Contributed by Shannon from Snorkels and Snowpants
Spending a few days, a week, or an entire season at Port Cove? There’s plenty to keep you busy! Located in Georgetown, Port Cove is a perfect jumping-off point to visit many places in the area. Located centrally for day trips to some of Florida’s most popular destinations, as well as just a few miles from pristine Florida wilderness, there’s something for everyone. After spending nearly five months here, let me tell you all about it! Check out our Port Cove RV Resort Local Attractions. These include local attractions, restaurants and Florida destinations that are perfect for day trips from our RV resort.
Welaka State Forest
The state forest is only 5 miles from Port Cove, and not to be missed! With 2,287 acres of nature, it’s popular for hiking and equestrian trails. Bordered by the St. Johns River, it can be accessed by boat, or off County Road 309.
One of the highlights of the state forest, Mud Springs is the perfect swimming hole! The crystal clear spring pumps nearly 14,000 gallons of water into a tributary off the St. Johns. The trail is an easy 1.9 miles roundtrip, so pack a picnic and plan for a relaxing afternoon. It’s so easy to access from Port Cove, we spent many a hot afternoon here!
The state forest is also home to Sulphur Springs, but you won’t want to swim in this one!
Aptly named, you can smell as you approach. It’s a still a pretty area, and the dogs don’t seem to mind jumping in! Park at the John’s Landing Trailhead and hike about ½ mile down the forest road. It will be on your right-hand side. You can continue down the road and pick up the Mud Springs Trail too.
For a longer hike, the John’s Landing Trail is 4.3 mile loop, passing along the river and a few ponds.
Lake George Conservation Area
A whopping 11, 973 acres, the conservation area covers over half the eastern side of Lake George. Looking for peace and quiet? This is it! Miles of dirt roads, or ‘truck trails’, wind through the forest. Several lead to the shores of Lake George. There are a couple hiking trails as well. It’s a great area for wildlife viewing- look out for deer, bears, and Bald Eagles, who nest here.
Rent a Boat or Bring Your Own!
With its own marina, Port Cove can host boats up to 55’ boats, or pontoon sized under their boathouse. Don’t have your own? There are plenty of spots to rent one nearby.
The St. Johns River begs to be explored, and one the best places to visit from Port Cove is Silver Glen Springs. Located in the Ocala National Forest, it’s an hour drive, or 15-45 minutes by boat! Boating across Lake George is more enjoyable than the drive anyway.
Silver Glen Springs
Many times larger than Mud Springs, Silver Glen is a first magnitude spring, pumping out 65 million gallons of water a day! It’s a perfect snorkeling spot and if you’re lucky, you’ll see a manatee. The springs stays a constant 72 degrees year round, so they frequent it in the winter months. Visit on a warm weekend, and you’ll join the boat party anchored right outside the swim lines. A food boat can often be found here on weekends, as well, catering drinks, hot dogs, and other snacks.
There are many fishing options around Port Cove! The entire St. Johns River, and surrounding area, is famous for its bass fishing. Crescent City calls itself the ‘Bass Capital of the World’, and Palatka hosts fishing tournaments throughout the year.
Fish right off the dock at Port Cove and you’re likely to catch crappie, bluegill, catfish, bass, and even an occasional freshwater stingray!
Barberville Yard Art Emporium
An oddity off FL-40, you can’t miss it driving by. Look for the metal T-Rex next to the Eiffel Tower. With 3 acres of metal statuary, this local shop has something for everyone. From Mexican pottery, to recycled aluminum yard art, to local honey, it’s a bit of everything!
Barberville Pioneer Village
Visit this living history museum, recreating a 19th century Florida town. Open Thursday-Sunday, the village offers self-guided or docent tours. See a historic schoolhouse, a country store, barn, farm animals, blacksmithing, and more, for a peek into history.
Ravine Gardens State Park
With 120 foot deep ravines, suspension bridges and stone stairs, this park doesn’t feel like Florida! Located in Palatka, it’s a must visit year round, but particularly January-March when the azaleas bloom. The park offers 4 hiking trails through a diverse landscape, along with plenty of picnic areas and a historic garden.
While you’re in Palatka, check out the murals throughout downtown, wander the riverwalk, or grab dinner and drinks at Corky Bell’s Seafood, an iconic riverfront restaurant.
