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Spotlight: Flagler County/Palm Coast

Get in touch with Florida’s “quiet side” in a laid-back beachside county

Known as the “quiet side of Florida,” Flagler County mixes small-town living with natural wonders. The 571-square-mile area is situated between historic St. Augustine and festive Daytona Beach, and the region is home to 44 nature parks, 10 golf courses and 19 miles of pristine Atlantic shoreline known as the Palm Coast.

Visitors will be drawn to Marineland, a pioneering educational facility where Dolphins and other sealife can be studied up close, or discover nature in a more elemental form at one of the county’s state parks and preserves.

A great place to start is at the city of Flagler Beach. Cozy cafes, waterfront restaurants and a stunning stretch of beachfront are what this vintage ocean-side community is all about. Plus, when you’re ready for a change of pace or a day trip abroad, the likes of Daytona Beach, St. Augustine, Orlando and Jacksonville are all within easy reach. In short, there’s a reason why Flagler Beach was once named the coolest small town in America—it offers all of the wonderful perks of small-town bliss with none of the sacrifice of small-town remoteness.

Getty Images/iStockphoto

Getty Images/iStockphoto

The first thing you’ll notice when arriving here are the 19 miles of spacious shoreline. Thousands of years of crushed Coquina shells have given the soft, powdery sand a vibrant cinnamon-colored hue. Kayaking and stand up paddle boarding are among the most popular recreational activities, but generally kicking back beachside is just as highly recommended. If you’re visiting in April, however, you’ll have a hard time taking your eyes off one of the most mesmerizing natural sights in the world: Turtle nesting season, wherein thousands of baby turtles hatch from their eggs, emerge bleary-eyed from the sand and make their trek to the sea.

Outside of the Flagler Beach, the surrounding county boasts a full menu of parks, preserves and recreation areas. At the Betty Steflik 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.

Where the Waves Are

Two of the best places to catch some surf, check out sea turtles or go for a seaside stroll are Gamble Rogers Memorial State Recreation Area and Washington Oaks Garden State Park (located about 10 miles to the north of town). The former is perched atop a sand dune sporting spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean, as well as a boat launch, nature trail and beachfront boardwalk. At Washington Oaks, visitors can stroll through intricately designed floral gardens that are full of exotic plants and are frequented by a stunning range of bird species. The park also features picnic areas, hiking trails and great places to fish.

For More Information

City of Flagler Beach
386-517-2000
www.cityofflaglerbeach.com
Palm Coast and the Flagler Beaches
866-736-9291
www.palmcoastandtheflaglerbeaches.com