Roll your windows down, breathe in the fresh ocean air and explore the beaches and sweeping coastlines along Florida’s A1A Scenic and Historic Coastal Byway, one of America’s greatest drives. This stretch of highway through Palm Coast and the Flagler Beaches is one of only two “All American Roads” in Florida designated by the U.S. Department of Transportation for its incredible oceanside views and stunning scenery. There are no chain hotels or high rises on this route: just miles of untouched sand and the limitless expanse of the Atlantic. Hit the road this summer and discover all there is to see and do along the way with these ideas for your next adventure along A1A. Ready, set, road trip to Palm Coast and Flagler Beaches.
Tour UF Whitney Lab and Sea Turtle Hospital
The Sea Turtle Hospital at Whitney Laboratory is a must-stop along A1A. Hospital visitors have the extraordinary opportunity to see injured and sick sea turtles on the mend thanks to the efforts of the facility’s staff.
Go Kayaking with Ripple Effect Ecotours
Paddle the day away on a Ripple Effect Ecotour, a guided kayak adventure into more than 45,000 acres of continuous coastal wetlands that culminates with a visit to a lagoon that has remained intact for the last 10,000 years. Or experience the thrill of a jet boat tour that provides amazing views of the surrounding wildlife.
Swim with Dolphins at Marineland Dolphin Adventure
Swim with the dolphins at Marineland Dolphin Adventure, the world’s first oceanarium that offers up close and personal experiences with incredible ocean mammals through a variety of daily encounters. Your first dolphin swim certainly won’t be your last!
Relax or Go Hiking at River to Sea Preserve
Explore the 90-acre River to Sea Preserve that spans both sides of A1A in Marineland. On the ocean side, stroll the preserve’s boardwalk and explore its gorgeous beach, or head to the other side to hike and paddle through beautiful forests along the Intracoastal Waterway and the Matanzas River.
Explore Washington Oaks Gardens State Park
Discover awe-inspiring beauty at Washington Oaks Gardens State Park, from the extraordinary collection of ancient coquina rocks found along its beach to the towering live oaks, incredible gardens, and fishing holes on the park’s west side.
Appreciate the Artwork
Admire beautiful artwork at the Baliker Gallery, which features dozens of larger-than-life, whimsical indoor and outdoor sculptures. Or immerse yourself in stunning paintings that capture Florida’s natural beauty at the Art LaMay Studio. For a more unconventional gallery experience, book a tour of Bess Studio. This unique and imaginative art collection, created by Eric and Helene Bess, includes Fine Art (painting & mixed-media painting), “Wisdom Art” (3D Assemblage), and Artistic Embellishment (murals, faux).
Enjoy the Outdoors at Bing’s Landing
There’s simply no place quite like Bing’s Landing, which features an archaeological dig on the site of a former plantation as well as a playground, picnic areas, and a canoe/kayak launch with access to the Intracoastal Waterway. The aroma of chicken and ribs smoking on the grill drifts across the park from Captain’s BBQ, named one of TripAdvisor’s “10 Best BBQ Joints in the US.” A must-stop in your road trip to Palm Coast and Flagler Beaches.
Ride Bikes at Mala Compra Mountain Bike Trail
Pedal into new adventures on the Mala Compra Greenway Trail, which offers thrills, climbs, and descents through wooded terrain and over hard-packed sand, elevated boardwalks, and coquina rock formations unique to the region. Don’t be surprised to encounter an alligator or a gopher tortoise along the trails, which cross through swamps and forests teeming with wildlife and range from paved and leisurely to extremely challenging mountain bike courses.
Check Horseback Riding on the Beach Off Your Bucket List
Saddle up and hit the beach on an oceanside horseback ride with Equestrian Adventures of Florida. Riding along the Atlantic at low tide and guiding your horse through the surf and the sand is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that cannot be missed. And with no prior experience needed, anyone can make unforgettable memories on this tour!
Take Your Dog to the Beach at Varn Park
Bring your pooch to play at picturesque Varn Park, an eight-acre pet-friendly beach that includes restrooms, showers, and wheelchair access.
Make Your Own Pottery Overlooking the Atlantic
Shape your lump of clay into an enduring souvenir from your road trip at Down to Earth Pottery. Relax and unwind as you make your own ceramics, or sign up for one of Down to Earth’s jewelry workshops.
Get Slushed at Flagler Beachfront Winery
Wine and waves abound at the Flagler Beachfront Winery. This oceanside winery features wine slushies in a wide variety of flavors like Tropical Bliss, Island Breeze, and Mango Sunrise served alongside delicious charcuterie boards.
Eat, Shop, and Play in Flagler Beach
Park and walk around downtown Flagler Beach: visit the iconic pier and boardwalk, dine at locally-owned, mom-and-pop restaurants along the ocean, browse boutiques, and admire colorful, insta-worthy public art. This is a one-stop on the road trip to Palm Coast and Flagler Beaches you’re going to want to carve out an afternoon for.
Snap a Pic of the Pirate House
Arrr, matey! If roadside quirk be what ye seek, head over to the Pirate House for a photo-op with the seafaring sculptures hanging from the home’s second-floor deck. It’s a quick and unique part of the road trip to Palm Coast and Flagler Beaches.
Be One with Nature
There’s no shortage of ways to enjoy Gamble Rogers Memorial State Recreation Area. Bike, hike, fish, paddle, camp, picnic, and birdwatch at this 145-acre natural jewel along the ocean that serves as a fitting finale to your A1A road trip through Palm Coast and the Flagler Beaches!
Enjoy the Ride
Whether you decide to make one of these stops along A1A or just keep rolling, be sure to slow down and enjoy the ride. Let the views of the sparkling blue ocean fill you with joy as you cruise down this scenic stretch of Florida’s famous coastal route. Convertibles and cameras are recommended on this road trip to Palm Coast and Flagler Beaches.
A1A Scenic Byway Audio Tour
This self-guided audio tour along the A1A Scenic Byway will accompany you as you drive through 72 miles of scenic coastal roadway through St. John’s and Flagler Counties, with history, culture, and natural beauty around every corner.
Stay Along A1A
There’s so much to do along A1A, you’re going to need more than a day to experience it all. How about an overnighter or two? Here are just a few places to stay along this stretch of paved paradise.
A1A Apparel & Gifts
Make your A1A experience complete with a souvenir shirt, key chain, or hat. Locally owned shops in Flagler Beach offer a wide variety of A1A-themed items at affordable prices. Stop in Florida Workshop or Flagler Surf Art and Stuff and tell them you’re on the hunt for all things A1A. There’s even A1A gear for your dog!
Share Your A1A Views
Let everyone see all of the beautiful photos you take while in Palm Coast and the Flagler Beaches. Follow @visitflagler on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and post your photos using #VisitFlagler for a chance to be featured. Ready, set, road trip to Palm Coast and Flagler Beaches.