by Brenda Carter de Treville

Set along Florida’s east coast between St. Augustine and Daytona Beach, Flagler Beach is a cozy retro coastal town that is a true gem. Offering miles of sparkling beaches and great fishing from the classic pier, Flagler Beach is intriguing to both locals and tourists.

With wonderful art and festivals, beachside boutiques and shops, savory waterfront restaurants, surfing and natural parks, Flagler Beach is the place for a weekend getaway or an afternoon visit.

Gamble Rogers Memorial State Recreation Area at Flagler Beach offers the perfect commune with nature. Nestled between the Atlantic Ocean and the Intracoastal Waterway, this natural park is named for Florida folk singer Gamble Rogers. The seasons of this Florida nature park create unique outings that include beachcombing, fishing, swimming and sunbathing and watching birds feeding in tidal pools. Investigate the nature trail winding through a shady coastal forest of scrub oaks and saw palmetto. The park has two full-facility campgrounds – one situated on the dune above the shore of the Atlantic Ocean and another on the Intracoastal Waterway.

Bulow Creek State Park features the Fairchild Oak, one of the largest live oak trees in the south. It’s a photographer’s delight and a monument of nature that is a must-see. Hiking trails are perfect for exploring the one of the largest remaining live oak forests along the east coast which are home to deer, barred owls and raccoons.

And starting annually in May (through October) sea turtles lay their eggs in the golden-coral beach coquina sand along Flagler Beach. Sometimes you might be able to catch a few of the turtle eggs hatching and watch the new little ones’ trek to the sea.

Fishing is ideal in Flagler and the Flagler Beach Pier is an iconic landmark to catch fish, watch the tides or just experience being out over the Atlantic Ocean. Originally built in 1927, the Pier was extended to 1000 feet and has witnessed its lifetime of rough seas and hurricanes – some necessitating the Pier being rebuilt.

From fresh seafood and tasty Italian, Mexican, European cuisines to local dishes made from fresh items discovered at the Flagler Farmer’s Market, dining is a delight in Flagler Beach! And save room to explore the ice cream shops as a special treat.

Art galleries and shops are fun visits in Flagler Beach. Whether you are looking for an original work of art, glass or jewelry created by local artisans or you are searching for the unique gift to remember your outing in this coastal gem, Flagler Beach is the place you’ll return often and find one-of-a-kind treasures.

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