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Flagler County/Palm Coast

Visit a laid-back strip of Atlantic Coast that beckons leisure seekers

Flagler County was named after 19th-century industrialist Henry Morrison Flagler, whose work on the Florida railroads was instrumental in helping this Atlantic coast region of the Sunshine State develop as a leading tourist destination. Sitting just 20 miles north of Daytona Beach, Flagler County is a side of Florida that you don’t always get to see, a peaceful seaside destination that nonetheless maintains the same family-friendly vibe more commonly associated with Orlando and other popular locations.

The Coolest Beach

Known for its relaxed pace of living and vibrant culture, Flagler Beach was a finalist in Budget Travel’s “Coolest Small Town” contest in 2013. It’s smaller than Daytona Beach, but it’s just as beautiful, and you won’t find hordes of spring breakers making noise here. In fact, Flagler Beach is a popular place to retire, which means the locals can still party, but most of them left their rowdy college days behind.

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The beach itself offers a great view of the Atlantic waters and is ideal for a morning stroll. The beachfront, meanwhile, provides some entertainment and dining options. At the Flagler Beachfront Winery, quality local wines, decadent desserts and savory snacks are the order of the day, while the local souvenir shops are stocked high with treasures.

One of the more popular attractions in the area is Marineland Dolphin Adventure, a pioneering educational facility where dolphins and other sea life can be studied up close. Once you venture a little further away from the beachfront, there is more natural beauty to explore at the Bulow Plantation Ruins, where tour guides are on hand to take you on a trip through Florida’s often turbulent past.

In addition, the surrounding county boasts a vast menu of parks, preserves and recreation areas. At the Betty Steflik Memorial Preserve, visitors can walk a boardwalk over coastal scrub and salt marsh. Take a canoe or kayak through the waterways to see plants, birds and animals in their habitat. At Haw Creek Preserve, tucked away in western Flagler County, visitors can roam a 1,005-acre area with cypress oak and hardwood swamp.

Food and Drink

The Oceanside Beach Bar and Grill is a big part of the history and landscape of this region. It’s undergone several changes over the years, including a huge renovation in 2010, but the fundamentals of great food and a great atmosphere have always remained. This is an ideal place for an evening drink or for an afternoon lunch, with American favorites, seafood dishes and Greek food on the menu.

At the Flagler Fish Company, it’s all about the bounty of the sea. The building may be on the small side, but the menu is far from it. Their fish and seafood dishes go from the sea to the plate, and the Flagler Fish Company is also one of the best places to grab a great bite to eat.

In Bunnell, Osteria Rustica is also small, but you will have to go a long way to find better Italian food. This upmarket restaurant is big on flavor and it’s not oblivious to its coastal location, with plenty of freshly caught seafood making an appearance alongside locally reared meats, freshly cooked pasta and vintage wines.

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Head inland to get a glimpse of Flagler County history. The Florida Agricultural Museum in Palm Coast shows how the early settlers tamed the land and transformed the region into a farming hub.

Relax and Unwind

If you would rather catch your own dinner, book a journey with Palm Coast Fishing. An experienced guide will take you on the water, giving you advice and tips, and sharing a few interesting stories along the way. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can paddle your own way around with Tropical Kayaks of Palm Coast.

With so much natural beauty and so many open spaces, it’s no surprise that Flagler County is a haven for golfers. There are several courses here, and which one you choose depends on your skill level, your budget and how many hours you want to spend in the Florida sunshine. The Hammock Dunes Club Creek Course is a private and testing course, but the Palm Harbor Golf Club is one of the most popular public courses in the area.

For More Information

Palm Coast and the Flagler Beaches

866-736-9291

www.visitflagler.com

 

Florida Department of Tourism

888-735-2872

www.visitflorida.com