BEWARE: FLORIDA ALLIGATOR ENCOUNTERS! CANOEING, KAYAKING OR BOATING AT ARTHUR R. MARSHALL LOXAHATCHEE NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE IN THE FLORIDA EVERGLADES IN PALM BEACH COUNTY
WHAT WOULD YOU PREFER?
Sitting in a car for two hours, fighting Broward County traffic to then be crowded onto an airboat or tram just to briefly encounter the tip of an alligator’s nose? OR would you prefer to spend less than a half an hour in the car in light traffic to see alligators and wildlife up close? The later choice also allows for more beach and cocktail time so I think we would all agree that canoeing, kayaking or boating at Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge in the Florida Everglades in Palm Beach County is the much better choice!
WILDLIFE REFUGE ADVENTURE ANYONE?
The Boynton Beach entrance to Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge sits just 20 minutes west of Delray Beach and Boynton Beach. This national refuge only charges $10 per carload daily admission. Nestled in the Florida Everglades, it consists of 145,1888 acres, or 226 square miles of wet prairies, sawgrass ridges, sloughs, tree islands, cattail communities, and a 400-acre cypress swamp. There’a also a nature center, hiking and biking trails and plenty of other fun ways to explore and see more than 250 species of birds, 40 species of butterflies, 20 types of mammals, and 60 species of reptiles and amphibians including of course Florida alligators.
Because alligators can’t regulate their own body heat, you may want to arrive at the refuge earlier in the day to have your best chance at viewing the resident Florida alligators sunning themselves after a cool, Florida night. Don’t arrive too early though because alligators love a little snack at dawn and dusk. Also note that mid day to late afternoon on hot, Florida days, alligators tend to head back down to the murky, cool waters to get out of the scorching sun.
HAVE YOU EVER TURNED A CORNER AND FOUND YOURSELF FACE TO FACE WITH AN ALLIGATOR?
Loxahatchee Wildlife Refuge Adventures inside the Boynton Beach entrance of Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge offers canoe, kayak, jon boat and bike rentals.
As always Sun Kind of Living is encouraging you to try something new! The REAL ADVENTURE begins with a canoe or kayak rental. Head out on the 5.5 mile trail that goes in a loop through Florida Everglades in Palm Beach County. The complete trail takes about 3 to 4 hours with the exception of one possible stop that consists of a wooden platform that is approximately halfway around the loop. This is man vs. nature people!
It’s a truly relaxing experience meandering through the sawgrass while watching birds and other wildlife. BUT as we all know, the resident Florida alligators also call the trail their home. Be prepared to accidentally bop a Florida alligator on the head with your paddle or turn a corner and realize you are face to face with a 12 foot gator sunning itself on the bank. While this may sound very intimidating, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission since 1948 there have only been 23 fatal attacks by Florida alligators. Generally an alligator wouldn’t attack a human in a canoe or kayak unless it feels threatened…we are simply just too big and gators are pretty darn lazy. If you turn a sharp corner and an alligator opens its mouth and starts hissing (which has happened to the Sun Kind of Living team), make a loud noise and slowly paddle away! And do we need to state the obvious? Please DO NOT dangle your hands or feet in the water or decide to go for a little dip to cool off.
If paddling isn’t your thing, you can hop on a jon boat and go fishing for more than 40 species of fish including largemouth bass, channel catfish, black crappie, bowfin, redear sunfish, and chain pickerel in addition to more exotic types like blue tilapia and butterfly peacock bass. Want to fish without getting on a boat? Cast a line off the pier on shore. The resident Florida alligators will be waiting and happy to eat any fish that happen to fall off of your line.
ATTENTION: FLORIDA ALLIGATORS WILL NOT PROVIDE YOU WITH FOOD, COLD BEVERAGES, SUNSCREEN OR OTHER SUNDRIES!
Whether you are canoeing, kayaking or boating at Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge in the Florida Everglades in Palm Beach County you should definitely come prepared with the following:
- A cooler with snacks, cold beverages and maybe a lunch. (Loxahatchee Wildlife Refuge Adventures also sells snacks and water.)
- Dry Bag
ENJOY MORE SUN KIND OF LIVING!
Next time you’re visiting Palm Beach County, Florida get out there and explore nature while canoeing, kayaking or boating through Loxahatchee Wildlife Refuge Adventures at Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge in the Florida Everglades. You will not regret the half a day spent away from the beach. Who is going to the beach at 8:00 AM anyways? As an added bonus, you can stop at Bedner’s Farm Fresh Market on your way out. The market is located at the front entrance of the refuge and offers fresh produce, the best giant pickles Sun Kind of Living has ever tasted, fresh squeezed orange juice that you get to squeeze yourself, activities for the kids and much more!