Blake Walsh

15 Free Things to Do in Palm Coast, FL

  • Published 2022/12/14

Palm Coast is a charming small Florida town that attracts many tourists from big cities.

It boasts a year-round summer vibe, a thriving local art scene, and vibrant coastal life many would love to experience.

Located on the northeastern side of Flagler County, Palm Coast is southwest of the neighboring coastal town and county seat Bunnell City.

The town is also southeast of the equally stunning Flagler Beach.

What was formerly a swamp and pine forest became a developed city with a perfect mix of recreational choices and environmental preserves.

Locals and tourists have year-round access to several leisure and preserve parks, multi-use waterways, and distinct destinations for art enthusiasts.

Enjoying this city does not come with a price.

You can check out the free things to do in Palm Coast, Florida, and discover why it is one of the best cities in the state.

Explore Princess Place Preserve

Hiking trail at Princess Place Preserve

Tiffany Katz /

The Princess Place Preserve has been a historic site on Pellicer Creek since 1886.

It has 1,500 acres of vast natural wonders and is a known destination for those wanting to hike through mossy forests and waterways.

The preserve offers several hiking trails to feed your nature-tripping cravings.

The tracks will lead you to a breathtaking sight of the stunning Pellicer Creek.

Native American performance at Princess Place Preserve

Tiffany Katz /

You will also encounter a canopy of live oaks and a saltwater marsh.

On another trail, you’ll find scenic overlooks of estuaries, ponds, the bay, and a bird rookery.

The trails also offer close encounters with birds and wildlife like armadillos, deer, opossums, and wild boars.

View of Princess Place Preserve on a sunny day

James Holland /

Launch Your Boat at Bing’s Landing

If you are up for some fishing adventure in Palm Coast, you can launch your boat at the vast Bing’s Landing free of charge.

Bing’s Landing is a historic country park in Hammock’s North Ocean Shore Boulevard and lies along the Intracoastal Waterway of Flagler Country.

The eight-acre park opened in 1989, which brags of its state-of-the-art boat launch, a popular site for locals and tourists who want to explore the Kenai River.

While the place is farther upstream and is mostly just a ramp spot, you can catch fish, such as sockeye, early after launch before you go down the river and into Skilak Lake.

Discover Visual Art at Bess Studio

Palm Coast is a haven for artists, and you can find many art spaces in this coastal city.

Bess Studio is one of the most famous art galleries located at Surf Drive, which offers free admission for anyone who would like to check out their exhibitions.

Discover amazing and unique visual art in this museum run by professional artists Eric and Hélène Bess, who have collaborated for the past 20 years.

Bess Studio is the home for their numerous paintings, interesting 3D Assemblage, diverse murals, and art embellishments primarily for homes and businesses.

The two are famous in Palm Coast, whose works have brought them to various states, including New York, Georgia, California, and other parts of the world.

Ride a Bike at Mala Compra Mountain Bike Trail

The Mala Compra Mountain Bike Trail at North Oceanshore Boulevard offers a 15-kilometer track for avid mountain bikers.

As a moderately challenging route, the trail offers shaded pathways with technical courses perfect for those practicing their riding skills.

You will also be guided with clear signages and safe detours, which are helpful for beginners.

As you tackle the short track, you’ll also see canopies of live oak trees and some wildlife along the trail, including fawns and deer.

There are also sulfur pools along the Mala Compra Mountain Bike Trail, surrounded by tropical hardwoods and Palm trees.

Launch Kayaks at Long Creek Nature Preserve

You can never run out of water activities to try in Palm Coast.

The best option is to go to Long Creek Nature Preserve at Palm Harbor Parkway if you want to kayak through the tranquil waterways.

Established in 2008, the preserve is a kayak and canoe access to Long Creek and College Waterways.

Launching your kayak from the preserve lets you follow the 19th-century shipping routes to the historic Hernandez Landing Site.

View Sculptures at Baliker Gallery

Another renowned artist, Paul Baliker, chose Palm Coast as the home for some of his award-winning creations.

The Baliker Gallery at North Ocean Shore Boulevard is open to all who would like to see his intricate wood carvings up close and marvel at his fantastic talent.

The Hammock Beach sculptor works mainly on wood and bronze, creating life-sized monuments and renditions of fictional beings.

As you explore his gallery, you’ll find that his works form a harmonious connection with nature, mostly related to waters and earth.

The Baliker Gallery was launched in 1996 and is open to everyone who would like to visit.

Play at Holland Memorial Park

The James F. Holland Memorial Park is a 26-acre community park offering diverse recreational activities for the whole family since it opened in 1991.

Located at Florida Park Drive, the park is a known gem for the young and the young-at-heart.

Its unique playground was designed after the historic Bulow Plantation Sugar Mill.

The play area features slides, a climbing wall, ladders, and bridges where children can get active.

Besides the playground, the park has a treehouse, zip line, sand pit, and a 3/4-mile walking trail.

There are shaded areas for resting thanks to the park’s tree canopies.

