VIBE: Relaxed, Dog Friendly
Varn Park, 3665 N Ocean Shore Blvd, Flagler Beach, FL 32136
Have you ever just wanted to leave the world behind and sink your toes in the sand? Varn Park in Flagler Beach might be the answer you're looking for.
Flagler Beach Hurricane Update
Hurricane Ian Update Published Oct 4, 2022: Flagler Beach lost a large amount of sand from its dunes and agencies are coordinating ways to shore up the beach and the roads. Many of the beach walkways were affected, but you can still get on the beach. Part of Flagler Beach Pier was damaged during Hurricane Ian. Contact your hotel before you book your visit to Flagler Beach for a safe visit. Stay up to date with this link.
We hope to return soon to this quiet, dog-friendly Florida beach on the Atlantic Ocean. It is only 5 miles away from the busy Flagler Beach Pier and crowded Palm Coast tourist area. With clean, coral sand, rolling waves and endless blue sky, you might just feel like you're the only person on the beach.
Varn Park has the most colorful sand we have seen so far. It is almost orange! It also takes the prize for some of the thickest beach sand we have ever seen. It even beats Jensen Beach Park! It is so soft it can be difficult to walk in it. The beach has also experienced erosion and has quite a slope. You might want to walk closer to the ocean when looking for a place to set up your umbrella and chairs. Once you get closer to the water, you will notice the sand is actually full of shells and it is sticky! It's a bit like sinking sand. Make sure you wash off at the shower station before you leave the beach.
The water here is clean and clear but it's difficult to see right to the bottom. Because of beach erosion, there is a steep drop-off into the ocean. The soft sand sinks down when you step it in. It is difficult to wade out very far. At some point you just have to dive in because walking in is impossible. If you want a better, and possibly safer, swimming experience, you could choose close-by Ormond Beach. Varn Park beach is for strong swimmers only. Be aware this beach has no lifeguard on duty.
This photo shows only half of the parking lot area, which is bigger than we expected. You can park near the wooden walkway and bathrooms, or choose the sandy pathway beach access close to the park entrance. There's plenty of room for both cars and trucks. If you are using an RV during your Florida beach trip, there are several RV parks located right on the oceanfront before you reach Varn Park. In fact, one is right next to the park. A small shower area is located just outside the newly renovated bathrooms. What more do you need?
This is a beach that mostly locals frequent. People enjoy sitting under their umbrellas and watching the beautiful ocean. We did a beach walk along the shoreline collecting shells, just like in Sanibel. Surf fishing is also popular here. It is a peaceful Florida beach, which is a rare occurrence these days. Drive the extra few miles north of the Flagler Beach strip and take a few deep breaths. If only we could have stayed longer to see the sunset.
During the summer, sandflies and biting midges can inflict annoying and inflict painful bites at the beach. Your feet in the beach sand can be a target. Most flies bite at dawn and dusk, though there are some that will bite throughout the day if the wind is calm and the sky cloudy. Unfortunately, this happened to us during our Flager Beach visit (and at Jensen Beach too). Make sure you pack insect repellent along with your sunscreen. It is just a necessary part of Florida beach life in the summer.
Varn Park is so relaxing and interesting with its orange sand. It is a treat indeed to be at a beach with very few people. The only downside is the somewhat dangerous drop-off into the ocean due to erosion. Hurricanes have certainly damaged this area of Florida beaches. Still, this lovely Flagler Beach is a gem and worth the drive just to relax by the sea. If you love the RV life, try Treasure By The Sea next door and book an oceanfront RV site. For more camping on the beach, visit Gamble Rogers Memorial State Park. It has 34 sites and is pet-friendly. UPDATE August 2022: Near the Flagler Beach Pier (south of Varn Park), dramatic beach erosion has occurred and there are some steep drops. Check for additional signage posted and use available walkovers to get to the beach.
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Susan and Bruno are travel bloggers specializing in Florida beaches on every coast. Take a road trip or plan a Florida vacation.