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Explore Nature Near Delray Beach, Florida

Updated: Oct 13, 2023

Delray Beach, Florida is full of unique shops, diverse and delicious restaurants, rich history and multiple venues for visual and performing arts. With all there is to do, make sure you do not miss the opportunity to experience the abundant nature that surrounds Delray Beach. Within a 10 mile radius, you can visit freshwater and saltwater nature preserves, hike nature trails, enjoy an afternoon collecting shells on the beach or visit designated snorkel and diving spots that are just off shore.


Delray Municipal Beach and Atlantic Dunes Beach are named as the some of top beaches in the southeastern U.S. by Travel Holiday Magazine. Delray Municipal Beach is popular with people of all ages. You'll see families enjoying a day in the waves, young people playing volleyball, everyone basking in the warm sun. Visitors can rent chairs and umbrellas at Oceanside Beach Rental right on the sand at Atlantic Ave and A1A. To rent skim, body, paddle, and surf boards head to Island Water Sports, 1/2 block from the beach on Atlantic Ave.

Wetland Parks

To explore south Florida’s freshwater wetlands head inland to Green Cay or Wakodahatchee Wetlands Parks. They offer over 100 acres of wetlands, accessible by elevated boardwalks. These verdant, tranquil parks give visitors the opportunity to observe Florida's wildlife in their natural habitat. At the Green Cay Nature Center, you will find exhibits focused on the area's natural ecosystem, live animals, a theater, and gift shop. In both parks you will walk on a boardwalk system through Cypress swamps, Cabbage Palm wetlands and hardwood environments. The bird watching and wildlife photography opportunities are outstanding. There is no charge to explore these treasures.

Essential Online Links For Booking Your Trip to Southeast Florida


There are 3 airports that service Southeast Florida, Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach: Uber and Taxis are available. Tri Rail and Brightline trains service Fort Lauderdale and Miami Airports. Private and Multiple Passenger Transfers are available from all three airports: ☆Transportation Service Miami Hotel - Miami International Airport

Advanced Tickets for the Fort Lauderdale Water Taxi.

Save on entry fees: If you plan on visiting multiple museums or attractions, it is more economical to purchase a Miami Sightseeing Pass to save money, you can buy this pass for 1, 2, 3, or 5 days.

Top-rated Southeast Florida Tours and Experiences:

Seven Isles of Fort Lauderdale Kayak Tour (one of my favorite Southeast Florida experience)

Downtown West Palm Beach Food Tour (great for foodies)

Wynwood Graffiti Golf Cart Small-Group Tour (perfect for art lovers)

Top Places to Stay in Southeast Florida:

1 Hotel South Beach (Luxury, Miami)

Yotel (Budget Friendly, Miami)

Hollywood Beachside Boutique (Budget Friendly, Fort Lauderdale)

The Pillars Hotel (Luxury, Fort Lauderdale)

The White Elephant (Luxury, Palm Beach)

The Canopy (Budget Friendly, West Palm Beach)

Crane's Beach House Boutique Hotel & Luxury Villas (Amazing Tropical Vibe, Delray Beach)

My favorite Guidebook for Florida: DK Eyewitness Florida

My favorite Novel about Southeast Florida: The Last Train to Key West

Sandoway Discovery Center

Visit the Sandoway Discovery Center for a fun experience for the whole family. Located in a historic house directly on the Atlantic Ocean, this hands on natural history museum offers educational programs, guided tours, and unique exhibits. On the lush grounds you will find a butterfly garden and pollinator habitats. There are nurse shark feedings and sting rays to pet on the covered back patios. Inside there are several intriguing displays, including a large collection of tropical shells, awaiting you on the upper floors. The Sandoway Discovery Center endeavors to educate and enlighten visitors on the importance of conservation and protecting our environment. This is a fun activity for a rainy day or if you need a break from the beach.

Gumbo Limbo

Founded in 1984, Gumbo Limbo Nature Center is a unique cooperative project between the City of Boca Raton, the Greater Boca Raton Beach and Park District, Florida Atlantic University, and Gumbo Limbo Coastal Stewards. Visitors can enjoy a hike on their boardwalk system, hundreds of vibrant tropical fish in their aquariums, wandering through the butterfly garden, or checking out their patients in the sea turtle rehabilitation facility. Gumbo Limbo’s 20 acres is on a protected barrier island providing refuge to many varieties of plants and animals. They are a free (donation-based) attraction and located right across the street from one of Boca Raton’s beautiful beaches, Red Reef Park. Parking at Gumbo Limbo Nature Center is complimentary.

Snorkeling Spots

Delray Beach Municipal Park is the location where the S.S. Inchulva sank during a storm in 1903, offering a nearly-400-foot freighter to explore just 20 feet of water. Parts of her are still there after 100 years on the south end of Delray Beach. You can see tropical fish, sting rays, and even a lobster or two. It’s not too far off the shore. Because of the tides and currents, swimming out to the wreck does require fins. You can rent kayaks, paddle boards, a mask and snorkels from Delray Beach Water Sports.

Gulfstream Beach Park has many colorful schools of fish, including nurse sharks, reef fish, and stingrays swimming around. Between Boynton Beach and Delray Beach is Gulfstream Beach Park, which offers excellent snorkeling, suitable for beginner and intermediate snorkelers. The best time to go is when the seas are calm, which increases the visibility of the reef. There are lifeguards on the beach and free parking, picnic locations, playground area and restrooms. Bring lunch or dinner, where you can use the bbq grills, picnic tables, and playground equipment on site.

Just south of Delray Beach is Red Reef Park , a hidden gem popular among residents and tourists. Showers, restrooms and picnic areas are available for visitors. Parking is $25 during the week and can be as high as $35 on the weekend. There are a wide range of tropical fish and coral that are visible within 4 to 6 ft of the water. Red Reef Park features a snorkeling area consisting of six artificial reef modules located just offshore in the southern end of the park. There are times when the reef is largely covered with sand depending upon the currents and waves.

While the beaches of the Atlantic Ocean are the main nature attraction in Delray Beach, Florida, there are many ways to experience it and learn more about its ecosystem. Just west of downtown Delray Beach is a large freshwater ecosystem that attracts birds and wildlife completely different from the birds and wildlife you see at the beach. This diversity adds interest to your explorations of nature in Delray Beach.

Looking for more information on visiting Southeast Florida, check out these Blog Posts:

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