Budget-Friendly Traveler’s Guide: Affordable Activities in Clay County

Budget-Friendly Traveler's Guide: Affordable Activities in Clay County

When it comes to going on vacation, it doesn’t have to be expensive. Get creative and explore ‘new to you’ places and dine with the locals to take advantage of great savings. Here in Clay County, we’re ready to help you get the most bang for your buck while visiting the area. From affordable accommodations to the outdoors and more, let us help you plan an affordable getaway to Northeast Florida!

A Scenic Bike Ride 

One of Clay County’s most popular biking spots is the Black Creek Park and Trail. Adjacent to Highway 17, this 8-mile paved path connects bikers and walkers to points between Orange Park, Fleming Island and Green Cove Springs. Black Creek Park serves as a starting/ending location with parking, a covered pavilion and restrooms. The park also serves as the starting point for the mountain bike course that runs two miles through the park. Existing trailheads are at Black Creek Park, Thunderbolt Park and Camp Chowenwaw County Park.

In Keystone Heights, cyclists can join in on the Palatka-to-Lake-Butler State Bike Trail. This 47-mile trail connects west of U.S. 17 in Palatka to State Road 238 in Lake Butler, as it runs along the former Norfolk-Southern Railroad right-of-way through Putnam, Clay, Bradford, and Union counties. This cycling path was deemed part of the Florida Greenways and Trails System in 2007 and Purchased with Preservation 2000 funds through the Florida Greenways and Trails Acquisition Program. 

Camp Chow Hike

A Hiking Trail Experience

If you’d rather spend time hiking the trails, plan a visit to Jennings State Forest, near Oakleaf on the westside of Clay County. The 16-mile Dunns Farm Trail Complex includes 3 hiking trails: The Pioneer Trail with scenic vistas, elevation changes, history and beautiful natural overlooks of Black Creek; The Dunns Farm Trail with waterfalls and elevation changes; and The Cross Cut Trail with rolling terrain, history and interpretive signage.  Each of these trails offers a primitive, backcountry hike within camp zones.  

Eat with the Locals

To fully immerse yourself in a community, the best place to go is the local restaurants. Eat where the locals eat, meet the owners that live in the community and taste the cuisine of what locals enjoy. In Clay County, our locally owned and operated restaurants ready to welcome you with open doors. 

For fresh seafood, don’t miss the popular Whitey’s Fish Camp, a local favorite since 1963. Set along Swimming Pen Creek, you can even arrive by boat! The OP Fish House & Oyster Bar on Kingsley Avenue offers a variety of seafood specials, including oyster night and a popular Sunday brunch. Other popular seafood spots include Corky Bell’s in Fleming Island and the fast-casual Shrimp Shack Seafood Kitchen in Orange Park. 

Whitey's Fish Camp

For a bit of a diner feel, treat yourself to Grumpy’s Restaurant in Orange Park – home to creative waffles and Southern diner breakfast dishes, perfect for starting the day. At The Metro Diner, enjoy your breakfast in the morning or have it for dinner along with a large lineup of sandwiches and be sure to check out the daily chalkboard specials. At Sweet Sensations in Green Cove Springs, enjoy fresh, made to order soups, sandwiches and salads and don’t miss skipping out on their homemade desserts. 

And don’t forget the coffee! Stop in for a treat and a fresh cup of your favorite creation at Spring Park Coffee in Green Cove Springs. Enjoy breakfast and lunch with your coffee at Urban Bean Coffehouse Café in Orange Park. At The Lab Bakery & Coffee Bar, this family-owned hot spot features a rotating menu of desserts and drinks to pair with your cup of coffee. New to Keystone Heights, The Tea Room is open by appointment only for guests to take advantage of an afternoon of tea with friends and family. Offerings include an extensive list of teas and a variety of finger sandwiches, sweet treats and desserts. Also in Keystone Heights, experience freshly roasted whole beans and ground specialty coffees with the knowledgeable team at FirePower Coffee Roasters.


Spring Park Coffee
Holiday Inn Express Fleming Island Exterior
Holiday Innn Express & Suites Fleming Island

Affordable Accommodations in Clay County

Let Clay County be your ‘home away from home’ with a variety of accommodations and amenities for every budget.

For a full-service stay, the Courtyard by Marriott Jacksonville Orange Park, Hilton Garden Inn Orange Park and the Holiday Inn & Suites Orange Park – Wells Rd. offer guests a convenient stay near restaurants, shopping and more.

The Days Inn by Wyndham Orange Park/Jacksonville, the Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Jacksonville Orange Park and the Holiday Inn Express & Suites Fleming Island offer easy access to Interstate 295 and connecting roadways.



For those interested in camping or traveling via RV, explore the possibilities at Camp Blanding Recreation – James E. Johnson Memorial RV ParkCamp ChowenwawGold Head Branch State Park and Whitey’s Fish Camp.

Visit www.ExploreClay.com to discover even more adventures and money saving attractions in Clay County. Be a local on your visit and enjoy the sunshine!

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