Washington Oaks Gardens State Park is located in Palm Coast, Florida in Flagler County. The property was once owned by a relative of President George Washington. In later years it was purchased by Louise and Owen Young who built a winter retirement home on the land and named it Washington Oaks. Soon after Owen Young’s death in 1962, his wife Louise considered donating the property to the state of Florida. On January 1, 1965 the Washington Oaks Gardens State Park was officially opened. The park is now well known for the formal gardens which host a variety of ornamental and exotic plants. Included in the park is a rose garden, herb garden, and native plant garden which attract an array of butterfly species.
The park is attractive to those interested in bird watching and nature photography. The gardens peaceful setting makes a morning stroll one of pleasure. Trails are available for hiking or bike riding. For an afternoon meal, picnic tables are available. The area is nicely shaded by a canopy of live oak trees.
Among the gardens is a lake surrounded my oak trees and Florida’s State tree which is the Cabbage Palm. Kio fish and Triploid Grass Carp reside in the lake. The Triploid Grass Carp is an effective control for aquatic plants and algae build up. Near the lake is a gazebo where visitors can relax and enjoy the view.
The rose garden shows signs of tender care and is kept well pruned. I couldn’t resist the temptation to take a sniff of their sweet fragrance. Roses have colors of oranges, pinks, reds, and white.
The natural boundaries of the park are the Matanzas river and Atlantic Ocean. The Atlantic beach at Washington Oaks is famous for its unique coquina rock shoreline. Long before the Europeans arrived, Native Americans used the water for fishing and to gather shellfish. The Matanzas river has served as a waterway since the time of the Native Americans to the present. Visitors at Washington Oaks can enjoy the waters by walking along the beach shoreline or fishing on the dock.
Before leaving you can visit the gift shop and go through the Owen D. Young Visitors Center. Learn interesting facts about the areas history and listen as recorded speakers give you a peek into the past. To learn more about Washington Oaks Gardens State Park admission prices and hours visit: http://www.floridastateparks.org/washingtonoaks/default.cfm