In its 46 acres, Easterlin Park packs in a great deal of outdoors into a very urban corner of Broward County. Besides the expected picnic area and playground, it has a nicely canopied campground catering to RVs, and a disc golf course around a lake.
What makes this park unique, however, is the vegetation. It’s a dense tropical hammock, a habitat that’s pretty much been stripped away in the urbanization of Broward County. Although the park is right along Interstate 95, you can’t see the highway.
But you can hear it. This is one of the few places where we recommend listening to music when hiking. While the tropical hammock is beautiful and the park is well worth a visit because of its ancient cypresses, the traffic noise is unrelentingly distracting.
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Location: Oakland Park
Length: 0.9 mile loop
Trailhead: 26.173117, -80.162183
Address: 1000 NW 38th St, Oakland Park
Fees: $1.50 per person weekends and holidays
Restroom: at the picnic area and campground
Land manager: Broward County
Open 8 AM to 6 PM. Leashed dogs welcome.
You can stay later if you have a camping reservation. Tent camping is not permitted at this park, although there is a primitive camping area available for groups.
From Interstate 95 exit 31A, drive one block east to Powerline Rd. Continue north on Powerline Rd for 0.4 mile to NW 38th Street, and turn left. The park entrance is on the left after 0.2 mile.
Once you’re inside the park, the park road is one way. Pass the welcome center and gift shop, which is also the campground check-in and has restrooms. Continue through the picnic area. Park across from the canopied playground.
From the parking area, follow the curve of the park road around the bend slightly to a kiosk on the right with a sign for Woodland Nature Trail. The hike starts through the wooden archway.
It’s a broad pathway carved into the tropical forest. Immediately curving south, it stays along the park’s western perimeter.
A dense thicket of tropical vegetation is edged by a canal that was once a river. Marshes are thick with ferns. There may be soggy spots in the footpath.
The trail passes by centuries-old cypress trees and royal palms. Gumbo limbo and strangler fig provide shade while pond apples stand in the swamp.
Although the constant roar of vehicles makes it sound like you’re walking down the interstate, you can’t see them, you just hear them, a strange juxtaposition to the dense forest.
Circling the campground, the trail ends after 0.7 mile, the trail ends at the far side of the campground. From here, cross the park road and walk back up around the lake
More worth exploring while you’re in this area.
Designated the first “urban wilderness area” in Florida in 1978, Secret Woods protects a 56-acre floodplain of cypress strand and mangroves with uplands of tropical hammock
A bounty of ferns awaits at Fern Forest Nature Center, where more than two miles of trails introduce you to a slice of Florida’s past, a tropical forest surrounding the original floodplain of Cypress Creek
An interpretive boardwalk along the South Fork of the Middle River leads you on an exploration of a mangrove forest in Colohatchee Park north of Fort Lauderdale