Ready, Set, Road Trip!
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’s 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 15 ideas for your next adventure along A1A.
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.
📍 Stop #2: 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 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!
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.
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.
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).
📍 Stop #7: 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.”
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.
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!
📍 Stop #10: 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.
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.
📍 Stop #12: 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.
📍 Stop #13: Eat, Shop and Play in Flagler Beach
Park and walk around downtown Flagler Beach: visit our 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 one stop you’re going to want to carve out an afternoon for.
📍 Stop #14: Pamper Yourself at Golden Magnolia Resort
The oceanfront Golden Magnolia Resort is a great getaway for a little R&R. Cool off in the pool or book specialty treatments in the spa.
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!