🏖️This is a Florida beach? Check out this hidden gem in Flagler County

Washington Oaks Gardens State Park puts nature front and center

Being in the Sunshine State there are so many hidden gems, including state parks, unique attractions and, of course, beaches.

There is a place that puts nature front and center.

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Washington Oaks Gardens State Park in Palm Coast gives you the best of both worlds when it comes to nature with breathtaking beaches on the coast and colorful gardens inland.

“This is certainly not a shoreline you’d expect to see in Florida. All the waves crashing. Being able to climb the rocks to get down to the shore is a pretty fun experience,” said Stacy Greenhut, a park visitor.

Washington Oaks Gardens State Park is located in Flagler County and splits A1A with the coastal side of the park housing a unique beach.

“What’s really cool about the rocks is that they have little caves in there that fill up with water because the waves are hitting it and every time the wave hits, it breaks off a little bit of rock so that’s how the rocks change over time,” said Lily Shanks, who was visiting the park with her mom. “I think it’s really beautiful and the shells here are really pretty.”

Lily is referring to the coquina rock formations this park is known for. Coquina is limestone made up entirely of fossil debris like shell fragments. The stone, used to create forts in the 1800s, is also a natural barrier protecting the shoreline from erosion.

If you visit the beach, Lily says the coquina needs to stay put.

“When I was walking in, I saw a sign that says no taking coquina shells, and I had one so I just decided to put it back,” Lily said.

Heading across the road to the inland side you’ll find a number of trails perfect for hiking and biking. The gardens bloom with a variety of exotic plants and trees lined with ponds.

“I think this place is amazing because it has so much scenery and picture-worthy and video-worthy things like tadpoles in the water, squirrels and huge trees,” Lily shared.

The 21-acre park provides plenty of backdrops for photos and recreational activities.

The park is open from 8 a.m. to sundown. Admission is $5 per vehicle or $2 if you’re walking or biking through. Pets are allowed and there are public bathrooms and playgrounds on the property, so it’s great for families.

For more information, click here.

About the Author:

Crystal Moyer is a morning news anchor who joined the News 6 team in 2020.