Archive for Parks

Fort Mose State Park in St. Augustine FL is Rich With History

Fort Mose State Park is near the site of its namesake, which was the first legally sanctioned Free Black settlement in what is now the continental United States.  In 1738 the Spanish Governor of St. Augustine ordered the fort and settlement built for the former slaves who had escaped from the British colonies to the North.  The Spanish had let it be known that any former slave who converted to Catholicism and pledged to defend Spanish territory would be free.  By 1738 there were at least 100 free blacks living in the City.

The full name of the settlement was Gracia Real de Santa Terasa de Mose but was known  simply as Fort Mose  (mo-say).


The Park is open every day but Christmas from 9 am to 5 pm.  There is no charge for entrance.  To get there go north on US 1 and, after passing a Wendy’s and Winn-Dixie on your left at a stop light, be prepared to turn right just past two stone pillers with statues.  There is a small brown sign just before you turn on Fort Mose Trail.  After two short blocks this becomes the entrance to the Fort parking lot.  When you park you will see the boardwalk that goes over the marsh and gets you closer to the original site. 


The administration building has rest rooms and water fountains in the “free” area.  The back of the building has an excellent small museum with artifacts and interactive displays that tell the rest of the story.  There is a $2.00 charge for adults and children over 6 and it is well worth the price.


During the British siege of 1740 the British were encamped here.  The Spanish soldiers supplemented by white and black militia companies attacked early on the morning of June 26th and after desperate and bloody fighting killed many and captured the survivors.  This battle became the “Battle of Bloody Mose”  and is reenacted every June.  This first fort was destroyed during the battle.


In June they dedicate one weekend to living history and have reenactors there demonstrating cooking and domestic crafts as well as firing muskets and cannon.  The scheduled days are: June 21st – 22nd


The Fort was rebuilt in 1752 on a site nearby on the creek and the Free Black settlement continued in operation until the British period began in 1763 and the Black settlers went to Cuba with the Spanish residents.  The Fort was partially destroyed in 1775 and completely destroyed in 1812.


These two Fort sites were lost over the years until rediscovered using infrared photography.  The sites have been inundated and the marsh had swallowed them so that only the footprints have survived.

Contributed by Harry Metz




April 26th, 2014

History comes alive at Fort Mose Historic state park

–Fort Mose Historic State Park invites visitors to travel back in time–


ST. AUGUSTINE – The Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Fort Mose Historic State Park, the Fort Mose Historical Society and Florida Living History, Inc. will present the latest edition of its Experience Fort Mose series on Saturday, April 26, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.  The event is possible through a grant from the Florida Humanities Council.


Each month offers visitors a fascinating glimpse into life at Fort Mose.. April will focus on the Black Experience in St. Augustine through the years with Fort Mose serving as the ‘starting point’, or the birthplace of Freedom.  A remembrance ceremony will conclude the living history program to honor the ancestors and original freedom seekers at Fort Mose in cooperation with Middle Passage Ceremonies & Port Markers Project, Inc.


Participants should dress appropriately for the weather and bring insect repellent and sunscreen, as the program will be held outdoors. Program is weather permitting.


In addition to the demonstration, the park’s museum and visitor center will be open.  Visitors can watch a 15-minute film on the history of Fort Mose and its residents, as well as learn about the site through the interactive museum exhibit.


Listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1994, Fort Mose Historic State Park tells the story of El Pueblo de Gracia Real de Santa Teresa de Mose, the first legally sanctioned, free African settlement in what is now the United States.


The entrance fee into the park’s visitor center is $2.00 per person. Children under 6 are free. For event details, please contact Tonya Creamer at (904) 823-2232. For additional information, visit



Enjoy a Scenic Boat Ride to Explore Fort Matanzas in St Augustine FL

Fort Matanzas was completed in 1742 by the Spanish to protect St. Augustine from an attack by their enemies, both England and pirates.  It fell to ruin in the 1820’s, was stabilized by the War Department in 1916 and 1924.  The National Park Service took it over and rebuilt it in 1935.  It is an under visited gem in the NPS system. Read More→

Dog Parks in St Augustine and Ponte Vedra FL

If you are looking for a dog park, St. Augustine has a few good ones. These parks are clean and fun but most importantly they are “Local Dog Approved!”






Paws Dog Park is located within the Treaty Park Complex
1595 Wildwood Drive
St. Augustine, Florida 32086 Map


DAWN to DUSK unless otherwise posted

Facility Overview

Small Dog Park

  • Completely Fenced
  • Single Watering Hole

Large Dog Park

  • Completely Fenced
  • Multiple Watering Holes
  • Shaded Area with Sitting Bench
  • Mock Fire Hydrant
  • Plenty of room to run, jump, and socialize
  • No leashes necessary within Paws Dog Park!
  • Please pick up after your pooch



210 Davis Park Road
Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida 32082 Map
P: (904) 209-0370
F: (904) 209-0347

A playground for all our four footed friends to enjoy! Two large fenced in areas  with a pond and obstacles for your pets to play on.

Designated parking for Paw Park visitors near the football field parking lot. There is also a Dog Wash located next to the concession stand building adjacent to the southern most Paw Park and pond.

During your visit, please keep in mind:

  • Unleash dogs in the designated area before letting them into the park. It’s safer for all our guests.
  • Please clean up any mess your four-legged friend may leave behind. Bags, shovels, and trash cans are located in the dog park for your convenience.
  • No food or drink in the dog park.


PAWS DOG PARK  at Ron Parker Park

On Anastasia Island

Old Beach Rd
St Augustine, Fl

This dog park has shade, drinking water, benches, and mulch ground cover.

Beautiful Parks to Visit in St Augustine FL-

Looking for a great park to hike, horseback ride, kayak or swim? Check out some of these great spots. Most of the parks here in Saint Augustine are pet friendly and allow dogs but they must be on a leash no longer than 6′. Some parks don’t allow pets on the beach or certain other areas.  Check our notes or the parks website for more details.


Many of these parks offer camping if you’re looking for a place to stay.  Check the Park Legend for information on activities.

  Park Legend

  • BikingBIKING
  • CampingCAMPING
  • CanoeingCANOEING
  • FishingFISHING
  • HikingHIKING
  • SurfingSURFING
  • Wildlife WILDLIFE
$ 8.00 Per Car
Dog friendly except for the beach.
You can also rent  Hobie Cats, Stand Up Paddle Boards and Kayaks here

1340 A1A South

St. Augustine, Florida 32080



Anastasia State Park is located only 1.5 miles from historic downtown and has activities for every member of the family. Nature walks, kayaking and fishing are just a few of the activities you will find at this beautiful beachfront state park. Anastasia also offers kayak and canoe rentals on site. The park has covered picnic areas, showers and a snack bar.


Fort Matanzas National Monument

See Review of Park


Dog friendly except for the Fort and Ferry ride.

8635 A1A South

St. Augustine, Florida 32080



Fort Matanzas has a history closely entwined with the City of St. Augustine and the Castillo de San Marcos. Built in 1740-1742 by the Spanish, it was used to guard the Matanzas inlet, to ward off and warn northern neighbors of British enemies from the south. Today, the Fort is a standing monument for the early Spanish Empire in Florida. Located on the barrier islands off the shores of the Atlantic Ocean, this historic landmark is home to an abundance of Florida wildlife.

Fort Mose Historic State Park

See Review of Park
$2.00 per person, museum admission fee. Children 5 and younger are free.


15 Fort Mose Trail

St. Augustine, Florida 32084



Fort Mose, established in 1738 by Manuel Montiano, gave safety to Africans running away from slavery in the English Colony of Carolina. Approximately 100 Africans lived at Fort Mose, making the fort a monument for black history. They created a founding community which drew on a range of African backgrounds blended with Spanish, Native American and English cultural traditions.



Geocaches are hidden in the park. Please check for the most current up-to-date information.

Historic Site
Fort Mose Historic State Park is the site of the first legally sanctioned free African settlement in what is now the United States. The site was designed as a National Historic Landmark in 1994.

Interpretive Exhibit
Interpretive panels are installed throughout the park, depicting the story of Fort Mose. The park also has replicas of three historic items, including a chosa or a cooking hut, a small historic garden and a small Spanish flat boat called a barca chata.


