Jonathan Dickinson State Park is made for visitors who are seeking adventure. At 10,500 acres, it is the largest state park in southeast Florida and is filled with riveting views of Florida’s scenic Loxahatchee River. The name Loxahatchee was given by the Seminole Indians and means "River of Turtles." Not only is the park full of turtles and other native wildlife, but it is also rich in history and culture.
The park was named after Jonathan Dickinson, a Quaker merchant who was shipwrecked with his family on the southeast coast of Florida in 1696. The park’s history includes a secret World War II radar training camp and Trapper Nelson, the infamous Wild Man of Loxahatchee who became famous after he opened his own private garden and zoo to the world.
RVers looking to experience the great outdoors can take boat and canoe tours of the river or ride a horse-drawn tram through the park. Additional activities include hiking and biking, as well as scuba diving and snorkeling.
The park is made up of 13 different ecological communities. About 20 percent of the park is covered by the endangered Florida sand pine scrub forest community. Guests can learn all about the rare and varied wildlife and foliage at the Elsa Kimbell Environmental Education and Research Center.
Located just a few miles south of Hobe Sound, Jonathan Dickinson State Park is easily accessible from US Highway 1. Park roads are paved and make it easy to navigate through day use and campground areas while towing a trailer or driving an RV. Bikes are also allowed throughout the park and on designated trails. Visitors are reminded to wear a helmet and use flashing lights on bicycles at night.
Parking is available at the campground and the Visitor Center.
The Pine Grove Campground is on the east side of the park and is the closest campground to the ranger station. It has a total of 90 sites to choose from, all of which are available by reservation only. The Pine Grove campground can accommodate RVs up to a maximum length of 40 feet.
The campground comes equipped with several different amenities including tiled restrooms, showers with heated water, a washer and dryer, and a dump station. All campsites are pet-friendly, offer full hookups, and include their own table and grill.
If visitors find themselves short on supplies, they can visit the concession’s “Palmettos on the Loxahatchee” for locally prepared food and beverages, or visit the local grocery or convenience stores located less than 10 miles away. Visitors will want to be sure to check out the family programs offered especially for campers each evening.
The River Campground is the closest campground to the Loxahatchee River, allowing visitors to wake up each morning to a stunning scenic river view. It is about four miles away from the park’s entrance and is just a few miles away from its neighboring Pine Grove Campground. The River campground has a total of 52 sites available by reservation only. The campsites are able to accommodate RVs with a maximum length of 36 feet.
The campground includes an array of amenities such as tiled restrooms, showers with heated water, and a washer and dryer that is available for use by all campers. All campsites are pet-friendly and include their own table and grill, as well as water and electric hookups. Unfortunately, there is no dump station or sewer hookups in the River Campground. However, both of these can be found just a short four miles away at the Pine Grove Campground.
Canoe and kayak rentals are available at Jonathan Dickinson State Park, which allow visitors to explore the Loxahatchee River and its surroundings at their leisure. Visitors can work up a sweat with canoes, kayaks, and paddleboards. Motor boats are also available for those not keen on straining their muscles. As visitors glide through the still water, they can see all kinds of local wildlife, including birds, iguanas, and manatees. The lush swamp areas provide endless opportunities for exploration, and with thousands of acres of water, it's never too hard to get away from the crowd.
If you don't want to get in the water, it's no problem. Jonathan Dickinson State Park also offers equestrian tours. Step back in time on one of the guided riding tours or on a horse-drawn tram. These tours will take visitors through beautiful pine and cypress forests, where they can take in the sights and smells without the noise and distraction of a motor vehicle. Keep your eyes peeled, as you will likely see some of the park's native wildlife, such as white-tailed deer and bald eagles.
If you ever get tired of doing your own cooking, visitors can eat a freshly cooked meal while looking out over the pristine waters of the Loxahatchee River at the park's very own outdoor food and beverage garden. Visitors can take a break from the day's many activities to enjoy classics such as pulled pork sandwiches and hot dogs, and then go right back to the fun. The food is also locally sourced and organic, adding to the authenticity of your stay in Jonathan Dickinson State Park.
Visitors can learn about the area's rich history on one of several boat tours that are held at Jonathan Dickinson State Park. This park has something to offer for everyone, as the ranger-guided tours are just as educational as they are fun. Visitors can get some exercise on one of the guided kayak tours or relax in the shade and listen to stories about the famous Trapper Nelson from one of the park's covered boats.
Jonathan Dickinson State Park is a favorite for avid fishermen. Visitors with a license can fish for both saltwater fish such as shark and snapper as well as freshwater fish like bass. Fishermen won't have to worry about overcrowding on the banks, either, since they can rent a motorboat and find their own private spot to cast a line. While waiting for a bite, fishermen can sit in silence and seclusion in any of the park's many scenic waterways.
For those feeling adventurous, visitors can either rent a road bicycle or mountain bike and explore any of the park's four nature trails and single-track mountain bike trail. The bicycle tour is considered one of the most environmentally friendly ways to explore this park's natural beauty. Whether you're a hardcore mountain biker or simply want to get away and enjoy nature, this park has it all with trails ranging from easy to difficult. Keep an eye out for alligators though, as they're known to hang around in the area.