remarkable coquina rock beach, a rare sight in the state of Florida! The park straddles Highway A1A and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean on one side and the Matanzas River on the other. Visitors can enjoy hiking, biking, swimming, picnicking and fishing and can learn about the park’s natural and cultural history at the visitors’ center.

The Town of Marineland Marina

The Town of Marineland Marina is surrounded by the 40,000 plus acres of the Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve (GTM-NERR), one of a network of protected coastal areas in the United States in a partnership with NOAA. The biologically rich and diverse estuarine system stretches from Marineland in Flagler County, FL to Ponte Vedra Beach in St. Johns County, FL. Visitors can explore salt marsh and mangrove wetlands by boat, kayak or canoe, or enjoy a hike through upland habitats which include pine flatwoods, maritime forest and coastal strands. The estuary is a nursery ground and home to many biologically and commercially important species.

A short walk across A1A from Ripple Effect Ecotours, The Town of Marineland maintains a pristine beach that is the northern terminus for the River to Sea hiking and bike trail. There is off road parking, showers and restrooms.

River to Sea Preserve

The River to Sea Preserve is located on both sides of Highway A1A at Marineland. It is owned jointly by Flagler County and the Town of Marineland. The Preserve begins at the beach at the Atlantic Ocean and reaches west to the Matanzas River (Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway). The River to Sea Preserve protects a rapidly disappearing maritime scrub environment. Still under development and restoration, the 90-acre preserve offers walking trails, nature vistas, and ecological education opportunities as well as public access to the beach.

The beachside boardwalk offers a majestic view of the beach and ocean. The canoe and kayak launch provides access to the Intracoastal Waterway and the Matanzas River. Visitors can wander though oak scrub and hardwood hammock on the west side of A1A and enjoy a picnic lunch at the pavilion or at an overlook on the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway where bird and plant life abound.

Faver-Dykes State Park

This quiet park located on Florida’s northeast coast offers picnicking, fishing, hiking, canoeing and camping. The park borders on the pristine Pellicer Creek that winds along the coast before entering the Matanzas River. Wildlife is abundant…bald eagles, osprey, hawks, river otters, bobcats, wading birds and many migratory bird species.

Princess Place Preserve

Princess Place is a Flagler County park nestled in the saltmarshes of Pellicer Creek and the Matanzas River. The park offers an enormous amount of outdoor activities including camping, equestrian camping, hiking, biking, fishing, canoeing or kayaking and wildlife viewing. There are interpretive exhibits of the area’s history, and facilities are available for rent for weddings or other gatherings.

Deep Creek Conservation Area

The Deep Creek Conservation Area is a wetland preserve in northeast Florida situated along the banks of Deep Creek and the St. Johns River. It is jointly owned by the state of Florida and the St. Johns River Water Management District. The area consists of pine flatwoods and floodplain swamp. The preserve offers miles of trails for biking, hiking and horseback riding. There is no boat ramp within the conservation area, but nearby put-ins allow kayakers and canoeists to explore the creek.

Anastasia State Park

Located on the barrier island, Anastasia Island, east of St. Augustine, FL, Anastasia State Park features four miles of beautiful beaches plus tidal salt marsh, maritime forest and upland hammock and an archeological site where coquina rock was mined to build the Castillo de San Marcos fort in St. Augustine. Visitors can enjoy camping, hiking, picnicking and all kinds of water activities including fishing, windsurfing and canoeing.

Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve

This 46,000 acre preserve located in Jacksonville, FL was established in 1988 in a partnership between the National Park Service, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the City of Jacksonville. It consists of federal, state and privately held lands including the Kingsley Plantation, the Fort Caroline National Monument and a number of state parks.

The preserve protects critical wetland habitats along Florida’s northeast coast and important archeological sites. The nearby Atlantic Ocean is a calving area for the highly endangered Atlantic Right Whale.