There are many reasons why North Florida is such an wonderful place to visit (or live). The climate is spectacular; great for boating, golfing, surfing, fishing and other forms of sports and recreation. In addition, the area is rich in arts and entertainment, fine-dining, shopping and history. North Florida also offers miles of beautiful beaches and waterways, cultural pursuits from jazz and Scottish festivals, to hot clubs and remarkable, ethnically diverse restaurants.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Ravine Gardens State Park . . .

A must see North Florida experience . . .

A ravine was created over thousands of years by water flowing from the sandy ridges on the shore of the St. Johns River.

 In 1933, this ravine was transformed into a dramatic garden by the federal Works Progress Administration. Much of the original landscaping still exists as formal gardens and an extensive trail system. 

 A 1.8-mile paved road winds around the ravine, offering motorists and bicyclists a view of the gardens. The Ravine Loop is closed to vehicle traffic one hour before sunset, but remains open for pedestrians, bicycles, and wheelchairs.

The garden's peak flowering period is azalea season, late January to April. Numerous picnic sites, equipped with tables and grills, are available to visitors. The Roy E. Campbell Civic Center complex features a large covered pavilion, auditorium, and meeting rooms that are available for rent. Located in Palatka at 1600 Twigg Street.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Castaway Island Preserve . . .

Protecting more than 300 acres of coastal habitats along the meandering, estuarine San Pablo River, Castaway Island Preserve is a breezy spot to get away from the city neighborhoods and enjoy a breath of fresh air outdoors.

 A peninsula on the edge of suburbia, it’s its own world once you pass through the gates. Ibis and wood storks comb through the shallow marsh edges. Gopher tortoises lumber through the protected pine flatwoods of the island, which is surrounded by the estuary.

This is a gentle mile-long walk for all ages, well-interpreted and fun to follow – especially for kids – with plenty of benches and overlooks along the way.