Boca Raton Florida


Gumbo Limbo Nature Center

lowers and trees and turtles, oh my! Populated by some of Florida's best, and most natural, assets (i.e. iguanas, sharks, and other marine animals), the Gumbo Limbo Nature Center is Boca Raton's top tourist attraction. It lies at the north end of Red Reef Park.

Twenty acres of a coastal sanctuary entice visitors to spend hours exploring the lush grounds. Kayak through the mangroves or walk the picturesque Boardwalk Trail, which is flanked by tropical hardwood hammock. Keep your eyes peeled for local wildlife, including the grey fox and red-bellied woodpecker.

While at the center, visitors can also admire the aquariums or spend time in the tranquil butterfly garden. Families will especially love the turtle walk and hatchling release programs, as well as aquarium feedings.

Insider's tip: Don't miss Florida Atlantic University's Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Facility. This inspiring place includes a biology laboratory viewing gallery, where guests can see the scientists' most recent research in action.

Address: 1801 North Ocean Blvd., Boca Raton, Florida

Official site:

Red Reef Park

Over 67 acres of oceanfront fun, sun, and surf welcome visitors to this public beach park. Here, you'll find a nine-hole golf course offering impeccable coastal views of both the Atlantic Ocean and Intracoastal Waterway. At the park's northern tip lies the Gumbo Limbo Nature Center.

Less than half a mile away lies South Inlet Park, which can be reached by foot in mere minutes. It's known for its iguanas, so bring a camera on your wander. Plus, it boasts a jetty, used by many to fish, as well as a playground.

Just off the parking lot, you'll find grassy areas spotted with picnic tables and grills, a perfect spot to enjoy a break from the sun's intense rays. To get to the beach, follow the gorgeous, elevated boardwalk. Be sure to stop to admire the view from above, before you wind your way down to the sand.

Head's up: this is Boca's best place to snorkel. So, don goggles or a mask and a snorkel (obviously). Then head to the man-made reef located just off the beach. A beautiful marvel, this unmissable site is teeming with marine life. We're talking turtles, barracuda, and sometimes eels.

Back on shore, you can luxuriate on the soft, sugary sand while admiring the translucent turquoise water from the sidelines. Catch some shade on the mile-long boardwalk or under the branches of one of the tall palm trees lining the shore.

The park is staffed by lifeguards and offers showers, changing rooms, and pavilions, making it easy to spend a whole day here. They also offer trash bags to help curb pollution on-site.

Insider's tip: High tide is the best time to visit if you're hoping to see the marine life up close. Also, save money by arriving early and snagging a metered spot on the street.

Address: 1400 North Ocean Blvd., Boca Raton, Florida


Sugar Sand Park

Sugar Sand Park has everything you need to keep a family busy. Carousel? Check. Nature trails? Check. Playground? Yep, it's got that, too. Play hide and seek while dodging sprinklers at the awesome, underwater-themed Science Playground, where a giant face watches over you as you play. There are so many winding tunnels in the intricate climbing structures that it's easy to find a secret spot!

Race a cheetah (don't worry, it's not a real one) in the playground. Two racing lanes are set beside an interactive lights exhibit. Choose the animal you want to race, then run as fast as you can when the signal beeps. The lights that race beside you represent the animal's actual speed. Insider's tip: cheetahs take longer to get up to speed than you'd think; you might just win.

Catch a show at the Willow Theatre or learn how to build an electric car at the Children's Science Explorium. The park even boasts a community center and gym. We promise, no kid has ever uttered the dreaded phrase, "I'm bored" while running around Sugar Sand Park. It truly is one of the best places to visit with a family in Boca.

With 132 acres to explore, you're going to want to spend a considerable amount of time here, so be sure to pack a picnic and loads of sunscreen. The park has pavilions and grills on offer, so plan your meal accordingly.

