Washington Oaks

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Will you be visiting the Palm Coast region in the future? If the answer is yes, you should not miss out on Washington Oaks. Washington Oaks is a state park in Palm Coast, officially named as the ”Washington Oaks Gardens State Park. Most visitors are attracted by the gardens, which are decorated with oak trees that feature Spanish moss. Many other species of trees can be found at the gardens, including, but not limited to, magnolias, palmetto, and hickory. Besides the gardens, many activities are also available, such as hiking along trails, fishing, bicycling, and there are even beaches to go to!

The original land on which Washington Oaks is located dates back to centuries ago, when Native Americans used it for mainly fishing and hunting. After a number of years of settlements by Europeans, a property was formed and one of the owners included George Washington, who was a relative of the first president of the United States with the same name, George Washington. In the year of 1936, the property was acquired by Louise Young and Owen Young, which was converted into a place of winter retirement for the couple, and a house was built there. After Mr. Young’s death, Mrs. Young decided to donate the majority of the land to the state of Florida, and the house was converted into a visitor’s center. One of the trees which gave name to the park, being the Washington Oaks live oak species, is beside the visitor’s center, and it is estimated to be 200 to 300 years old.

There are beaches both on the Atlantic Ocean side and on the Matanzas river side. However, one beach, known by locals as ”The Rocks”, is an attraction in itself. Depending on the weather and the tides, you will be able to see their geological formations and caves, in a type of rock called ”coquina”, which is worn over time by water. A major advantage is that this beach is not very known, so you are able to enjoy its pure and natural beauty rather undisturbed, providing for a quiet and peaceful spot to visit.

Other activities also include bird watching, in various places that include the beaches, the Matanzas river, and the gardens inside Washington Oaks. As for hiking, there are trails such as the Mala Compra, a hiking loop to explore the stretch between the coastal maritime hammock and a tidal marsh along the Matanzas river, the Timucuan hiking trail, and the Jungle Road hike. All of these trails are maintained thanks to the help from the Florida Trail Association volunteers. There are opportunities for pick-nicking as well, in the pavilion surrounded my majestic live oaks.

Admission to the park is as follows: $5 per vehicle with a limit of 2 to 8 persons, and exact change is required to deposit the fee in the honor box at the entrance. $4 for vehicles with a single person, and $2 for pedestrians, bicyclists, and passengers exceeding the 8-person limit. The pavilion has a $40 plus tax fee for reservations.

Another great place to visit in Palm Coast is European Village.

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