7 Things to Do Outdoors Year-Round
Are you worried about the best time to plan a trip to Palm Coast and the Flagler Beaches? Lucky for you, any time of year is a good time. And we’re not kidding about that. The Flagler Beach area is widely recognized for its near-perfect weather throughout the year, uncrowded beaches, fabulous restaurants and fun local events. Here, you can swim with dolphins and camp on the beach year-round—no concern about it being too hot or tool cold to do your favorite activities. In Palm Coast and the Flagler Beaches, all year long is “just right.”
Don’t believe us? Well, here are seven of the best things you can do outdoors year-round in this perfect Florida family vacation destination.
1. Beaches and Water Activities
While much of the country is layering up and hunkering down indoors, people are headed to the beach here in Florida. Spending time on our gorgeous beaches is a year-round activity in Palm Coast and the Flagler Beaches, as the weather stays relatively warm, even in the coldest winter months. Even when the water is a little too chilly for adults, kids never seem to mind. Plus, sunbathing, building sandcastles, flying kites, surf fishing, and long beach walks don't require a significant amount of time in the water, anyway.
Surfing is also a popular year-round activity, thanks to the area’s lively waves. Not every beach in Florida is good for surfing. In fact, Flagler Beach is easily one of the best—it hosts a number of surfing events and competitions each year including the annual Tommy Tant Memorial Surf Classic and Surfer’s for Autism.
Any day of year is a good time to charter a boat and explore the waters of the Atlantic Ocean—with or without a charter captain. If you would rather stay closer to the coast, kayaks can be rented to explore the nearby estuaries and creeks where a wealth of wildlife, like birds and alligators, can be sighted.
And there’s another real unique trait to Flagler area beaches: their natural residents. During most times of the year, dolphins and sea turtles swim not too far from the shore. More notably, during the months of May through October, sea turtles begin their journeys in this life when they hatch from their beach nests dug by their mothers two months prior. To witness seas turtles hatching from their nests is uncommon but possible in Palm Coast and the Flagler Beaches, and it’s a beautiful thing to see
One other special visitor to the Flagler area each year is the right whale. From December through March, right whales migrate to this area to give birth and nurse their calves in warm, protected waters, before again returning north to feeding grounds off New England and Canada. Some right whales come in close to shore sometimes within a quarter mile of the beach. Mothers can be seen with young-of-the-year calves, and juvenile whales may be seen traveling or playing.
More: Read more about right whale migration in the waters off Flagler Beach and the volunteers who help keep this natural phenomenon thriving in this area. You also can read about sea turtle nesting and conservation efforts in this area here.
2. Outdoor Dining
Palm Coast and the Flagler Beaches prides itself on its award-winning waterfront restaurants and outdoor patios found at many of its eateries. The weather in the area remains so comfortably warm all year long that dining al fresco is a big part of the culture for both locals and visitors.
Drive along scenic A1A and you’ll find plenty of restaurants facing the Atlantic Ocean and serving whatever is in season, from oysters, to crab cakes, to grouper. However, if seafood isn’t your thing, there’s plenty of alternative dining options where guests can enjoy the fresh air picture perfect views. After dinner, many of the restaurants turn into late-night bars, where both visitors and locals mingle, sipping on margaritas and watching the moon reflect off the water.
More: Check out our list of 10 of the best outdoor dining spots in Palm Coast and the Flagler Beaches.
Question: Can you camp on any Florida beaches—as in on the sand, not near it? Answer: Very few places allow you to do it, but one of them is Palm Coast and the Flagler Beaches, which features beachfront campsites. You can camp at the Gamble Rogers Memorial State Recreation Area, a park that’s uniquely located between two bodies of water—the Atlantic Ocean on the east and the Intracoastal Waterway on the west—giving campers the best of both worlds. The campsite is open year-round and campers can either park their RVs or set up tents directly on the sand, all of which is near bathroom facilities, picnic tables and electric hook-ups. While camping, you can explore the surrounding terrain by bike, canoe or kayak, with rentals available at the park. Other camping locations (many specifically for RVs) allow guests to park right by the water and are in walking distance to popular restaurants, bait and tackle shops, hiking trails and more. Bonfires are also permitted at many of the campsites.
More: Check out our guide to five of the best places for camping in the area.
4. Fun Festivals
Thanks to the fail-safe warm weather that remains year-round in Flagler, festivals and outdoor events are scheduled month in and month out. Every season, thousands flock to the beaches for some of the biggest festival line-ups, including July 4th Celebrations, Creekside Festival, and Spoonbill and Sprockets Cycling Tour. The beaches also serve as a backdrop for many sports competitions and golf tournaments. And for music lovers, several concert series and live performances are lined up throughout the year (many held outdoors), featuring acts like the Bee Gees and ABBA Tribute Bands, The Sicilian Tenors, The Willoughby Brothers, and Atlantic City Boys.
More: Always check our calendar of events in advance of your visit to see what’s happening here.
5. Play With Your Pets
Palm Coast and the Flagler Beaches is one of the most pet-friendly destinations in the country, with many overnight accommodations and restaurants welcoming pets as guests. Among the pet-friendly hotels are Si Como No Inn, Flagler Beach Motel & Vacation Rental, and Suites on the Beach. But the fun doesn’t end there for your pooch. At designated beach sites, dogs are permitted to frolic in the ocean with their owners. Pet owners should follow guidelines for keeping their best friends leashed and these other tips for vacationing with your pets in Palm Coast and the Flagler Beaches.
More: Download a pet-friendly beach map to Palm Coast and the Flagler Beaches.
6. Swim With Dolphins
Plan a visit to Marineland Dolphin Adventure, where animal lovers can submerge themselves in shallow water to greet and play with friendly bottlenose dolphins throughout the year. Assisted by a guide, you can swim alongside the mammals, give them kisses and pose for photos. The aquatic conservation center has been a staple in this area for more than 75 years. Inside is a museum with exhibits and information on dolphin conservation and research being conducted about marine life and their natural environments.
7. Explore the Area’s Bike Trails
Take advantage of the Florida weather year-round by taking a trek along any of the area’s 125+ miles of biking trails. The trails vary from easy to challenging terrain, and riders can enjoy the scenic view of the ocean and protected parks. The most popular trail is the world-famous A1A Scenic Highway that runs parallel to the ocean and has many restaurants and shops that provide convenient breaks for cyclists. And for a real treat, take a ride before dawn and see sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean. Other trails include Bulow Ruins Trail (historic ruins of a sugar mill), Betty Steflik Memorial Preserve (great for alligator viewing) and Mala Compra Greenway Trail (for mountain bikers).
What else can you do in Palm Coast and the Flagler Beaches? The better question is what can’t you do? Check out more ideas for fun things to here year-round on our website.