John D. MacArthur State Park, a Natural Paradise

Nestled on an Atlantic Ocean front barrier island, John D. MacArthur Beach State Park is the only state park in The Palm Beaches and an environmental treasure to locals and visitors alike. The park offers almost two miles of pristine beach perfect for exploration and swimming, snorkeling and fishing in the clear blue waters of the Atlantic.
 

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Not too along ago, our friend Lauren Tjaden, VISIT FLORIDA Beaches Insider, decided to visit the park to unplug and unwind in one of the most naturally beautiful areas of the county. I would highly recommend viewing Lauren's video from her recent visit here. One of the best ways to start the day at the park is with the daily nature walks each morning. Free with park admission, the group departs each day at 10 a.m. for a guided tour. The best part is no matter how many times you take the tour; you will always notice something different. In addition to the nature walk, butterfly and bird walks are also available. The bird walk is another can’t miss if you’re visiting on a Sunday as the tours are limited and vary depending on tides. The variety of birds is impressive as you move from the park to the estuary and see the changes throughout.
 

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Before you hit the beach make sure to take some time to explore the Nature Center (open 9-5 daily) to learn more about the park and local ecology. Highlights include the Sea Turtle Tank and Terrestrial Animals Exhibit where you can learn more about the local wildlife and even watch live feedings throughout the day. The exhibits are particularly unique because of their focus on local species including the local reef, manatees and dolphins to name a few.

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For me, the best place to unwind is along the beautiful blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean. The walk down the boardwalk is almost magical as you feel the calmness of the ocean and nature take over. Along the boardwalk you’ll be surrounded by the most productive estuarine system in the area. For those wanting to explore the ocean the park boasts a great reef in the shallow water off the beach with great visibility to see squid, colorful tropical fish and schools of tarpon and snook.

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Another option for the active traveler is to explore John D. MacArthur Beach State Park by kayak. The waterways are easily navigated – from around the estuary into the Lake Worth Lagoon and even to Munyon Island when the tide is high. Along the way you’ll likely see wildlife including manatees, dolphins, mullet, snook, rays and bird. Visitors can explore at their leisure by renting kayaks or canoes at the park or by participating in a guided two-hour tour.

To stay informed on what is happening at the park, visit www.macarthurbeach.org. The website includes information on rentals, suggested activities and special events, including surf school, moonlight concerts and more. Also, consider becoming a Friend of MacArthur Beach State Park for additional benefits and to help preserve this piece of paradise in The Palm Beaches.

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