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Palm Coast: There’s Something for Everyone
Years ago, if you mentioned the city of Palm Coast to someone – even a Florida resident – one may have no idea where it is or what it might look like. The city itself was not incorporated until 1997 and, in the beginning, was mostly undeveloped coastal property with few residents and not even a gas station in town.
Just twenty years later, Palm Coast is now a thriving community with a population of approximately 85,000 residents, offering a breadth of amenities, including restaurants, boating marinas, retail shopping, cultural centers and world-class golf courses. And while the city began as a destination for Northern retirees, Palm Coast has evolved into a diverse community fit for retirees and young, growing families alike.
WATER, WATER EVERYWHERE
Palm Coast and the nearby Flagler Beach are lined with 19 miles of pristine, uncrowded cinnamon-colored beaches, practically untouched and undeveloped along the Atlantic. There is a level of tranquility on our beaches that is unheard of anywhere along the East Coast, from Maine to Miami. Here, there is no fighting for a prime spot along the sand because there is plenty of room to spread out and enjoy, read a book, take a walk or have a picnic with your family.
More than 70 miles of fresh and saltwater canals weave through our residential areas. Just west of the Atlantic runs the Intracoastal Waterway, a stunning stretch of brackish water which offers boaters’ access to the Atlantic as well as the opportunity to stay closer to the coastline for fishing, watersports, paddleboarding, kayaking and more. Here, boaters and kayakers may explore inlets and marshland for fishing and birdwatching, as well as sightings of dolphin and manatees.
PARKS & PRESERVES
With our temperate climate and abundant sunshine available nearly year-round, nature is king in Palm Coast and the surrounding areas. Not only do we have incredible boating, fishing and watersport adventures at our fingertips throughout our waterways, we have 125 miles of hiking and biking trails woven through our city and county.
There are trails for all levels of fitness and interest. For the easy ride, the tranquil and level Lehigh Trail is a stretch of repurposed railroad corridor that extends approximately 8 miles from east to west, parallel to the Lehigh Canal with some of the best scenery in the county. There is also the St. Joe Walkway/Linear Park which is perfect for cyclists, runners and walkers and offers tremendous views of the Intracoastal Waterway.
For a the more adventurous ride, there is the famous 7-mile Graham Swamp trail, which offers varied elevations with technical rock gardens, climbs and many drops. Additionally, the Mala Compra trail offers a slower ride with varied elevations, tight turns, and quick descents around several natural springs.
Other than your boat, there is one critical thing you will need to have ready when you make the move to Palm Coast – you will want to have your appetite. There is something for everyone available in the eateries across Palm Coast and the Flagler Beaches. Some of the best mom and pop shops in the region serve fresh, local seafood as well as great BBQ, Italian fare, NY style pizza, authentic international cuisine, shellfish and more. In many cases, you can enjoy your meals on an outdoor patio or balcony with an ocean or Intracoastal view. The best part is, al fresco dining can be enjoyed nearly every day of the year thanks to our warm temperatures and exceptionally sunny days. In addition to locally owned restaurants, there are also several reliable chain restaurants and coffee shops scattered across the city for you to enjoy your old favorites.
If an occasional night out is what you are looking for, there are a variety of bars serving local craft brews, handmade martinis and ice-cold margaritas all over town. Up and down the barrier island, there are spots open late for your after-dinner cocktail or a meetup with new or old friends, you are sure to have a great time.
Often referred to as the “Pebble Beach of Florida,” Palm Coast is a golfer’s paradise. There are several spectacular courses to choose from offering a challenging game for the novice and the expert linksman alike. Across the county, you’ll find courses designed by legends like Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player and Tom Watson that are built around picturesque marshland, lakes and woodlands, as well as the Atlantic Ocean. The Ocean Course at the Hammock Beach Resort, the premier course in the county, was named to Golf Digest’s “2018 Best Golf Resorts in Florida.” Designed by Jack Nicklaus, it offers views of glistening lakes and wetlands and six holes right on the Atlantic. Whichever course you choose, you are sure to have an incredible day out on the greens.