(Last Updated On: December 19, 2022)

park sign at Hugh Taylor Birch State Park

Nestled right in the heart of Fort Lauderdale, Hugh Taylor Birch State Park has been referred to as the city’s version of ‘Central Park’.

A gift to it from the Chicago attorney whom the park was named after, this bustling recreational space is very popular among residents and tourists alike.

Boasting direct access to the beach via a pedestrian tunnel, the palm and oak tree lined park also offers excellent opportunities for boating, swimming, snorkeling, fishing and hiking, biking, rollerblading, picnicking and more.

This Florida state park is also known as a birding paradise with over 250 species calling it home throughout the year.

Very much a day use area, the park does not offer any kind of accommodation at all, other than a youth group camping for organized groups.

However, if you are looking for a place to rest, relax and unwind, there are few better urban places in Florida to go.


Those who visit the park can choose to enjoy its scenic landscape in several different ways.

Outlined below is an overview of some of the main activities you can engage in while you are there.

Water activities at Hugh Taylor Birch State Park

Boating, canoeing and kayaking are all popular activities at the park.

If you would like to explore the serene waters around it but do not have a watercraft, they can be hired from the park’s concession stand.

You will find this at the park’s largest coastal dune lake, where there is also a launch site you can use too.

pond at Hugh Taylor Birch State Park

Swimming and Snorkeling at Hugh Taylor Birch State Park

As the park is next to Fort Lauderdale Beach there are plenty of opportunities to go swimming and snorkeling.

The beach can be reached via the main gate entrance. Access is available from 8 am to around sunset every day.

If you intend to swim, make sure you stay within the lifeguarded flag areas. Remember, if they can’t see you, they can’t save you.

Be aware too that swimming is not permitted at any of the park’s interior waters including the coastal dune lake or mangroves.

At the beach you can rent out umbrellas and chairs, in addition to other services.

Fishing at Hugh Taylor Birch State Park

Along with the previously mentioned water activities, fishing is also well practiced at the park.

Anglers are allowed to cast a line at the intracoastal waterway seawall and any public access area. Like with swimming, you are not permitted to fish in the coastal dune lake or mangroves.

If you see any ‘no fishing’ signs please adhere to them.

Wherever you choose to appropriately fish, you might need a valid fishing license to do so. Best to check with the Florida Wildlife Commission’ to make sure.

picnic table in front of the water at Hugh Taylor Birch State Park

Hiking at Hugh Taylor Birch State Park

The park offers visitors the chance to explore its stunning landscape via hiking or guided ranger walks.

One of the most popular hiking trails is the Coastal Hammock Trail which takes you on a 20-minute course through an indigenous, tropical, maritime ecosystem of hardwood hammocks.

Along the way interpretive signs offer further details about the park’s native flora and general habitat.

The Mid Trail is another course that is well worth tackling if you want to see more plant life.

For those who want to find out more about their surroundings, ranger led tours take place every Friday and Saturday.

On these tours you will hear about the life of Hugh Taylor Birch, as well as the park’s landscape of coral reefs and dunes, mangrove forests, coastal dune lakes and maritime hammocks.

hiking trail at Hugh Taylor Birch State Park

Biking and rollerblading at Hugh Taylor Birch State Park

As the park’s drive stretches for almost two miles, many people take the opportunity to ride their bikes or rollerblades on it.

Being a one-way system, those who choose to ride their way around this area will need to be mindful of that.

Given that it is shared with automobiles, it is worth wearing helmets and protective gear when partaking in either activity.

Birding at Hugh Taylor Birch State Park

One of the biggest attractions at the Hugh Taylor Birch State Park is birding.

The park features on the Great Florida Birding Trail Guide and accommodates over 250 species either permanently or on a seasonal, migratory basis.

Keen birdwatchers will definitely want to bring their binoculars with them for the chance to see various Caribbean species.

Pets at Hugh Taylor Birch State Park

Dogs are permitted to join you at the park, although they will have to remain on a hand held leash of no more than six feet in length at all times.

Some other restrictions on their attendance may also apply. So if you are planning to bring your pet with you, it would be a good idea to contact the park’s main office for further clarification.

pavilion at Hugh Taylor Birch State Park

Camping at Hugh Taylor Birch State Park

Accommodation at the park is fairly basic and restricted to primitive youth camps and group camps.

The youth camp takes place within an area called the Elks Youth Camp, which has six cabins that can accommodate 68 people. These were built in the 1950s by The Fort Lauderdale Elks Club for the enjoyment of nonprofit youth groups.

All cabins have restrooms with air conditioning, while the lodge also provides a full kitchen and dining room facilities.

The park also offers primitive group camping to organized youth groups only. Within it, more than 50 people can stay in tents. This campsite has primitive showers and a composting toilet system.

Guests are only permitted to use fires within the campfire circle and on the barbecue grill.

After the park has closed, guests must stay within the perimeter of the campsite. They are prohibited from wandering around it after dark.

Park Location

Hugh Taylor Birch State Park
3109 E Sunrise Blvd
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304
Phone: 954.564.4521




Here is a short YouTube video showcasing several attractions at Hugh Taylor Birch State Park: