Side Trips: Eden Gardens

Eden Gardens is a Florida state park that is  only a few miles from Santa Rosa Beach north of Highway 98 on County Road 395. It's also a step back into Florida's past to the days of hoop skirts and juleps on the veranda.

The centerpiece of the park is the Wesley Mansion, a beautifully-restored two-story mansion built by lumber baron William Henry Wesley in 1897. The property was acquired in 1963 by Lois Maxon who later developed the ornamental gardens on the grounds and later donated the house and land to the state.

The park has walking paths and a picnic area on the banks of a tributary that connects to Choctawhatchee Bay. There's also a small gift shop in the house. It's a favorite spot for weddings and celebrations.