The museum, located in the park’s visitor center, helps visitors learn more about the site’s significance within the history of the United States. The collection includes highly interactive, multimedia exhibits and artifacts found during the excavation of the second Fort Mose site.
Faver-Dykes State Park
$5.00 per vehicle. Please use the honor box to pay fees. Correct change is required. Limit 2-8 people per vehicle.

$4.00 Single Occupant Vehicle.

$2.00 Pedestrians, bicyclists, extra passengers, passengers in vehicle with holder of Annual Individual Entrance Pass.


1000 Faver-Dykes Road

St. Augustine, Florida 32086



Faver-Dykes offers activities for an entire fun filled day. Camping, canoeing, hiking and picnicking can all be enjoyed at this pristine, undeveloped landscape that truly represents the Real Florida. The 1,608 acres along Pellicer Creek are home to an array of Florida wildlife such as deer, turkeys, hawks and river otters. Kayaks and canoes are available to rent on-site.

Canoes can be reserved by calling the park. $5.00 plus tax per hour.  $25.00 plus tax for 5 or more hours (all day).

The park has two 1/2 mile loop nature trails. One trail begins near the picnic area and winds along the pine flatwoods into the scrub and along Pellicer Creek. The other trail begins in the campground and winds along the hardwood hammock and along the banks of Pellicer Creek. Several miles of park boundary roads and back woods roads are also available for hiking. Please make prior arrangements with park staff to hike these backwoods areas.

Pellicer Creek borders the southern boundary of the park and is popular for fishing. Both saltwater and freshwater species can be caught in Pellicer Creek. Red drum, black drum, sheepshead, spotted seatrout, common snook can all be caught from the park’s fishing dock. Freshwater species such as large mouth bass and bream can be caught closer to the creek headwaters. A fishing license may be required. Size and bag limits are strictly enforced. All of the current regulations are available at the park.

Gamble Rogers Memorial State Recreation Area
Dogs are not allowed on the beach.

$5.00 per vehicle. On the ocean side, please use the honor box to pay fees. Correct change is required. Limit 2-8 people per vehicle.

$4.00 Single Occupant Vehicle.

$2.00 Pedestrians, bicyclists, extra passengers, passengers in vehicle with holder of Annual Individual Entrance Pass.

$5.00 per boat that access park from the Intracoastal Waterway. Please pay at the Ranger Station.


3100 S. State Road A1A

Flagler Beach, Florida 32136



Bordered by the Atlantic Ocean and the Intracoastal Waterway, this 144-acre park offers coastal camping, picnicking, swimming, fishing, and nature study. The daily low tide is an ideal time to observe the shore birds feeding in tidal ponds, and summer months bring sea turtles to lay their eggs in the sand.

Canoeing & Kayaking

Gamble Rogers Memorial State Recreation Area has kayaks and canoes available for rent! We offer single and tandem style kayaks. Canoes and kayaks can be launched from our boat ramp that easily leads to the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway. Come by the ranger station to rent by the hour or by the day! We now offer stand up paddle board rentals and tours by Roll ‘n’ Float Outfitters.

Wildlife Viewing

Gamble Rogers Memorial State Recreation Area plays host to an extremely wide variety of wildlife and plant life. Our park plays host to many different birds. This park is located on the east section of The Great Florida Birding Trail. During late spring, summer, and early fall, many sea turtles crawl up on the park’s beach to lay their eggs. The beach calls many interesting creatures home such as shore birds, crabs, and fish. Right whales can be found hanging out offshore during winter months. During the warmer months manatees and dolphins can be seen frolicking in the ocean or in the inter=coastal waterway. Wildlife such as butterflies, otters, bobcats, deer, owls, gopher tortoise, snakes, and alligators are all possibilities when you on your own adventure in the Real Florida!


Swimming is always a popular activity for those interested in exercise, cooling off, or having fun. The park has about ½ mile of beach for visitors to play on. There is no lifeguard on duty, however, the beach is patrolled regularly by our park staff.

