Taking a Walk on Florida's Wild Side

Southeastern Florida is paradise on earth for sailors, botanical gardeners, golfers, fishing enthusiasts, and beach bunnies. It's no wonder so many people are choosing invest in real estate in this area. With so much to do, it can be easy to overlook the lesser-known and more rugged attractions, such as national parks and wildlife refuges. There are several such large and well-maintained sanctuaries in close proximity to areas like Jupiter, North Palm Beach, and Palm Beach Gardens. Here are a few to check out:

Visitors to the JW Corbett Wildlife Management Area can expect to be wowed. Approximately twenty miles outside of both Palm Beach Gardens and North Palm Beach, and fifteen miles from Jupiter, this peaceful spot is more inland than many of Florida's nature preserves, affording landscape views of a different kind. The Hungryland Boardwalk and Trail provides a short and gentle meander through lush vegetation, with educational signposts throughout. Dawn and dusk visitors will see the most wildlife, including wood storks, sandhill cranes, and the rare roseate spoonbill. There is even freshwater fishing (with a permit) for those who are fond of catfish, bluegill and bass. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's webpage provides more information and directions for the area.

A little further afield is Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge. Around an hour's drive from Jupiter, the 140,000 acre parkland is home to the American alligator and the Snail Kite (an endangered bird species), as well as over 250 other kinds of birds. A must-see for birdwatchers, the Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge is known as the "gateway site" for the Great Florida Birding Trail, a collection of over 400 birding hot spots in the sunshine state. A boardwalk through the swamp makes the park accessible to those who prefer to keep their feet dry, while walking trails, observation towers, boat ramps, and educational opportunities abound. Getting there is straightforward; the US Fish and Wildlife Service has clear concise directions on its webpage.

Whether you prefer a civilized day at the links or roughing it in the back forty, you've got even more things to do in and around Palm Beach Gardens, North Palm Beach, and Jupiter than you may realize, which is just one more reason to live in the area. If you're already a resident, the next time you have visitors who think they've "seen it all", consider introducing them to the natural wonders of your local park or wildlife refuge. If you're a potential homebuyer, take a little walk on the wild side. You'll be glad you did.


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