Ranger Programs Make Waves of fun at MacArthur Beach State Park

By: Lauren Tjaden


Visiting MacArthur Beach State Park feels like letting out your breath and not realizing you'd been holding it.

With every step you take on the boardwalk, you feel lighter. When the beach unfolds in front of you, a glorious sweep of cinnamon-hued sand, it’s hard to keep from smiling.

It’s a place where nature rejoices, where sea turtles and shorebirds nest. Here, you’re likely to see kayakers paddling through its lagoon. You’ll often run across groups of schoolchildren being introduced to the outdoors, some who have never seen the ocean before.

And that’s just the tip of the sandbar.

You can swim, fish, picnic, and surf; you can scuba dive and snorkel the reef. You can also enjoy ongoing Ranger Programs that let you discover the Park in a multitude of ways. Check out these offerings -- there’s something to please everyone in your gang. And most of them are free with park admission!

Go au Natural

  • Join one of the staff naturalists for a daily one-mile Nature Walk through the Park's four distinct habitats. You’ll learn about the ecosystems, their history, and spot critters that can range from jellyfish to shorebirds and more.
  • If you have difficulty walking long distances, opt for a Nature Ride instead. You’ll snag a ride in an open-air tram for a close-up view of the plants and wildlife. Call the Ranger Station at least two weeks in advance to arrange this option.
  • Visit the William T. Kirby Nature Center daily to view the 15-minute- "Island in Time" video, shown on request. This professionally produced flick will introduce you to the diverse ecology of the park as well as its diverse habitats: the rock reef, dune, hammock, and estuary. Two large aquariums, live animals, and a gift shop round out the Nature Center. Ask about the fish and animals; many have stories behind them and were rescued.

Winged Wonders

  • Enjoy a Butterfly Walk with a park naturalist. You’ll embark on a walking tour through one of South Florida's last remaining hardwood hammocks, admiring different types of butterflies. You’ll also learn which plants attract these beauties to your backyard.
  • Go Birding at Macarthur Park on a Ranger-led educational walk. Herons, brown pelicans, terns, sandpipers, and gulls are among the feathered friends you may discover.

Get the Paddling you Deserve

Fishy Fun

  • Learn about the various fish in a Fish Tank Interpretation in the Nature Center. A Ranger will feed the fish and give you the scoop on what they eat, where they live and other facts to tickle your fins.

If you go:

John D. MacArthur Beach State Park, 10900 Jack Nicklaus Drive
North Palm Beach, 33408,
Phone: 561- 624-6950

Admission Fees:

  • $5 per vehicle, limit 2-8 people per vehicle
  • $4 single-occupant vehicle or motorcycle
  • $2 pedestrians, bicyclists, extra passengers, passengers in vehicle with holder of Annual Individual Entrance Pass

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