Moses Creek Conservation Area


Trail Map –

S.R. 206

St. Augustine, FL 32086



One of the few remaining undeveloped tidal creeks in the region can be found at Moses Creek Conservation Area preserves. Wildlife such as the great blue heron, snow egrets, osprey, hawks, gopher tortoises, deer, otters and foxes can all be seen at this riverside conservation area. Native Americans, who occupied the area thousands of years ago, used the tidal marshes as an important resource.


Hiking, jogging, bird-watching or any other activity where travel is by foot only is allowed on District lands except in areas restricted by signs.

Horseback riding

Horseback riding is allowed on many conservation areas on trails in designated areas and established roads and fire lines, except where restricted by signs. Check area maps for horseback riding opportunities.


Washington Oaks Gardens State Park

$5.00 per vehicle. Please use the honor box to pay fees. Correct change is required. Limit 2-8 people per vehicle.


$4.00 Single Occupant Vehicle.


$2.00 Pedestrians, bicyclists, extra passengers, passengers in vehicle with holder of Annual Individual Entrance Pass.



Pets are not allowed on the beach or the gardens.

6400 N. Oceanshore Boulevard

Palm Coast, Florida 32137



This 410-acre park is truly one of Florida’s gems. Bordered by the Atlantic Ocean and the Matanzas River, the park sets a picturesque setting for a day of hiking and picnicking in the gardens or fishing along the river. Washington Oaks Gardens also has a unique coquina rock shore that serves as a feeding ground for many species of birds at low tide.



Fishing from the seawall and surf fishing is allowed at Washington Oaks. Washington Oaks Gardens State Park is a popular place for recreational fishing. Fishing can be enjoyed from the park’s seawall on the Matanzas River. Surf fishing is allowed from the beach. A number of different species are routinely caught, including whiting and blue fish in the surf; several species of trout, redfish, drum and flounder along the seawall. A Florida saltwater fishing license may be required.


The formal gardens are the centerpiece of Washington Oaks Gardens. A portion of the hammock contains a formal garden where many species of exotic plants from around the world are displayed along footpaths and around reflecting ponds. The gardens are well known for their azaleas, camellias and roses.

Hiking/Nature Trail

Washington Oaks Gardens State Park provides trails for both hiking and biking. The Bella Vista trails include the Timucuan hiking trail, Jungle Road hike and bike trail and the Old A-1-A hike and bike trail. This 1.7 mile trail system explores a mature coastal maritime hammock and ventures into the edge of a dense canopied coastal scrub. The Mala Compra hiking loop is a half-mile loop that explores the eco-zone 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 the Florida Department of Environmental Protection in cooperation with the Florida Trail Association. These trails are maintained by Florida Trail Association volunteers.

This park is on the Great Florida Birding Trail. Birding can be enjoyed in a variety of habitats including the beach, Matanzas River, and throughout the formal gardens.  Each year during the migratory seasons birding becomes a very popular activity at Washington Oaks Gardens State Park. Check out our Birding Checklist


The Fountain of Youth in St Augustine FL is a Pet Friendly Attraction Worth Seeing

Ponce De Leon’s World Famous Fountain of Youth is one of my favorite places in St. Augustine, FL. This attraction is very dear to my heart. My grandparents Joe & Nan Deuschle met and fell in love there in 1927. My grandfather was the gardener who discovered the skeletal remains of the Timucua Indians in 1934 while he was planting orange trees on the property.  This incredible discovery led to research conducted by the Smithsonian Institute and The University of Florida Museum of Natural History and is a large part of the parks history today.




The Park is located on 15 beautifully landscaped waterfront acres. This beautiful piece of property is home to many friendly peacocks. They love to display their colorful  feathers in hopes of being fed peanuts by the many guests who come through the Parks Gates. I visited the park recently and although I have been there many times before  I never tire of the gorgeous grounds. I ran into several locals that day who were all enjoying the Park and its views of the Intracoastal.

The Park is most famous for its springs, also known as The Fountain of Youth. About 60 years ago, they built a beautiful Coquina structure around the spring with a gorgeous fireplace to warm yourself on a cool winters day. The spring water comes directly from Florida’s aquifer and is said to contain over 30 minerals. I have been drinking from the spring since I was five years old, my first visit to the fountain of youth. Here they have cups of water so you too can drink from the springs magical waters.

