Has this season’s amazing weather got you craving a walk on the wild(flower) side? Our outstanding selection of unique gardens and parks will help you get your step count up and provide a much-needed breath of fresh air!
Rockefeller Gardens at The Casements
The Casements is situated on the Halifax River and was originally the former home of John D. Rockefeller. Rockefeller employed a Swedish landscape designer to develop the gardens to his own specifications and extensive renovations done in 2009 created what is now Rockefeller Gardens. Stroll along the promenade, which is connected via a walkway along the riverfront to Fortunato Park on the northwest side of the Granada Bridge. The Garden’s outdoor stage is a popular spot for weddings and used for performances during festivals and events held in the Gardens.
Ormond Memorial Art Museum and Gardens
This hidden gem is in the heart of east downtown Ormond Beach. The lush tropical gardens feature shaded nature trails, fishponds, peaceful streams and fountains. The Museum building is undergoing extensive renovations and is expected to be complete in 2022. However, the gardens remain open and can be enjoyed daily from sunrise to sunset.
Central Park consists of four parks totaling nearly 150 acres connected by miles of paved walking/jogging paths and boardwalks. Within the parks, there are outdoor gazebos, pavilions, picnic tables and outdoor grills. Canoes/kayak boat ramps provide access for non-motorized boats in the lakes and ponds, and the Joyce Ebbets pier provides fishing access to the lake. There are basketball and tennis courts, and several playground areas. The self-guided exhibits in the Ormond Beach Environmental Discovery Center, located at 601 Division St. in Central Park III, provide visitors with a glimpse into the diverse ecosystems within the parks.
Michael Crotty Bicentennial Park
Stretching from the Halifax River to the Atlantic Ocean, this 37-acre park north of Ormond Beach is loaded with amenities. Beachgoers may park across the street from the ocean on the park's east side to enjoy the sand and surf. Amenities include hiking, baseball field, basketball and tennis courts, fishing dock and a soccer field. A large pavilion offers plenty of shaded picnic tables. A four-acre dog park includes separate areas for large and small dogs, watering stations, benches and shade trees. Hikers looking to get back to nature may take a jaunt along one of the park’s nature trails and boardwalks. Winding through the scrub habitat, gopher tortoises and raccoons call this area home. The western end of the trail brings walkers to the Riv-Ocean Drive fishing dock on the Halifax River. The park is open daily from sunrise to sunset.
Located on the expansive campus of the Museum of Arts and Sciences in Daytona Beach, the Tuscawilla Preserve is a lush 90-acre virgin Florida coastal hydric hammock and a habitat for numerous endangered species of flora and fauna. The complex contains nearly a mile of boardwalks and nature trails as well as an education center and interactive learning stations.
This 41-acre park in stretches from the Atlantic Ocean to the Halifax River. At the heart of this park is the Green Mound State Archaeological Site, an ancient Indian midden. The terrain is varied, from the ocean dunes, through terraced palmetto patches and maritime hammock to the wetlands adjacent to the Halifax River. Native plants in the Preserve include Florida lantana, southern red cedar, cabbage palms, Simpson’s stoppers and oak trees. At the base of the Green Mound is a live oak estimated to be more than 350 years old. The Preserve is part of East Section of the Great Florida Birding Trail and is an excellent site for bird watching.
Love dinosaurs? Then you’ll love this park, which mixes history, quirky art and shaded, winding garden paths. Enjoy English sugar mill ruins surrounded by lush botanical gardens, native trees, a butterfly garden and collections of bromeliads, ginger and cacti. A rare human sundial allows visitors to stand next to the current month's tablet and with arms raised, the shadow will point to the time. The gardens feature the ruins of a 19th-century sugar mill that contains the most complete sugar grinding machines in the country. Around many corners there are huge dinosaur statues, remnants of Bongoland, an amusement park open from 1949-1952. The Gardens are open daily from dawn to dusk.
The City Center Municipal Complex is a beautiful 50-acre community park located in the heart of Port Orange. The area includes a half-mile walking trail around a lake, fitness trail, gymnasium, amphitheater, skate park, sports complex, Veterans Park and more.
Riverfront Esplanade -
The park that runs the length of historic downtown Daytona Beach is being transformed. The Riverfront Esplanade extends a mile along the Halifax River and includes a promenade along the water's edge, running and walking trails, and landscaping designed to encourage relaxation and reflection including water features, shade trees and raised botanical gardens.
Want more ideas on how to pick your pace and reconnect with nature through this area’s outdoor splendor? Go here to learn more about things to do outdoors.