Nature Walks – MacArthur State Park
This is the ONLY State Park in the entirety of Palm Beach County, reflective of the density of population and building that goes on here. Still, the park is a pleasant place to hang. It is located off of Jack Nicholas Rd. (southbound A1A) on a barrier island between Lake Worth and the Atlantic Ocean. A good portion of the park is water, mangrove, hammock and beach.
There is a nice Nature Center and Gift Shop. The park offers free tours and a golf cart tram is available to take visitors across the boardwalk that goes to the beach…or you can walk. A couple of short nature trails are located within the park, as well as picnic and camping sites. Rental kayaks, both single and double, are available. A boat launch is available for kayaks and stand-up boards; no power boats are allowed on Lake Worth Cove.
Upon arriving at the park (entrance fee is $5.00 per day) and utilizing my Pass, I drove to the parking lot near the beach access and Nature Center. There is a lot of thick mangrove scrub so “views” are not available until you get out on the long boardwalk. I found the place to have a high degree of contrast what with the high-rise condominiums rising above the mangrove to the south and the peace and serenity of the park itself. There really isn’t much of “old” Florida in South Florida any more, at least on the Eastern coastline. It is basically one long strip of suburbia with Miami being the primary city present.
Access to the Park from I-95 is via PGA Blvd. and is pretty straight forward, literally, until crossing one of the final canals where the coastal portion of A1A turns south towards Palm Beach.
I didn’t particularly find this park very photogenic, at least when I visited. Apparently low tide is better for seeing the wading birds feeding in the lagoon. The tide was just on its way down, but I didn’t feel like hanging around. I did see some small sting rays and some zebra (?) fish in the lagoon, but no manatees or dolphins.
Many signs stress the importance of not climbing on the dune or trampling the beach vegetation. The beach itself suffered a loss of a lot of sand due to the hurricane last autumn that scraped along the east coast of Florida. The tidal surge got all the way up to the dunes and ate a portion of them away leaving tree roots hanging in air. This is a very delicate and threatened environment.
Access to the beach proper is via wooden cross-overs and there are two restrooms available just off the beach in the hammock. All in all, it is a well-equipped, yet low-key State Park.
Above – Fishing in the Lagoon
The Boardwalk to the Beach across the Lagoon, wide enough for the “tram” and pedestrians.
Look at that empty beach! And within a short drive of busy, populous Palm Beach.
Colorful leaves of the Sea Grape lying on the Nature Trail.
The Nature Trail goes south through the Hammock next to the Beach. Easy walking on the sandy trail.
An example of the excellent naturalist signage in the Park… this one of the Sea Turtles that potentially could nest at the beach during the months of May through November.
All in all, despite the heavy traffic on the freeway getting there, it was a nice little outing and I would recommend this park to anybody considering visiting Palm Beach County in the future.
Today is the New Moon and it was “groovy”.
Blessings to all,
All Rights Reserved, Eliza Ayres, http://www.bluedragonjournal.com
Photos all taken at MacArthur State Park, Palm Beach County, Florida