Orange Park in Northeast Clay County, just south of Jacksonville, is located on the St. Johns River.
There is shopping at the Orange Park Mall, greyhound racing at the Orange Park Kennel Club, and Orange Park is home to the Thrasher-Horne Center for the Arts.
Orange Park is so close to Jacksonville that it can be difficult to tell where one begins and the other ends. Some Jacksonville residents may be unaware that Orange Park is a separate town and not a part of Jacksonville at all.
Visitors can tour the Club Continental/Winterbourne waterfront estate which has been preserved by the descendants of Caleb Johnson, the founder of the Palmolive Soap Company. The Mira Rio mansion was built in 1923 and is a classic example of Mediterranean architecture. The carefully manicured grounds include spacious courtyards, elegant gardens and live oaks and magnolias.
Visitors can go hiking in Gold Head Branch State Park, Bayard Point Conservation Area, Black Creek Ravines or Jennings Forest. There is fishing, sailing, boating, canoeing, kayaking or skiing on the many lakes, St. Johns River or tranquil Black Creek.
Four golf courses in Clay County are Orange Park Country Club, Eagle Harbor, The Golf Club at Fleming Island, and Magnolia Point Golf and Country Club.
Orange Park’s history begins in the late 1800s, when the Boston-based Florida Winter Home and Improvement Company purchased thousands of acres of former plantation land in what was once known as Laurel Grove. For the new town of Orange Park, the company designed streets such as River Road and Kingsley Avenue.
The town was named after the orange trees that grew there, but they all died off during a particularly harsh winter just before the turn of the century.