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Washington Oaks Gardens State Park: A Hidden Treasure

Washington Oaks Gardens State Park, once a plantation dating back to the early 1800’s named by a former owner who was a distant relative of George Washington, is the perfect place to take a serene Saturday stroll … actually, it’s a great place to visit ANY day of the week. 

Extending from the Atlantic Ocean to the Matanzas River just south of Marineland, Washington Oaks Gardens State Park preserves 425 acres of Florida’s original coastal scenery.

Although the formal gardens are the centerpiece of this park, Washington Oaks is also famous for the shoreline of coquina rock formations that line its beach on the Atlantic Ocean.

Scenic, self-guiding trails lead park visitors along the marsh and through a maritime hammock. Picnicking and fishing are popular activities. A picnic area is located in a shady hammock south of the gardens. Fishing areas are provided along the park’s seawall and west of the picnic area along the Matanzas River.

Sunbathing, beachcombing, and bird watching are activities enjoyed by many park visitors. It’s important to note that there are no formal swimming areas due to the coquina rock formations along the beach.

A portion of the hammock contains a formal garden where many species of exotic plants from around the world are displayed along footpaths and around reflecting ponds.

The gardens are well known for their azaleas, camellias and roses. It’s an incredible experience for your senses, so make sure you stop and smell the roses (every color).

If interested, you may join a Ranger the First Friday of every month for a garden walk. You will learn about the history of Washington Oaks while exploring the formal gardens. The walk is approximately one hour. No registration required. The walk is included with park entry fee. NOTE: Participants meet in the Garden parking lot.

Washington Oaks Garden State Park, Oceanside

The ocean side gives visitors the opportunity to hike extensive coquina rock formations stretching along the Atlantic shoreline.

Bring a picnic lunch and enjoy the river, rocky shore, or the quiet gardens.

Washington Oaks Garden State Park, Gift Shop

The Gift Shop is open Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and holidays from 11am-3pm. When volunteer manpower permits, the shop may be open more days so it’s a good idea to give them a call to find out if they are open: (386) 246-5000.

If they are open, we recommend that you start off at the gift shop since it also acts as a Visitors Center.

Park Guidelines:

  • Hours are 8 a.m. until sunset, 365 days a year.
  • An entrance fee is required. Additional user fees may apply.
  • All plants, animals and park property are protected. Collection, destruction or disturbance is prohibited.
  • Pets are permitted in designated areas only. Pets must be kept on a leash no longer than 6 feet and well behaved at all times.
  • Fishing, boating, swimming and fires are allowed in designated areas only. A Florida fishing license may be required.
  • Fireworks and hunting are prohibited in all Florida state parks.
  • Become a volunteer. Inquire at the ranger station.

For information about joining the Friends of Washington Oaks, call (386) 446-6783 or visit www.washingtonoaks.org/

Florida’s state parks are committed to providing equal access to all facilities and programs. Should you need assistance to enable your participation, please contact the ranger station.

Washington Oaks Gardens State Park 
6400 North Oceanshore Blvd. 
Palm Coast, Florida 32137 


AuthenticFlorida, posted on SouthFloridaReporter.com, Nov. 27, 2019