At the edge of Boynton Beach, where historic farmlands have given way to subdivisions over the last decade, Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge is a buffer between development and the Everglades river of grass, sliced and diced into canals and impoundments that prevent flooding of nearby suburbia while providing vast marshlands for waterfowl to roam.
Location: Boynton Beach
Lat-Lon: 26.498420, -80.212604
Fees: $5 per carload or $1 per cyclist/pedestrian. Duck stamps and federal recreational passes accepted for entry. $12 annual pass available.
Open: Sunrise to sunset daily. Visitor Center open 9-4 daily except Christmas and Thanksgiving.
From Florida’s Turnpike, follow Boynton Beach Blvd west for 1.9 miles until it ends at US 441. Turn left and drive 2 miles south to the park entrance on the right
Activities by Location
Established in 1951 under the Migratory Bird Conservation Act, Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge was a wise move that prevented the further expansion of communities into the fragile Everglades ecosystem, as has happened to its south. It was created for wildlife, but also for humans as a natural water cachement area for the burgeoning population along Florida’s southeast coast.
A labyrinth of levees slices through this 272-acre marsh, creating ten separate impoundments known as Compartment C. The refuge encompasses more than 145,000 acres of marshland, at least 25 miles long and 11 miles across. In its watery interior, far from the levee trails, Florida panthers still roam the shallow river of grass, and tens of thousands of wading birds make their homes on tree islands, coming together in massive rookeries to raise their young.
Public use in the refuge is restricted to the Headquarters Area, where you’ll find two marked interpretive trails, and the levee system and open marsh to the south extending nearly 12 miles to Hillsboro Blvd. Off-road biking is the best way to explore the southern extent of the refuge.
Explore the park
- Loxahatchee NWR Cypress Trail - Following the boardwalk behind the Visitor Center at Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge, you'll enter a jungle-like wonderland along the Cypress Trail into a habitat lush with ferns and bromeliads
- Loxahatchee NWR Marsh Trail - At Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge, the Marsh Trail provides a marked trail to follow on the extensive dike system. It is one of the region's best birding sites, where you'll see dozens of species.
Find out about guided hikes and canoe trips with the Friends of the Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge