Jacksonville Beach and Flagler Beach, FL – March 25 – April 6, 2023

On our way to Flagler Beach, we spent one night at Kathryn Hanna Abbey Park, in Jacksonville beach. It’s a city park. The park has 1.5 miles of beach and 20 miles of hiking and biking trails. The beach was beautiful and uncrowded for a Saturday during spring break season. The campsites were pretty small and challenging to enter or exit with a larger RV. The main reason we don’t plan to return is that the route to get into the park took us through a high-traffic area of downtown Jacksonville, which also seemd to be a bit unsafe. That particular detour was not worth being at that park, for us.

We were happy to return to Gamble Rogers State Park in Flagler beach again, the next day. This was our third year camping at the small, casual surf town.  There are no high-rises and no big hotels, so the town has not lost it’s charm like other towns, such as Daytona Beach or Destin. It’s a top destination for bikers, but our observation is that they are mostly mellow retirees enjoying freedom after a lifetime of work. We know of a great seafood market in the area, where we get local shrimp, tuna, wahoo and  mahi. We also really appreciate food and drink prices at the local restaurants (ex: $3 for a beer at  happy hour, compared with $12 in Destin)

There are many hiking trails in the area, but I was still recovering from a couple of injuries, so kept my walking to a minimum.  We had mostly great weather, so Dave surfed often and we spent time on the beach. By chance, one of my closest friends, Felecia, has been vacationing in the area for many years with her family, and they happened to be renting a house nearby, with friends. We spent an afternoon visting them and had a great dinner.  I also had breakfast with Felecia one day and lunch and shopping with the girls, another day. It was really fun.

The highlight of this campground is that the campsites are just steps from the beach. We can hear the ocean 24/7 and watch beautiful sunrises every day.  We don’t mind the lack of pavement or grass, to be so close to the ocean. There is another campground across the road, on the river, which has very large crushed gravel sites, surrounded by grass, We have noticed that each campground has it’s own vibe. At Gamble Rogers, people are mostly quiet but really friendly. We have often seen people here that we previously met here or at other campgrounds. We will return next month, as we head north toward home.

Campsite at Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park, Jacksonville, FL
Campsite at Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park, Jacksonville, FL
The beach at Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park, Jacksonville, FL
Sunset at Gamble Rogers State Park
High Tides at Snack Jack, Flagler Beach, a casual oceanside restaurant. The building sustained some damage from Hurricane Ian. After being closed for several months for repairs, it’s looking better than ever.
Gamble Rogers State Park
One of my favorite Florida wildflowers, Sunshine Mimosa, aka Powderpuff at Gamble Rogers State Park
One of my favorite Florida wildflowers, Sunshine Mimosa, aka Powderpuff at Gamble Rogers State Park
Time at the beach with Felecia. We have been friends for almost 30 years
View of the Flagler Beach fishing pier, from the deck at Funky Pelican. The pier is now closed after Huricane Ian destroyed it Sep. 2022.
View of the beach from the deck at Funky Pelican
The campsite across from ours at Gamble Rogers. I took this photo for Dave’s dad. Dave’s parents, Gary and Shirley, camped at countless places across the country. They always camped in a tent and over many years drove a red Dodge Caravan.
Dave surfing just after dawn, Gamble Rogers State Park
Pelicans at Gamble Rogers State Park
Sunrise at Gamble Rogers State Park