Eden Gardens State Park

Eden Garden State Park — Gaze into the Past and See the Beauty of Nature
Local Expert's Rating:
4 / 5
The Bottom Line:

Upon driving through the gates at Eden Garden State Park, you are blasted back in the past to a time before the plentiful pine and cypress forests disappeared. As you gaze in wonder at the mesmerizing trees, flowers, and wildlife all around, you can see just why so much effort has been put into maintaining this 163-acre masterpiece. You can then make the most of your visit by fishing off the docks, paddling around the Tucker Bayou, and touring the historic Wesley House.  

- The FloridaPanhandle.com Local Expert Team

Although Eden Garden State Park began as a part of the Wesley homestead, it is now maintained for all to enjoy. Across the 163-acre parklands, you can find miles of trails and picnic areas galore nestled within the pine, cypress, and oak trees. The Tucker Bayou lies beyond the trees, providing a place for you to go kayaking and fishing to your heart’s content. As you fall in love with the gorgeous scenery all around, you will surely be thankful that it is open to the public 365 days a year from 8 am until sunset.

Beyond the gorgeous landscape, the historic Wesley house and gardens vie for your attention. Built in 1897, the mansion exudes all the charm of yesteryear while showing off the family’s heirlooms and antiques. You can take a guided tour of the mansion at your leisure and stroll through the gardens full of camellias, azaleas, and much more. When you need a rest, you can plop down at the picnic tables nearby or visit the gift shop to pick up a few souvenirs.

Fun activities to enjoy here include:

Stroll Down the Trails
In order to see the perfectly preserved forestlands in all their glory, you simply must take a stroll down the nature trails. Since there are no steep elevation changes, this is an easy walk for most. Before heading out, pick up a pamphlet from the gift shop. Then, follow along as it tells you about the numbered trees and other items along the way. You will see the many gardens housing camellias and roses plus get a glimpse at the Tucker Bayou. Don’t forget to stop by the butterfly garden to see all the different species that visit this space.

Go Fishing Off the Docks
Just past the garden full of camellias are the fishing docks where you can see what’s biting in the Tucker Bayou. Each time you cast out your line, you have a chance to reel in everything from channel catfish to speckled trout. Keep your eyes peeled for the elusive black drum, which can reach 60 inches long and 100 pounds. As you look around, you might find the space somewhat familiar, and for good reason. The docks were used in the filming of ‘The Truman Show’ during the ferry scene.

Tour the Wesley House
From Thursday through Monday each week, you can take a guided tour of the Wesley House to travel back 100 years. This historic site is seemingly frozen in time, filled with all the family’s furniture, heirlooms, and much more. They even decorate the home for the holidays using all the decorations the family left behind. Tours are held at the top of the hour from 10 am to 3 pm but don’t be late or the group could move on without you.

To visit this park, you will need to pay $4 per vehicle, no matter how many people are along for the ride. The tour is an extra $4 per person, however, though it is not required if you do not want to shell out the dough. With so much to see in the mansion, it is well worth the price if you can swing it.

Insider Tips:
– If you want to see the gardens in full bloom, make sure to plan a visit at the height of spring when the camellias and azaleas really start to come alive.
– If you want to have your wedding in wonderland, ask about their pavilion and grounds rental packages.