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20 Best Things To Do In Palm Coast, Florida

20 Best Things To Do In Palm Coast, Florida

Are you planning a vacation to the Sunshine State and looking for things to do in Palm Coast? Whether it’s museums and cultural attractions, outdoor recreation, watersports, coastal sightseeing, or just cruising along A1A, you’ll find all that and more in northeast Florida’s Palm Coast.

Situated between St. Augustine to the north, Daytona Beach to the south, and the Atlantic Ocean and the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) to the east and west.

Palm Coast offers that “old Florida” beach town vibe of flip-flops, salty air, and sea breezes. This laid-back and relaxed air welcomes families, groups, and couples for a weekend getaway or extended vacation.

Palm Coast is an excellent destination for a quiet retreat with parks, natural attractions, and outdoor recreation. It’s convenient to historic St. Augustine and the thrills of Daytona Beach while offering peace and relaxation.

TL;DR Our Picks

Category Our Pick
Most Significant Landmark Fort Matanzas National Monument
Best Park Washington Oaks Gardens State Park
Free activity Flagler Beach
Activity for kids Marineland Dolphin Adventure
Activity for adults Pub Crawl
Place to eat European Village
Place to stay Hammock Beach Golf Resort & Spa

Things to Do in Palm Coast, Florida

1. Washington Oaks Gardens State Park

Washington Oaks Gardens State Park's Gazebo and pond in Palm Coast, Florida
Jim Schwabel / Adobe Stock

Address: 6400 N. Ocean Shore Boulevard, Palm Coast, Florida 32137

Catch a case of garden envy at Washington Oaks Gardens State Park. Featuring formal gardens, moss-draped live oaks, and native and non-native plant displays, it’s a wonderful place to spend time on a Florida vacation. Hit the hiking trails or check out azaleas, camellias, and bird of paradise plants.

Washington Oaks Gardens State Park is situated along the A1A on a barrier island. Coquina (lovely limestone) rock formations and tide pools are found along the shoreline. The area is slim enough to sunbathe or fish along the Matanzas River and the Atlantic Ocean.

It’s a good spot to start the day before continuing on your Palm Coast Grand Haven Golf Club and the St. Jones County Ocean & Fishing Pier are nearby if you’re itching for action after garden gazing.

Manor on the Canal makes an excellent choice for a family vacation to Palm Coast. It has an enclosed swimming pool, a hot tub, a boat lift/dock, and spacious living and dining areas.

See Related: Stunning Cabins In Florida That Feel Like Another Planet

2. Florida Agricultural Museum

Florida Agricultural Museum in Palm Coast, Florida
Ebyabe / Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0

Address: 7900 Old Kings Road N., Palm Coast, Florida 32137

An agriculture museum? Sure! The state’s rich soil is perfect for growing onions, corn, tomatoes, and potatoes. Oh, and citrus.

So, why not? Founded in 1983 in Tallahassee, the Florida Agricultural Museum was designed to preserve Florida’s agricultural heritage. It moved to the 460-acre property in Palm Coast in 1997.

The site features 11 historical buildings from 1880 to 1920. There’s a restored pioneer homestead from the 1890s, an early 20th-century dry goods store, a 5,000-square-foot barn, and restored buildings from a 1930s citrus operation. Take a tour of the buildings or the on-site animals.

The museum offers horseback trail rides, trail tours by tractor, and summer horse camps for kids. There’s a gift shop for local items, antiques, games, and toys.

If you’re looking for a way to let the kids run off some energy after the ag museum, head to James F. Holland Memorial Park. The 26-acre property has a splash pad, a large playground, tennis and pickleball courts, a dog park, a sand volleyball court, and more.

There are also picnic pavilions to enjoy lunch or an afternoon snack. The park is home to the headquarters of the Palm Coast Historical Society. Pick up a few pieces of historic trivia while you’re there.

