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3 Can’t-Miss State Parks in South Florida Fort Lauderdale, Florida
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Many people are surprised to learn that South Florida has so many beautiful parks. In fact, our region’s state parks are unlike those anywhere else. If you’ve been looking for a great place to explore in Florida this spring or summer, you don’t want to miss out on these gorgeous destinations. Best of all, each of them is part of our beautiful state park system.

Hugh Taylor Birch Park

Hugh Taylor Birch Park is a gem in Fort Lauderdale. In fact, it’s known as the Central Park of Fort Lauderdale. Some areas on the perimeter of the park allow for fishing, though you may need a fishing license. If you want to get in the water, the beach is also a great place to swim or snorkel. These activities are available on the park perimeter but not inside the park.

One reason why so many people travel to Hugh Taylor Birch Park is to view wildlife. For instance, this state park is home to gopher tortoises and raccoons. The park is also a great spot for birding, even for experts familiar with migratory species. In fact, the park boasts over 250 species of birds. If you arrange with the park in advance, you may get a chance to check out live animal exhibits. These exhibits include various snake species and terrapin turtles.

The park also offers boat access to the Intracoastal Waterway, which means you can explore this destination from the water as well. You can also picnic and camp on the grounds. If you’d like to bike, skate, or walk, the park drive offers nearly 2 miles of roadway. Some hiking trails can also accommodate bikes. The 20-minute journey through the tropical hardwood hammock ecosystem is a must-do if you like to walk.

A visit to Hugh Taylor Birch Park costs $6 per vehicle for a single-day pass, and the park is open 365 days a year. You can plan your trip for a Friday or Saturday morning to take part in a guided walk with a park ranger. On your walk, you’ll learn about the park’s history and all it has to offer.

Location: 3109 E. Sunrise Blvd., Fort Lauderdale.

Hours: 8 a.m. to sunset, Monday through Sunday.

Barnacle Historic State Park

Barnacle Historic State Park was built in 1891 and offers insight into Florida’s frontier experience. Much of the park still looks like it would have in the 1800s. The park is situated on Biscayne Bay and is still one of the most charming South Florida destinations.

The Munroe House Museum on-site is worth exploring. The house was once home to Ralph Middleton Munroe, a pioneer, sailor, and boat designer. It’s open only for guided tours for small groups. Tours are available throughout the day, and you can make reservations in advance. Tour tickets are $3 for children aged 13 and older and $1 for those aged 6 to 12.

Although Barnacle Historic State Park is in Miami, you’re still likely to spot some great wildlife. In fact, the park is excellent for birding thanks to its large number of evergreen and semi-deciduous trees. You’ll be able to look for doves, woodpeckers, herons, pelicans, and even birds of prey. The best time to visit the park for birding is spring or fall when the birds are migrating.

Today, you can still spot replicas of old sailboats. You’ll have the opportunity to enjoy picnics, long walks, and outdoor concerts. You can barbecue if you bring a propane or gas stove, but charcoal grills are not allowed. No trash cans are available at the park, so you’ll have to pick everything up when you leave.

This park is closed on Thursdays, as well as on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. An entry fee is required for day use, and pets are allowed on leashes.

Location: 3485 Main Highway, Miami.

Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday through Wednesday.

Oleta River State Park

Oleta River State Park is another gorgeous South Florida destination. The park frequently reaches capacity on weekends, so it’s a good idea to arrive early to make sure you’re able to get in. When you see everything the park has to offer, you’ll understand why it tends to fill up so quickly.

The park is the largest urban park in the state, with over 1,000 acres of land. It offers 15 miles of bicycling trails, in addition to opportunities for paddling along gorgeous forests of mangrove trees. You can swim, fish, and picnic along Biscayne Bay or canoe, kayak, and paddleboard in the bay, mangrove trails, or Oleta River. You can also snorkel or swim in the bay or lagoon. If you’d rather stay on land, a 3-mile paved trail allows you to explore the park.

Park wildlife is abundant. You’re likely to see wading birds, including spoonbills and herons. You might even catch sight of a dolphin or manatee.

You can also rent a rustic cabin if you’d like to stay at the park. Primitive camping is also available. Sites feature a fire circle, tables, and a restroom. However, no power is available. Picnic tables and grills are available throughout the park. You can even host a wedding at the park.

Oleta River State Park is open every day of the year. Admission is $6 per vehicle. The park is just half an hour away from downtown Miami, but it feels like another world.

Location: 3400 NE 163rd St., North Miami Beach.

Hours: 8 a.m. to sundown, Monday through Sunday.

South Florida Has So Much To Offer

If you love South Florida as much as we do, you know the state has so much to offer. Whether you’ve just moved to the area or have lived here for years, you may have paving projects in the works. For those times when you can’t be out exploring state parks, you want your house to look its best. U.S. Pave can help you achieve your residential or commercial goals.

Image by Jorge Vasconez is licensed with Unsplash License

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