Washington Oaks State Park is known for the coquina rock formations on the beach as well as the 20 acres of formal gardens and is located right off of A1A. I saw a picture of the rocks online and we had to go see them for ourselves. It’s only and hour and 45 mins from Orlando so we decided to make a day trip out of it.
We visited the gardens side first. There is a $5 entrance fee, via drop box like most state parks, so bring cash. It includes access to both the gardens and the beach. There is a nice gift shop on the gardens side with an air conditioned washroom, so you have a place to stop if you had a long drive here.
Wandering around the gardens enjoying the flowers and butterflies is a really relaxing way to spend the morning. The Southern Live Oak trees are so big and beautiful.
Keep heading through the gardens and you will reach the Matanzas River. You can grab a bench and enjoy sounds of the water, fish off the seawall or enjoy a picnic with a view.
After a little relaxing by the water, we head back into the gardens and found the visitor center. It had a family room set up with a comfy couch, chairs and even and old fashion TV. So of course, we had to try out all the chairs and see how comfy they are. Verdict? Super comfy and enjoyable!
We finished up at the gardens and headed back to our car to drive across the street to the beach. Since we had already paid the $5 fee to enter the gardens, this also included access to the beach. I didn’t notice bathrooms on the beach side so I would suggest using the ones on the garden side if needed.
Washington Oaks State Park beach has the second largest outcropping of coquina rocks on the Atlantic coast, with Blowing Rocks Preserve being the largest. Seeing these rocks was our reasons for taking this adventure and they lived up to our expectations.
You can climb and explore the rocks.
Peak into tide pools and look for shells.
I even found a little mermaid cave under the rocks. This was early March so I was wearing pants and long sleeves but I crawled in any way. I got completely covered in sand but you only live once so it was worth it!
The rocks seem to go on forever.
We had a blast exploring and I don’t think we even made it half way before we had worked up an appetite and went on a search for food. This is definitely a great day trip coming from Orlando. Made for a perfect beach day when the weather is too cold to go swimming since there is much to explore. Such a fun day!
Our next adventure —> I Got to Hug a Horse