3. Check out the Local Parks

Boardwalk in Varn Park, Palm Coast
Carebeargartner / TripAdvisor

Situated between the east and westbound lanes of the Palm Coast Parkway (in the hammock area), the 57-acre St. Joe Walkway/Palm Coast Linear Park is an Audubon Society Great Florida Birding Trail. You’ll find a wide variety of birds as well as walking and bicycling trails, bocce ball and shuffleboard courts, and a playground.

Just north of Flagler Beach, the ADA-accessible eight-acre Varn Park is the place to go for birdwatching, relaxing, and surf fishing for flounder, snapper, and whiting. There are restrooms and outdoor showers.

Graham Swamp Preserve offers 3,000 acres of freshwater swamp forest. There are trails, boardwalk pathways, and dirt trails for hiking or bicycling at Graham Swamp Preserve.

The two-acre Jungle Hut Park is a great place to enjoy the sand and sun. The city beach offers parking spaces, picnic areas, restrooms, and outdoor showers. Add some entries to your Florida birdwatching diary by seeking out ruby-throated hummingbirds, pelicans, gannets, and seagulls.

Located near Jungle Hut Road Park, Hammock Beach Golf Resort & Spa has a six-acre water park, a full-service spa, championship golf courses, and tennis courts. The resort offers a private beach, four restaurants, hiking and bicycling paths, on-site children’s programs, and a marina.

Planning an extended stay? Some suites have kitchens or kitchenettes.

See Related: Key West Day Trip: Hitting the Florida Keys in a Day

4. Princess Place Preserve

Princess Place Preserve in Palm Coast
Mwanner at en.wikipedia / Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0

Address: 2500 Princess Place Road, Palm Coast, Florida 32137

Located where Pellicer Creek, Moody Creek, and the Matanzas River come together, Princess Place Preserve offers camping and numerous trails for hiking, bicycling, and horseback riding. Go fishing, kayaking, and canoeing on the salt marshes along the Matanzas River.

The 1,500-acre Princess Place Preserve is on the National Register of Historic Places and is part of the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail. The park is the site of Florida’s first in-ground swimming pool, fed by an artesian spring but is not in use (we still think that’s a pretty cool piece of trivia).

There’s a 19th-century lodge (circa 1888) that you can tour. An actual princess lived there, by the way. The story, in short, goes something like this:

Henry Cutting (a wealthy chap from New England) built the hunting lodge-style house and married Angela Mills. He later died in a boating accident, and she remarried a couple of times. Her final husband, Russian Prince Boris Scherbatoff, was the ticket to her princess status.

If you’re in the mood for more nature, head to the River to Sea Preserve. Located on both sides of A1A in Marineland, it runs from the Matanzas River to the Atlantic Ocean (hence the name). Owned by Flagler County and the Town of Marineland, the 90-acre preserve offers nature trails, eco-education, and public beach access.

There’s a boardwalk, canoe, and kayak launch to access the river and the ICW. Enjoy activities like camping, bicycling, birdwatching, picnicking, and fishing.

5. European Village

European Village in Palm Coast, Florida
European Village / Facebook

Address: 101 Palm Harbor Parkway, Palm Coast, Florida 32137

For shopping, dining, and entertainment, head to the European Village. You’ll find salons, boutiques, bars, cigar, flower, and jewelry shops among the pastel buildings. The village hosts farmers’ markets, artisan markets, and live music events.

Eateries at the European Village complex include the 5th Element Indian Restaurant, Red Koi Sushi & Hibachi, La Piazza Café, Tram’s Café Vietnamese, and the Red, White, and Blues Bar and Restaurant.

If you want to check out local nature-inspired art, Art LaMay Studios is just across the river. Visit the studio, watch the artist paint, or purchase paintings of herons, spoonbills, bluejays, sea turtles, and other nature-inspired art.

