John D. MacArthur Beach State Park
John D. MacArthur Beach State Park is a fascinating peek at the subtropical coastal habitat that one covered southeast Florida and has been described as a “island in time”. The park is 348 acres of maritime hammock forest, mangrove communities and underwater reef. A 4,000 square foot nature center will educate visitors on the barrier island’s plant and animal communities as well as the rich Native American history of the area.
The park features 1.6 miles of amazing white sand beach which is known as a nesting ground for rare sea turtles including the loggerhead, green sea turtle and the rare leatherback. In June and July the park offers Sea Turtle “tours” to view a nesting loggerhead sea turtle from 8pm until about midnight on selected dates. Plan on dressing in dark, comfortable clothes as you will be patiently waiting for the turtles and could be walking a couple of miles of beach to view them. If you are planning on visiting the park to see this spectacular event, make sure to register early as space is very limited; registration opens on May 30 at 9am. Children under 8 are not allowed on the walk.
Bird watchers will also be thrilled to catch a glimpse of many endangered bird species including the peregrine falcon, the wood stork and the least tern. Along the popular 1,600 foot boarkwalk spanning Lake Worth Cove, you can view herons, ibis, roseate spoonbills and ospreys.
Other fun activities include swimming along the pristine beach, kayaking, snorkeling, fishing, nature trails for biking and hiking, picnicking and a children’s playground. Guided tours are available for kayakers that would like to visit Munyon Island, which is only accessible by boat. There is a gift shop and kayak rentals at the park if you are unable to bring your own. The park also features a wide range of concerts, festivals and educational seminars just to name a few of the planned activities throughout the year. The macarthurbeach.org Events page will give you the list of upcoming fun events that you don’t want to miss.
Unfortunately the state park does not offer camping and dogs are not allowed. The closest campground to the John D. MacArthur Beach State Park is the Peanut Island Park but only offers tent campsites. Check out the FRVTA member campgrounds for RV friendly options near the park. For more information on the park, please visit FloridaStateParks.org or call 561.624.6950.