Nestled in the tranquility of landscaped camellia gardens on the banks of Tucker Bayou stands the historic yet elegant Wesley House. Surrounded by towering live oaks draped in cascading moss, Eden Gardens State Park is a must see for visitors to the Florida Panhandle.
History of Wesley House
In 1897, William Henry Wesley built his two-story Southern plantation style home on this property which was also the site of his prosperous lumber company. Wesley Lumber Company offered many jobs and created industry in the otherwise wilderness of the region.
The Wesley family business stayed in operation until the years following World War I and remained in the family until 1953. When the house was sold following the death of Mrs. Wesley, it was left with just over 10 acres to the new owner.
A few years later in 1963, Lois Maxon purchased the property and had renovations done to both the house and landscape. Inside the home there are still many remnants of her decor and style.
Ms. Maxon donated her gorgeous property to the state of Florida in 1968 and later it was turned into Eden Gardens State Park as it is called today.
For more information on the history of Wesley House and Eden Gardens State Park, visit https://www.floridastateparks.org/parks-and-trails/eden-gardens-state-park/history.
Events at Eden Gardens State Park
Known for their beautiful camellias, Eden Gardens State Park annually hosts a festival for the flowers. The event is usually held in February around the time the camellias are blooming. General park admission is the only fee for attending the festival. Food, drinks, music, vendors and floral demonstrations are all included at the outdoor event.
Another popular option for events at Eden Gardens State Park is for weddings. The towering oak trees, fountains and surrounding landscape make for a beautiful venue. There is even a screened pavilion with a paved patio for any approved events.
Pricing and details about hosting a wedding or event at Eden Gardens State Park can be found at the following website https://www.friendsofedengardens.com/weddings.html.
Visiting the Park
The park is typically open at 8 a.m. until sunset 365 days a year. Although tours of the interior of Wesley House are offered only Thursday through Monday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m every hour with the exception of select holidays.
To find current admission rates for the park and house tours, please check out https://www.floridastateparks.org/parks-and-trails/eden-gardens-state-park/hours-fees for more details.
Things to Do at the Park
If you are looking for activities to do while visiting Eden Gardens State Park, you can tour the Wesley House as well as explore the gardens.
Hiking trails wind throughout the park and make up about a mile of walking paths.
Fishing is allowed on Tucker Bayou but it is saltwater. All fishing related activities must follow guidelines set by state and federal regulations.
There is also a small boat launch at the park that offers the ability to drop a canoe or kayak in the water to explore the Choctawhatchee Bay.
Violet Sky’s Trip to Eden Gardens State Park
The video below is a compilation of photos put together from Violet Sky’s trip to the park during the Annual Camellia Festival.
Thanks for reading about Eden Gardens State Park!
As always, “Keep on truckin'”-Violet Sky