A Day at Red Reef Park
by John McNamara
Red Reef Park in Boca Raton, Florida is a beautiful county
park that has huge hammock trees for shade, pick nick
areas to have a great B-B-Q with the family, but this
park is known for its snorkeling off the beach.
This beach has a great set of natural coral rock with
in 20 meters off the beach, in only about 6 10
feet of water. On a semi calm day the visibility is usually
On this day I took my nephew and friend to the park to
explore the natural reefs. When getting into the park
there is only one main entrance to the beach. You will
see a major set of rocks in front of you, more rock and
reef is exposed on low tide, but thats not the best
spot to see the aquatic fish. To find the best spot to
snorkel, you will need to go about 25 meters south of
the lifeguard stand. Set your blanket down and get your
equipment on. I found its always easier to have
the equipment on and walk out into the water. Helpful
hint, once in the water, start walking backward. The fins
make it very difficult to walk forwards.
Most likely, you will see
other people swimming on the coral mounds that are off
the shore. If you dont see anyone, then swim out,
looking constantly, back and forth, you should see the
coral mounds. If you dont, ask the lifeguards exactly
where they are, they definitely know. The mounds are about
4 or 5 of them, all running approximately parallel with
These mounds are usually teeming with life, blue tangs,
parrotfish, snappers, full of sergeant majors, and an
occasional barracuda or two. For the beginner, this a
great place to get used to you breathing ability and swimming.
Relax and swim from mound to mound until you get tired.
For the intermediate snorkeler, you can practice some
free diving here. Hold your breath and dive down and look
at the mounds in closer depth, you might see a small grouper
hanging out under the mound, or see a lobster if you are
lucky. The mounds are very colorful and the fish are even
facilities at Reed Reef Park are very nice, clean bathrooms
and plenty of outdoor showers, play area for children,
multiple bar-b-que grills and benches to eat. Here are
some more facts for you about the park.
The address for Red
1400 N. State Road A-1-A, Boca Raton, Florida
Just 1 mile north of Palmetto Park Road on A-1-A.
HOURS OF OPERATION:
Red Reef Park opens at 8:00 A.M. and closes at 10:00 P.M.
seven days per week. The Gumbo Limbo facilities are open
Monday through Saturday 9:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M. and Sunday
noon until 4:00 P.M.
The picnic area of the Park is equipped with grills, tables
and restrooms. Facilities are available on a first-come,
first-served basis. Additional facilities are available
at Spanish River Park located one (1) mile North on A1A.
TENT AND TRAILER CAMPING:
No individual family tent or trailer camping will be allowed.
Red Reef Park is considered principally a day-use area.
All fires must be in self-contained charcoal units. No
open or wood fires will be permitted.
No pets will be allowed in the Parks or on the beach.
Access to the beach and the Atlantic Ocean are available
from designated locations within the Park. Pedestrian
traffic is restricted to these elevated walkways. Lifeguards
are on duty year round from 9:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. Snorkeling
is a popular leisure activity at the south end
of Red Reef Park.
The walks and heavily foliated areas are favored haunts
for a wide variety of small birds. On occasion, larger
and more spectacular web-footed birds are observed on
the oceanside of the Park. Nature related programming
is conducted through the facilities at the Gumbo
Limbo Environmental Education Center. Call 561-338-1473
for program information.
Snorkel the unique rock and reef outcroppings near the
FISHING: Surf fishing is one of the favorite pastimes
of many Park visitors. However, fishing in designated
swimming areas during normal swimming hours (9:00 A.M.
to 5:00 P.M.) is PROHIBITED.
So this should help you to come try this great park and
discover something different and unusual in South Florida.
See you on your next Boca Raton, Florida vacation.
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