(Last Updated On: January 2, 2023)

Courtyard at Ravine Gardens State Park

Bright colorful gardens and structures reminiscent of the mid 1900s can be found halfway between St. Augustine and Gainesville in Palatka, Florida. This serene area, Ravine Gardens State Park, features historic gardens, trails and picnic areas along two deep ravines.

The park is one of the original nine mid 20th century ‘New Deal’-era state parks that were developed in Florida. The steephead ravines contain a spring-fed creek called whitewater Branch. Guests enjoy walking along the rim of the ravines and viewing these majestic sinkholes from above.

Activities

Come spend an adventurous yet relaxing day inside Ravine Gardens State Park.

Inside this peaceful Florida state park you can…

Wander through the formal gardens and see the azaleas, camellias, dogwoods and chickasaw plums; walk along the trails that lead up to the top of the ravine; have a picnic lunch under a shaded oak tree; participate in a Ranger led nature tour; and learn more about the park’s flora and fauna through interpretive exhibits inside the Civic Center.

Here are some of the many activities that you can do during your visit to Ravine Gardens State Park:

The Gardens at Ravine Gardens State Park

The colorful gardens inside Ravine Gardens State Park showcase formal and natural gardens, water features, and American Rustic Architectural structures that were popular during the mid 1900s. These structures include the main entrance, stone terraces, amphitheater and two suspension bridges.

The gardens were first developed during the Great Depression (1933-1939) by the City of Palatka, and 95,000 flowers had been planted here by 1934. At that time azaleas were designated as the garden’s focal point, because their gorgeous colors would bloom during tourist season.

wooden bridge over a pond at Ravine Gardens State Park

Hiking at Ravine Gardens State Park

Ravine Gardens State Park’s 4 hiking trails wind through the woods, around the ravine and along the springfed stream. One of the trails, a par course fitness trail, has stations with strengthening exercises for all ages and abilities.

Here are a few of the trails at Ravine Gardens State Park:

  • Ravine Loop Trail – An easy 1.8 mile loop around the ravine that offers guests a view of the spring-fed stream from above.
  • The Azalea Trail – An easy to difficult trail that is 2.5 miles long. Along this trail guests cross over suspension bridges and climb up many stone stairs for spectacular views of the ravine.
  • Whitewater Path – An easy 0.7 mile trail that connects with the Ravine Loop Trail and begins along the bottom of the ravine system.

Biking at Ravine Gardens State Park

Bring your bicycle and enjoy a leisurely ride around the ravine. The Ravine Loop is a 1.8 mile paved road that offers visitors spectacular views of the gardens. Riders under the age of 16 are required by Florida law to wear helmets.

Birding at Ravine Gardens State Park

Bring your binoculars and see who you might discover along the park’s windy trails near the steephead ravine, slope forest, and gardens. Both native and migratory bird species may be observed here throughout the year.

Here are a few that you might see during your visit: Red-bellied Woodpeckers, Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, Barred Owls, Cerulean and Chestnut-sided Warblers, Baltimore Oriole and Rose-breasted Grosbeak.

Ferns growing on a hill at Ravine Gardens State Park

Nature and Wildlife at Ravine Gardens State Park

Explore the park’s trails through the magnolias, dogwoods, bay trees, live oaks and laurel oaks and along the ravine for a chance to see White-tailed deer, squirrels, opossums, racoons, foxes, otters, skunks, turtles, fish, alligators and many species of birds.

Pets at Ravine Gardens State Park

Pets are allowed at Ravine Gardens State Park as long as they are kept on a hand held leash no longer than 6 feet and are supervised and cleaned up after.

Camping Near Ravine Gardens State Park

Beautiful Ravine Gardens State Park features day use areas only. For overnight accommodations check out these nearby state parks:

  • Mike Roess Gold Head Branch State Park is located 30 miles west of the park at 6239 State Road 21 in Keystone Heights.

    This state park, one of the oldest in the state, consists of 2400 acres of scrub, marshland, sandhills and lakes. It features 73 campsites, each with water, electricity, a picnic table and a grill. Bath Houses with laundry facilities are within walking distance from campsites.

  • Anastasia State Park is located at 300 Anastasia Park Rd in St. Augustine.

    The campground inside this picturesque state park is within walking distance to the beach area. Each of the 139 campsites has electric and water hookups, a picnic table, fire ring and grill. Bathhouses with hot showers and laundry facilities are located near campsites.

  • Payne Prairie Preserve State Park is located at 100 Savannah Blvd in Micanopy, about 10 miles south of Gainesville.

    This rustic state park’s campsites are nestled into the shaded hardwoods and along the lake. Each site has water and electric hookups, a picnic table, fire ring and grill and is close to restrooms with hot showers. A primitive group camping area, accessible only by foot, horse or bicycle, is also available inside the park.

Park Location

Ravine Gardens State Park
1600 Twigg St
Palatka, FL 32177
Phone: 386.329.3721

Park Website

Map

Video

Here is a short YouTube video showcasing several attractions at Ravine Gardens State Park: