Not a Bad Drive: Palatka, Florida

what to do in palatka florida

Whether you’re a local who wants to take a country drive next Saturday or a visitor who is taking back roads to get to St. Augustine, a trip to Palatka is a sweet stop not too far away. Still much more “small town” than St. Augustine, it can be hard to know what to do in Palatka, Florida! I’m gathering some stop-worthy suggestions to make your planning easier.

What to do in Palatka, Florida

Wildlife, nature hikes and boating are all I know of Palatka. I read online that you can skydive there but I haven’t worked up the courage to try.

  • Palatka’s highlight is Ravine Gardens State Park. First of all, the lay of the land is unique in Florida… we don’t have many ravines around here… when you’re at the base, it’s as close to a Florida mountain as it gets!! Whitewater Branch, the creek responsible for the ravine, flows year-round and has slowly carved out the ravine to its present state. 18 different Azaleas bloom on site {peak is Jan – March} and make this a gorgeous park to hike, bike or picnic in.

ravine gardens palatka

Where to Eat in Palatka, Florida

While St. Augustine is only an hour away, we don’t make it over to Palatka too often. I’m no expert in Palatka dining but will share the places I can recommend!

  • Corky Bells Seafood 185 US-17, East Palatka The deck seating overlooking the water is what keeps us coming back to Corky Bells. I love being on the river and this is a sweet spot to relax. Food is predictable “Florida Fish Camp” fare… gator tale, conch fritters, oysters when available, etc. I ordered blackened mahi last time and enjoyed it. Visit Corky Bell’s daily from 11:00 – 9:00 pm. Open ’til 10:00 Friday and Saturday. Call to confirm (386) 325-1094
  • Angel’s Diner 209 Reid Street, Palatka It’s famous mostly because it’s Florida’s oldest diner. Angel’s has been around since 1932… the kids and I stopped in because I wanted them to experience the oldest diner! We don’t have as many diners in Florida as I see elsewhere {though we’re fortunate to have Georgie’s Diner in St. Augustine}. Order anything… but as it’s a diner, I usually go for breakfast because who doesn’t love breakfast for dinner?! Visit Angel’s Diner from 6:00 am – 9:00 pm daily. Open ’til 10:00 Friday and Saturday. Call to confirm: (386) 325-3927
  • This & That Cafe 700 St Johns Street, Palatka My facebook friend Joan told me about her experience at This & That Cafe recently. She wrote a great review you’ll want to read {below}… it’s making me want to road trip to Palatka just for lunch!
    where to eat in palatka

    • “I love Minorcan Mamma’s post! What a long, beautiful history she has here! We’ve only been here for two and a half years and are still exploring. It was wonderful to discover Ravine Gardens last year, and we returned again yesterday to find the azaleas still in bloom and gorgeous. After finishing our hike there, we looked for a place to have lunch and happened upon a new place on St. Johns Street called This and That Café, opened just five months ago. We had our dog with us, so we were looking for an outdoor patio and this was perfect. They have deli sandwiches and daily lunch specials, rotating different countries’ specialties with country cooking and chef’s specials, and all lunches are just 5.95. We both had the Philipino stir fry, which was served with a fresh biscuit, and our dog got her own water bowl. Inside, there is cozy seating, a dessert case that looked inviting, and a variety of drinks, including smoothies, espresso and Cuban coffee. We liked that their outside seating included lots of chairs and little café tables lining the perimeter of their property. And just catty-corner to them is a used book store. So, I would definitely return. I can picture myself stopping there after a hike in Ravine Gardens, walking across the street to find a good book, then sitting, maybe reading a bit or just people-watching while sipping a Cuban coffee and enjoying a pastry. We also spotted another place just across the street called Magnolia Café that looked inviting, for when our pup stays at home. Whether we’ve been here for many generations or just a couple of years, this area is a gift, isn’t it?” -Joan Shannon Visit This & That Cafe M-F 6:30am-5pm; Sat and Sun 7:30am-5pm Call to confirm: (386) 530-2044


  1. kathy weller says

    one of the best bar and grills, is the cheyenne saloon, great food from breakfast to lunch. cocktails at a very good price, enjoy a great breakfast from omlets to pancakes, and one of our towns best bloody marys. friendy staff, and will always meet a new friend….great outdoor bar, and enjoy the cluck wagon on the weekend, serving the same great food as inside kitchen… wings around, we make and sell our homemade wing sauce, a must stop while traveling through palatka

    • says

      Well there ya have it! I hadn’t heard of Cheyenne Saloon. Thanks! ~Allie O.

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