Florida History

Nature Hiking with a Little History

John and I love to hike and get out in the middle of nature. We enjoy the fresh air, the music of the birds, and the excitement of seeing wildlife in their natural home. We also love the shaded trails and in the summer heat the more shaded the trail the better. But there is another feature that we are finding on some of our hikes that is bringing us a great deal of enjoyment and that is the history that we are learning.

We find ourselves now seeking out places that bring with it more than just a great nature trail, but also have with it features that give us an opportunity to take a glimpse back in time.

We found such a place at Bulow Plantation Ruins Historic State Park in Flagler Beach.

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In 1821 Major Charles Wilhelm Bulow acquired 4,675 acres bordering a tidal creek and established a plantation of sugar cane, cotton, rice and indigo.

Today you can visit the ruins of the almost two-hundred-year-old sugar mill that was once a very prosperous operation on the Bulow Plantation.

The plantation was destroyed by fire in 1836 during the Seminole Indian war.

Nearby the Sugar Mill Ruins is a display where you can view tools and artifacts that were recovered from this historical site .

All that is left now of the plantation house is a crumbled foundation and a story in history that you can learn as you enjoy hiking the grounds.

Ruins of a Spring House, locations of the Slave Houses, and several wells and other ruins, are explained on markers throughout the park.

In addition to providing a history lesson, the park offers a scenic location for a picnic, a canoe/kayak lunch ramp, (must bring your own canoe as canoe Rentals are suspended due to Covid19)and miles of great hiking.

The picnic area with grills overlooks Bulow Creek which is recognized as a State Canoe Trail.

There are a few short trails throughout the park that are easy walking trails, but for those that are disabled and unable to walk the trails, it is good to know that the Sugar Mill ruins can be accessed by car.

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In addition to the ruins trails, there is the 6.8 mile (half day hike) Bulow Woods Trail. This shaded trail runs from the Bulow Plantation Ruins State Park to nearby Bulow Creek State Park.

At Bulow Creek State Park one can view the Fairchild Oak, a 400 year old Southern Live Oak, one of the oldest in the south.

The Wahlin Trail is a short loop trail at Bulow Creek State Park around a groundwater spring that seeps from a coquina rock bluff.

Whether you chose a short loop hike or a half day hike, you are bound to see beauty at every turn of the trail. If you don’t want to hike the 6.8 miles between the two locations, a short drive from Bulow Plantation Ruins will take you to Bulow Creek State Park and I highly recommend visiting both., if nothing else just to see the Fairchild Oak.

Restrooms facilities are available at both parks. Pets are permitted in designated areas only.

Note: Bulow Plantation Ruins State Park is Closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays

Bulow Plantation Ruins State Park is open Thursday – Monday 9am – 5pm. Entrance fee is $4.00 per carload. Location is 3501 Old Kings Road in Flagler Beach

Bulow Creek State Park is open 365 days a year and is located 5 miles north at 3351 Old Dixie Highway, Ormond Beach. No admittance fee.

Something of Note: A drive east on Old Dixie Highway will take you to the site of the Dummett Mills Ruins. This Mill was used to produce rum and it too was also destroyed in the Seminole War in 1836. Look out for it on the left side of the highway if you are heading east. A small pull off on the side of the road is provided.

Although we love the theme parks, museums, and restaurants, during this covid crisis John and I have been on a quest to find unique and interesting outdoor locations. We love it when we find a neat place that provides just a little something more than just another hike in the woods.

In today’s times, being outdoors in the fresh open air is a lot safer than being indoors in crowded confined spaces, and John and I feel so lucky that we live in a state that provides so much to do outdoors.


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