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One of the most expansive and successful Works Progress Administration projects during the 1930s, Ravine Gardens State Park is a slice of wild in a city. Inside a deep ravine above the St. Johns River, a botanical garden that was anchored by the planting of more than 250,000 ornamental plants and 95,000 azaleas resulted in a destination for spring blooms. It was Palatka’s first – and still best – tourist attraction, named the Nation's Outstanding WPA Project in 1933. Upon entering the park, you have two choices: to explore by car or on foot. A 1.8 mile one-way scenic drive hugs the lip of the ravines, enabling you to get an overview of the ...

One of the most expansive and successful Works Progress Administration projects during the 1930s, Ravine Gardens State Park is a slice of wild in a city. Inside a deep ravine above the St. Johns River, a botanical garden that was anchored by the planting of more than 250,000 ornamental plants and 95,000 azaleas resulted in a destination for spring blooms. It was Palatka’s first – and still best – tourist attraction, named the Nation's Outstanding WPA Project in 1933. Upon entering the park, you have two choices: to explore by car or on foot. A 1.8 mile one-way scenic drive hugs the lip of the ravines, enabling you to get an overview of the azalea-covered hillsides before taking a walk down into the ravine. Pullouts enable access to staircases leading downhill at a few points along the drive. The best entry on foot, however, is to enter the gardens through their formal entrance, passing a two-headed cabbage palm and several East Palatka holly, native to this region. Trails lead along the edge, into, and around the ravines, with two swinging bridges connecting at the narrows.

Sandra Friend
About the Expert

Sandra Friend has written 12 books about Florida, including the Explorer's Guide (Countryman Press) series to Florida.

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Spring and summer