All About Jonathan Dickinson State Park

The largest state park in southeast Florida Jonathan Dickinson State Park is a must see for any nature enthusiast. The park is approximately 10,500 acres and located just north of Jupiter, Florida in Hobe Sound, Florida. Keep reading to learn more about Jonathan Dickinson State Park.  

Jonathan Dickinson State Park sign

Jonathan Dickinson State Park – The Basics  

  • Address: 16450 S.E. Federal Highway Hobe Sound, FL 33455
  • Driving distance from select Florida cities:
    • Miami: 2 hours
    • Orlando: 2.25 hours
    • Fort Myers: 3 hours
    • Tampa: 3.25 hours
    • Jacksonville: 4 hours
  • Hours: 8 AM until sunset, daily
  • Entrance fee: $6 per vehicle; $4 single occupant vehicle or motorcycles
  • Activities: Bicycling, birding, boat tours, camping, fishing, hiking, horseback riding, paddling, and swimming
  • Pet Friendly: Pets must remain on a 6-foot leash at all times. Pets are not allowed in cabins or at primitive campsites.
Visitor Center sign outside the building at Jonathan Dickinson State Park

Explore the Elsa Kimbell Education and Visitor Center  

The visitor center is a great stop to ask the park rangers any questions you have, to pick up a souvenir, or to learn more about the park. There is an educational center within the visitor center that provides information on the plants and animals that can be found in the park.  

Educational display inside the visitor center at Jonathan Dickinson State Park

Explore by land at Jonathan Dickinson State Park  

Bicycling  

There are multiple trail options for biking through Jonathan Dickinson State Park for all skill levels. There are multi-use trails as well as bike only trails. Bike rentals are also available.  

Bike Trails

  • 2-mile paved multi-use trail running adjacent to park road
  • 8.7-mile Ocean to Lake multi-use trail
  • 8-mile Eagles View multi-use trail
  • Camp Murphy Mountain Bike Trails: various lengths and difficulties, ~9 miles total
    • See the bicycle trail map here

Bike Rental Costs

  • Cruiser Bike (2 hours): $12
  • Multi-Speed Bike (2 hours): $35
  • Mountain Bike (2 hours): $35
  • Bike rentals are $5 for each additional hour over the first 2 hours
View of Jonathan Dickinson State Park from the observation tower

Hiking  

There are over 25 miles of hiking trails available within the park boundaries. A specific highlight is that a portion of the Florida Trail can be hiked when visiting Jonathan Dickinson State Park. Below is a list of several of the hiking trails available. Park maps are available on the park website here.

The Kitching Creek Trail Map sign at the start of the trail

Hiking Trails

  • Kitching Creek Nature Trail: 1.5-miles
  • Wilson Creek Nature Trail: 0.5-mile
  • River Trail: 0.75-mile
  • Hobe Mountain Boardwalk Trail: 0.4-mile
  • Paved Multi-use Trail along Park Road: 2-miles
  • Eagles View Multi-use Trail: 8-miles
  • Ocean to Lake Florida Trail: 9.4-miles
  • White-Blazed Florida Trail: 5-miles
  • Green-Blazed Florida Trail: 7.5-miles
Sand hiking trail surrounded by lush greenery

One trail that I recommend everyone check out is the Hobe Mountain Trail. It is a short boardwalk that leads to an observation tower which allows you to get a great bird’s eye view of the park from above. This trail will not take you long to explore, but the views are well worth the quick stop.  

A view of the boardwalk trail with the observation tower in the distant background

Horseback Riding  

There are 8-miles of multi-use trail that can be utilized for horseback riding within the park. Typically, horses are available to ride seasonally within the park, however the horses did not make the trip to Florida for 2021. The park website currently lists that the horses will return in 2022. Limited information is available on the park website at this time.  

Explore on the water at Jonathan Dickinson State Park  

The Loxahatchee River runs through Jonathan Dickinson State Park. This river was Florida’s first federally designated Wild and Scenic River.  

The Loxahatchee River

Kayaking, Canoeing, and Paddleboarding  

Exploring the Loxahatchee River in a kayak or canoe is a great way to spend the afternoon in Jonathan Dickinson State Park. Kayak, canoe, and paddleboard rentals are available in the park if you do not have your own. Prices vary based on rental.  

Water Rental Prices (2 hours)

  • Canoe: $28
  • Single Kayak: $23
  • Double/Triple Kayak: $33
  • Paddleboard: $25
  • Water rentals are $5 for each additional hour over the first 2 hours

If you are planning to paddle the Loxahatchee River be sure to inquire if the shuttle service is available or be prepared to paddle both ways.  

Blue, yellow, and pink kayaks on the dock next to the river

Boat Tours  

Explore the Loxahatchee River from the comfort of a pontoon boat. Narrated tours are approximately 90 minutes and may include a stop at the Trapper Nelson’s Interpretive site which is only accessible via the water. The tour offered depends on water conditions, if the tide is too low Trapper Nelson’s site cannot be accessed. Check with the park rangers to verify which tour is being offered at which time. Cost does vary based upon tour.  

Trapper Nelson’s Interpretive Site Hours

  • Open 9:30 AM to 4:30 PM daily November through April
  • Closed on Tuesday and Wednesday’s May through October
A boat parked at the dock on the Loxahatchee River

Boat Tour Schedule and Cost

  • Daily at 9 AM, 11 AM, 1 PM, and 3 PM
  • River Tour
    • Adults: $23
    • Children 3 to 12 years: $12.50
  • Trappers Tour – currently offered Friday through Monday, tide dependent
    • Adults: $27
    • Children 3 to 12 years: $14.50
    • Children under 3 years of age are free on both tours

Motor boat rentals are also available within the park for those over 21 years of age for $55 for the first 2 hours with each additional hour costing $25.  

Staying in Jonathan Dickinson State Park  

Camping  

Camping is a popular activity within the park. There are two main campgrounds and reservations can be made up to 11 months in advance. Both campsites have restrooms, showers, washer/dryer access, and include water, electricity, table/grill area.  

  • Pine Campground: 90 sites
    • Sewer hookup
  • River Campground: 52 sites

Primitive camping is also available within the park. These campsites are conveniently located on the Florida Trail. These sites are located five and nine miles out, respectively. Reservations are not required but are recommended.  

Additionally, a small 5-site equestrian campsite is available for anyone who wishes to camp with their horses in the park.  

Several trees in an open field at Jonathan Dickinson State Park

Cabins  

If camping is not your style, but you would like to spend the night in the park you can consider renting one of the eleven cabins within the park. The cabins can accommodate 4 to 6 people depending on the specific cabin. Reservations can be made up to 11 months in advance.  

Final Thoughts on Jonathan Dickinson State Park  

Jonathan Dickinson State Park is a large park with many activities to explore. Hiking, cycling, paddling, and camping are among the most popular activities. Highlights include climbing the Hobe Mountain Observation Tower and paddling along The Loxahatchee River, Florida’s first Wild and Scenic River. Have you been to Jonathan Dickinson State Park before? Leave a comment below and let me know your favorite thing to do in the park!  

The boardwalk from above on the top of the observation tower

Looking for other things to do in the area? Check out this post on Blowing Rocks Preserve

Looking for other state parks in South Florida? Check out these posts: Gasparilla Island State Park and Myakka River State Park  

The information above was accurate at the time of publishing to the best of the author’s knowledge. If you are planning to visit Jonathan Dickinson State park, I recommend verifying information with the Florida State Park website.

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