Top 5 Wide Open Spaces You Never Knew Existed in The Palm Beaches

June 18, 2020

Check out these hidden gems on your next trip.

The Palm Beaches is known for their tropical beaches, high-end shopping, and year-round sunshine.  But did you know there is more than meets the eye in this South Florida paradise.  Eco-adventure awaits throughout the destination in the Palm Beach County Natural Areas.  These protected pieces of South Florida’s natural heritage maintain a diversity of plants and animals and offer visitors a range of activities from hiking, biking, and kayaking to birdwatching and environmental education. And did we mention they are all Free to visit?  With over 25 natural areas in The Palm Beaches there is so much to explore but here are our Top 5 locations to explore on your next trip.  Also, see how The Palm Beaches natural areas have prepared for your return and are keeping you safe.

1. CYPRESS CREEK NATURAL AREA

North Section – 10035 W. Indiantown Road in Jupiter; South Section – 9424 W. Indiantown Road in Jupiter
Head out to Cypress Creek Natural Area in Jupiter for a day of outdoor fun. With more than 2,000 acres to explore, there is plenty to do and see. Jeaga Wildways multi-use trails - perfect for bicyclists and equestrians - connect the natural area with Riverbend Park. Miles of hiking trails take visitors through wetlands, woods and cypress swamps. Other public-use facilities include wildlife observation platforms, kayak/canoe launch area and a fishing pier.
Cypress Creek Natural Area
Bike Trail at the Cypress Creek Natural Area

2. LOXAHATCHEE SLOUGH NATURAL AREA 

Parking lot – 11855 Beeline Highway; Blueway Trail canoe/kayak launch – 8311 PGA Blvd. in Palm Beach Gardens
A 0.25-mile paved walking trail leads from the parking lot to a wetland observation platform. Other amenities include a fishing pier, picnic tables, restrooms and an observation tower. This entrance also allows easy access to the Ocean-to-Lake Hiking Trail. A kiosk in the parking lot provides information about the plants and animals found in the natural area. Be sure to pick up a trail guide from the box attached to the kiosk. Since we are in the "rainy season" walking and hiking trails may be wet and muddy in spots. 
 
The first phase of the Loxahatchee Blueway Trail is now open to the public. This trail travels through the heart of Loxahatchee Slough Natural Area. The water trail is a 2 mile (one way), moderately easy paddle that takes paddlers through a historic South Florida waterway. Plenty of wetland birds can be seen along the trail, including herons, egrets, limpkins and snail kites. This is one of the best ways to explore a Palm Beach County natural treasure - on the water! 
Paddlers on Cypress Run
Paddlers at the Loxahatchee Slough Natural Area

3. PINE GLADES NATURAL AREA 

14122 W. Indiantown Road in Jupiter
Pine Glades Natural Area is one of the best places in Palm Beach County to view a sunset. In fact, you don't even have to get out of your car to catch the evening light show. However, some of the best viewing is only a short walk away at the fishing pier and wildlife observation platform. 
 
Watching the sunset at Pine Glades Natural Area is more than just enjoying the light show in the western sky. You can also see the "backward sunset viewing" - clouds in the eastern sky turn delightful shades of pinks and purples as the sun goes down. Not only is this a great place to catch sunsets, but it is also a premier birding spot. Watch flyovers by the locals - white ibis, great egrets, and Florida sandhill cranes.
Sunset at the Pine Glades Natural Area

Sunset at the Pine Glades Natural Area

4. WINDING WATERS NATURAL AREA 

6161 Haverhill Road in West Palm Beach
Water, land and sky all come together in spectacular fashion at Winding Waters Natural Area in West Palm Beach. The 548-acre Winding Waters Natural, located in West Palm Beach, preserves slash pine and cypress forests and wetlands. Visitors can hike or run miles of trail surrounding the restored wetlands. If hitting the water is your thing, bring your kayak or canoe to the parking lot where easy access to the wetlands is just a few steps away. Birds big and small are everywhere - so make sure you bring binoculars to watch the avian airshow. Make sure you stop by the information kiosk in the parking lot to learn about the wetland restoration project and pick up a trail guide.
Tri-Colored Heron at the Winding Waters Natural Areas
Tri-Colored Heron at the Winding Waters Natural Area

5. YAMATO SCRUB NATURAL AREA 

701 Clint Moore Road in Boca Raton
There's a lot of nature hidden within the city limits of Boca Raton. The 217-acre Yamato Scrub Natural Area protects Florida scrub habitat - essentially ancient beachfront property. Visitors can explore 3.5 miles of trails (paved and unpaved). Along the walking trail you will find tall slash pines and Spanish moss-covered oak trees. Trail runners enjoy the challenge of the natural area’s winding, saw palmetto-filled hiking trails– and a tunnel under Clint Moore Road allows for safe and easy access to the entire site. A restored wetland attracts ducks, wading birds and hawks. 
Wetland at the Yamato Scrub Natural Area
Wetland at the Yamato Scrub Natural Area

 
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