A day trip to one of our favorite beaches turned into an impromptu overnight trip and our discovery of Flagler Beach, a quaint seaside town perfect for families looking for a low-key day at the beach.
The family and I started our trip to the beach pretty late on a Saturday, around 3 p.m. As we drove toward Ponce Inlet in Volusia County, I suggested we cash in some hotel points, stay the night and repeat the beach on Sunday. We booked a room in Flagler County and made our way there along A1A (with a short stop at the Daytona Beach Boardwalk) as the sun began to set.
The drive into Flagler County was unlike what I’m used to in Central Florida — no high-rises, no tacky souvenir shops, no throngs of scantily dressed tourists crowding sidewalks. Instead, the road runs right along the beach providing a gorgeous unobstructed view of the crashing surf. You also get an idea of what undeveloped Florida looked like as A1A passes through the Gamble Rogers State Recreation Area.
The following morning we dined in a greasy spoon called Friends Cafe (My corned beef hash was great as were the pancakes.), and then we made our way to the ocean. As we passed through the town of Flagler Beach, I cooed about the charm and cuteness of all the adorable shops and restaurants. It was like driving through a town that time forgot. I made note of at least one retro-fab motel worthy of a future visit (Si Como No Inn).
We simply pulled off the road to park (free beach parking is abundant along the street), and walked few yards over one of the many boardwalk overpasses to the sandy shore. The first thing that stood out about the beach here was orange sand. The unique hue, it’s said, comes from a coquina collection in the nearby waters. The beach itself isn’t very wide, a stark contrast to the vast sandy expanses of Volusia County. Where we were set up was bordered by a hill of giant rocks that gave the beach a California feel, although there were grassier spots to the north of town.
Overall, the kids loved the beach and my husband, and I loved the calm quaintness and convenience of Flagler Beach. So we’ll be adding this one to our list of family fave beaches.
IF YOU GO: Most of the stretch is swim-at-your own risk, but closer to the town’s center you’ll find lifeguards during the high season. The only public shower we found was also in town near the Funky Pelican restaurant. And if you’re driving back, you’re going to want to rinse off this super-sticky sand. (We had to scrape it off with our fingernails.) Pack some baby powder to help get it off. The waves at Flagler Beach are perfect for hanging ten, so bring or rent a board. Unfortunately, we ate a late lunch on the road home, so I can’t offer any lunch or dinner recommendations. Address: Flagler Beach, Florida.