Hugh Taylor Birch State Park
Freshwater fun in Florida
In 1893, a Chicago attorney purchased a 180-acre parcel of oceanfront property for a mere dollar an acre. He donated the three-and-a-half mile stretch of Fort Lauderdale beach to the State of Florida for preservation. Today, the resulting Hugh Taylor Birch State Park is a freshwater lagoon system eco-tourists love. Here, canoeists can paddle up to wading birds, hawks, ducks, turtles and other wildlife.
Ranger-guided walks are free with park admission. The Terramar Visitor Center, once the home of Hugh Taylor Birch, offers exhibits and a short video on the natural and cultural history of the park. Other outdoor highlights include:
- Fishing: If you cast your lure along the sea-wall after tide, you may catch jack, tarpon and snapper.
- Fort Lauderdale offers a multitude of attractions for outdoor types. While the Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce has great up-to-date Florida holiday ideas, year-round highlights include:
- Museum of Discovery and Science: With more than 200 interactive exhibits, it's easy to spend an entire day here. Sharks cruising the largest indoor Atlantic coral reef and nature trails are rounded out by a five-story IMAX theater and documentaries on the Florida Everglades.
- Everglade Day Safaris: This eco-tour takes you through all four of the Florida Everglade ecosystems. Tours include airboat rides, a classic Southern lunch and a nature walk.
- McDonald's Air and Sea Show (May): This two-day event, held on the beach, features spectacular demonstrations performed by the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds and U.S. Army Golden Knights.
- Winterfest Boat Parade (December): While the parade of decorated boats rolls along the Intracoastal Waterway, the whole month is filled with art, food, jazz and more. Fun for boat lovers, families and the merely curious, this is a unique, must-see event.
While the nights on Hugh Taylor Birch State Park are for star-gazing, in nearby Fort Lauderdale Las Olas Boulevard is anything but quiet. Endless nightclubs, comedy clubs, jazz clubs, outdoor cafes and fine dining possibilities can keep you entertained well into the night.
Camping is available for up to 72 people, with facilities that include six cabins, an air-conditioned meeting / dining room and a fully-equipped kitchen. If primitive camping is more your style, you're welcome to pitch a tent. Be sure to make reservations since the beach is popular. If the campground is full, or you prefer to sleep indoors, Fort Lauderdale offers a wide range of accommodations, from small motels to luxury hotels and condos.
Need to Know
- On East Sunrise Blvd. in Fort Lauderdale, off A1A.
- Average fall and winter temperatures range in the 70s F.
- Spring and summer daytime temperatures often exceed 90 F.
- Shaded picnic areas
- Playground equipment
- Barbecue grills
- Three picnic pavilions, which can accommodate up to 75 people, that come equipped with electricity and water, and are available to rent.
Eco-tourists love all the wildlife, nature walks and seclusion Hugh Taylor Birch State Park has to offer. If a Hugh Taylor Birch escape is your idea of a dream vacation, let Florida Beaches Guide help make it a reality.
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