6400 N. Oceanshore Blvd. Palm Coast, Fl. 32137
The formal gardens are the centerpiece of our park, with remarkable displays of native and non-native plant species including azaleas, camellias and bird of paradise.
The gardens offer visitors a peaceful stroll along winding reflection ponds sheltered by a picturesque oak hammock. Washington Oaks is also famous for its unique shoreline of coquina rock formations along the Atlantic beach. This ancient rock formation creates the perfect spot for beachcombing, tidal pool exploring, and photography.
- $5 per vehicle. Please use the honor box to pay fees. Correct change is required. Limit 2 to 8 people per vehicle.
- $4 single-occupant vehicle.
- $2 pedestrians, bicyclists, extra passengers, passengers in vehicle with holder of Annual Individual Entrance Pass.
Washington Oaks Amenities
Bicycling – trails available – Helmets are strongly recommended for children 16 and younger.Birding – The Ranger stations has birding checklists, upon request.
Fishing – Matanzas River Seawall or Surf fishing is allowed from the beach. Many species to catch including but not limited to:
- Trout, Redfish, Drum, Flounder – From the Seawall
- Blue Fish or Whiting – Surf Fishing from the Beach
Hiking – Bella Vista Trail System – This trail system explores a mature coastal maritime hammock and ventures into the edge of a dense canopied coastal scrub.
- Timucuan Hiking Trail
- Jungle Rd Hike & Bike Trail
- Old A1A Hike & Bike Trail
- Mala Compra Hiking Loop
The Mala Compra hiking loop is a half-mile loop that explores the ecozone between the coastal maritime hammock and the estuarine tidal marsh along the Matanzas River. The hiking trails at Washington Oaks Gardens State Park were developed by DEP in cooperation with the Florida Trail Association. These trails are maintained by Florida Trail Association volunteers.
Walking & Running – On Paths and Beach Shoreline
Picnics – Enjoy a beautiful picnic facility beneath large majestic oaks. There is a covered pavilion along with other tables and grills located throughout the picnic area. The picnic area’s close proximity to the park hiking trail and the Matanzas River makes it a popular meeting place for an after-lunch hike
$50 per day, plus tax.
To rent a pavilion please call 386-447-1553
- Restroom facilities and a children’s play area are also available in the picnic area.
- Consumption of alcohol beverages is prohibited throughout the park.
Weddings and Receptions – The beautiful gardens and ponds, makes this a perfect wedding venue. Check for availability today by calling 386-447-1553
History of Washington Oaks
In 1936, the land known today as Washington Oaks Gardens State Park was bought and given to the state by Louise Powis Clark. She donated it after her husbands death and before her own in 1964. Her husband, Mr. Owen D. Young. Clark was a designer from New York and Young was an attorney and industrialist who had been chairman of the board of General Electric Corporation and RCA. He also advised the federal government on international monetary issues and was named 1929 Time Magazine “Man of the Year.” The house, built in 1938, became a winter retirement home for Clark and Young. Native Americans once used the water’s edge as a rich food source and hundreds of years later, the Youngs built their house facing the Matanzas River. Mr. Young would spend time relaxing by the water’s edge, with a pole in hand, while watching the boats cruise up and down the Intracoastal Waterway.
The Youngs were responsible for the name Washington Oaks, as well as the design of the gardens and the house. They combined native and exotic plantings, even adding touches from Asia, where both had spent time. The Youngs gradually acquired the beachfront property from neighbors. Throughout the 1940s and ’50s, children and grandchildren enjoyed extended vacations here. Mrs. Young gave most of the land to the state of Florida before she passed in 1965. She specified that the gardens be maintained in their present form and expanded as funds became available.
Historic Washington Oak
The Washington Oak, estimated to be between 200 and 300 years old, has withstood the test of time. The live oak tree is one of Florida’s oldest and sturdiest trees, able to withstand hurricane-force winds, fires, droughts and floods. The enormous tree at the center of the gardens provides shade and beauty for thousands of park visitors.
Mrs. Young donated this land, requesting that the state maintain the property in its current form and improve upon the gardens as funds became available. The park has sought to remain faithful to this wish as changes become necessary. An example is the fountain that once stood in the center of one of the ponds. Although this particular fountain no longer stands, it has since been replaced to keep her wishes.