BEACH: Washington Oaks Gardens State Park
Check out these charming gardens, beach and river on Florida's east coast. Page 5.
After you've explored the gardens, walked the trails, fished in the river, and had lunch in the picnic area it would be understandable if you felt you'd seen Washington Oaks Gardens State Park and it was time to go.
But the fun is just beginning.
Washington Oaks Gardens State Park not only has an ocean beach, it has one of the more unique beaches in Florida. We definitely don't want to ignore this part of the park just because we've already seen a beach at our hotel.
When you drive out of the garden part of the park you'll return to A1A, with a choice of turning left or right, north or south. If you're ready for more adventure, decline these choices and drive straight across A1A to the beach.
Once you park your car and walk over to the beach you'll be presented with another choice.
To your right you'll see miles of the kind of wide open sand beach that is typical of the north Florida east coast.
To your left you'll see a couple miles of beach piled high with a fascinating collection of weather and water carved coquina stone.
Our west coast friends may be wondering what's so special about a bunch of rocks on the beach, given that that's a normal part of the beach experience for them. It's different here in Florida of course. Florida has about 1200 miles of coast, and 99% of it is sand bottom waters. Many Floridians spend their whole life going to the beach and never see any rocks worth noting. So please forgive us if we go nuts about rocks when we find them!
Before you rush towards the rocks, a quick word of warning.
I wouldn't describe this rock field as dangerous, but certainly it could be a hazardous hike for some. As you can see in the photos, the rocks have eroded into a million holes and crevices.
What may be less obvious in the photos is that along the water's edge the rocks are wet and covered with slippery slimy algae. If you're an able bodied adult with average common sense there is no reason for concern. If you have small children in your party you may wish to approach the rocks with some caution.
If you are at all concerned about these issues, please note that you can walk along behind the rocks, without walking on the rocks. There is a path of regular sand beach between the dunes and the rocks.
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