Nestled alongside Saint Johns River, Palatka is the place to go for outdoor sports, campgrounds, hiking trails, and nature-made adventures. The water surrounds the eastern quadrant of the city, giving many nature-loving guests some plentiful opportunities to swim, fish, waterski, paddleboard, kayak, or simply sit with their feet in the water.
Aside from activities on the river, ravines, nature paths, and dense forests sprawl across Palatka, making the area a dream come true for adventurers, outdoor exercisers, survivalists, and families of explorers-to-be. Of course, if you trek through these lands long enough you will definitely see some native Florida critters, like gators, turtles, water snakes, and bullfrogs.
If nature is calling your name, make a turn into Ravine Gardens State Park on Twigg Street—a 59-acre stretch of green hillsides, grassy plains, forest thickets, and beautiful botanical gardens. The land is cut with strenuous hiking trails and leisure nature paths, where you can make a sport out of your walks, or stroll at a casual pace to admire nature. The average guest spends around two hours in the park, perusing all of the natural wonders.
If you want an afternoon of relaxation and tranquility, there are plenty of pond-side rest benches, where you can sit, feed the ducks, and bask in the iconic Florida weather. For celebrations, like anniversary parties or birthday get-togethers, the state park offers an event space with an attached kitchen and high-tech fridge for cook-your-own lunches or catered occasions.
The Florida marshlands are coveted and well-protected by thousands of conservations—many of whom have helped restore and preserve the Rice Creek Conservation Area. Separated into wetlands and nature paths, this section of Palatka gives visitors an untamed look at Florida wildlife and nature. Geared towards more serious hikers and nature lovers, the area boasts a selection of over-water boardwalks, where you can look down to see lurking alligators, frogs, and other native Florida animals. There are even a few bike and horseback riding trails—but be sure to stick to the cleared paths, as this is the feral Florida wilderness, after all.
Florida is home to good old-fashioned southern cuisine—much of which comes fresh-caught from the local seashores
Some of the best Florida restaurants serve up seafood by the barrel, like Corky Bell’s Seafood on North Highway 17. Awarded the Certificate of Excellence, thanks to positive TripAdvisor reviews, the restaurant is famed for their homemade foods, like grilled shrimp with cheesy grits, fried hush puppies, fire-roasted gator tail, and broiled crab-stuffed mushrooms. There are indoor and outdoor seating areas, but most guests prefer to eat on the docks of St. John’s River, with an excellent view of the sunset.
In the mood for some nightlife? Hit up the Uncork & Unwind Beer & Wine Lounge, a place to mingle, drink, and—as the name suggests—unwind.
Palatka is a beautiful little piece of Florida in all its natural glory. If you plan to book a stay, we suggest booking with one of the best hotels in Palatka, FL—Quality Inn & Suites Riverfront, Hampton Inn Palatka, Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites, and Sleep Inn & Suites.
Stay at one of the best hotels in Palatka, FL
Quality Inn and Suites - Riverfront
On North 1st Street, the Quality inn & Suites Riverfront is a local classic that has been a big part of the Palatka travel scene for quite some time. Riverfront here means river view, as the hotel sits beside a large dock that allows guests to walk out to watch the sunset, dip their toes in the water, or simply have a moment of calm and leisure.
Rooms are spacious, comfortable, and clean, with a plethora of amenities, such as plush pillows, fluffy towels, clean linens, and lots of bathroom toiletries like shampoo, conditioner, and soaps. For nature lovers, the nearby Riverfront Park, less than a mile from the Quality Inn & Suites, is a nice, pleasant, spacious area, with a playground, small docks, shaded benches, and lengthy dog-walking paths.
Hampton Inn Palatka
The Hampton Inn Palatka on Memorial Parkway is high-ranked as the best Florida hotel in the area—at least according to online reviewers. Situated alongside St. John’s River, the hotel offers private balconies with distant seaside views that only get better the higher your room is. Past guests have cited the location as one of the best, as The River Walk is quiet, peaceful, and tranquil, allowing guests to soak up some stress-free time to think and relax. Be sure to take a stroll alongside the waters when you get the chance.
Other notable hotel highlights include a fitness room with updated workout equipment, continental breakfasts, free parking for guests, a swimming pool, free high-speed wireless internet, and a business center with multiple private meeting rooms and internet access.
Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites
Seated alongside Reid Street, the Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites is a top-ranked Palatka hotel with basic amenities and few luxuries. Their style is simple and classic, but with a homey, comfortable atmosphere that puts your mind at ease. Some of the most popular hotel amenities here are free parking for guests, a delicious, hot continental breakfast, laundry and dry-cleaning services, a workout room, and an outdoor swimming pool.
For nearby eats, check out the Italian Latin Grill for cheap, scrumptious, homemade meals, like steak fajitas, fresh-baked flatbreads, homemade tortilla chips, and tilapia ranchera with beans and rice.
Sleep Inn & Suites
Located on Reid Street, the Sleep Inn & Suites, one of Florida’s nicer chain hotels, has been called comfortable, delightful, and accommodating. Customer service here is above average, with knowledgeable staff and a reliable, courteous room service crew. The rooms are clean and spacious, with a mini fridge, attached ice box, and a microwave—plus, a comfortable bed, en-suite bathroom with a walk-in shower, and nice work area with a desk and comfy chair. Other amenities include an outdoor swimming pool, free high-speed wireless internet, an early continental breakfast, and dry-cleaning and laundry services.
If you don’t mind a short drive, take your family to the Saint Johns River Center, less than 3 miles from the hotel. Walk among the historic war monuments, let your kiddos play on the playground, and sit seaside with your feet in the water. As you can see, there are lots of fun things to do in Palatka, Florida.
The city of Palatka and the Saint Johns River awaits you! Book today with TravNow.