Looking for some outdoor fun this summer without the Florida heat? So are we! From scenic trails to picnics and playgrounds, we set out to find some local parks that provide shade for your summer fun.
One of the largest parks in Broward County, Tradewinds Park is more than 600 acres straddling Sample Road near the Turnpike. The south side features ball fields, fishing spots, a disc golf course, and a boardwalk through cypress trees. Tradewinds Park is also the home of Butterfly World, where you’ll be greeted by gently fluttering butterflies in an enclosure brightened by bushes and vibrant flowers. Aside from the butterflies are two bird enclosures, a rose garden and a plant maze that features experimentally bred plants. There is also an insect viewing room, butterfly gallery and the Mariposa Cafe where you can stop and grab a bite to-go and enjoy at the picnic areas on the park’s north side. Also be sure to check out the park’s nature trails, petting zoos and horse stables that offer guided pony rides for kids!
3600 W. Sample Rd., Coconut Creek, 33073
A local favorite, Gumbo Limbo is a nonprofit dedicated to rehabilitating sea turtles, located across from the beach between Spanish River Boulevard and Palmetto Park Road. Inside the nature center are exhibits such as the sea turtle garden, butterfly nursery and a solar exhibit. Outside, the sea turtle rehabilitation center is under a pavilion with fans to ensure a cool environment. The aquariums close by hold a vast array of seal life including a stingray, barracuda, and a balloon fish. The boardwalk winds through natural brush and past the famous Gumbo Limbo Tree, known for its peeling, red skin before branching off into paths that lead to the Intracoastal Waterway. Opposite the boardwalk is Ashley Trail, a mulch path through lush mangrove forests also leading out to the Intracoastal. While on that side of the park, visit the open-air butterfly garden for the chance to see some pollinators at work.
1801 N. Ocean Blvd., Boca Raton, 33432
Morikami Museum and Gardens
When you step into The Morikami you are transported from sunny South Florida to the gardens of Japan. Whether you’re there to take in the views or the culture, this day trip is a must. Morikami is off of Jog Road south of Linton Boulevard, and includes a Japanese art museum featuring paintings, glass pieces, tapestries, and more. The tea room is open on select Saturdays to demonstrate a traditional Japanese tea ceremony that creates a calm and peaceful atmosphere. Directly outside is the Cornell Café serving Japanese cuisine including fresh sushi and mochi for dessert. The outdoors features a mile-long walking trail adorned with rock displays and waterfalls, leading through gardens based on different centuries of Japanese gardening and winding around the lake.
4000 Morikami Park Rd., Delray Beach, 33446
Quiet Waters Park
Looking to make a splash this summer? Featuring three parks and activities for children, adults, and even dogs, cooling off has never been easier than at Quiet Waters Park, just south of Hillsboro Boulevard on Powerline Road. Take the kids to Splash Adventure Water Park where they can enjoy a playground that features tunnels, water curtains, and a large bucket that fill and pours more water onto the park. For those more adventurous, Ski Rixen USA has cable-pulled water skiing. Wondering where your dog can have some water fun? Woofing Waters Dog Park and Marina is your answer. For your dog’s enjoyment there is a splash pad and an obstacle course that your dog can run up, down, and through. The marina offers rentals of canoes, kayaks, paddleboats, and paddleboards.
401 Powerline Rd., Deerfield Beach, 33442