One of the first places to reopen amidst the coronavirus pandemic were Broward County’s beautiful parks thanks to their vast open spaces—perfect for social distancing. Throughout the county there are plenty of gorgeous parks with various offerings like bike trails, horse trails, dog parks, canoeing, and other fun activities. If you’re unsure which park to visit or you’re in need of some new finds, check out these stunning natural parks that offer the best of Broward County.
16001 W. State Rd. 84, Sunrise
If you’re looking for a park where you can really get active, make the trip over to Markham Park. This 669-acre park in Sunrise is home to an incredible variety of activities like an outdoor rifle and pistol range, extensive mountain bike trails, the Fox Observatory, campgrounds, a radio controlled airplane field, a dog park called Barkham Park, jogging trails, fishing and boating areas, sports fields of all kinds, nature trails and programs, skeet and trap, sporting clay stands, archery range and five stand. Bring your bike along to explore the 14 miles of bike trails, perfect your airplane hobby at the 50-acre RC Airfield, or have the whole family tag along for a camping trip at one of the 88 full hookup campsites. Additionally, exercising opportunities are bountiful here—just take a look at the Memorial Fitness Zone, where you can use the outdoor fitness equipment that’s conveniently covered by a canopy. There’s also water sports available; bring along your jet skis, boats, and other personal watercraft!
WOLF LAKE PARK
5400 S.W. 76th Ave., Davie
Wolf Lake Park in Davie allows you to feel as if you’re in a more Northern part of Florida thanks to its dense forest of tall Australian pine trees. The graceful canopy of trees provides almost complete shade for the long, multipurpose trail that snakes around the central lake. The whole park is about 50 acres and includes opportunities for fishing and boating, although the boat must not use any gas powered motors. This is a very popular park to bring horses to, with the trail also functioning as an equestrian one for casual horse riding. There’s even a wading area in the lake for horses, so don’t hesitate to bring yours—this is Davie after all! Parties and gatherings can be thrown at the shelter/meeting room, or for more casual outings, seven picnic tables and charcoal grills are available as well. Come to Wolf Lake when you want to get away from it all—secluded, shady, and absolutely scenic—you’ll definitely appreciate the tranquility and quiet.
HUGH TAYLOR BIRCH STATE PARK
3109 E. Sunrise Blvd., Fort Lauderdale
Sometimes you just need to be by the water to relax and let go. Head to Hugh Taylor Birch State Park, which is nestled in between the Atlantic Ocean and the Intracoastal Waterway. Watch boats, jet skis, paddleboards, canoes, and others pass by as you lounge back under the sun. At this state park, there is no shortage of things to keep you busy and active! Bicycling, camping, paddling, fishing, hiking, picnicking, swimming, walking, and wildlife viewing are just some of the experiences available here. Don’t forget to look out for gopher tortoises on your walk or jog! There’s also live animal exhibits that you can request to see, with animals like Corn Snakes and Diamondback Terrapin Turtles on display. Another feature is the restaurant and garden called Parks & Ocean if you get hungry or need an ice cold drink! The menu is Caribbean and Southern influenced and offers farm to table dishes. They even have their own in-house brewery called Shady Brewing with delicious specialty beers!
VISTA VIEW PARK
4001 S.W. 142nd Ave., Davie
A second Davie park makes this list and yes, it’s yet another that you can bring your horse to! This former landfill is now one of Broward County’s best parks and its manmade hilltop is the highest manmade elevation in the whole county! This park provides some of the best views available throughout the “954” area code thanks to its tall green rolling hills that overlook neighborhoods, meadows, lakes, and streets. In fact, you can even get up high for a better view— paragliding is welcome here! In addition to that, other activities you can enjoy here are competitive bicycling, horseback riding, jogging, fishing, picnicking, and exercising. Fitness facilities are throughout the park for you to break a sweat. If you’re in the mood for a chill day with the kids, don’t hesitate to have them tag along too; there are spacious playgrounds with lots to do for the kiddos! Another cool aspect of the park? There’s an airfield, so you can bring along your RC airplanes, helicopters, and drones.
12050 W. Sunrise Blvd., Plantation
This park is truly a gem—one that isn’t as talked about as other parks in Broward, but should be! Volunteer Park in Plantation is a few minutes from the Sawgrass Mills Mall and features peaceful walking paths and horse trails that surround a lake and manmade wetland. There are fishing piers that you can walk down to get a better view of the water, where you might see turtles, fish, and plenty of birds like herons and egrets. The paths lead to an area with large horse stables that also includes a paddock. If you come here on the weekends, you can spot owners training and exercising their horses in the paddock! There’s also tennis courts, basketball courts, and a large open field where you can play sports and fly kites. The best part of the park are the massive playgrounds for kids at the entrance near the community center; tons of different swings, climbing apparatuses, and other fun inclusions make this a must-visit!