A pristine location on the Atlantic and year-round great weather make Palm Coast and the Flagler Beaches an ideal destination for getting outdoors. Whether you are looking for an activity to get your heart pumping, wanting to surround yourself in nature, or interested in trying something new, here’s how to make the most of your outdoor adventure in Palm Coast and the Flagler Beaches.
Speed Off on a Vegetable-Powered Eco-Tour Boat
A scent more reminiscent of a restaurant lets you know that Ripple Effect One is not your average jet boat. The eco-tour boat, the only of its kind in northeast Florida, runs on recycled vegetable oil. The sustainable fuel source produces 50% fewer carbon emissions than standard fuels. Additionally, by not having an exposed propeller Ripple Effect One is not a threat to marine life. The comfortable ride is an eco-tour unlike any other – as you cruise along the river and inlets you will get to explore places only accessible by boat, while learning about the coastal habitats and conservation efforts.
Catch Some Waves
Have you always wanted to learn how to surf? A visit to Palm Coast and the Flagler Beaches is the perfect time to try out this fun and energizing activity. Local surf shops Z Wave Shop and Flagler Board Shack offer lessons for all ages and skill levels. Surfboards and leashes are provided, and instructors will have you feeling comfortable on the board before you hit the water. Bring a towel and a sense of adventure! The first time you stand up on a surfboard and ride a wave is an experience you will always remember.
Try Stand Up Paddleboarding
You don’t need waves to have a good time on a board. Stand up paddleboarding is a great way to explore the calmer waterways in Palm Coast and the Flagler Beaches. Tropical Kayaks can outfit you with everything you need to explore like a local, including gear, maps and personal recommendations for the best sightseeing. Using an oar to push the board through the water builds strength and burns calories, so you will get the benefits of a full-body workout while taking in the beautiful scenery.
Palm Coast and the Flagler Beaches’ community and state parks have miles of biking trails to discover. Looking for a challenging course to work up a sweat? Graham Swamp Preserve has drops, steep climbs, jumps and rock features along 6.7 miles of soft sand and crushed shell trails. For bikers who prefer a more leisurely ride, the St. Joe Walkway at Palm Coast Linear Park is a paved and mostly shaded trail with opportunities for viewing the Intracoastal waterway and wildlife. Linear Park has a bicycle maintenance station available to use 24 hours a day in case you need to change a tire or adjust the gears.
Join a Bird Walk
Palm Coast and the Flagler Beaches are a birder’s paradise, with a mix of coastal and inland habitats that are home to more than 200 species of birds. In fact, six of the area’s parks and preserves are part of the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail, a network of premiere viewing sites throughout the state. Keep your eyes and ears open on a bird walk with the Flagler Audubon Society. The group hosts free walks that are fun for birding newcomers and enthusiasts alike. With experienced guides you’ll have help spotting and identifying birds like the Florida scrub-jay and yellow-rumped warbler, and maybe even see a bald eagle. The Flagler Audubon Society can share helpful identification tips that you can use whenever you are out in nature, as well as how to use native plants to attract birds and pollinators in your own backyard.
Explore a Coastal Scrub
Wading birds, manatees and dolphins are some of the animals you can see when you stroll through the coastal scrub at Betty Steflik Memorial Preserve. The 217 acre preserve is a hidden gem just moments from downtown Flagler Beach. As you walk along a weathered boardwalk you will cross tidal creeks, mangroves, mud flats and salt marshes. The loop trail is a flat walk of just under two miles, with plenty of benches where you can sit and admire the peaceful surroundings.
Swim With Dolphins
Among the unique and memorable outdoor experiences you can have in Palm Coast and the Flagler Beaches is the chance to swim with dolphins. You’ll find this at Marineland Dolphin Adventure, a family friendly aquatic park and conservation center. Marineland was the world’s first oceanarium, and has been delighting visitors with one-of-a-kind encounters since opening in 1938. Touch and play with a bottlenose dolphin in the water, then hold on to their pectoral flippers as they take you along for a ride!
Try Yoga on the Beach
Find your balance on the beach with yoga just steps from the Atlantic Ocean. Meditation Mama Yoga offers yoga on the beach every first and third Saturday of the month at Old Salt Park in Palm Coast. The hour long class is open to all experience levels. After the energizing series of postures you will enjoy an extended savasana as the sound of crashing waves take you to a deeper state of relaxation.
Take a Kayak Tour at Sunset
It is the perfect way to end a day exploring Palm Coast and the Flagler Beaches – a sunset kayak tour with Ripple Effect Ecotours. The glowing kayaks light the way as you are treated to a symphony of the birds and animals that become more active at dusk. The red-orange of the setting sun reflecting on the sparkling blue water makes a magical ambiance for viewing manatees, dolphins, osprey, herons, jumping mullet and other fish. As you drift through the water a guide will explain the importance of the ecosystem and its inhabitants. Ripple Effect Ecotours has partnered with Marineland and the University of Florida’s Whitney Lab to offer the area’s premiere eco-educational kayak tours.