Ravine Gardens State Park and Palatka celebrate our azalea season with the Azalea Days Festival at the Park, and the Florida Azalea Festival in Palatka, March 3-4, 2018. At Ravine Gardens, azaleas begin to bloom in late February and continue into early April, reaching their peak early in March, with over half the plants in bloom at one time. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the 146-acre park includes close to 100,000 historic flowering trees and shrubs, so visitors will see dogwoods, redbuds, magnolias and camellias in bloom, as well the many varieties of azaleas. A forest of native ferns, mosses, and live oaks surrounds the five acres of formal gardens along a tributary of the St. Johns River. Visitors can enjoy a variety of picnic sites and a playground as well at the state park.
The park will host its Annual Azalea Days Festival, on Saturday from 10:00 am until 5:00 pm, and on Sunday from 10:00 am until 4:00 pm. Saturday, visitors will find more to do than just stroll through the gardens or take a scenic hike or bike ride. They will be able to wander among local vendors featuring arts, crafts, and plants, while Four on the Floor and JP Driver provide musical entertainment. Food vendors will be there as well. Sunday, Rangers will lead guided hikes of about 1.5 miles from the formal gardens, down stone terraces, and over the park’s suspension bridge. Since the scenic hikes include uneven terrain, Rangers also will offer programs about the park’s history. For a complete schedule of events, visit the Ravine Gardens Facebook page.
Palatka will hold its 72nd Florida Azalea Festival the same March weekend. Taking in all the festivities is easy, since downtown Palatka is less than two miles from Ravine Gardens State Park. On Saturday and Sunday, visitors to Palatka will find five blocks of Festival vendors including downtown businesses, restaurants plus arts and crafts and food vendors. Pets are more than welcome at the event- they’re even invited to come in costume, an Azalea Festival tradition. The Florida Azalea Car Show will be held Saturday throughout the day at Riverfront Park. Saturday morning, there’s a parade down Main Street at 10:00 am, and a beauty pageant that evening.
Both these Festivals are just 30 miles from Saint Augustine. En route, you’ll find the Armstrong Portion of Palatka-to-St. Augustine State Trail, a scenic multi-use recreational trail for additional outdoor fun. Although the Festivals are just one weekend long, the azaleas will be blooming from now until early April, so plan to include a visit to Ravine Gardens State Park during your spring stay with us at Casa de Solana.
Azalea Days at Ravine Gardens State Park
Saturday, March 3, 2018: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Musical entertainment by Four on the Floor and JP Driver
Admission: $4 per person; children 6 and under free
Sunday, March 4, 2018: 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
Guided Hikes will be offered at 11:00 am, 1:00 pm and 3:00 pm
Ranger programs about the historic park will be offered 12:00 pm and 2:00 pm
Admission: $2 per person Sunday; children 6 and under free
All proceeds benefit the Friends of Ravine Gardens
Location: 1600 Twigg Street Palatka, Florida
NOTE: Admission is cash only, there is no ATM on site. Due to damage from Hurricane Irma, the drive through the park is closed to cars, but open to bikes and pedestrians. Parking within the park is limited; additional parking is available in a lot adjacent to the park.
For additional information, please visit the Park’s website or call 386-329-3721
72nd Florida Azalea Festival
Dates: Saturday, March 3 and Sunday, March 4, 2018
Location: Along the banks of the St. Johns River near the Palatka Welcome Center, 900 St. Johns Avenue, Palatka, Florida
Admission: Admission to the Florida Azalea Festival is free.
For more information on this event please visit their website or call 386-328-0909