South Florida provides plenty of opportunity to luxuriate in the wonderful nature available. From hiking through dense, mysterious forests, to swimming with schools of fish, kids will especially love the natural settings highlighted below. Take it from a local, these two destinations are magical relics of old South Florida.
John U. Lloyd State Park
This 251-acre barrier island, located between the Atlantic Ocean and the Intercoastal Waterway, is perfect for a day at the beach or a family picnic. The intercoastal waterway separates the mainland from the ocean, but in between lies Whiskey Creek. This creek, which is a a manatee sanctuary, runs about 2 miles through John U. Lloyd Park and provides an excellent fishing or paddling opportunity for kayakers and canoers. Actually, the creek would be great for beginners to learn how to canoe. The mangroves are gorgeous and tiny fish and crabs can be seen clearly and in abundance.
This park provides a myriad of recreational activities, including surf casting, fishing, canoeing, swimming, wildlife viewing, boating, kayaking and picnicking. A variety of items are available for rental, such as canoes, kayaks, paddleboats, sailboats, pontoon boats and volleyballs. Amenities include a beach, two boat ramps, an education center, a restaurant, picnic tables, grills, and seven covered gazebos. The boat ramps are just 1/4 mile from Port Everglades, and undeniably offers the easiest ocean access in the area.
The almost 3 miles of beach can be described as mostly isolated. If you want to get away from the crowds, this park offers no shopping, no buildings, no lifeguards, just natural beach. It is calm, beautiful and very relaxing. Bonfires are allowed on this beach at night. It’s a wonderful way for a family to unwind from a busy day, watching the sunset, side by side.
Located at 6503 N. Ocean Drive, Dania, 1.5 miles north of Sheridan Street off A1A. For more information, call 954-923-2833 .
Oleta River State Park
This park is an oasis of water wilderness in South Florida, a treasure for the city dweller. It is a memorable destination for both visitors and residents taking a stay-cation. You can easily spend a whole day at Oleta, because there is so much to do in this wonderfully large and open space park. Visitors can mountain bike, kayak, picnic or just lounge along the shores of the Intercoastal.
Rent a kayak or bring your own and explore all of the mangroves and hidden beaches on the surrounding islands in and around this park. Catch sight of wildlife, such as dolphins, manatees, cranes, fish and iguanas as you relax at the sandbar or walk the trails. Paddle leisurely around mangrove inlets which sometimes form a natural awning, pass under bridges, on the calmest water or take a chance on the open water.
There are air-conditioned cabins to rent for camping. Cabins have a bunk bed, a queen bed, desk, fire pit and porch swing. They are in walking distance to all the activities that make this park the destination for any vacation.
Located at 3400 NE 163rd St,North Miami Beach, FL 33160. For more information, call (305) 919-1844