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Reported: May 2016

Bulow Creek... Paddling in Northeast Florida

Bulow Creek flows about 11 miles in Flagler and Volusia Counties. A 6.5 mile (one-way) Designated Paddling Trail runs from Bulow Plantation Ruins Historic State Park downstream to the Intracoastal Waterway at North Peninsula State Park. We liked paddling upstream from the official trail (above the ruins), it's possible to go about 3.5 miles before the creek narrows and becomes blocked. (Detailed map and photos below.)



View Larger Map
Distance: 11 miles; 6.5 mile paddling trail
Location: Flagler County (Flagler Beach)
Difficulty: Easy to moderate
Tidal: Yes
Launch points: Bulow Plantation Ruins Historic State Park, Walter Boardman Bridge, Smith Creek Landing. (See map, left)
Kayak/Canoe Rentals: At Bulow Plantation Ruins Historic State Park, Tropical Kayaks (Palm Coast)(links, above right)
Nearby points of interest: Flagler Beach, Bulow Creek State Park, Tomoka State Park

The creek is a mostly easy paddle with a few more technical sections upstream. The paddling trail runs downstream from Bulow Plantation Ruins to the Halifax River (Intracoastal Waterway). Here the creek is wide and lined with coastal marsh grass, with no shade. Approaching the Intracoastal, the water becomes more brackish. Upstream from Bulow Plantation Ruins the creek starts out wide through coastal marsh with no shade, but becomes more narrow and lined with trees before being blocked by obstacles.

The entrance to Bulow Plantation Ruins Historic State Park is off Old Kings Highway. Directions on Google maps led us to a retirement community nextdoor where park access is now cut off (we reported it, hopefully will be corrected). The entrance is actually a narrow, tree-lined dirt road across from a sign along the road identifying the park (an arrow pointing to the road would have been helpful). The park is one of the prettiest we've seen, and the ruins an interesting visit.

Wildlife we observed included osprey and other birds and waterbirds, alligators, turtles, and fish. The birds, gators, and turtles were shy though and didn't sit around posing for pictures.

Paddling at Bulow Creek
(tap or hover over photo for larger view)
We paddled from Bulow Plantation Ruins upstream about 3.5 miles until the stream narrowed and was blocked by some trees. We could have worked our way around the trees, but could see that obstacles continued to block the way. As it was getting late and the park gates are locked at 5 p.m., we decided it best to paddle back.
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Dirt road to the park Park entrance Parking and
picnic area
Boat ramp / launch
Paddle Bulow Creek, Flagler - Kayak, CanoePaddle Bulow Creek, Flagler - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Bulow Creek, Flagler - Kayak, CanoePaddle Bulow Creek, Flagler - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Bulow Creek, Flagler - Kayak, CanoePaddle Bulow Creek, Flagler - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Bulow Creek, Flagler - Kayak, CanoePaddle Bulow Creek, Flagler - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Bulow Creek, Flagler - Kayak, CanoePaddle Bulow Creek, Flagler - Kayak, Canoe
Upstream
from launch,
salt marsh
Homes along a series of canals off the creek These piers extend way back into the marsh Osprey nest Along the creek
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We saw a few
motor boats
Starting to get
more narrow, tree lined
More narrow More obstacles
in the creek
We stopped at this tree
Bulow Plantation Ruins
In the 1800’s sugar planting and milling was introduced in Florida and the Bulow Plantation (“Bulowville”) at 2,000 acres was the largest of 12 in this area. Established by the Bulow family in 1821, the mill was burned down in 1836 during the Seminole Wars. The coquina walls of the mill, along with some peripheral buildings, remain.
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Bulow Plantation ruins - the sugar mill This is all that's left of the plantation house, some of the foundation stones.

More information on paddling at Bulow Creek (opens in a new window):

- Florida Office of Greenways and Trails - Bulow Creek Paddling Trail (pdf)
- Florida State Parks - Bulow Plantation Ruins Historic State Park
- Florida State Parks - Bulow Creek State Park

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