John D. MacArthur Beach State Park
|John D. MacArthur Beach State Park|
IUCN category IV (habitat/species management area)
|Location||Palm Beach County, Florida, United States|
|Nearest city||Village of North Palm Beach, Florida|
|Area||437.60 acres (177.09 ha)|
|Visitors||101924 (in 2003)|
|Governing body||Florida Department of Environmental Protection|
John D. MacArthur Beach State Park, named for John D. MacArthur whose Foundation donated a portion of the land for its construction in the 1970s, is located on and just north of Singer Island, Florida in North Palm Beach, Florida. The park was first opened to the public in 1989. It covers 348 acres (1.4 km2) on land and underwater, including an Estuary crossed by a 1,600-foot (490 m) boardwalk, and Munyon Island (named after Dr. James Munyon), a wilderness isle in the Intracoastal Waterway that was home to the lavish Hygeia Hotel at the turn of the Twentieth century. The hotel burned to the ground in 1915. Hiking trails and pavilions are open for public use on Munyon Island, which is accessible only by kayak or boat.
One section of the park was popularly known as Air Force Beach from the early 1940s until the renaming of the park because it was used by Palm Beach Air Force Base personnel. Because of its open use and private ownership it became one of the largest nude beaches in the country in the 1970s and 1980s. Nude bathing officially ended with the state's takeover of the park in 1982. However, it is still unofficially condoned at the north end of the park beach.
MacArthur Beach is a nesting ground for rare sea turtles, including the threatened loggerhead, the endangered green sea turtle, and occasionally the rare leatherback. Many species of birds also visit the park, including peregrine falcons, wood storks, and least terns. In addition to state funds and gate fees, the park receives community support through a local organization, Friends of MacArthur Beach State Park.
The William T. Kirby Nature Center features exhibits about the park's natural history, and includes live animal exhibits such as two loggerhead sea turtles.
Beach Outfitters Gift Shop and Kayak Rentals, operated by Friends of MacArthur Beach State Park, offers a variety of gifts and provides rentals of kayaks, dive flags, lockers and binoculars.
Media related to John D. MacArthur Beach State Park at Wikimedia Commons