Gamble Rogers Memorial State Recreation Area at Flagler Beach is a state park with a history as long as its name. In 1884, a “Beach House of Refuge” was built on the site by the United States Lifesaving Services. These were the first attempt by the U.S. government to watch our coasts, mainly for hurricanes warnings and rescuing shipwrecked sailors. Ten of these two-story beach houses were set up along Florida’s coast with a “keeper” and his family. The building was a hurricane proof type of infirmary for shipwrecked sailors until it was closed in 1918.
By the time the turn of the century rolled around, steamships and gas powered vessels ended the need for the watch houses. One year later in 1915 the United States Lifesaving Service merged with the United States Revenue Cutter System to create the U.S. Coast Guard.
The site was used shortly during World War II by the U.S. Army Corps until 1954 when it was deeded to the state of Florida. By 1968, the Florida Park Service was awarded the land and it opened its doors as a state park.
But it’s not just the history that draws visitors to Gamble Rogers Memorial State Recreation Area at Flagler Beach, it’s the beaches too. The ½ mile beach is a great wave beach. Surfers and wake boarders love the heavy surf that sometimes occurs during stormy conditions.
The water can be dangerous during heavy surf advisories. Gamble Rogers-famed Florida folksinger who sang tales about fictional Florida places and inspired Jimmy Buffet-tragically died here trying to save the life of another man drowning in the heavy surf.
While the waters of this area are rarely rough, swimming, sunbathing, beachcombing, kite flying and wind surfing are done here and nearby beaches. But once you’re done with the fun in the sand, why not head out into the Atlantic Ocean for some great fishing?
A boat ramp is available at Gamble Rogers Memorial State Recreation Area at Flagler Beach that leads to the Intercoastal Waterway. It is safe for canoes and kayaks as well.
A 34 site full facility campground is at Gamble Rogers Memorial State Recreation Area at Flagler Beach. Each site is equipped with electricity, water, picnic table and fire ring. It accommodates tents and RV’s up to 40 feet.
For more information on directions to get there, fees and other park activities, visit the website here.