5 Fantastic Parks in South Florida

Whether the kids need to get out and run around and be kids or you just need some down time, there's nothing like a big dose of Mother Nature for a quick cure. Fortunately, South Florida abounds with wonderful parks, and all of them are beautiful. I looked for ones with a variety of things to do that range from visiting a museum to riding a horse. Listed are five of my favorites, but there are many more more outstanding parks, so get out there and enjoy.

Hugh Taylor Birch State Park
Situated between the Atlantic Ocean and the Intracoastal Waterway, this wonderful park is a gift to all of us from the late Hugh Taylor. Canoe along a mile-long lagoon, camp, bike, fish, swim, hike and more and all of it is a short walk from beachside shops and condos. You really can't go wrong. Kid friendly.

John Prince Park
More to do than I can write about, but this is a a great park. RV and tent camping, playground, fishing, launching area for canoeing and kayaking, basketball courts, fitness zones, hiking...you get the idea. You're not going to be bored in this 48-acre campground. Kid friendly.

Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens
Out-of-the-ordinary but definitely worth the time for adults. Younger children may not be so enthralled walking through the beautiful Japanese gardens, but they will love the many festivals put on by the Morikami. The restaurant has good food and the museum and gift shop are both great. There is an entry fee.

Okeeheelee Park
Anyone for tennis? (Days only until funding is found to restore the lighting.) Also, you can rent or buy paddle boards, bikes, canoes and kayaks, boat launching area for non-motorized fishing boats, 9-mile equestrian trail, dog park, water skiing, and more in this 1,702-acre park. Kid friendly.

Spanish River Park
A beautiful white beach on the ocean is the biggest draw to this park, but there is also picnicking, a dog beach, beautiful trails to walk and fishing from the shoreline (permit required.) Parking is expensive so you might want to Uber. Kid friendly and Boca beautiful.

Mary Yuhas is a freelance writer and author and has lived in South Florida for the past fifteen years. She's written for USA Today among other publications.