Camping is always in season in Palm Coast and the Flagler Beaches, and you'll find the best spot just steps from the surf at Gamble Rogers Memorial State Recreation Area.
With a host of activities at your doorstep and all the amenities you could need, a fun getaway awaits! Here’s why you’ll want to start planning your camping trip to Gamble Rogers today.
One of the top reasons for camping at Gamble Rodgers is the unbelievable view of the Atlantic Ocean and the Intracoastal Waterway. Fall asleep to the sounds of crashing waves and wake to the sun rising over the water at the Beachside Camping Area, located along a half-mile stretch of the Atlantic Ocean. For spectacular sunsets and a relaxing getaway surrounded by nature, check out the Riverside Camping Area.
Tribute to a Florida Legend
Gamble Rogers Memorial State Recreation Area is a place where memories are made and stories are shared, and it’s named after a famous Florida storyteller. Gamble Rogers was a beloved folk singer who wrote and performed songs about life in the Sunshine State. Self-described as a “modern-day troubadour,” Gamble entertained audiences with whimsical tales of colorful characters mixed with philosophical humor. From the 1960s to early 1990s he performed on stage and on television and was a frequent guest commentator on National Public Radio. He unfortunately drowned trying to save a man’s life in the water off Flagler Beach, and the naming of the state park was a tribute to his heroic efforts.
Florida’s Maritime History
The recreation area has been an important site along Florida’s Atlantic Coast since the late 1800s. United States Life Saving Service established the Flagler Beach House of Refuge there in 1886 with the mission to assist in the rescue of shipwrecked sailors. It remained in service until 1918 and was reactivated in 1924 as a United States Coast Guard Unit. During World War II, the park served as an Air Warning Site. Men from the United States Army Corps were stationed there to watch for unfriendly aircraft and ships and relay information to the regional center in Jacksonville. The park is still a haven for outdoor adventurers and nature lovers just like it was in the mid-1950s when the state of Florida obtained the title to the property. The Flagler Beach State Recreation Area was opened in 1961 and has been under the management of the Florida Park Service since 1968.
At Gamble Rogers, you can splash around in the waves or build a sandcastle on the golden-brown coquina sand just steps from your campsite. Beyond the beach, you’ll find plenty of things to keep you entertained at the 145-acre state park. Explore the calm waterways and mangrove islands by kayak, or hike and bike along trails that wind through the shady maritime hammock. Both kayaks and bicycles are available to rent. With its mix of habitats and location along the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail, Gamble Rogers is home to a variety of animals, including sea turtles, dolphins, manatees and right whales, which migrate to the Atlantic every December through March.
Stroll through the peaceful Butterfly Garden to watch several brightly colored species flutter by native plants. Then cast a line to catch trout, flounder, red drum and more and enjoy a seafood dinner cooked camp side. When it’s time to tuck in for the night, kids can check out a book from the Bedtime Story Camper Lending Library. The recreation area also hosts monthly events, from kayak tours to educational talks. Bring your guitar for Gamble Jam, a family-friendly, casual acoustic jam session held every second and fourth Saturday of the month. Acoustical instruments of all types are welcome.
Camping at Gamble Rogers Memorial State Recreation Area offers all the amenities you could need. All beach and riverside sites have water, electricity, a picnic table and a fire ring. Visitors can camp in tents or recreational vehicles, with a maximum length of 47 feet for RVs on the beach sites. The campgrounds have full-service bathhouses with restrooms and both indoor and outdoor showers. There are several accessible campsites, and a beach wheelchair is available upon request.
Meet up with friends or have a family barbecue at one of the picnic pavilions along the Intracoastal Waterway, each has tables and a grill. If you are traveling with a canoe, kayak or personal watercraft, there is a boat ramp that leads to the Intracoastal Waterway that can accommodate boats up to 25 feet. Pets are welcome, though they are prohibited on this stretch of beach per Florida state park policy.
Vacation at a Great Value
One of the many perks about staying at Gamble Rogers Memorial State Recreation Area is that you can enjoy a spectacular view without hurting your wallet. Camping costs $28 per night plus tax, plus a nonrefundable $6.70 reservation fee. The price includes water and electricity. Entrance to the state park is $5 per vehicle and correct change is required. Kayak rentals start at $15.
Delicious Dining Nearby
Palm Coast and the Flagler Beaches’ finest restaurants are minutes away when you camp at Gamble Rogers. With a history that dates back to 1947, High Tides at Snack Jack offers a taste of Old Florida with classics like conch fritters, wild-caught steamed shrimp and fresh fish prepared fried, grilled, blackened or jerked. Take a seat at the bar for ocean views at the Beach Front Grille, a casual neighborhood restaurant that boasts the tallest sandwich in Flagler Beach. Cold beer and cocktails are on the menu along with wings, salads and sandwiches, and $5 burgers on Tuesdays. Breakfast, lunch or dinner, it’s all served at Oceanside Beach Bar & Grill. The newly renovated restaurant showcases the owners’ Greek and Italian family recipes along with American comfort food. Enjoy your meal with a view of the ocean on its outdoor patio.
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