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Burn some calories and glimpse wild Florida when you detour to one of these excellent nature parks.
In Delray Beach, walk the short boardwalk that meanders around the man-made , a reservoir of treated wastewater (located behind the Palm Beach County Water Utilities building, of all places) turned wildlife sanctuary that counts alligators, turtles, frogs, and more than 140 species of birds among its visitors. The birds at this hidden gem are the real draw; bring binoculars and look for great blue herons, anhingas, egrets, woodpeckers, ospreys, wood storks, and many more.
Slightly north in Boynton Beach, hit the easy walking trails around the sawgrass marshes of Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge (shown above; $5 per vehicle), a northern extension of the Everglades, where you’ll keep company with American alligators, snakes, turtles, and a wide variety of local birds (as many as 257 different species!), including the endangered snail kite.
North of that is Jupiter, where you can climb the observation tower atop Hobe Mountain (a big sand dune, really) at Jonathan Dickinson State Park ($6 per vehicle) for sweeping views, then choose a hiking trail (ranging from one to nine miles long) to better explore the park’s sand pine scrub, pine flatlands, mangroves, and river swamps—keeping your eyes peeled for gators, snakes, birds, deer, and bobcats along the way.
Also in Jonathan Dickinson State Park, you can rent a kayak or canoe from the park’s concession store and paddle the lush Loxahatchee River (single/double kayak: $15/$20 for first two hours, $6/hour after; canoe: $16 for first two hours, $5/hour after).
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