This is Segment 18, Region I. Starting at the Hugh Taylor Birch State Park, paddlers have the option of paddling the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) or the Atlantic shore, depending on wind, weather and preference. In calm weather, the Atlantic may be safer until the ICW begins to widen north of the Boynton Inlet.
ICW paddlers will pass through many popular areas including Lauderdale by the Sea, Hillsboro Beach and Lake Boca Raton. Along the way are some great local parks including the Gumbo Limbo Nature Center (at Red Reef Park) and the Spanish River Park. Before landing at the nature center beach, you must first obtain permission by calling 561-338-1473.
The Red Reef Park (Atlantic side of Gumbo Limbo) features a man-made reef about 10 feet offshore, where even beginning snorkelers can catch sight of tropical fish, turtles, eels and stingrays.
This segment ends near the Hwy 802 bridge in Lake Worth. Local parks with take-outs can be found on both sides of the bridge or those seeking overnight lodging can find a room at local motels.
34 miles of circumnavigational trail
- Where the ICW is narrow and lined with seawalls, paddlers must be wary of large boats. In addition to motorboat operators not paying attention, resulting in possible collision, boat wakes often rebound off sea walls causing difficult paddling conditions.
- Campsites are not available and staying at a hotel or motel may be required for those paddling the entire length of the segment.
- Most hotels and motels have docks constructed for sail and motorboats and not paddlecraft. At low tide expect the distance to be 3 to 4 feet from the water to the platform, making entry and exit challenging.
- Paddlers on the Atlantic shore will need to access the ICW at Boynton Inlet in order to reach the motel for day two.
Primary Campsites & Distances Between
- Huge Taylor Birch State Park to Stratford Motel, 7 miles
- Stratford Motel to Highland Beach Holiday Inn, 13.5 miles
- Highland Beach Holiday Inn to Fairfield Motel or Sabal Palm House, 13.5 miles
- Police, Fire and Medical Emergencies: 911
- Broward County Sheriff: 954-831-8900, 954-765-4321
- Palm Beach County Sheriff: 561-995-2800
- Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission Hotline: 1-888-404-3922
External Site Links