Palatka is a town of 20,000 people (2020) on the banks of St. Johns River in North Central Florida. One of the earliest cities to develop in the state, the city is home to charming historic neighborhoods and notable state landmarks. The area also offers numerous outdoor activities. These range from skydiving and kayaking to boating and golfing. Home to many festivals throughout the year, one event in particular pays homage to the city's most popular flower, the azalea. The flower can be viewed prominently throughout the city in early March, coinciding with riverfront festivities. The unique mixture of southern hospitality and Florida culture make Palatka a "must experience" destination for the roaming traveler.
Palatka has a humid subtropical climate, with mild weather during winters and hot weather during summers. High temperatures average 64 to 91 °F (18-33 °C) throughout the year. High heat indices are not uncommon for the summer months in the Palatka area. High temperatures can reach mid to high 90s with heat index ranges of 105-115 °F. It is common for daily thunderstorms to erupt during a standard summer afternoon. These are caused by the heating of the land and water, combined with extremely high humidity.
During winter, the area can experience hard freezes during the night. Such cold weather is usually short lived, as the city averages only 15 nights below freezing. Even rarer in Palatka than freezing temperatures is snow. When snow does fall, it usually melts before touching the ground, or upon making contact with the ground.
Palatka has suffered less damage from hurricanes than most other east coast cities. Palatka has experienced hurricane or near-hurricane conditions more than a dozen times due to storms passing through the state from the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic Ocean, or passing to the north or south in the Atlantic and brushing the area. Rainfall averages around 50 inches a year, with the wettest months being June through September.
- Jacksonville International Airport (JAX IATA) is the closest major international airport in the region. It is about 69 miles north of Palatka
- Palatka Municipal Airport (FAA LID: 28J), also known as Lt. Kay Larkin Field, is public-use general aviation airport just west of the city.
Amtrak serves Palatka wth its Silver Meteor and Silver Star trains running between New York and Miami, with the two trains taking slightly different routes along the way. While the trains are comfortable, they are quite slow and delays are common.
- Greyhound Bus Lines, 220 N 11th St, ☏ .
In order to access the full amenities, services, and recreational areas offered by the region, vehicle accommodations are a must.
- Hedrick's Taxi Services, ☏ .
- Angel's Diner. Florida's oldest diner.
- Palatka Historic Union Depot, 220 N Eleventh St (at the corner of North Eleventh Street's intersection with US-17/SR 100). Houses the Palatka Railroad Preservation Society and the David Browning Railroad Museum.
- 1 Bronson-Mulholland House. Built in 1854. For more information see the website of the Putnam County Historical Society & Museum.
- 2 Historic Lemon Street (also referred to as St. Johns Ave).
- North Historic District is bounded by the St. Johns River, Bronson, North 1st, North 5th, and Main Streets. It contains 76 historic buildings, including the Bronson-Mulholland House and St. Mark's Episcopal Church.
- South Historic District is bounded by the St. Johns River, Oak, South 9th, and Morris Streets. It contains 243 historic buildings.
- 3 Larimer Arts Center, 216 Reid St, ☏ . Housed in a 1920s architectural treasure, the center serves as an art and cultural resource for the community. Gallery showcases are held year round.
- 4 Florida School of the Arts, 5001 St. Johns Ave, ☏ , email@example.com.
- Florida Azalea Festival, ☏ , fax: , firstname.lastname@example.org. Palatka is greeted every year with bright busts of pink and purple Azaleas. The bush, quite common looking most of the year, comes alive in early March. This is also when the Azalea Festival takes place. Arts and crafts, music, food, and beautiful scenery makes this a great weekend getaway. Don't forget to make a trip to the Ravine State Gardens to see the Azaleas in their full glory.
- Blue Crab Festival. The Blue Crab Festival kicks off every year during Memorial Day Weekend. Located Downtown on the riverfront, the festival features live music, live entertainment, arts and crafts, and of course blue crabs.
- 1 Dunns Creek State Park, 320 Sisco Rd, ☏ . 8AM-sundown. A Florida State Park 13 miles south of Palatka, on US 17 between Pomona Park and Satsuma. The park's natural communities include sandhills, covered with longleaf pines and wiregrass, and sand pine scrub. These communities protect several endangered and threatened species, such as the gopher tortoise, as well as a variety of other native animals. A picnic and hiking area is located on US-17, north of Pomona Park. The mile-and-a-half hiking and bicycling trail takes visitors to the pristine waters of Blue Pond.
- 2 Ravine Gardens State Park, 1600 Twigg St, ☏ . 8AM-sundown. A 59-acre Florida State Park, it was constructed by the Works Progress Administration, with cypress buildings, rock gardens and fieldstone terraces. Near the park entrance is The Court of States and a 64-foot obelisk dedicated to Franklin D. Roosevelt. Recreational activities include viewing the thousands of plants and shrubs, picnicking, jogging, hiking and biking. Amenities include interpretive exhibits, picnic areas, gardens, hiking trails, a 1.8-mile paved perimeter loop road, and a parcours trail. Visitors can rent a large covered pavilion, auditorium, and meeting rooms. The park is part of the annual Azalea Festival the first weekend in March, when the nearly 100,000 plants that the WPA planted decades ago bloom.
