Jonathan Dickinson State Park

Lorea Thomson
Posted by Lorea Thomson
Updated on
Published in Boating


Photo Credit David Abernathy.

Jonathan Dickinson State Park just north of Jupiter, in Hobe Sound, is a natural wildlife park worthy of exploring with the entire family.  The park offers two full facility campgrounds and a youth/group simple campground.  The park itself rests several miles off the coastal shores of South Florida.  Almost 11,500 acres of land and Loxahatchee River host thirteen ecological communities from swamps to pine flatwoods, a “biological community so rare it is designated “globally imperiled”.

The park offers incredible views from a 124-foot observation tower overlooking the forest, the Intracoastal Waterway and the sparkling blue Atlantic Ocean. 

Running through the park is the Loxahatchee River.  Loxahatchee means “river of turtles”, in the native Seminole Indian language, from which it was named.  Under old cypress trees, the “wild and scenic” river flows, there is an everlasting elegance to the park.  Be transported back to the 1930’s and enjoy a ranger-guided tour of Trapper Nelson’s home. 

Trapper Nelson, known as the “Wildman of the Loxahatchee”, was a handsome loner who lived off the land by trapping and selling furs.  He eventually founded a zoo on the property along the shores of the Loxahatchee River.  His zoo was filled with wild and exotic animals. The property was visited Palm Beach socialites, who found the 6’4”, 250 pound Trapper Nelson irresistibly handsome, as well as many celebrities. It was rumored that a jealous lover, someone he owed money to, or perhaps suicide killed Nelson.  With all the mystery that followed Trapper Nelson's dealth, in the end the Sherriff ruled it was suicide.

Explore all the beauty and history of Jonathan Dickinson State Park by kayak, canoe, bicycle, paddleboard or horseback.  Recently opened is “Palmettos on the Loxahatchee”.  “Palmettos on the Loxahatchee” is a food and beverage garden featuring wine, beer and fresh food using local, sustainable or organic foods in an outdoor setting overlooking the Loxahatchee River. 


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