Exploring Flagler County on the Loop

We explored the St Johns River to Sea Loop from High Bridge Avenue south of Flagler, up to Washington Oaks State Park.  the trail starts just north of Flagler Beach.  Riding through the town of Flagler Beach is a bit tricky - the sidewalk is very busy and A1A is not ridable because of cars parked on both sides, exposing riders to the danger of car doors.  So it's best to ride one block in from the beach along Central Avenue.  There is still a lot of hurricane damage to be seen -  plenty of "blue roofs", sodden furniture piled by the road,  and broken dune crossings, but A1A and the trail have been repaired. North of Flagler Beach, nearly to Beverly Beach, the trail actually begins.  It's concrete and plenty wide, mostly smooth enough but broken in some places.   It crosses over to the ocean side at Varn Park, and then continues on toward Palm Coast.  Also the A1A shoulder is wide enough here for road bikers for those who prefer living on the dangerous side.

At the Palm Coast bridge the becomes a lovely trail through the woods that extends most of the way to Washington Oaks State Park.  At Washington Oaks the hurricane evidence is everywhere...  apparently the salt water inundation was devastating here - most of the trees appear to be dead as far inland as the park gate.   The Park itself is OK except for a lot of downed branches - very interesting ride along the old A1A and then a hard-packed sand trail through the woods.

We had lunch at Captains BBQ - really worth a journey!  Great atmosphere right on a marina, under huge oaks, and next to an archaeological dig.  And the food was beyond wonderful!  Highly recommended.  We even met up with Lois Bollenback, of the River-to-Sea TPO there - she obviously knows her way around the Loop!

South of Flagler Beach is where the big washout was from Hurricane Matthew.  It's all repaired now, with a wide sand barrier on the ocean side covering where the broken old highway was.  Is it wide enough to move the trail to the ocean side with a nice border?  Worth finding out. - it would definitely make a difference.  By the Way, if you're wondering if you can bike High Bridge Avenue to access Bulow Plantation I would say definitely not... no shoulder at all and pretty speedy traffic.