Log Cabin Winery
This family run winery in Welaka has been in operation for over 75 years. Growing muscadine grapes, many of their wines have a tropical, Florida vibe. The retail shop is only open Saturdays and Sundays, and has a small tasting table. It isn’t geared for large groups, but is perfect for couples or a few friends.
Hallie’s is located on Stella Lake in Crescent City. Offering pedalboat and stand-up paddle board rentals, Hallie’s also has a full menu and ice cream. The most unique thing though? They have Florida’s only semi-submarine boat. Below the deck, check out the lake through underwater windows, or enjoy the sun on deck. It’s available for rent by appointment.
DeLeon Springs State Park
Florida is home to some 1,000 natural springs, but they all have their own character. DeLeon Springs State Park is 40 minutes away from Port Cove, and offers history, a unique pancake house, boat tours, and of course, the spring itself.
The springs’ history goes back thousands of years, a resource for the local Mayaca. In fact, the two oldest canoes in the Western Hemisphere were excavated here! Its story continues through the Civil and Seminole Wars, as a sugar mill plantation, before becoming a popular tourist attraction in the late 1800s. Through the 1970s, it was a roadside attraction, until it was finally purchased by the state in the 80s.
Get out on the water with a kayak or canoe rental, or take a 50-minute guided boat tour. The Sugar Mill Restaurant has cook-your-own pancakes, or a to-go counter offering burgers and sandwiches. Explore the two hiking trails for a chance to see bears, deer, and other wildlife.
The spring is 30 feet deep and a consistent 72 degrees. It has a swimming pool feel to it, unlike more natural, wild springs. It is very old Florida, as though you can still see the roadside attraction of the 1950s.
Day Trips from Port Cove RV Resort
Flagler Beach & Bulow Plantation Ruins State Park
At just an hour away, this is the perfect beach day getaway! Flagler Beach is a quiet, relaxed town along the A1A. It boasts a long beach, popular for surfing and body boarding, a fishing pier, a few boutique shops, and plenty of beachy bars and restaurants.
At many Florida beaches, it’s a fight for a parking spot, and then a fight for a beach spot. Flagler is a local’s beach, great for its relaxed atmosphere, but it doesn’t lack for dining or hangout options.
Just a few minutes away, visit the Bulow Plantation Ruins Historic State Park. The impressive ruins of a sugar mill plantation, burned in 1836 during the Seminole War, speak of a long-gone era. Visitors can park at the picnic pavilion and bathrooms to hike a short trail to the ruins, or drive right down to them. The park also offers canoe and kayak rentals on the Bulow Creek, part of the state canoe trail.
If people watching, party beaches, or Nascar is more your style, Daytona Beach is about a 90-minute drive from Port Cove. This town needs no introduction!
The beach is expansive, wide enough for beach goers and the traffic lanes at its edge. It’s a see and be seen spot, but offers everything from fine dining to hot dog stands. Parking can be limited and expensive, but arrive early and look for a spot in the city garage or couple blocks back in the Seabreeze Historic District.
A bit further south, Daytona Beach Shores offers the same wide, beautiful beach, but with far less crowds and free public lots.
St. Augustine is the oldest European settlement in the country. Founded in 1565 by Spanish explorers, it’s bursting with history. If you only have time for one day trip, this is my recommendation. It’s the most European city you’ll find in the US, and its full of trendy restaurants, quirky shops, old Florida charm, and 500 years of history!
A few must see include the Castillo de San Marco (the old Spanish fort), St. George Street- the heart of the Old City, a number of museums, from the Pirate Museum to the Lightner Museum, and the St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park.
Dining Options Around Port Cove RV Resort
Bobby G’s River Pub
Just a few minutes from Port Cove, Bobby G’s has great pizza and pasta, plus burgers and BBQ. They’re also the only restaurant in the area to offer delivery! Their pizza is excellent, so be sure to check out this hidden gem.
Shrimp ‘R Us
Located in Welaka, Shrimp ‘R Us serves traditional southern favorites, like fried catfish, collard greens, sweet potatoes and more. It’s very reasonably priced. They also have an outdoor bar, serving up the strongest drinks I’ve had in a while!
Live music, karaoke, daily food and drink specials are what you’ll find at our neighborhood bar and restaurant. Just a short walk from the RV campground, find Idle Awhile. Sit on their outdoor patio to watch a gorgeous sunset on the St Johns River. Relax and unwind at Idle Awhile during your stay at Port Cove RV resort.