Uncover The Hidden Wild of The Palm Beaches

February 19, 2021

In terms of discovering natural beauty and enjoying it in myriad ways, The Palm Beaches rival any national park.

Breathtaking wonders can be found just a few miles — or sometimes steps — from our luxury resorts, pristine beaches and vibrant cities. Confused? Thought The Palm Beaches were all about golf courses and pristine shores? Enter “Hidden Wild,” the new documentary exploring the wild side of The Palm Beaches. 
It’s a 30-minute film co-produced by The Palm Beaches and Palm Beach County’s Environmental Resources Management, following the journey of three local students — Noah, Kiana and Kourtez — led by conservation photographer Alex on an expedition as they hike, bike and paddle their way through 70 miles of connected wilderness in seven days.  
It’s an inspiring journey, and here’s how you can experience parts of the voyage for yourself.

Hike or Bike 

Just like in the film, hike a portion of the Ocean to Lake Hiking Trail (OTLHT) in Corbett Wildlife Management Area in West Palm Beach. The students started out where L-8 Canal/Big Gopher Canal intersect and traveled 4.25 miles to South Grade. You can access this by entering Corbett at the main entrance and driving along Stumper’s Grade to South Grade, then parking along the road near where South Grade intersects with the OTLHT.  
There is easier access to the OTLHT at several points along its route from west to east, like near the main entrance of Corbett, at Hungryland Slough Natural Area or Loxahatchee Slough Natural Area. If you’d rather pedal, you can explore the expedition route by starting at Jupiter’s Riverbend Park and cycling on the Pantano Trail as it leaves the south end of Riverbend. Find all the trails in the connected system at jeagawildways.com.

Kayak the Wild and Scenic Loxahatchee River

Some of the most spectacular scenery featured in Hidden Wild is on the Loxahatchee River, one of only two nationally designated Wild and Scenic Rivers in Florida. You can launch your kayak (or rent one) in Riverbend Park and be ready to go on an astonishing trip through seemingly remote and exotic locales. Make sure to keep watch for wildlife all along the way. 

Kayaker at Riverbend Park
Courtesy of Todd Easterbrook

Lighthouse Vistas 

The students in Hidden Wild climbed the historic Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse, which is surrounded by another protected place, the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse Outstanding Natural Area. Here, you can stroll a paved pathway and elevated boardwalk through the wilderness, kayak through hidden waterways, and of course, enjoy the panoramic view from atop the lighthouse. From this vantage point, you’ll spot the Jupiter Inlet, Loxahatchee River Aquatic Preserve and the very south end of the Indian River Lagoon. Just like in the film, you can paddleboard these beautiful blue waters at high tide and look for sea turtles, manatees and all the colorful animals that call this special place home. 

Group climbing stairs at Jupiter Lighthouse

On to the Beach

The Palm Beaches’ 47 miles of Atlantic Ocean coastline, legendary for having turquoise-tinged waters and soft sands, were bound to star in “Hidden Wild.” The beach scenes were filmed in John D. MacArthur Beach State Park in North Palm Beach. Not only can you swim here, but you can also paddle through the mangrove trees and snorkel the nearshore natural reef to spot marine life. 

Group walking on board walk at John D. MacArthur Beach State Park

Big Finale at Peanut Island 

The final scenes of “Hidden Wild” showcased Peanut Island near Palm Beach Inlet and Phil Foster Park in Riviera Beach/Singer Island. It’s a remarkable and historic island with a presidential history. Today, it’s an ideal spot to take a break from boating and kayaking the Intracoastal Waterway. You should also plan a visit to Phil Foster Park, which offers fantastic snorkeling and some of the most famous diving in the world.  
Immerse yourself in Hidden Wild’s natural settings and delight in outdoor adventures in The Palm Beaches. 
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