Before you head out to the beach at John D. MacArthur Beach State Park, a quick stroll down the Satinleaf Trail will get you oriented to the tropical habitats that this park protects on Singer Island.
This easy interpretive nature trail starts near the playground in the first parking area for beach parking, not far from the nature center.
Resources for exploring the area
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Location: Singer Island
Length: 1/4 mile loop
Trailhead: 26.828500, -80.043667
Address: 10900 Jack Nicklaus Dr, North Palm Beach
Fees: $4-5 per vehicle
Restroom: At nature center
Land Manager: Florida State Parks
Open 8 AM until sunset daily. Leashed pets welcome except on beach.
From Interstate 95 exit 79A, drive east on PGA Blvd, which becomes A1A after you cross US 1; watch for the park entrance road on the left after 4.7 miles. Once you pay your entrance fee, follow the “Nature Center” signs and park in the first parking area on the left.
Pick up an interpretive brochure at the kiosk. Wild coffee and silvery-green saw palmettos dominate the understory, along with myrsine and red bay.
At the loop trail junction, keep right. You smell the stink of white stopper as you pass under a grove of gumbo limbo trees. A blolly sports bright red berries.
Marsh ferns cluster under the shade of a cabbage palm as you come to a bench tucked under the low branches of a pigeon plum.
The trail turns left into denser woods, where young trees compete with wild coffee for control of the understory.
Winding past an outdoor classroom, you come up to a tall mastic tree at marker 12. With its distinctive lumpy trunk, the mastic is also known as the jungle plum.
As the trail curves to the left, you enter a grove dominated by satinleaf. The leaves overhead have orange-brown fuzzy undersides, very striking with the sun shining down through the grove.
A marlberry raises its white blossoms well overhead. Walk past a strangler fig with roots that look like bars on a jail cell.
A grove of paradise trees flanks the trail prior to the trail junction. Turn right to exit the trail, then left when you reach the kiosk, ending this quarter mile hike.
You can add nearly three more miles of walking with rambles along the boardwalks to the islands, both reachable from the Nature Center.
More worth exploring while you’re in this area.
Four hiking trails intertwine in this 172-acre natural area, with seven different habitats to explore along footpaths, paved trails, and boardwalks.
At Juno Dunes Natural Area, two loop trails flank US 1. While shade is at a premium, botanical diversity makes this a worthy destination for an early morning hike
At Bethedsa-by-the-Sea, worship is not held just in hallowed halls but in the grace of the garden. Surrounding this historic Palm Beach church are colorful plantings of unusual tropical plants like the big leafed sea grape.