Happy 2021, Oakland Parkers!
It’s a new year, but we’re not exactly ready for a fresh start. As long as the pandemic continues to rage, we’re going to need to stay safe and socially distant.
That doesn’t mean we have to stay stuck inside, though. In fact, experts recommend fresh air, sunshine, and time outdoors to keep us happier and healthier.
We’re lucky enough to live here in South Florida, which means we’re surrounded by natural areas that we can enjoy pretty much year-round! There are tons to choose from, so in this series we’ll be talking about some of our favorite spots to get out into nature without getting out into other people’s spaces.
We brought along an “official park expert” – a seven-year-old with the finest taste in outdoor adventure.
Hopefully this series will help us all get some socially distant sunshine, south Florida style. Let’s kick things off with two of our favorite spots.
Easterlin Park is a surprising oasis in the middle of a city that’s not exactly known for its green spaces. Some Oakland Park residents don’t even realize the park is there.
The 47 acre green space is a gem that sits tucked down a lower-traffic street. Easterlin Park offers activities like disc golf, basketball, horseshoes and even has a volleyball area. The big draw, though, is that it’s a perfect place to do nothing.
It offers guests plenty of space to stay, six, sixty or even six hundred feet away from others while they wander under 250-year-old cypress trees. In fact, depending on when you go it’s quite possible to spend plenty of time in the park and never get more than a passing glimpse of another group.
If you’re looking for a unique twist on a stay-cation, consider one of the 55 campsites. Yup, I said camping. You’ll be close enough to home to be “extra” about it and create the glamp-site of your dreams complete with dinner from your favorite spot. There’s even a small store/gift shop on site in case you forget anything.
Honestly, she nailed that review. Driving into Easterlin Park is like driving into another world; the transition from concrete jungle to ancient forest is jarring in the best way. Oh heckin’ heck yes, indeed.
Easterlin Park: 1000 NW 38 St, Oakland Park, FL 33309
Tree Tops Park
Tree tops is another wonderfully wooded park, this time out west in Davie.
Like Easterlin, it’s filled with big beautiful old trees, but Tree Tops offers a totally different way to immerse yourself in them. There are spots for biking, fishing, nature watching, play, and even equestrian trails, but it’s the observation tower that really helps you understand how the park got its name. Climbing it gets you up into the tree tops to share your view with the birds!
If wildlife watching is your thing, plant yourself in the marsh. It’s filled with birds, fish, snakes, and other small animals; if you’re quiet you’ll be able to hear just as much as you see.
After heavy rains, there’s a chance the water level may be a bit higher than the observation decks. If it’s safe, why not indulge your inner Florida-Kid, roll up your pant legs, and wade out anyway? Minnows are notoriously curious and might swim up to take a peek.
The hall, which offers another stunning view through its signature window wall, is available for rent for weddings and other events. More details are available on the website.
Parents and kids will love the combination of picnic tables, shady spots, large open spaces and play areas this park has to offer. There’s plenty of room to safely run around and be active while also staying away from others.
Tree Tops interestingly has a fair amount of orange trees scattered throughout the grounds. Good luck getting to them before the residents do, though. Squirrels, raccoons, birds, iguanas, rats, armadillos and more all love oranges.
You’re better off driving to one of the many farms and fruit stands in Davie and picking something up there.
Tree Tops Park: 3900 SW 100 Ave | Davie FL, 33328
Get out there and have some safe and socially distant fun!