The beautiful town of Flagler Beach
Flagler Beach will now be my gauge of what a perfect beach town should be. It is small, laid back, mostly uncrowded, and beautiful. There are great restaurants, parks galore, and plenty of places to just stop, sit, and relax. Gamble Rogers State Park is the perfect place from which to enjoy all the town has to offer.
There are two sides to Gamble Rogers: the beach side and the river side. Both sides offer electric and water hook-ups, access to showers and washing machines, and enough space to keep one comfortable. Neither campground provides much shade, which may be a problem during the hot summer months. The beach side is right on the beach, with a few sites overlooking the beach. The river side sites are a little more spread out and the facilities are much newer. I wouldn’t hesitate to return to either campground again and again.
Because I booked the campground in December, I took what I could get as far as sites go. But I got lucky! We ended up with four days in site 23, with a view over the bushes to the beach, and four days in site 8, which backed to A1A. The noise on A1A wasn’t so bad, especially at night. Even on a beautiful weekend, with a surf competition going on in town, A1A wasn’t a super highway. I was surprised by how quiet it was. Of course, it was January and not many people head to the beach, so it could be worse during the summer.
We did check out the river campground during our stay and were quite impressed with how clean and well organized it was. It wasn’t far from the boat ramp, so it would be a great campground if one has a canoe or kayak. While the campsites aren’t very private, they are well laid out, level, and spacious.
There are some good restaurants in Flagler Beach, though we limited ourselves just a little. A short walk from the campground, along the beach, is High Tides. There is indoor/outdoor seating, a great happy hour, an amazing view, and some pretty good grub. I think the hush puppies are great while Mike would advise to avoid the chicken – it was very overcooked. The tuna steaks were extremely well cooked, and done perfectly to order. They have a decent beer line up and, while I’m not sure it was allowed, we walked our happy hour cups back to the campground to finish out the sunset. Another popular place a little further in town is Oceanside Beach Bar & Grill. While the food isn’t inventive, it is well priced and tasty. The sandwiches and salads are fresh, the service is good, and one can see the beach across the road. The best place we found to eat was Break-Awayz. Had we known it was there and that good, we probably would have spent more time there. You could tell that who ever was cooking really cared about how the food tasted; he/she worked hard to blend unexpected flavors. While it looked like a biker-beach bar from the outside (and from the inside for that matter), the food was anything but standard bar food. There was also an excellent selection of on-tap micro-brews, local and not. This would definitely be my local hangout if I lived in Flagler Beach.
There isn’t much hiking to be done at Gamble Rogers but there are other parks not too far away. We took a morning walk at Bulow Plantation Ruins Historic State Park to check out the kayaking and the sugar mill ruins. While we never made it back with our kayak this trip, we did mark the spot for a future trip; the creek was serene and looked to be a great place to while away an afternoon.
We spent an afternoon at Washington Oaks Gardens State Park, a lovely place with both lagoon access and ocean access. We spent some time wandering in the gardens where many people hold weddings (there was one while we were there) or just come to relax and take in the views. In spring it is probably a magical place with everything abloom.
Most of our time at Gamble Rogers was spent wandering up and down the beach or hanging out and watching the birds. We hated to leave but our reservations were up and we had to go.