Monday, September 23, 2013

Palm Coast and Flagler CountyHome

Flagler County (population 68,000) is located on the upper east coast of Florida between Daytona Beach and historic St. Augustine.  People have definitely discovered this formerly remote corner of Florida. Palm Coast, the only “city” of size in the county, is growing rapidly both east and west of I-95.  Real estate options here run mostly to new and newer, but at this time the county’s price index is still well belong the state average.

Occupying 26 miles of Atlantic Ocean coastline, Flagler County has     unspoiled and uncrowded beaches, pristine lakes and waterways, grasslands and forests, good golf courses, and a lot of parklands. On the oceanside, the little town of Flagler Beach is still off the beaten track, and still charming in its own way. Its ocean pier is a local hangout. There’s a state recreation area called Gamble Rogers a couple miles south of there that harks back to Florida as it used to be, with a fine undeveloped beach and hiking trails.  If you’re a kayaker, you can put in there and explore virgin salt marshes and trails.
North along A1A a few miles is one of those secret places you might go back to again and again once you’ve moved here:  it’s called Washington Oaks Gardens State Park, known as “The Rocks” for its 1boulder-strewn beach, and it’s part of a plantation that dates back to Spanish Florida.  It has a rich mix of coastal scrub, hardwood hammock, marshland, and that unusual beach.
But there’s more. Unexpectedly, in the midst of all this are huge formal ornamental gardens under grand oaks and palms, with roses, bromeliads and fruit trees arranged around koi ponds, bridges, and fountains.  It’s a pretty cool place to meditate, take pictures, or just chill.
Flagler's climate ranges from a winter average of 64º F to a summer average of 84º F.   That means lots of sweaters in the comfortable but cool winters (263 miles north of Miami!), but also that it’s usually pleasant here in the summers even when other parts of Central Florida get unbearably hot.
Flagler County has both the relaxed quality-of-life benefits of its relative remoteness, and day trip proximity to the big cities. Thus for day trips, all of Orlando/Central Florida's theme parks and major ttractions are just 75 miles away. Metropolitan Jacksonville and its big city nightlife, Arts and health facilities are just 55 miles away.  Flagler is about equidistant in driving time (1:45) to the international airports at Orlando or Jacksonville.
Nearest smaller cities to Palm Coast include:
  • Beverly Beach, FL (5.3 miles)
  • Bunnell, FL (5.4 miles)
  • Flagler Beach, FL (8.0 miles)
  • Crescent Beach, FL (15.9 miles)
  • Ormond-By-The-Sea, FL (17.5 miles)
  • Butler Beach, FL (18.3 miles)
  • St. Augustine Shores, FL (19.8 miles)
  • Ormond Beach, FL (20.2 miles)
    For distances between cities go to
Now is definitely the time to think seriously about buying into northeastern Florida, given how rapidly everything is growing and how prices are increasing.  In the past two years Flagler and St. Johns counties (St. Johns is St. Augustine) have been among the fastest developing counties in the United States on a per cent of population basis, albeit from small baselines.  (Florida recently had 14 of the top 100 counties in the country, by rate of growth.)

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