Population: 10,670 :: Service Area: 72,000
Located in northeast Florida on the St. Johns River, the city of Palatka is an enchanting rural community that features year-round sunshine and beautiful tidal marshes, plus quick access to world-famous beaches and several metropolitan areas.
Known as the "The Gem on the St. Johns," Palatka has a beautiful historic downtown district. The St. Johns River flows through the heart of the city, offering miles of natural pristine shoreline along its banks. Every March, the city hosts Florida's famous Azalea Festival and in May the annual Blue Crab Festival is considered by many to be Florida's largest Memorial Day celebration, attracting hundreds of thousands of people. Also, the Larimer Art Center serves as the cultural hub for the community. Plenty of shopping, dining and entertainment can also be found in nearby Jacksonville, the state's second-largest city, and two hours away in Orlando. Educational opportunities are abundant. Saint Johns River Community College is located in Palatka. The University of North Florida, Florida Community College at Jacksonville, Stetson University, Central Florida Community College, the University of Florida at Gainesville, Daytona Beach Community College and Embry Riddle Aeronautical University are all located within 50 miles of the city.
Ravine State Park, located just a few blocks from the St. Johns River, features a 189-acre ravine with nature trails, an exercise course and picnic areas. For the fisherman, Putnam County's waterways provide access to the best fishing in Florida and possibly in the entire United States. The area is home for many well-known bass tournaments including the Wolfson Children's Hospital Bass Tournament, the largest one-day bass tournament east of the Mississippi. Along the St. Johns River, boaters enjoy an aquatic wonderland that provides habitat for osprey, wood stork, bald eagles, largemouth black bass, alligators and manatee. With the sandy beaches of the Atlantic Ocean just a short drive away, including the world famous Daytona Beach, Palatka is an ideal setting for the water sports enthusiast. Swimming, surfing, fishing, boating, canoeing, kayaking and water skiing are all popular pastimes. Scuba diving in the crystal-clear natural springs, which are abundant in this region of Florida, is another popular recreational activity.