Wild South Florida — Frenchman's Forest Natural Area
shop the mall
The Ultimate Guide to the Outdoors and Environment in Broward, Collier, Martin, Miami-Dade, Monroe and Palm Beach counties.
Almanac Places to Visit
Frenchman's Forest Natural Area
frenchman's forest
frenchman's forest natural area
frenchman's forest natural area
frenchman's forest natural area

12201 Prosperity Farms Road
Palm Beach Gardens


Frenchman's Forest is one of the few places where you might see a river otter and a gopher tortoise on the same hike. At 172 acres, it's not huge but it is diverse. You can go from mangrove swamp and tidal basin to cypress swamp to scrub within a 15-minute walk. It's among the older natural areas in Palm Beach County, and it shows its age in places. But it's well maintained, the hiking trails well trimmed and marked, the boardwalks and pavilions solid.

The site is part of the Great Florida Birding Trail for good reason. Great blue herons, red-bellied woodpecker, pileated woodpecker, blue jay, cardinals and cat birds were among the species we spotted. We found the boardwalk through the cypress swamp along the staggerbush hiking trail to be one of the better spots for bird watching. We suspect the pavilion over the tidal basin to be a productive site as well. And you might catch a glimpse of the river otters.

Frenchman's has about three miles of hiking trails, including 0.4 miles of hard-surface. There is ample parking, an info pavilion but no drinking water or restrooms.

More Resources for Frenchman's Forest Natural Area
Great Florida Birding Trail Institute for Regional Conservation    
Photo Gallery for Frenchman's Forest Natural Area
beauty berry deer moss white flower dragonfly
cardinal white mangrove goldenrod gayflower
catbird violet colored flower yellow slikgrass flower pileated woodpecker
Unless otherwise stated, all photographs are property of the publishers and may not be used without their express permission.