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Nestled within a bend of the St. Johns River, one of the few rivers that flow north, Palatka is a historic Northeast Florida city that proudly showcases its past.

Palatka was established as a trading post in 1821 and is today the county seat of Putnam County, Florida. During the American Civil War, Federal troops occupied the city. During the postwar period, riverboats plied the St Johns River to points south and Palatka became the gateway to the interior of Florida. Palatka became known as the “Gem City of the St Johns” and boasted several world-class hotels that included the Arlington, Saratoga, La Fayette, and the Putnam House, with accommodations to host 6,000 visitors. Palatka prospered in the late 1800s as an enormous resource for timber and citrus and had a reputation for natural beauty that attracted many visitors. However, a devastating fire in downtown Palatka in 1884 destroyed many of the grand hotels and deep freezes in 1894 and 1895 devastated the area’s citrus industry, causing a decline in the area’s visitation and industry.

Today, Palatka has a large downtown business district, a beautiful waterfront park, and many historic and cultural sites. Palatka also hosts many wonderful festivals and events.

One of Florida’s prettiest state parks is in Palatka.

Ravine Garden State Park is a 59 acre park that was built by the Works Progress Administration during the depression with cypress buildings, rock gardens and field stone terraces.

The park entrance is called the Court of States and boasts a 64 foot high monument dedicated to President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

The park is part of Palatka’s annual Florida Azalea Festival held on the first weekend of March every year since 1938. The festival celebrates the seasonal arrival of the azalea blossom to Northeast Florida.

Every Memorial Day Weekend hundreds of sailboats of all types and descriptions gather on the Palatka waterfront for the annual Mug Race.

This is a 38 mile long race down (north) the St. Johns River to Jacksonville.

Some of the best food places in Palatka are Corky Bells Seafood, Angels Dining Car(Floridas Oldest Diner), and Velchoffs Corner.