Wrapped in a cocoon of highway noise generated by nearby Interstate 95, Easterlin Park is one of the few places where I’d recommend listening to your iPod as you hike. A designated Urban Wilderness Area, this park is surrounded by highways but you can’t see any of these, thanks to the dense blanket of tropical hardwood hammocks around the park’s perimeter. The Habitat Restoration Nature Trail leads you on a loop of almost a mile to burrow into these tropical wilds and see ancient cypress trees.
Location: Oakland Park
Length: 0.9 mile
Lat-Long: 26.173117, -80.162183
Fees: small fee on weekends
Difficulty: easy to moderate
Bug Factor: moderate to annoying
The park also has tent camping, fishing in its ponds, two playgrounds, and picnic areas.
From I-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.
A loop around the perimeter of this designated Urban Wilderness Area, the broad Habitat Restoration Nature Trail winds its way through an ancient forest of cypresses and royal palms past marshlands with standing water, where ferns and pond apples thrive. 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.
After 0.7 mile, the trail ends at the far edge of the campground, and you must walk around the lake to return to the trailhead. Although surrounded by this cocoon of traffic noise, the footpath winds through a gorgeous hammock with cypresses more than two centuries old, their knees pushing up from dark rich soil.