Wild South Florida — Naturally Wild
 
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The Ultimate Guide to the Outdoors and Environment in Broward, Collier, Martin, Miami-Dade, Monroe and Palm Beach counties.
   
Almanac Places to Visit
     
 
 
   
Halpatiokee Regional Park
gator
halpatiokee scene
halpatiokee scene
halpatiokee scene
 

8303 SW Lost River Road
Stuart

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This might be the best regional park in South Florida, judging strictly by its natural components. It is for sure a multiuse park, with ballfields, picnic pavilions, even that regional rarity, a hockey rink. But it has nearly 500 acres of preserve and miles of hiking trails. Rather than a preserve within a park, it's more like a park within a preserve. And the landscape varies from pine flatwoods, oak hammock, scrub and river land.

The center piece of the park is the South Fork River. The main trail, open to bicyclists as well as hikers, runs along the bank, with several overlooks offering unobstructed views of the water. Further into the interior of the park is a hiking-only trail that volunteers cut. It eventually joins the river and runs along its bank. It is secluded, narrow and rough in places, but is well-marked and there are plenty of intepretive signs. It's a bit of a challenge and lengthy but worth the time if you have it. There's also a hard-surface trail. Canoe and kayak rentals are available.

Halpatiokee is just east of I-95, making for an easy drive, but it's so close you can't escape the din. But that's minor. There's plenty of parking, drinking water and restrooms. Species spotted included great blue heron, blue jay, dewberry, blackroot, black racer, cloudless sulphur, gopher tortoise, Cape May warbler and red-bellied woodpecker. FYI Halpatiokee is the Seminole word for alligator waters. It does not disappoint.


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More Resources for Halpatiokee Regional Park
Institute for Regional Conservation Great Florida Birding Trail    
 
Photo Gallery for Halpatiokee Regional Park
purple thistle yellow milkwort pink flower cape may warbler
skipper butterfly blue eyed grass gray hairstreak alligator
white pea st johns wort air plant blackroot
coral bean gopher tortoise white flower sensitive briar
cardinal dewberry climbing aster
sandhill crane family rabbit rabbit bells blueberries
Unless otherwise stated, all photographs are property of the publishers and may not be used without their express permission.