Florida Travel~Washington Oaks Gardens State Park

19 Jun

A Time to LIve

Melody Hendrix

 

Washington Oaks Gardens State Park is a Florida State Park located near Palm Coast, Florida, along A1A just a short distance north of Ponce Inlet .

 

 

 http://www.washingtonoaks.org/

Washington Oaks Gardens State Park

6400 N. Oceanshore Blvd.

Palm Coast, Florida 32137

(386) 446-6780

 

The park is most famous for its formal gardens.

 

It also preserves the original habitat of a northeast Florida barrier island.

 

The park has such amenities as beaches (on both the Matanzas River and Atlantic Ocean), bicycling, fishing, hiking, picnicking areas and wildlife viewing. The original residence has been converted into a visitor center with interpretive exhibits.

The Park’s eastern boundary holds  outcroppings of coquina rock , creating a picturesque boulder-strewn beach. It is full of swirling, sculptured coquina rocks piled along the beach, some sporting circular holes, others forming bowls that create tide pools for snails and anemones.

This unusual beach in Florida is a well-kept secret, hoarded by the locals who refer to it as “The Rocks”.

 

 

One quick stop just before Matanzas is Marineland. Hurricanes Floyd and Irene in 1999 forced the park to close for two months. In 2003, all of the park buildings west of Highway A1A were demolished leaving only the original structures along the Atlantic Ocean. In 2004, the park closed completely for renovations, and reopened on March 4, 2006. In January 2011, Marineland was sold again and is currently being operated as a subsidiary of Georgia Aquarium. The facility, now named Marineland Dolphin Adventure, offers several dolphins encounters, educational programs, and conducts research to help care for marine life in human care and in the wild.

The park has a nice boardwalk and restrooms. The beach is also strewn with outcroppings that appear at low tide.

 

 

A little farther north on A1A is Matanzas Inlet. 

It is a channel in Florida between barrier islands connecting the Atlantic Ocean and the south end of the Matanzas River. The inlet is not stabilized by jetties, and thus is subject to shifting.

 

The above picture shows the inlet at low tide and across it is the Matanzas Monument location. It was designated a United States National Monument on October 15, 1924.

Below is a link to the forts history

https://www.nps.gov/foma/learn/historyculture/the_massacre.htm

Hurricane Matthew caused damage. Below, shows (Sept. 6, 2014) and after (Oct. 13, 2016)  the damage hurricane Matthew did to this area. The storm cut a new inlet between the Atlantic Ocean and the Matanzas River near St. Augustine, Florida, stripping away a 12-foot dune and carrying sand into the estuary and altered a part of the northeast Florida coastline.

 

Matanzas Inlet is still a beautiful place. One of the treasures that draws me to this place is the sand. With the changing of tides and blending of the swift moving bodies of water, the patterns in the sand are truly master pieces that are sculpted everyday. Tide pools trap interesting creatures to explore. Lots of birds dine on the abundant food available. This area is loved by fishermen.

 

The rocks that add to the unusual look for a Florida beah appear and disappear with the tide.

 

You must be aware of the tides on the south side of the inlet. You can be trapped by incoming tides and forced to exit through private property.

 

There is beauty in all sides of the bridge. The inlet side, and the beach side. There is also a long boardwalk and parking on both sides.

If you love beach walks, photography, birding,  beaching, hiking or just exploring, this would be an enjoyable little trip.

Please join me next week on our last northern stop along A1A to St Augustine before we head west to the Suwannee River and some visit some springs.

 

 

 

 

 

I am retired and enjoying life. My hobbies are my 5 grandchildren, son and daughter, and my loving husband. I am a photographer and extreme nature lover. I love spending time in my garden or in the wilderness connected to God my Creator.
Melody

One Response to “Florida Travel~Washington Oaks Gardens State Park”

  1. LOUISE GIBSON June 19, 2017 at 8:36 am #

    So beautifully illustrated and interesting, Melody.

    Like

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