The moment has arrived. You can travel again. If you want to feel the sand in your toes, frolic with family in the waves and breathe in the ocean breeze, you are allowed to roam once more. You can rise from your sofa, pack your bathing suit and a towel, and drive to the ocean to discover that the core of a vacation at the beach is just as we always remembered. There’s no better escape to reinvigorate and revive the senses than in Palm Coast and the Flagler Beaches.
To ensure everyone can visit safely, Flagler County has launched the Pledge to Prevent initiative. This commitment to implement and maintain the state of Florida’s recommended hygiene and cleaning requirements ensures the safety and cleanliness of each space for all residents, guests and tourists. Most retail shops, attractions, restaurants and bars in Palm Coast and the Flagler Beaches have had successful re-openings and are implementing safety precautions, such as hands-free payment options, disposable menus, no contact check-in and out and more. Here are a few of our not-to-miss favorites for your next visit.
Embrace The Beach Lifestyle
Flagler Beaches and its quiet sunrises, simple beauty and hospitable locals have been waiting patiently to welcome you back. You’ll find all levels of affordable accommodations to fit your budget around Flagler. There are RV and camping sites if you still want to practice social distancing among the great outdoors, as well as vacation rentals where your family or friends can be on their own, and small motels and inns with fewer amounts of guests. And the larger resorts and chain hotels are working hard to ensure every guest is staying in clean, sanitized rooms with social distancing and safety guidelines followed.
Frequent travelers to this quaint beach town are aching to get back and are understandably thrilled now that businesses are safely reopening and can host them again. That may be because the typical weather forecast in Palm Coast is bluebird skies, and the overall vibe is laid-back and relaxed. In the morning, dynamite sunrises come up over miles of uncrowded, pristine beaches. The weather is ideal for both fresh- and saltwater outdoor activities as the town is sandwiched between the Atlantic Ocean and the Intracoastal Waterway. Whether you’re an avid (or budding!) cyclist, hiker, mountain climber, golfer, angler or horseback rider, there are plenty of courses, parks and forests to immerse yourself in nature.
With most trails open now, Flagler’s labyrinth of parks is vast with a route for everyone. Stroll around 20 acres of formal gardens or admire 425 acres of coastal scenery at Washington Oaks Garden State Park. The nearby Bulow Plantation Ruins Historic State Park surrounds the ruins of a former sugar cane plantation, sugar mill and allows guests to tour an 1888 hunting lodge. This list of the area’s outdoor maps and trails can help you get started.
If an adrenaline rush is more your style, take to the waters in your own boat or reel in a big redfish, snook or trout on one of the many chartered fishing excursions in town. Florida is the fishing capital of the world with world-class expeditions waiting for the experienced angler. Call ahead to see which charters are running and at what capacity—each one varies. If it’s your first time in the area or with the kids, it’s always fun to simply fish off the pier. No need to sweat getting a fishing license, pier admission includes one for the day and most charter companies can handle that for you.
A family kayak tour is another way to see the backwaters of the Palm Coast. Plop your family down in a kayak or on a standup paddleboard from Tropical Kayaks of Palm Coast. The outfitter has been in Flagler for 20 years and while it’s not offering guided tours right now, it is providing designated routes for customers to take through the Intracoastal Waterway and nearby wetlands. It’s using a reservation system, wearing masks and timing visitors with appointments so staff has time to disinfect the boats, paddles and equipment in between uses.
Heal the Mind and the Body
At a moment when people need it the most, the thriving wellness community in Palm Coast and the Flagler Beaches is another draw to quiet your mind and refresh your soul. A back-to-nature wellness vacation may be just what so many of us need in these stressful times. Flagler’s natural surroundings provide numerous opportunities for inspiration, Zen and contemplation. Outdoor yoga is ideal with the weather report. Find your ohm on the beach with Meditation Mama Yoga, a mobile yoga studio that holds classes next to the surf every other Saturday at Old Salt Park. Inner peace is also found at Concierge Yoga & Fitness, a beautiful studio that offers meditation circles as well as some private yoga sessions—and the occasional class taught on the beach. Many people report they leave Flagler shores feeling inspired, recharged or uplifted after visiting.
Takeout, Delivery or Dine In
Most of the area’s restaurants are open with modified seating for dine in and outdoor patios, as well as takeout and delivery. Oceanside Beach Bar & Grill has opened its doors with a reconfigured dining room for foodies to enjoy its most popular dishes such as Seafood Trifecta (mussels, shrimp and scallops) or fish n’ chips with a glass of Flagler punch while overlooking the water.
Regulars know to snag a few filets right out of the ice at Flagler Fish Company’s fish market and take them home to grill out with the family. You can also dine in its quaint restaurant next door to enjoy clam dip, peel-and-eat shrimp or fried green tomatoes at this local favorite. If you are craving margaritas, house-made guacamole and tacos, Dahlia Mexican Kitchen is the favorite go-to-spot for a taste bud fiesta in Flagler. The cheerful outpost is now welcoming guests into the dining room (call ahead for reservations). If it’s packed, no problem, it also has full gallons of pre-made house margaritas, a 10-taco value pack and six-packs of cerveza to-go for curbside pick-up or delivery.
Moonrise Brewing Company is another homegrown spot where locals and tourists hang together to sip original brews and gastropub fare. Its black bean burger, Southern-fried chicken sandwich and buffalo chicken bites are all beloved and made its new limited menu (they’re adding back more items every day!) and can be paired with a Czech Pilsner like Gypsy Tears or a Belgian Wit like Solar Flare. With limited capacity due to socially distanced seating, to-go growlers and bites are also available for those on the run. Yum!
Flagler encourages visitors to continue individual best-safety practices and to check in with businesses in advance of arriving to make your own decisions based on what is best for you.