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Exploring Fort Lauderdale
Fort Lauderdale may not be somewhere you’ve thought of hiking, biking, or paddling, but you’ll be surprised what Broward County has to offer.
Most of the hiking trails are short nature walks, but some immerse you in habitats you won’t easily see anywhere else in such an urban setting, including pond apple swamps and sawgrass prairies.
Fort Lauderdale is home to two state parks and a robust number of county parks with hiking trails.
While the oceanfront is heavily populated, you can find quieter strands at Hugh Taylor Birch State Park and Mizell-Johnson State Park, as well as the at the Hillsborough Lighthouse Park.
Most of the surrounding communities – including Coral Springs, Dania, Davie, Deerfield Beach, Hollywood, Miramar, Plantation, Pompano Beach, Pembroke Pines, Sunrise, Tamarac – have at least one or more parks and natural areas off of major roads.
Continue west on Interstate 75 to US 27, and you’ll find the Everglades stretching off to the horizon, with Sawgrass Recreational Park one of several gateways into it.
Trails and Parks around Fort Lauderdale
Best Fort Lauderdale Area Trails
Hugh Taylor Birch State Park
In a tropical forest across the street from Fort Lauderdale Beach, Hugh Taylor Birch State Park is the former estate of Chicago attorney Hugh Taylor Birch, stretching to the Intracoastal Waterway
Fern Forest Nature Center
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
Anne Kolb Nature Center
Whether it’s from the top of a five-level observation tower or at ground level with the land crabs, Anne Kolb Nature Center focuses on the urban mangrove forest that it protects and interprets
Secret Woods Nature Center
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
Best Fort Lauderdale Natural Attractions
Named for the water lilies that once flourished in the freshwater marsh in front of this grand home, the 35 acres of tropical forest on which the Bonnet House was built was a gift from industrialist Hugh Taylor Birch to his daughter Helen and son-in-law Fredric Clay Bartlett, a noted artist.
While butterflies are the main attraction at this complex of natural wonders inside Tradewinds Park, a series of gardens also put on quite a show
From its roots in a citrus grove, a nonprofit botanical garden sprouted through the efforts of Floyd and Lula Wray. In 1927, they purchased 320 acres to grow citrus and a year later, Floyd hired Frank Stirling to create a botanical garden for test planting of tropical fruit and flowering trees.
More Fort Lauderdale Parks and Trails
Florida’s Best Urban Parks
When you live in a tightly packed space, you need somewhere green as your go-to place nearby. These are our top picks for parks in Florida’s urban areas, chosen for their diversity of outdoor activities and/or their unique green spaces.
The Barefoot Mailman
Hiking barefoot in Florida isn’t new. Back in the 1880s, it was part of your job description if you delivered mail between Palm Beach and Miami. Learn more at the Hillsboro Lighthouse in Pompano Beach.
INCLUDES: Coconut Creek, Coral Springs, Deerfield Beach, Pompano Beach, Plantation, Sunrise, Wilton Manors | NEARBY: Big Cypress National Preserve, Big Cypress Seminole Reservation, Boca Raton, Clewiston, Davie, Hollywood, Miami | ALONG: Atlantic Coastal Ridge, Atlantic Ocean, Everglades, Intracoastal Waterway | PART OF: Southeast Florida