Address: 300 South Military Trail, Boca Raton, Florida

Daggerwing Nature Center

Named after the Ruddy Daggerwing butterfly, this nature center is the perfect place to relax. Stroll along the boardwalk, which winds through swampland filled with Florida's finest creatures. It's here you're likely to spot an alligator or two, spy turtles sunning themselves on floating logs, and watch an osprey swoop down to grab its lunch.

Located in western Boca Raton, the Daggerwing Nature Center also features a 3,000-square-foot exhibit hall packed with live animals, classrooms, and interactive displays. The center is also home to a vibrant butterfly garden.

Insider's tip: Exhibits are closed on Sundays, Mondays, and Tuesdays, but open during the afternoons from Wednesday through Friday and throughout the day on Saturdays. The nature trails are open from sunrise to sunset daily.

Address: 11435 Park Access Road, Boca Raton, Florida


Spanish River Park

A pristine beach greets visitors to the serene and lovely Spanish River Park. A true gem, this sandy seaside retreat offers something for everyone - from picnic tables to pavilions to volleyball courts to a zipline and playground. With 95 acres of land, there's a ton of space to enjoy.

The clear, turquoise waves of the Intracoastal Waterway are so inviting, you'll have to jump in. Body surf, SUP, swim, or hop in a kayak to spend a proper day frolicking on the open sea. Pack a snorkel and mask, so you can enjoy the area's vibrant marine life up close. It's amazing how many interesting fish you can see close to shore.

Traveling with Fido? He (or she) is welcome, too. Spanish River Park is home to a dog park located between lifeguard towers 18 and 20. Dogs are welcome here between 7 and 9am, and 3pm and sunset, on Fridays through Sundays.

Address: 3001 North State Road A1A, Boca Raton, Florida

Official site:

Hillsboro Inlet Lighthouse

The picturesque Hillsboro Inlet Lighthouse is located halfway between Boca Raton and Fort Lauderdale on the northern edge of the Hillsboro inlet. Unlike other lighthouses, this unique structure is made from iron. It began operating in 1907 and was electrified in 1932 and automated in 1974.

A few interesting memorials reside at the lighthouse: the Barefoot Mailman Statue, which commemorates the lives of letter carriers who traipsed barefoot across over 40 miles of beaches between Palm Beach and Miami. A flagpole, fog bell, and plaque are also at the site, memorializing those who kept the light for so many years. There's also a small museum on the grounds.

Insider's tip: The State of Florida Lighthouse Day happens in April. Shuttle boats leave from Sands Dock on the hour from 9am to 3pm. Other tours are operated monthly. Check the website for details.

Address: Hillsboro Inlet Park A1A at 2700 North Ocean Boulevard, Pompano Beach, Florida

Official site:



Butterfly World

While not technically located in Boca, this unique attraction is worth the 10-mile trek to Coconut Creek. Come face to beautiful wing with a graphium agamemnon, or admire the colorful archaeoprepona demophon, all while being serenaded by the sounds of classical music mixed with trickling waterfalls and the sweet scent of fresh roses.

With over 20,000 species in the aviaries and gardens, there's no shortage of fascinating wildlife to enjoy. No matter which way you move your eyes, you're bound to see at least 12 gorgeous butterflies flitter into view. Visitors can feed lorikeets, gawk at the large (and loud) macaws, and cross a wobbly suspension bridge over the Butterfly World Lake. Or, they can cool off under the misty tunnel in the Tropical Rainforest Aviary.

Opened in 1988 by butterfly enthusiast Ronald Boender, this attraction's main goal is twofold: 1. To educate the public about butterflies and 2. To support the founder's off-site research to protect endangered species. Staff have raised over a million butterflies to date.

Insider's tip: Admission is quite pricey, so try searching for an online discount before you go. Also, many of the aviaries close during rainy weather, so plan to visit on a sunny day when the butterflies are primed for flying.

Address: 3600 W. Sample Road, Coconut Creek, Florida

Official site:


Search your Room