Running north to south along the St. Johns River, CR 13 becomes the William Bartram Scenic & Historic Highway. Today the 17-mile route offers many of the same views he enjoyed in the 1770’s. Numerous stops highlight the true culture of this old Florida region.
Alpine Groves Park
Begun in the late 1800’s as an orange grove homestead, today the park offers visitors an opportunity to experience the towering pines of an upland ecosystem, a mixed hardwoods forest with live oaks and hickories, and a flowing stream that leads down to the river with its cypress tress – and an occasional alligator or manatee. There’s even a picturesque public fishing pier.
Beluthahatchee is the homestead of renowned author Stetson Kennedy whose literary works have been instrumental in the civil rights movement as well as in preserving Florida’s cultural and natural heritage. Stetson Kennedy’s home was frequently visited by other famous Americans including Zora Neale Hurston and Woody Guthrie. The homestead is open for hiking the heavy canopy of native vegetation overstory consisting of mixed coniferous and hardwood defined by live oak, laurel oak, water oak, long leaf pine and cabbage palms. The second Sunday of each month, an afternoon folk music concert series called Sundays at Stetson’s takes place at the park where featured artists who reflect the values, spirit, and goals of Stetson Kennedy perform.
Paved trails along the river offer relaxing walks among live oaks draped in Spanish moss. Great place for nature photography and views of the St. Johns River. The interestingly-designed pier is also an ideal location watching sunsets.
Trout Creek Memorial Park and Marina
Although used primarily for boat launching, the marina is a relaxing stop with waterside trails that offer an opportunity to see manatees. It recently gained historical significance when it became the new home for the Confederate Monument that had occupied downtown St. Augustine for 140 years.
St. Johns Botanical Gardens
Opening in Fall 2023, this is a must-see for botanical enthusiasts and will feature intricately designed gardens, ponds and terraces. Guided tours and educational programs will be offered with an extensive range of rare or endangered botanicals will be for sale.
Saturiwa Conservation Area
This 94-acre homesite has been restored to preserve the original longleaf pine forest. Home to a wide variety of wildlife, it is an ideal location for exploring Old Florida. A 30-minute hike along an elevated boardwalk takes visitors through a hardwood swamp with massive trees including cypress, black gum, ash and hickory. The trail ends at a small dock offering magnificent views of the St. Johns River (in summer, manatees are often seen here).