- Palatka Municipal Golf Course, ☏ . Designed by Donald J. Ross, ASGCA, the course, situated alongside the Ravine Gardens State Park, is a wonderful mix of beautiful scenery coupled with challenging game play. Ross was considered one of the most influential golf course designers in the history of the sport.
- Ocklawaha Canoe Outpost and Resort, ☏ , toll-free: . With a unique variety of lakes, rivers, creeks, springs and wetlands the Palatka area is a canoeing and kayaking paradise. Ocklawaha Canoe Outpost and Resort offers cabin, canoe, and kayak rentals. Lake Ocklawaha is southwest of the city off of SR 19.
- Skydive Palatka, 4015 Reid St, ☏ , toll-free: .
- The Mug Race. A Pursuit Start sailboat race on St. Johns River. The world's largest river race, boaters start at the Memorial Bridge in Palatka and end at the Buckman Bridge in Jacksonville.
Downtown and Historic Lemon Street offer a variety of specialty shops, boutiques, and restaurants. Accentuated by parks and public spaces this pedestrian friendly area is a perfect place to spend an afternoon.
- Lemon Street Market. Every Saturday 8AM – 1:30PM.
State Road 19 ("FL-19 commercial corridor") is the big box retail corridor. Here you will find Publix, Winn Dixie, and Wal-mart. The Palatka Mall and movie theater are also in this area.
- 1 Angel's Dining Car, 209 Reid St, ☏ .
- Niko's Pizza, 804 FL-19, ☏ . 19.
- Corky Bell's Seafood at Gator Landing, 185 South Highway 17, ☏ .
- San Mateo Seafood, 480 S Highway 17, ☏ .
- Pizzaboyz, 919 St Johns Ave, ☏ .
- High Level Lounge & Package, 3821 Reid St, ☏ .
- Holiday Inn Express and Suites, 3813 Reid St, ☏ .
- Crystal Cove Riverfront Resort & Suites Palatka, Riverfront Resort Drive, 133 Crystal Cove Dr, ☏ . Nice marina. $105 (Mar 2022).
Bed and Breakfast
Campgrounds and RV parks
- St Johns Campgrounds, 436 S US Highway 17, ☏ .
- Florida Trail is a National Scenic Trail more than 1,500 miles across the state of Florida. The Palatka area portion of the trail is renowned for its wetland and forest environments.
- Etoniah Creek State Forest The forest is home to a variety of wildlife and is part of a wildlife corridor that offers the black bear a vast roaming area, a necessity for their existence. Other types of wildlife which are commonly found on the forest include: white-tailed deer, bobcat, fox squirrel, wild turkey, eastern diamondback rattlesnake and great horned owl
- Welaka State Forest is located along the east bank of the beautiful and historic St. Johns River. The Division of Forestry maintains the integrity of the natural systems while allowing limited outdoor recreation use and environmental education, especially in the areas of forestry, botany, soils and wildlife ecology. In 1935, under the Federal Resettlement Administration, the United States government started the Welaka Forestry and Wildlife Conservation Project. The Welaka property was later transferred to the University of Florida as a Florida Conservation Reserve for the study of forestry and outdoor wildlife, projects started in the 1940s are still being managed today. Welaka State Forest was acquired for management by the Florida Division of Forestry in 1992 through a transfer of lease from the University of Florida.
- Rice Creek Conservation Area Rice Creek Swamp covers approximately 70 percent of the property. Together with Palmetto Branch, Oldtown Branch and Hickory Branch — which are all just west of the conservation area — the swamp forms the headwaters of Rice Creek, a large tributary of the St. Johns River. The area was an indigo and rice plantation during the 18th century, and most of the uplands were managed as commercial pine plantations before District ownership. The site has a variety of natural communities, including floodplain swamp, flatwoods, dome swamp, floodplain forest and upland mixed forest. The area is also a key parcel for connecting Etoniah State Forest to the Cross Florida Greenway.
- Ocala National Forest is in North Central Florida between the Ocklawaha and St. Johns Rivers. Encompassing approximately 383,000 acres, it is the southernmost forest in the continental United States and protects the world's largest contiguous sand pine scrub forest. Despite its high, dry, central scrub ridges, the Ocala National Forest is rich in water resources with more than 600 lakes, rivers, and springs
|Routes through Palatka|
|Savannah ← Jacksonville ←||N S||→ DeLand → Orlando|
|Jacksonville ← Green Cove Springs ←||N S||→ DeLeon Springs → Orlando|