This lovely Oasis Condo with a balcony is in the European Village complex. Enjoy a full kitchen, free Wi-Fi, comfortable living space, and a balcony overlooking the colorful courtyard. It’s also near the beach, Linear Park, and Palm Harbor Golf Club.

See Related: Best Springs in Florida to Visit

6. Marineland Dolphin Adventure

Marineland Dolphin Adventure in Palm Coast , Florida
Marineland Dolphin Adventure / Facebook

Address: 9600 Oceanshore Boulevard, St. Augustine, Florida 32080

Since 1938, Marineland Dolphin Adventure has made a wonderful excursion for families, couples, and groups of all sizes. Learn about the conservation, protection, and care of marine animals and their natural habitats.

Visit and watch educational sessions on the property’s family of bottlenose dolphins, loggerhead sea turtles, Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles, yellow spotted stingrays, and sand tiger sharks.

Sign up for (at an additional cost) outdoor water activities cruises such as kayak and boat eco-tours, trainer-for-a-day programs, and swim-with-dolphin experiences.

Feel like staying nearby? Coastal Getaway is a family-friendly vacation home that makes an excellent option for larger groups and extended stays. With spacious rooms, a full kitchen, and a dining room, it also features a theater room, a hot tub, and tropical gardens with outdoor seating.

7. Fort Matanzas National Monument

Fort Matanzas National Monument in St. Augustine, Florida
Arkorn / Adobe Stock

Address: 8635 A1A S., St. Augustine, Florida 32080

One of many national monuments in the U.S., The Fort Matanzas National Monument was originally built in 1742 by the Spanish to protect the Spanish city of St. Augustine and the Castillo de San Marcos. The Matanzas Inlet that the fort oversees was a weakness due to the possibility of attack from British and French warships as the major European powers carved up the Americas.

The National Monument consists of the Spanish fort and 300 acres of salt marshes, dunes, and endangered species (all on the barrier island of Rattlesnake Island). A National Park Service ferry takes visitors to the fort from Anastasia Island.

Speaking of Anastasia Island, it’s one of the best islands in Florida to visit. If you get a chance, spend some time in nearby St. Augustine.

Founded in 1565, it’s the oldest city in the U.S. and offers a charming and historic way to spend the day. Climb the lighthouse, explore the Castillo de San Marcos, or walk along cobblestone streets and historic buildings.

See Related: Best Bars in Orlando, Florida

8. Hit the Greens

Aerial view of Hammock Beach Golf Resort & Spa
Hammock Beach Golf Resort & Spa / Booking.com

If you’re a die-hard golfer (that Florida sun can be brutal, but let’s face it, some of you will still persevere), you’ll want to check out the local fairways.

The Hammock Beach Ocean Course at Hammock Beach Golf Resort & Spa features a challenging (and beautiful) Jack Nicklaus-designed course. It’s exclusive to hotel guests, so consider Hammock Beach if you’re in the market for a hotel near the holes. The golf course at Hammock Beach Resort has a clubhouse and a pro shop.

The 18-hole Palm Harbor Golf Club is a municipal course backed by Spanish moss-draped oaks and swaying palm trees. The club has a putting green, a chipping green, a driving range, and a pro shop, as well as an on-site restaurant with a full bar.

9. Tuscawilla Park

Tuscawilla Park in Daytona Beach, Florida
Daytona Beach Zipline Adventure by TreeTop Trekking / Facebook

Address: 1000 Orange Avenue, Daytona Beach, Florida 32114

Tuscawilla Park is about 30 miles from Palm Coast in Daytona Beach if you’re itching for thrills. The large park has a disc golf course with ditches and water hazards, nature trails, TreeTop Trekking, and an outdoor zipline adventure park with obstacles and zip lines.

Tuscawilla Park zipline adventure features two aerial zipline courses with swinging bridges, wires, hanging logs, and more. Participants need to be at least 54 inches tall.

