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The trail, part of both the St. Johns River-to-Sea Loop and the East Coast Greenway (Maine to Key West), runs along A1A in Flagler County from the northern county line at Marineland to the southern county line at Flagler Beach. A1A is between the Atlantic Ocean and the Matanzas River (Intracoastal Waterway). The trail parallels and provides access to Flagler County's 19 miles of oceanfront, and links to many of its parks. Returning to the mainland is restricted to bridges crossing the river. The beach towns provide food and accommodations. Map link and photos below.)
Map link... Flagler County Trail
Location: Flagler County
End Points: Marineland to Flagler Beach
Mileage: 19 miles
Surface: Concrete 10'
Nearby points of interest: Marineland, Gamble Rogers Memorial State Recreation Area, Washington Oaks State Park, Flagler Beach Pier
South from Marineland to Beverly Beach the trail runs more inland (closer to Matanzas River); continuing south from Beverly Beach to Flagler Beach it runs oceanside. While there are views of the Atlantic Ocean and beaches, it does not run directly on the beach and much is across A1A from beachside. A few segments go off the road but mostly roadside.
Here we visit from North to South.
In this section, the trail runs on the ocean side of A1A. Just south of Marineland, the River-to-Sea Preserve provides parking (also restroom, boardwalk, nature trails, picnic). Shortly past here, the trail turns away from the ocean and runs more inland. Washington Oaks Gardens State Park (see below) is a worthwhile stop. At Mala Compra Rd. is a trailhead and link to the Mala Compra Mountain Biking Trails. Then the trail turns off the A1A roadway through a pleasant shaded section. After going under Hammock Dunes Pkwy., it turns back to the ocean approaching Beverly Beach.
Along this section, several side roads provide paths to public beach parks (Bay Drive, Mala Compra, Old Salt, Jungle Hut Road) for restrooms, picnic, etc. These are generally 0.5 - 0.7 mile from A1A (see map).
Varn Park, on the ocean side of A1A at Beverly Beach, provides parking, restrooms, picnic, and beach access. From here, the trail crosses to the west side of A1A and runs through the small, mostly residential community of Beverly Beach before arriving at the City of Flagler Beach. Note: From here and through Flagler Beach there are no public parks on the ocean, beach access is over dune crossovers (some with bike racks). Parking is roadside along A1A or on side streets.
Crossing SR 100 (Moody Blvd.) is Veterans Park (some shade, benches). The busy tourist center starts here, featuring the iconic Flagler Beach Pier, shops and restaurants. The trail runs through this section as a sidewalk shared by many pedestrians. with many vehicles on the roadway - be careful. We suggest walking your bike, or if just riding through to use an alternative route along S. Central Ave. between Moody Blvd. (SR 100) and 9th St., then cut over to A1A as desired for restaurants, the beach or pier. In addition to roadside parking, the City of Flagler Beach provides several city parking lots .
South from 9th St. is less commercial. The trail continues south along A1A passing Gamble Rogers Memorial State Recreation Area (more below). At the southern end the trail continues into Volusia County as part of the Ormond Scenic Loop (link below). About 1/4 mile east along High Bridge Road, Smith Creek Landing at North Peninsula State Park (parking, restrooms, picnic, hiking, bike fix-it station; no fee) is a good stopping point before proceeding through Volusia County.
Washington Oaks Gardens State Park at Palm Coast is a lovely oasis now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It was the winter home (built in 1938) of Owen D. Young, diplomat and founder of RCA, donated to the state by his family in 1965. The park spans both sides of A1A from river to ocean. On the ocean side, the coquina rock formations are a unique feature. The house and gardens are on the river side. The grounds are nestled within an oak hammock, with formal gardens (the Rose Garden is notable) and reflection ponds. The Washington Oak is estimated at 200-300 years old, one of Florida's oldest. The park also provides parking, restrooms, a Visitor Center, picnicking, fishing, the beach, plus 1.7 miles of biking (fat tire) and hiking trails. Park fee applies.
The 145-acre recreation area spans both sides of A1A from river to ocean. Shown here is the river side. Parking, restrooms and picnic facilities are available. Biking is allowed on park service and paved roads, and along A1A. Other activities include fishing, boating, paddling (kayak/canoe rentals available), bird and wildlife viewing, butterfly garden and eco-tours. The Joe Kenner Nature Trail (hiking) runs for 0.75 mile through coastal hammock on the river side. 68 campsites are available with both Beachside and Riverside Camping Areas. State park fee applies.
Historic note: The park is named for folksinger and storyteller Gamble Rogers. While camping here in 1991, he attempted to rescue a tourist trapped by the heavy surf and riptide. Both Rogers and the tourist drowned.
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