Eden Gardens State Park
Eden Gardens State Park consists of 163 upland acres just north of Seagrove Beach, across highway 98 in Point Washington, along the shores of Tucker Bayou and the Choctawhatchee Bay. Gracing Eden are gardens everywhere, the beautiful legacy of the many gardeners and master gardeners who belong to the Friends of Eden Gardens State Park, and give lovingly of their time and labor.
The focal point of the park is the Wesley house, a beautifully renovated, two-story house with elegant white columns and wraparound porch complete with rocking chairs. Surrounded by moss-draped live oaks and ornamental gardens, the Wesley house inspires visions of hoop skirts and landed gentry. It's a favorite place for weddings and other events, and includes a covered stage for performances, a large screened pavilion, and bricked areas under the oaks for giant event tents.
The park is part of the estate owned in the 1800s by the Wesleys, a wealthy Florida timber family. Wooden pilings can still be seen in the bayou where lumber from the sawmill was loaded onto ships to be sent all over the world. After the mill closed, many of the company-owned worker cottages were dismantled and taken to Grayton Beach where they were rebuilt as beach cottages for vacationing families, mostly from Alabama.
In 1963, Lois Maxon bought and renovated the home, creating a showplace for her family heirlooms and antiques. The collection of Louis XVI furniture is the second largest in the United States. The park is full of centuries-old live oaks and giant magnolias, as well as mountains of azaleas and award-winnning stands of camellias with hybrids unique to the park.
Eden Gardens State Park is a treasure in South Walton, Florida. It's located bayside in Point Washington just north of Hwy 98 via County Road 395. Park Hours are from 8:00 a.m. until sunset, 365 days a year.
Guided tours of the house are available hourly Thursday through Monday. Visitors can enjoy the grounds, gardens, and picnic area daily from 8 A.M. to sunset. The Friends Of Eden State Gardens, in addition to maintaining the grounds, house, and gardens operate a small gift shop in the mansion. They also sell shrubs and ornamental plants, including camellias.
At the gift shop, be sure to pick up a copy of the 1972 low-budget eco-horror film Frogs, filmed in the house and on the grounds. Eden Gardens State Park has a small boat launch and several picnic pavilions, as well as a nature trail along Tucker Bayou.
Annual events at Eden Gardens State Park include the Camellia Festival in February and the Christmas Candlelight Open House in December. More information found at SoWal Events Calendar.