I love this state park soooo much ! We both do. I had to go back and look at my blog posts to see if I had written about this one and I was shocked to see that I hadn’t BUT, I am now and super stoked to share it with any one that hasn’t heard about it. Ravine Gardens State Park is located in Palatka, FL. and is another area in central Florida with fun and challenging hiking topography in comparison to the majority of central florida. This is also peak flowering season for the park (Jan-Mar) so go go go! Azaleas were beautiful and it was refreshing to see so much lush and alive greenery. Incredible photography opportunities as well (:
You will have fun exploring this state park, we didn’t get around to everything the first time ( 2-3 years ago)…. I wasn’t even aware that there are not 1 but 2 suspension bridges so we had to go back and have done so at least 4 times. I always forget how beautiful it is and what a work out it is as well. Definitely would rank this on my “top state park” list for sure. The first suspension bridge isn’t hard to find, it is right as you start for the trails, you can make a right for the first trail or keep going and around the corner will be the first suspension bridge. To your left from there past the pond is the second. It’s so easy to miss if you get carried away in the other direction.
Lyric was in his element playing in the spring that flowed up and out into a pond, he kept trying to float leaves down but they’d get stuck on the sulfur buildup. Several other kids took a likinging to that same area as well. He saw some teenager making his parents mad by running through the ravine with his shoes on lmao and wanted to follow suit. I took both of our shoes off and we walked through the ravine starting nearby the pond up past the first suspension bridge. There is a tunnel so that the ravine can flow under the trail and I got the idea to have us on either side floating leaves down.
We kept our shoes off majority of the last of our hike, it didn’t bother him and we are both use to it. We passed one person that said I was smart for going barefoot, I think he’s smart for acknowledging that (: I am a huge advocate of going barefoot as I deal with back pain near daily and the difference between standing on ground versus a hard surface is so evident sometimes I just crave it…even if it’s something simple as getting to a park and playing soccer or running around out on the field. My spine adjusts and there’s automatically some relief. On the other side (because opinions are just that and everyone has one) we passed a woman that looked down noticing Lyric wasn’t wearing any shoes and made a comment saying “we can’t wear shoes?” I replied with “humans were meant to be barefoot.” and continued walking.
It seems like I come across something new each time I explore this park but the last hurricane could have also played an incredible part in this also. Last time I found several small waterfalls:
The trails are fairly narrow, I love how natural everything is maintained within the hiking area with the exception of a few bridges along the trail and steps leading down. Going around the park is an asphalt loop along there is a playground, workout station, picnic tables..I have seen people bike riding and jogging as well. I believe there are limitations on using it for driving.
Things offered at this State Park:
- hiking trail
- bicycle trail
- work out station
- picnic tables
- photography opportunities
- room rentals
The biggest downside is accessibility, and I witnessed that firsthand last time we were there. Someone was wheelchair bound and they had to take the person out while one woman carried the wheelchair up the stairs and a man helped the person get up them….this type of situation is why accessibility matters. A ramp could easily be in place as this area isn’t located where the trails are.