Hunt for Turtle Sculptures along the Turtle Trail

Following the Turtle Trail is a fun and unique way to appreciate Palm Coast’s love for the arts.

In 2018, the Palm Coast Art Foundation launched the Turtle Trail, which features a dozen turtle sculptures made of fiberglass in strategic public spaces in the city.

You can start your hunt at Palm Coast Historical Society, James F. Holland Memorial Park, and follow other turtle artworks throughout the city.

Finding the sculpture also allows you to enjoy beautiful sceneries in Palm Coast, which make the trail more exciting.

Unveiled in 2018, the artworks are a tribute to the species commonly found along the coast.

The turtles are painted in different and exciting concepts.

One is painted like the cartoon character Garfield while another is inspired by Vincent Van Gogh’s Café Terrace at Night.

When you visit Palm Coast, you will love hunting for these exciting art installations with your kids.

Walk Your Pet at Jungle Hut Road Park

The Jungle Hut Road Park is a two-acre family-friendly destination in Palm Coast that allows free admission to the public.

It offers fishing, water-based activities, and bird watching of ruby-throated hummingbirds.

Likewise, it is a popular place to bring your furry friends, especially your dogs.

Your pet will surely enjoy walking along the seaside and playing with the sand on a lovely afternoon.

The park’s only requirement is to keep your dog on a leash at all times, with a length of no longer than six feet.

Stroll around the European Village

The European Village at Palm Harbor Parkway is an iconic plaza in Palm Coast.

Since it opened in 2006, it has become a one-stop hub for entertainment, dining, and shopping.

The 11.09-acre destination also houses prime real estate offices, restaurants, and boutique shops.

The plaza is a destination in itself, with its European-inspired architecture and lined palm trees covering the public place.

It is the perfect backdrop for photo opportunities.

You can also sit comfortably on its public benches or take a leisurely walk around.

Commune with Nature at Graham Swamp Conservation Area

Bring your whole family to Graham Swamp Conservation Area at Colbert Lane for fun and free day activities.

This attraction is a great place to commune with nature, with its diverse mix of flora and fauna.

The 3,000-acre freshwater basin preserve offers a glimpse of nature’s beauty with wildlife sightings and scenic views of the beautiful Bulow Creek.

It also features floating water lilies that cover a blackwater pond and a wooden boardwalk.

The hiking trail is also a picture-perfect opportunity to sight diverse wildlife and study nature.

You can spot birds, mammals, and reptiles, and has plenty of wildflowers along the well-defined and canopied trail.

Admire Outdoor Art Installations at the Palm Coast Parks

Palm Coast is beginning to carve out a reputation as an art city with its many outdoor art installations.

Three distinct art installations in essential parks across Palm Coast show the city’s creative culture.

These are made by local artists commissioned by the city to showcase their talent to Palm Coast’s visitors and its locals.

The Flight of Life is a stunning artwork at the 20-acre Waterfront Park along Intracoastal Waterway.

You can also check the nine-foot bronze sculpture Burro with Bird on Shoulder at Central Park, which has stood in the community park since 2019.

Another must-see art installation is the Panther at Linear Park, made by local artist Paul Baliker.

Catch Fish at Herschel King Park

Herschel King Park is a friendly and calm place to spend a day fishing that you can mix with some relaxation.

The 20-acre park is on the western portion of the Intracoastal Waterway at the end of Grady Prather Jr., Cove.

Grab your bait and rod and go to Herschel King Park for some fishing action.

While some only head to this place for a boat launch, you can sit from the well-maintained pier and catch some fish while enjoying the scenic waterway view.

The most common fishes coming from the waterway include flounder, redfish, and trout.

After getting a good catch, you can relax at the shaded benches or stroll around the park’s playground with the kids.

See Rock Formations at Old Salt Road Park

If you want to see a different side of the Palm Coast beaches, come to the Old Salt Road Park at 16th Road.

The park is within the Ocean Hammock Resort, offering access to fantastic coquina rock formations.

The beachfront park is well-maintained and clean, making visitors enjoy a day by the beach.

The park also features a stunning view with a long stretch of beach perfect for your kids and pets.

Some parts of the beach are pretty rocky, so you must be careful when playing around the area.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Watch the Sunset at Varn Park

After a tiring day of strolling around the city, cap off your stay with a spectacular sunset view along Varn Park in Flagler Beach, Florida.

This eight-acre park on North Oceanshore Boulevard gives you access to the stunning beach, which features a wooden boardwalk and plenty of activities.

While waiting for the sunset, you can walk on the beach, feel the cool breeze from the vast Atlantic Ocean, and check out colorful pebbles across its coral-colored sandy coastline.

Varn Park also has restrooms and outdoor showers, which you can use after taking a quick dip into its cool waters.

This park is nine minutes from Palm Coast.

Final Thoughts

Palm Coast undoubtedly has all the things needed for a satisfying coastal lifestyle.

Its pristine beaches, incredible art installations and galleries, seemingly endless preserves, and recreational parks give an excellent experience for visitors.

Don’t forget to try the free things to do in Palm Coast, Florida!

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