Hidden Gem – Washington Oaks Gardens State Park

Florida is known for its beautiful sandy beaches filled with tourists. However, if you want to visit somewhere off the beaten track, then Washington Oaks Gardens State Park is must for you!  It has a little bit of something for everyone, beautiful gardens, picnic area, bike trails, quirky coquina rock formations on the beach, and did I mention plenty of wildlife viewing.  It’s only a short drive from St. Augustine, located in Palm Coast, Florida. It is also SUPER bargain at only $5.00 a car load.

Can you imagine this being your winter retreat? Entering through this gate to your winter home complete with exotic botanical gardens and a paradise you have created?  Mr. Owen Young bought this property back in 1936 for his wife, Louise.  Louise being an avid gardener used lots of native Florida plants, but also introduced some exotic Asian type plants into her garden. The Owens spent equal time in both Florida and Asia.  Years later after purchasing the first property, they purchased the beach property across the road from their homestead. After touring the gardens and park, be sure cross the road and see the beach property.

When Mr. Young died in 1965, Mrs. Young donated the property to the State of Florida and her only stipulation was they keep the property as is, preserving its natural beauty. The state has done an excellent job of maintaining Mrs. Young’s wish and even added a spectacular rose garden for all the tourists to enjoy.

Above is the beach area when you cross the street from the botanical gardens.  Florida’s beaches are mostly sandy and flat without any rocks.  This Coquina Beach is really unique for Florida and unusual.  Its a great place to take photographs, enjoy discovering the weird formations, and have fun exploring every crevice.  Unfortunately, we went in the afternoon when the mid-afternoon rains hit Florida.  We had to hurry to avoid the downpour, so we didn’t have much time to explore the beach side of the property.

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So, if you are in the area stop by and enjoy the old Florida as it was many years ago.  I obtained some of the facts and information from the website below.

https://www.floridastateparks.org/parks-and-trails/washington-oaks-gardens-state-park

****Please comment below with some off the beaten track places you have been?****  I want to visit too them too, without the mob of tourists.

Comments appreciated below.  Thank you!

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