It’s advised that you wear sneakers for this adult zipline adventure. This activity is about two hours and 30 minutes of high-flying fun and will leave you buzzing for hours afterward!

Looking for a bite to eat after all the zipping, swinging, and soaring? Who wouldn’t? Check out LandShark Bar & Grill, Joe’s Crab Shack, the Ocean Deck Restaurant & Beach Bar, or Sloppy Joe’s (of Key West fame) at Daytona Beach.

See Related: Best Day Trips From Tampa, Florida

10. Flagler Beach

Ocean view and pier in Flagler Beach, Florida
Sharkshock / Shutterstock.com

Address: 105 S. 2nd Street, Flagler Beach, Florida 32136

Whether planning a family vacation, a girls’ getaway, or a guy’s golfing adventure, the Flagler Beach area offers art galleries, bars and restaurants, and outdoor recreation like kayaking, surfing, swimming, and hiking. Most beach areas are pet-friendly, so bring those pups (or cats; we’re not biased) along.

Cast a line at the Flagler Beach Fishing Pier, sample local fruit at the Flagler Beachfront Winery, or learn about the area’s past at the Flagler Beach Historical Museum. The Funky Pelican, at the pier, is a popular spot for a bite to eat or drink. Whales can be spotted from the pier in December through March.

This is also a great spot to stay. The nearby Golden Magnolia Resort is a peaceful 10-room retreat. It’s the perfect choice for a honeymoon or romantic getaway.

It’s semi-adults-only. Children under age 14 are not allowed. Enjoy afternoon wine and appetizers and the use of beach chairs, umbrellas, and bicycles.

11. Bulow Plantation Ruins

Ruins in Flagler County's Bulow Plantation Ruins Historic State Park
John bernstock / Shutterstock

Address: 3501 Old Kings Road S., Flagler Beach, Florida 32136

Bulow Plantation Ruins, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is an 1800s sugar mill built from coquina (a sedimentary limestone rock formed from shells). Sugar cane, rice, cotton, and indigo were grown on the plantation.

The mill was destroyed during the Second Seminole War in 1836. You can walk along trails to see the sugar mill ruins, a spring house, wells, and the house foundation.

The property has a boat ramp for canoes and small powerboats to access Bulow Creek. Explore the park’s 150 acres while hiking, kayaking, birdwatching, or fishing.

For Matanzas River views, this daily rental with a pool is a wonderful choice. Spend your time boat and bird watching or just relaxing on the dock along the ICW.

See Related: Best Resorts in South Florida

12. Sea Turtle Hospital

Turtle in The Sea Turtle Hospital at UF Whitney Lab
The Sea Turtle Hospital at UF Whitney Lab / Facebook

Address: 9505 Ocean Shore Boulevard, St. Augustine, Florida 32080

Located on the Whitney Laboratory for Marine Bioscience campus, the Sea Turtle Hospital provides rehabilitation, research, and education on sea turtles. Part of the Center for Marine Studies, they rescue sick, injured, and debilitated turtles. Once deemed healthy enough to return to the wild, they’re released.

Sea turtle biologists lead tours around the hospital while explaining how they do what they do. You’ll also get to meet some of the current patients.

The Sea Turtle Hospital is just a hop, skip, and a jump away from Marineland. This makes it convenient to get in all the conservation and animal encounter experiences in one day.

With the Matanzas River on one side and the Atlantic Ocean on the other, Bliss by the Sea makes a wonderful waterside getaway to the Palm Coast area. The boutique property has a pool, a garden, a terrace, and uniquely decorated rooms with marble fixtures, antique furnishings, and tile floors.

Originally built in the early 2000s, Bliss was known as the Pearl of the Sea. There’s some seriously good dining around here, too. Nearby dining includes Commander’s, The Floridian, the Blue Hen Café, and Mojo’s Tacos.

