Haw Creek Preserve Florida

By Holly Giles | Florida

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Haw Creek Preserve

Haw Creek Preserve state park popped up on a map I was looking at, and I had never heard of it before. It was a Monday, and all of us were home for the day, which was quite unusual. I suggested we pile in the car, head to Bunnell, and check it out. During the discussion, we decided to take a boat which meant we needed two vehicles to get the four of us to our destination.

Bunnell was about an hour’s drive from Debary. It was scenic back roads with farms along the way. We passed a few tiny towns I had heard of but never passed through. The road to Haw Creek was a long, winding dirt road. No wonder I had never been here before. At the dead end was a beautiful creek and the sign for Haw Creek Preserve State Park. I felt like we stumbled upon a hidden treasure from Florida’s past.

haw creek

Where is Haw Creek Preserve?

The address is 2007 County Road 2007, Bunnell, FL 32110. Bunnell is in Flagler County, just over the line from Volusia County. To the west is Crescent Lake, and I believe Haw Creek runs into Crescent Lake.

This state park is over 1,000 acres of land set aside to preserve the cypress and oak swamp. The creek is lined with Haw trees that produce an apple-type fruit that gives the creek’s name. The fruit is edible and used to make jelly.

What amenities does Haw Creek have?

Even though you feel like you have driven to the middle of nowhere, there are several excellent amenities all families can enjoy. There are large bathrooms. Real bathrooms with flushing toilets. Several picnic tables and a large pavilion. There is a dock with a boat launching area. A camping site is available with a covered area, running water, and an equestrian area.

Boat launch

The boys decided to head out on the boat to fish. We did read that this area was prime for bass fishing. They launched the boat, got their fishing gear aboard, and headed down the river to see what they could find. The dock area was nice and wide enough to put on a folding chair and watch the scenery. This location was perfect for a canoe or kayak too.

Great Blue Herons, Osprey, and many other birds were nearby for viewing. We did not see other people or boats, so this is a great spot to watch for wildlife. The water is dark and not clear, like a spring. You get the feeling you have entered an area where the wildlife are definitely in charge. Not much is disturbed, and the moss-laden trees make you feel like you may have stepped back in time a hundred years.

Hiking trail

While the boys set off in the boat, Curtis and I walked on the boardwalk. The boardwalk winds through the swamp of cypress and live oak trees. The boardwalk is at least six feet off the ground to help accessibility during high water season. There are several turn-offs toward the creek, but they were boarded off. It looked like repairs were needed since the last hurricane.


We could walk the entire boardwalk except for the three overlooks to the creek. The boardwalk ends at the group primitive campsite. We walked over to the covered building to see what the camp offered. A large open area with a metal roof, picnic tables, and a faucet with running water is available. An outhouse-style toilet is there. However, it looked like it had not been touched in a long time.


Where the boardwalk ends is a cluster of magnificent live oaks full of resurrection fern, moss, and lichen. The photo does not do any of it justice. It was so peaceful to stand there and take in their beauty. I imagined how much life had happened here around those trees.

live oak with fern

air plant

My family had a great time that afternoon. We were in the middle of nowhere, enjoying nature and a beautiful spot together. As my boys get older, it is hard to grab these moments. I treasure that we all love to be outdoors together, even for a little while exploring new places. They think fishing was why we headed out to Haw Creek that day.

For me, it was moments to store in my mind of these precious days. I know it won’t be long before Grayson and Grant will be off starting new adventures on their own. Momma keeps the snapshots in her mind to recall in later years.

family photo


About the Author

Holly Giles is a wife, mother, and storyteller. As an author and Florida Master Naturalist, she writes about heritage homemaking skills, motherhood, and why Florida offers the best hidden natural gems to explore as a family.