hiking trails

A Visit to Florida’s Most Diverse State Park

Johnathan Dickinson State Park at Hobe Sound in Jupiter, is one of Florida’s largest and although it may sound cliche’, it really does have something for everyone.

This 10,500 acre park of pine flatwoods, saw palmeto, cypress trees, creeks and even a river, offers up an abundance of wildlife sightings and outdoor recreation.

For the bicyclists who enjoys rugged trails over natural dunes and challenging terrain, there are miles of trails that offer just that. Trails so challenging that there is even a practice course for bicyclists who are just getting started with trail riding and want to perfect their skills first. 9 miles of trails are available with loops for all skill levels, from beginner to expert and trail maps are located at the ranger station. Riders must obey Florida helmet laws. Paved Bicycle trails are also available.

Hikers can enjoy miles of nature trails through Florida natural scrub on paved and unpaved trails. Many creatures call this park home so it is possible to have an encounter or sightings of wildlife within the park. Deer, fox, raccoon, coyote or even a bobcat sighting could be possible and because these are trails through natural Florida scrub land, snake encounters are possible as well.

How about a guided nature trail tour on horse back? From just after Thanksgiving thru Easter, 1 hour guided horse back tours are available for any skill level rider. The horses at Jonathan Dickinson State Park are picked for their gentleness & calmness and no matter if you are a skilled rider or have never been on a horse before, you will have no problem on these very well trained horses. This 1 hour guided ride, winds through protected cypress heads and pine flatwoods and gives the rider a perfect opportunity for wildlife viewing. Rides are scheduled every hour from 9 am until 3 pm. Riders must be at lease 6 years old and 4 foot tall. Only available Thanksgiving thru Easter and cost is $35.00 per person.

For those who have their own horse, there are horse trails available and the trails are maintained by the Florida Trail Association.

Johnathan Dickinson State Park is on the Loxahatchee River and for those of you who would enjoy a river tour, you are in luck because the park has that as well. A two hour boat tour meanders along the river as your licensed captain and tour guide tells you about the history and the wildlife of the river. Alligators, manatee, osprey, turtles and blue heron are frequently seen along the river and all can be viewed from the comfort and safety of your boat seat. Cost for the boat tour is $20.00 per adult $12.00 for children ages 3-12. Tours depart daily at 9 am, 11 am, 1 pm & 3 pm.

The parks concessions rents canoes, kayaks, motor boats and bicycles and just east of the concession area is an old-fashioned swimming hole. Picnic areas with playground is provided near the river as well as pavilions that can be reserved.

There are two campground located within the park one near the ranger station and one along the river. The park can accommodate all types of campers from primitive, to tent to big rig RV’s. Electric, water and in some sites sewer are available and a dump station for sites without sewer is also provided. Both camping areas offer restrooms, hot showers and washer and dryer. Fun Family programs are offered every Saturday mornings for campers at the Kimbell center located within the park. 12 Cabin rentals are also available and the cabins are situated near the river. Click here For more information on camping and cabin rentals in Florida State Parks.

The Elsa Kimbell Environmental Education and Research Center  is a fun way to begin your discovery adventure and journey through the park as there you can pick up identification guides to help you identify birds, snakes, and other wildlife that you may encounter in the park. There are also interactive exhibits and presentations that explain the many ecosystems within the park and the history of the many uses of the park over the years.

The Hobe Mountain Observation Tower is at 86 feet above sea level. We climbed the tower and got a breathtaking view of the park, the intracoastal waterway and the Atlantic Ocean. It is an absolute must do when visiting the park.

Jonathan Dickinson State Park is located at 16450 SouthEast Federal Highway, Hobe Sound and is open 365 days a year. Pets are welcome in designated areas and must be kept on a leash. Entrance fee to the park is $6.00 per carload of up to 8 people.

Plan plenty of time to venture through this huge park as there is so much to explore and do take advantage of the education center as on our visit the identification guides made our wildlife viewing that much more enjoyable.

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