13. Take a Historic Tour

Exhibit at St. Augustine Quackery
Quackery: The Dark Side of Medicine / Viator

Dive into the dark side of medical history with a Quackery: The Dark Side of Medicine Tour. This adults-only tour takes you on a journey through medical experimentation and progress while presenting the history of outrageous and deadly treatments. The Dark Side of Medicine activity lasts about an hour at the Spanish Military Hospital Museum.

Looking for an eatery to keep the dark side theme going? Scarlett O’Hara’s, Harry’s Seafood Bar & Grille, and OC White’s Seafood & Spirits are considered haunted. They also have great food.

If you’re searching for a hotel with convenient access to St. Augustine and Palm Coast, consider Beacher’s Lodge. Located along the A1A at Crescent Beach, it features apartment-style guest rooms and direct beach access. The hotel has a waterfront pool and a boardwalk pathway that leads to the beach.

See Related: Things to Do in Hollywood, Florida

14. Waterfront Park

Waterfront Park in Palm Coast, Florida
Palm Coast Parks & Recreation / Facebook

Address: 150 Waterfront Park Road, Palm Coast, Florida 32137

The 20-acre Waterfront Park, located along the Intracoastal Waterway Trail (ICW), is a lovely green space and a great place to catch a glimpse of dolphins and manatees. There are picnic pavilions, playgrounds, a fishing pier, restrooms, and walking trails. There’s also a bicycle maintenance station for those pedaling around the park.

Another plus about Waterfront Park is that you’re in the same neck of the woods as one of the area’s top resorts, Legacy Vacation Resorts Palm Coast. Look no further for quality lodgings!

This is legitimately one of the best resorts in Florida to enjoy beaches, historic attractions, and outdoor activities. The pet-friendly resort offers a pool, a hot tub, walking trails, a tennis court, and fitness facilities. Families will appreciate the indoor kids’ play area, picnic areas, an activity pavilion, and on-site mini-golf.

15. Food Experience

Palm Coast St. Augustine Chocolate & Sweet Walking Tour
St. Augustine: Chocolate & Sweet Walking Tour / GetYourGuide

Foodies will not want to miss this sweet experience. The chocolate and sweets walking tour explores the local bakeries, candy stores, and sweets shops along the cobblestone streets of St. Augustine. This historic city is about 25 miles from Palm Coast, so it’s not too far out of the way for a fun adventure.

Learn about local history and culture while sampling pralines, chocolates, and more. Tours meet at Ancient City Brunch Bar. For even more food experiences in St. Augustine, consider a Boozy Brunch Tour or a Corks and Forks Culinary Tour.

If you’re looking for a fun and historic stay near Palm Coast, check into the 1880 Victorian. Located in the heart of downtown St. Augustine, it offers modern amenities with the charm of a balcony, rocking chairs, and decorative wooden staircases.

See Related: Things to Do in Miami, Florida

16. Pub Crawl and Walking Tour

Chicken Wings at Prohibition Kitchen
Prohibition Kitchen / Facebook

If unsolved murders, kidnapped priests, and serial killers are your thing, you’ll probably enjoy a true crime guided pub crawl in nearby St. Augustine. Visit local bars, pubs, and historic haunts while sampling craft brews and spirits and learning about the area’s criminal past. Pubs on the list include Prohibition Kitchen, Forgotten Tonic, Casa Reina Taqueria & Tequila, and Cathedral Place.

The Conch House Marina Resort is one of the best places to stay near St. Augustine and Palm Coast. Set amid tropical scenery (and views of the St. Augustine Lighthouse), the property has a restaurant, a lounge, a pool, a full-service 194-slip marina, and 16 charming guest rooms. If you’re traveling along the ICW via boat, you’ll want to stop here.

17. Sunset Cruise

Tourists on a St. Augustine Sunset Cruise
Sunset Cruise of St. Augustine / Viator

It’s always a good idea in Florida to get out on the water (it could be an actual requirement – it’s best not to take chances). Take a sunset cruise from St. Augustine to enjoy a unique perspective from the water. Sights along the way include the Bridge of Lions, the St. Augustine Lighthouse, the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument, and the Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park.

