Burned to the ground by a Seminole war party in 1836, the Bulow Plantation fell into ruins.
Set beneath the ancient trees of Bulow Hammock, the towering remains of its sugar mill are the primary focus of Bulow Plantation Ruins Historic State Park.
Resources for exploring the area
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Location: Flagler Beach
Address: 3501 Old Kings Rd, Flagler Beach
Fees: $4 per vehicle
Land manager: Florida State Parks
Open 8 AM until sunset daily. Leashed pets welcome.
Canoe rentals are available for you to paddle Bulow Creek, or bring your own to launch. A picnic area adjoins the breezy open waters of the creek.
From Interstate 95 exit 278, follow Old Dixie Hwy east for 0.9 mile to Old Kings Rd. Drive north 1.9 miles to the entrance for Bulow Plantation Ruins State Park. Watch for the sign to turn right.
On our last visit, we were more than a little heartbroken to see a subdivision squeezed right up to the park boundary line at the entrance.
The natural surface entrance road, about a half mile long, is one lane with pulloffs, showing off the beauty of Bulow Hammock. Passing the trailhead for the Bulow Woods Trail on the right, enter the park gates and pay your entrance fee at the iron ranger. All roads are dirt. Pay attention to the one-way signs for the loop. The first stop is the picnic area. Follow the road for almost a half mile beyond that to reach the parking area at the sugar mill ruins.
Explore the Park
Established in 1821, Bulow Plantation was a powerful economic force in the region, with 2,200 acres of sugar cane, cotton, rice, and indigo. More than 200 slaves worked the plantation, and a small town, Bulowville, grew up around it.
Follow the interpretive path through the towering coquina walls. It’s hard to imagine how busy this place was in the 1830s. Cane crushing. Syrup boiling. Packing molasses and cane sugar for shipment.
A side path marked “Nature Trail” leads to a spring in a dense palm hammock not far from Bulow Creek. A building used to top the basin built around the spring.
Continue around the interpretive loop to see the full extent of the operation. Products would be shipped down Bulow Creek to the Halifax River and on to Mosquito Inlet in New Smyrna, where ships sailed out to the Caribbean and the East Coast.
Another side path leads over to a small interpretive center that discusses the rise and fall of the Bulow Plantation, which was burned to the ground in 1836 during the Second Seminole War.
While it still prospered, John James Audubon visited Bulowville. He arrived Christmas of 1831. The famed naturalist painted his Greater Yellowlegs here, clearly showing a row of slave cabins in the background.
Back at the parking area, another nature trail leads in the opposite direction. Not quite a half mile long, it walks you beneath tall pines that had been tapped for turpentine almost a century ago. The other end of it pops out within sight of the picnic area.
Looking out from the canopy of oaks at the picnic area along Bulow Creek, you can see snowy egrets along the shoreline and white ibis soaring, a scene echoing Audubon’s visit.
Canoes are available for rent for you to paddle the creek, which is very broad through this section and can be challenging when it is windy.
Via the Bulow Woods Trail through the majestic beauty of Bulow Hammock, this state park connects with adjoining Bulow Creek State Park, which lies immediately south.
History and natural beauty meet under a dense oak canopy at the ruins of one of Florida’s oldest sugar mills
Stretching 5.2 miles through an primordial forest of sluggish, fern-lined waterways, ancient live oaks, magnolias, and cabbage palms, the Bulow Woods Loop is one of North Florida’s most scenic hikes
Our slideshow of hiking around the Bulow Plantation Ruins