Hiking With Young Children in South Florida

Hiking With Young Children: The Best Spots in South Florida

Are your go-to outdoor activities becoming a bit stale? If your kids have had enough of the backyard, are a little burned out on beach activities, and your local playground is getting more crowded by the day, try taking your kids out on a hike! Getting a little exercise while checking out the natural beauty and animal habitats which surround us can be a stimulating break from sidewalk-chalking and sandboxing.

Jonathan Dickinson State Park, on the Loxahatchee River, features a diverse array of habitats and nature environs. Your kids will love walking along the river and exploring mangroves and river swamps. Plus, the park offers kayaking and canoeing for families who want to get out on the water.

Apoxee Park is a Palm Beach County urban wilderness area. The 4.7 mile hike may be best for active adults who are interested in wearing infants and toddlers on a longer expedition. Because this park takes you through the water supply of West Palm Beach, you’ll see the flow of water through a variety of habitats, and the combination of boardwalks, limestone, and natural surfaces mixes things up a bit.

Just a short drive to Boca Raton takes your family to the Daggerwing Nature Center, featuring a nature trail which is perfect for young kids. The elevated boardwalk is an easy, relaxed walk through the swamp, with plentiful bench seating for those frequent snack and water breaks young kids like to take. There’s even an observation tower which provides a view of birds, alligators, and winged insects, including the park’s namesake butterfly.

Fern Forest Nature Center, in Coconut Creek, is an impressive mix of outdoor activities and indoor experiences that are family-friendly and provide an excellent opportunity for a day trip. Young kids will enjoy the exhibit hall, with displays of native reptiles. There is a picnic area where families can refuel, and several trails that are appropriate for different levels of ability. The accessible boardwalk trail is an easier hike, while the trails which run through swamps and wetlands pose more of a challenge.

Of course, if your family is ready for a lengthier drive and a more immersive nature experience, the Everglades National Park is a rite of passage. The Everglades is a little overwhelming, with its variety of experiences and its large swath of land and water to explore. The Flamingo and Pine Island trails may be best suited for young children, as they are accessible from the main entrance of the park.

What is your family favorite go-to hike? Let us know in the comments section!

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