Located on Florida’s northern Atlantic coast about an hour south of Jacksonville, Palm Coast is part of the Daytona Beach metropolitan area, and in the last decade, its population has more than doubled.
It’s also the most popular beach destination in Flagler County and is conveniently close to Interstate 95, Florida’s main north-south highway that leads to Miami at the state’s southern end.
A number of the state’s oldest historical sites are just a few miles away, and it has its fair share of quirky curiosities too, many of which are one of a kind.
Below are 15 of the best things to do in and around Palm Coast, Florida.
1. Graham Swamp Preserve
Palm Coast’s Graham Swamp Preserve is comprised of more than 3,000 acres of protected wilderness, and much of it is open to the public.
It’s particularly well-known for its seven-mile-long mountain bike trail – dubbed ‘The Swamp’ -that’s full of natural and manmade obstacles and features that make it both beautiful and challenging.
The preserve supports an impressive array of plant and animal species and is a favorite destination for naturalists, wildlife photographers, and all-around outdoor enthusiasts.
Cycling, hiking, and fishing are popular activities, but remember you’ll need a license to fish, whether you’re a Florida resident or an out of state visitor.
2. Florida Agricultural Museum
Florida is one of the country’s largest produce growing states. For many items like tomatoes and lettuce, it holds its own against agricultural powerhouses like California and Texas.
The Florida Agricultural Museum was established in the early ’80s to preserve and promote the state’s rich agricultural tradition. Its main attractions are its homestead, dairy barn, and citrus farm that date back to the depression era in the 1930s.
They also offer a farmer’s market on Thursdays and guided horseback tours, but you’ll need to book in advance to enjoy the latter. The museum is located on Old Kings Road in Palm Coast.
3. Hammock Community Center
Featuring a variety of calorie-burning activities like basketball, volleyball, swimming, and a playground for the little ones, the Hammock Community Center on Malacompra Road in Palm Coast is one of those often overlooked community gems that shouldn’t be passed up.
Open until 11 PM, in addition to the activities mentioned above, it’s also a convenient and inexpensive option for those looking a birthday party, church picnic or family reunion venue.
The community center’s grounds are a great place for a morning stroll, a picnic with your significant other, or a lazy afternoon with a good book.
4. River to Sea Preserve
Though Florida is known primarily for its endless stretches of ocean coastline and scenic beaches, it’s also home to a large variety of rivers and lakes.
Co-owned by two local municipalities, the River to Sea Preserve is comprised of nearly 100 acres and is located on North Ocean Boulevard in nearby Marineland.
As the name implies, the preserve is located between the Matanzas River, the Intracoastal Waterway, and the Atlantic Ocean.
A vitally important habitat and popular attraction, it features public beach access, an oceanside boardwalk, and a variety of other recreational activities, like camping, kayaking, bird watching, and cycling.
5. Moody Homestead Park
Located on Briarwood Drive in Bunnell, the Moody Homestead Park is one of Flagler County’s premier historic destinations and is named after the city’s founder.
Though the park is relatively small, it’s quaint and picturesque and is home to a grove of oak trees that are thought to be over 400 years old.
There aren’t any amenities to speak of, and that’s part of its allure. It doesn’t draw crowds, so is the perfect place for a relaxing escape from the throngs of tourists descending on the area’s more commercial tourist sites.
The park is open from sunrise to sunset every day and is free to visit.
6. Pine Lakes Golf Club
With hundreds of courses to choose from within an easy drive from Palm Coast, deciding which to play may seem a bit overwhelming.
Pine Lakes Golf Club is one of the area’s favorites and was designed by golf legend Arnold Palmer.
The course is a par 72 that plays about 7,000 yards and includes men’s and women’s locker rooms, a pro shop, and a restaurant that’s known for its tasty fare and extensive selection of local microbrews.
The course’s 18-holes are spread over more than 150 acres; if you plan on playing during peak times, you’ll want to reserve your tee time well in advance.
7. Ripley’s Believe it or Not
For lovers of the bizarre, absurd, and mysterious, there’s no better place to spend a few morning or afternoon hours than Ripley’s Believe it or Not in St. Augustine.
From vampires and dwarfs to shrunken heads and creepy animal hybrids, there’s a little something for everyone. The museum is truly one of a kind and is the perfect destination when the weather outside isn’t particularly inviting.
In addition to the museum, they offer guided train and ghost tours, and a mini-golf course as well. The museum can get busy, especially on weekends, so consider visiting from Monday to Friday if you’d like to miss the crowds
8. Tomoka Marsh State Aquatic Preserve
As one of the state’s most important manatee habitats, The Tomoka Marsh Aquatic Preserve includes nearly 400 acres of river and estuary environment, as well as portions of the Tomoka and Halifax Rivers and the Intracoastal Waterway.
The preserve offers visitors a variety of outdoor recreation options, like boating, fishing, and kayaking.
For those who’d like to launch their own boats and do a little cruising or fishing, there are a number of public ramps.
Keep in mind that the Intracoastal Waterway experiences heavy commercial and recreational boat traffic, so it may not be the best place if you’re looking for peace and quiet.
9. St. Augustine Lighthouse and Maritime Museum
The lighthouse that’s the St. Augustine Lighthouse and Maritime Museum’s centerpiece was built between 1871 and 1874.
The site is managed by a non-profit organization that’s dedicated to preserving this unique bit of history; they offer a variety of educational programs appropriate for children, locals, and tourists alike.
The items on display include a full-size exhibit that shows visitors how wooden ships were constructed in centuries past, and an array of other equipment and artifacts relating to the lighthouse and area’s maritime past.
The museum is open every day, and the cost of admission is relatively inexpensive.
10. Castillo de San Marcos
Florida’s Atlantic coast is home to the country’s longest continually-inhabited settlement, and many visitors are surprised to learn that area was first explored by Europeans more than 300 years ago.
Castillo de San Marcos was built in the 17th century and is the oldest fort built from masonry remaining in the United States.
The views from the fort are amazing, and the historical markers spread around the grounds will give you fascinating insight into the things you’re seeing.
Entrance tickets are less than $20 and are good for seven consecutive days, while children under 15 are free if accompanied by an adult.
11. Medieval Torture Collection
For those looking for a cheery and uplifting way to celebrate the universal brotherhood of man, there’s no better place than the Medieval Torture Collection located on St. George Street in St. Augustine.
Full of a mind-boggling and stomach-turning variety of instruments of torture from eras long past, the collection is in many ways a tribute to the inescapable depravity of man.
It’s also cool and educational and will make you glad to live in such relatively civilized times.
It may not be the world’s best venue for children, but for hearty adults who don’t get spooked easily, it’s a truly unique destination that deserves an hour of your time.
12. Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park
Located on 15 scenic acres along the Intracoastal Waterway in St. Augustine, the Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park doesn’t hold the key to eternal life, but it does offer a fascinating glimpse into the past, when fearless explorers scoured the world for the mythical spring that would allow them to live forever.
Sadly, those guys are all dead, so they obviously weren’t successful, but the site is a must for amateur historians, and was the landing point of Ponce de Leon when he arrived in 1513.
The park is privately owned and open every day. Tickets may be purchased online or when you arrive, and children five and under get in free.
13. The Pirate and Treasure Museum
Like a time machine taking visitors on a guided tour of the high seas, the Pirate and Treasure Museum in St. Augustine is another of the area’s must-see attractions, especially for those interested in learning about Atlantic coast’s interesting and often bloody history.
The museum is full of a variety of authentic and reproduction artifacts from the era, like clothes, weapons, and maps.
Perhaps the most interesting exhibits are those recounting the lives and deaths of some of the most notorious pirates of the lot, many of which will seem like they’ve been taken directly from a Hollywood script.
14. The Pirate Melee
Though it’s a recent addition to St. Augustine tourism, The Pirate Melee’s popularity has grown quickly, especially with families, who see it for the great value that it is.
Your experience will start with a 45-minute guided trolley that includes a historical narration; you’ll be accompanied by a few performers in authentic pirate attire, which is a big hit with kids.
After the trolley tour, it’ll be time to eat, drink, and take in a load of live music and entertainment.
The whole thing is designed to get visitors active, engaged, and excited, so if you’ve been hiding a secret fear of pirates and are just looking for a relaxing evening, this probably isn’t for you.
15. The Magic and Mentalism of Viktor Zenko
Though it’s definitely not one of the cheapest activities in the area, the Magic and Mentalism of Viktor Zenko show may be one of the most memorable.
Held at the Raintree Restaurant on San Marco Avenue in St. Augustine, the show includes a variety of tricks that’ll leave you scratching your head.
Part magic show and part comedy show, it always includes a healthy dose of audience participation – voluntary and otherwise.
Sunday shows are held in the early afternoon. Though tickets are on the expensive side, they do include brunch, so it’s a great way to eat a good meal and be entertained at the same time.