What to do in Hugh Taylor Birch State Recreation Area

In 1893, the Chicago attorney, Hugh Taylor Birch, came to South Florida in search of a secluded area for his home. He settled in a small village called Ft. Lauderdale that included a store, a few houses and the remains of the old Fort Lauderdale Army Post.

Purchasing oceanfront property for about a dollar an acre, he eventually owned a three-and-a-half mile stretch of land along the beach. In 1940, at age 90, he built his last home here. He called his 180-acre estate Terramar, "land to sea."

Wishing to preserve his subtropical paradise from the development that was springing up all around it, Birch donated his estate for use as a public park. On July 1, 1949, Hugh Taylor Birch State Recreation Area officially opened to the public. It is now an island of trees and greenery in the middle of urban Ft. Lauderdale.

Today, the 180-acre park is extremely popular with "snowbirds" and locals. Several short hiking trails, ocean access and several shaded picnic areas with playground equipment, pavilions and barbecue grills are conveniently located close to parking.

Birch's home, which combines Spanish and Art Deco architecture, is now open as the Terramar Visitor Center. It offers exhibits that interpret the natural and cultural history of the park and South Florida. A short video orients visitors to the park and its facilities. Call or check at park entrance for hours of operation, special tours, and other programs. Also located in the park, is a garden club center, home of the Federated Garden Circles of Fort Lauderdale. Here again, check with the park for visitor hours.

Recreation
Visitors to Hugh Taylor Birch State Recreation Area will find youth and group camping, picnicking, hiking, water sports, a visitor center, a garden club center, canoeing and fishing opportunities.

Location
The park is located at the intersection of A1A (Atlantic Boulevard) and East Sunrise Boulevard, Fort Lauderdale.

Climate
Southern Florida lies within a subtropical climate. It is usually hot and humid in the summer with brief afternoon thundershowers. It is not unusual for temperatures to exceed 90 degrees Fahrenheit with averages reaching above 83 degrees Fahrenheit (above 29 Celsius). Winters are mild and dry with temperatures averaging above 64 degrees Fahrenheit (above 18 Celsius). The average precipitation for the southeast area is more than 60 inches per year. The powerful rays of the sun make it a good idea to wear hats and sunglasses along with using a SPF-15 (or above) sunscreen when planning outdoor activities.

Address
3109 East Sunrise Boulevard
Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33304

Phone: 954-564-4521

Email: birchpark@gate.net
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