Choose from the 21+ cruise, which offers an on-board bar, or a family-friendly cruise. Tours meet at Dock A-19 at Camachee Cove Marina near the King Fish Grill restaurant.

For even more fun on the water, gather friends or family members and book a wine-tasting cruise, a private sunset sail, a sailing charter on a yacht, or a historic day sail.

See Related: Best Restaurants in Disney Springs

18. Private Day Sail

Boat for Small-Group Sailing Tour in Daytona Beach
Daytona Beach Sailing Tour / Viator

For a day on the water, book a fun adventure the whole group can enjoy. A small-group sailing tour leaves Daytona Beach on the Halifax River, approximately 30 miles from Palm Coast.

You’ll travel aboard a sailing catamaran. Watch for dolphins, sunbathe on the deck, or take a dip in the river. Tours meet at Caribbean Jack’s restaurant.

When you’re done with your day sail, check out the Daytona Beach oceanfront, Pirate’s Cove Adventure Golf, or The Ormond Memorial Art Museum & Gardens on your way back to Palm Coast.

Looking to stay near both Palm Coast and Daytona Beach? This charming home by the sea has three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a fenced-in backyard, and quick beachfront access. It’s even pet-friendly, so bring those doggies along!

19. Horseback Riding

Horseback riding with Equestrian Adventures of Florida
Equestrian Adventures of Florida / Facebook

Horseback riding on the beach? Yes, please! Check out Equestrian Adventures of Florida for beach and trail tours along Florida’s preserves, oak forests, bluffs, and rivers. There are usually five to six riders per session for a fun and informal experience.

Never been horseback riding in your life? No worries. You’ll receive basic riding tips in preparation for the ride. It’s advised to wear long pants, closed-toe shoes, hats, and sunglasses. You’ll probably also want to bring along some water.

In my experience, it’s best to stretch horseback riding experiences into shorter rides over a few days, especially if you’re new in the saddle. So do yourself a favor and check into Whale Suite. It’s a terrific one-bedroom choice for a honeymoon or anniversary, with all the amenities you want. It’s a quick walk across A1A from the sand of Flagler Beach.

See Related: How to Get Discount Disney Tickets in Orlando, Florida

20. Daytona for the Day

Building exterior of Daytona International Speedway
JHVEPhoto – stock.adobe.com

If you (or the kids) are looking for more thrills than the laid-back vibe and natural attractions of Palm Coast, you may want to head a few miles south. Daytona Beach is about 30 miles from Palm Coast and offers a bustling boardwalk, a world-famous (and drivable) beach, and the fast-paced action of Daytona International Speedway.

Even if you’re not in town for NASCAR’s Daytona 500 or numerous other speedy events, you can still experience the raceway. Check out the banked curves as you’re escorted around the track in a shuttle-style vehicle.

Offered daily, the tours last about 60 minutes. Visit the Dale Earnhardt statue, the Daytona 500 Champions’ Walk of Fame, and the merchandise pit shop.

Coral Sands Inn, located in Ormond Beach, is a great option for access to the thrills of Daytona Beach and the nature and parks of Palm Coast. The hotel is situated on the beach and has a heated pool, outdoor BBQ facilities, and free Wi-Fi. Some rooms have kitchenettes.

FAQ

What are the best places to eat and drink in Palm Coast?

JT’s Seafood Shack, Portugal Wine Bar, and Rodie’s Place are some of the top-rated restaurants on Palm Coast. Otherwise, head to the European Village for bars, restaurants, specialty shops, and a farmers’ market.

Are there some family-friendly activities in Palm Coast?

Along with wide sandy beaches, families can visit Marineland Dolphin Adventure or parks such as St. Joe Walkway/Palm Coast Linear Park and Waterfront Park.

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