Entrance to the canoe trail at the Loxahatchee Wildlife Refuge at sunset.
Photo by Laura Ries
The Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge offers an abundance of opportunities for recreational and educational experiences.
The refuge protects endangered and threatened wildlife and is a key water conservation location for South Florida. The main entrance is at 10216 Lee Road in Boynton Beach.
The grounds, which include a boat ramp and trails, are open from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. U.S. military families, veterans and people with disabilities receive free admission. Visitors arriving on foot, by bicycle or on horseback also are admitted free.
Covering more than 145,000 acres of the Everglades, the refuge is home to hundreds of species of birds, fish, amphibians, reptiles, insects and mammals. The mix includes 40 butterfly species, as well as tropical songbirds and migratory waterfowl.
The refuge provides something for everyone from hunters and wildlife photographs to hikers and families looking for a day out in nature.
Naturalists provide guided walks around the refuge. In June, the Cypress Swamp Boardwalk Tour will be on Sundays starting at 1 p.m. An online schedule lists events.
For those seeking an adventure on the water, Loxahatchee Adventures rents kayaks and canoes.
A pair of native chicken turtles found on the banks of the Loxahatchee Wildlife Refuge.
Photo by J. Norman Reid
The Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge’s mission is to “serve as an outstanding showcase for ecosystem management that restores, protects and enhances a portion of the unique northern Everglades biological community. This public asset provides for the enjoyment and enhanced quality of life for present and future generations.”
The Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge is one of the nation’s oldest nature preserves. It was designated in 1951 with a 50-year agreement between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the state of Florida. The refuge was renamed in 1986 in honor of Arthur Raymond Marshall, a former USFWS employee and conservationist.
Land was added in 2018 to protect what’s left of the largest cypress swamp in the area.