The Park is a combination of an “Old Florida tourist attraction” and a world-class Archaeological Park.  The owners have gone through great lengths to preserve its’ history and to continually improve the Park and the exhibits. Even if you have been here before,  it’s worth coming back to see the new exhibits that are constantly added. On my recent visit, I was there to enjoy the new Founders River walk. The Park has recently added a 600 foot dock out into the gorgeous salt marsh. Here you have spectacular views of the inlet and the Bay. They have even included some benches to sit down and relax on while you breathe in the salt air and watch the wildlife out in the marsh.  This particular day I also took some time to learn more about the reconstruction of the Mission Church.  The structure was built using historically correct methods wherever possible using local cypress, which was known to 16th century Spaniards to be durable and resistant to wood-eating insects. The Mission church features a choir loft and rustic altar, and uses a palm thatch roof. The floor is crushed coquina, as is the area around the church.


The Park has living history exhibits performed by knowledgeable reenactors. One of my favorite demonstrations is the cannon firing. A crowd had gathered  to see this in depth demonstration of the firing of a Breech Cannon. BOOM! Hold your ears for this one. This is a beautiful Cannon and you don’t get to see one of these in action very often. I loved this demonstration and so did the rest of the visitors. We were also shown how to shoot a Crossbow that was of Spanish influence. That was a big favorite of all of the kids watching, but I loved it too. I think I’ll be adding one of those to my Christmas list.

All of the Reenactors at the Park are phenomenal. They are friendly, professional and have a wealth of knowledge. They are happy to answer your questions and teach you about the history behind the particular demonstration. The day I was there, they also had someone making  pottery, and someone carving a canoe out of a hunk of pine using the burn and scrape method. These reenactments were taking place in the Timucan Village.  The things they do here are amazing and so interactive.


Archaeologists have been excavating at Ponce de Leon’s Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park for over 80 years, and in that time the discoveries have rewritten history textbooks time and time again. Since 1934, archaeologists have made a long list of major finds at the Park, and excavations continue to this day. You can see some of these archaeological treasures on display within the Park.

If you go hungry, they have a great snack bar where you can grab an appetizer, hamburger, sandwich or one of the coldest beers in town. They also have a fantastic gift shop if you’re looking for the perfect souvenir. The Park is a pet friendly attraction too. 

So whether or not you love history or archaeology, lush landscaping and views of the Bay or friendly peacocks looking for treats, The Fountain of Youth has something for you. Take a few hours and be transported in time, enjoy and explore!


 Discover something old,

 discover something new,

 discover something beautiful 

 in a park with the perfect view.





The Fountain of Youth is open 9-6 daily and the last ticket is sold at 5:00pm.



Adult (13-59 yrs): 12.00
Child (6-12 yrs): 8.00
Senior (60+ yrs): 11.00

 11 Magnolia Ave  St. Augustine, FL

Phone: 904 829 3168

“Know What The Locals Know”


The Cannons at Oglethorpe Battery Park- St Augustine

Scott Hughes, Reenactor, as General James Oglethorpe, Governor of Georgia

 The newest addition to one of the City’s historical military sites occurred on June 30, 2013.  On that date, three replica cannons were unveiled in Oglethorpe Battery Park. This was the site of a three gun battery used by Georgia’s Colonial Governor, Gen James Oglethorpe, in his attempt to force the surrender of the Castillo de San Marcos and the City itself in 1740.  His unsuccessful siege lasted from June 27 to July 20 and was lifted by a Spanish fleet bringing supplies to the besieged City.

The cannons are aligned on a 282 degree heading, aimed at the Castillo which is not presently visible from the park.  It lies across the Bay about three quarters of a mile away, well within the effective range of the guns. Contributions for the cannons were raised by the 450th Military Commemoration Committee and the local home owners association (SANDS).  The City provided the concrete pads and gun carriages.



The Park is on the corner of Arredondo Ave and Oglethorpe Blvd.  From Anastasia Blvd turn North at the Anastasia Inn onto Arredondo Ave and go north four blocks.  The Park will be on your right and the battery on its northwest corner.


Anastasia State Park- A Great Place to Stay or Play

Anastasia State Park is a little slice of paradise located near historic downtown and the beaches in St. Augustine. Whether you are visiting for the day or camping for a week, this beautiful Park will appeal to all. I personally have camped there since I was a small child and I visit the park now on a regular basis to take advantage of all this little slice of paradise has to offer.

The campsites are truly reminiscent of old Florida. The breeze off the ocean has created some of the most picturesque, gracefully bent Cedar trees I have ever seen, to shade you from the Florida sun. It  Features 139 Sites with electric and water hookups for both RVs and tents. The park offers all amenities including a communal dump station, hot water showers and laundry facilities and free Wi-Fi hotspot. The campground is pet friendly for well-behaved pets.



The park itself is open daily from 8 AM until sunset all year round. There is an $8 entrance fee per car. The park allows fishing, boating, swimming and fires in designated areas.


The Park  is home to over 4 miles of beaches to walk, jog or bike. There is a store and a snack shack that sells beach sundries and  camping and fishing supplies. You can also rent bicycles, beach chairs and umbrellas. If you’re looking to picnic there are three different picnic areas, some with tables under pavilions with grills and a beautiful private hilltop gazebo with a table and grill. The picnic areas are  handicap accessible. The park also has plenty of public restrooms, showers and playground areas.




The beaches are absolutely gorgeous!  Cars are not allowed to drive on these beaches and  you can’t bring your pets either.  These are some of the most beautiful unspoiled beache you will find  with gorgeous sea oats covered sand dunes. There are lifeguards on duty to protect you during the summer months.  Here’s a locals’ tip for you …. they always fly a purple flag which means dangerous marine life. This is standard in all state parks to protect them as well as you. Don’t be discouraged by this, you can always ask a lifeguard before you swim if they have seen any dangerous marine life that day. If the tide is out, this is also a great beach to go shelling.

If you love water sports, Anastasia Water Sports is located within the park. ( see my review ) They rent kayaks, canoes, windsurfers, paddleboats, Hobie cat, Sunfish, and stand up paddle boards.  It’s best to make a reservation but if you can’t, just stop by, they will do their best to accommodate you. Some rentals are dependent on tides so it’s good to check with them first.

You can walk for miles at Anastasia State Park  enjoying the wildlife, ocean views and salt air.  It is truly a wonderful way to spend a day.




Fun Parks for Kids to Play- Saint Augustine

Davenport Park –180 San Marco Ave-   904-823-3388

Davenport Park has a full scale, antique carousel offering rides for little ones 7 days a week all year round for $1 per ride.

This park has a very nice playground area with a nice shaded tree canopy covering the many picnic table areas.

The climbing structure is very nice and has some interesting, and fun things for kids to do. The play structure was funded by a non profit foundation in memory of Kourtney Nicole Schmidt, who lost her life at the age of 10 months to Spinal Macular Atrophy. Her remarkable parents, who were grieving, decided to set up a foundation in her honor to do something good for the community.

The foundation created the play structure inside Davenport Park. It is called Kourtney’s Korner, and is fully handicapped accessible, meaning a wheelchair can go right up the ramp and kids can play with some fun interactive things up at the top of the structure.



Splash Water Park at The Saint Augustine Pier:  Lots of fun for the kids!! Right there by the pier entrance is a splash park for your kids to run and play in along with a little play ground.  It is right on the beach so you can go and enjoy the waves too!  There are picnic tables and bathrooms available as well as free parking.


S.W.I.N.G. Park: Located in downtown by the parking garage and next to Francis Field.  This is an awesome park for the kids!!  The structure is mostly wood with lots of things to climb and walk across.  There are regular swings and a tire swing.   There is also a separate section for the smaller children.


Treaty Park:  Located off Wildwood Rd off SR207.  This park has a dog park too!!  There is a playground, tennis courts, racquetball courts, skate park and nature trails.  There is also a dock that is over a pond to feed the ducks and turtles.  This park also has a covered pavilion with picnic tables.


Contributed by, Jennifer Ellen Ellis -Olde Towne Toys