At 65 acres, Halpatiokee Regional Park is the largest park in Martin County. The park is well known for sports activities and it has soccer/football fields, tennis courts, softball/baseball fields, disc golf course, and an open air roller-hockey rink. The park also has picnic pavilions that can be reserved and a playground.
The reason I love the park however is for the 500 acres of wetland preserve that surrounds the park. The park has 4 miles of river front on South Fork of the St. Lucie River so you can kayak. Ecosystems in the park include pine flatwoods, oak hammock, scrub and river land. These habitats provide protection for hundreds of species of native flora and fauna, including 13 species that are designated by the State of Florida as endangered or threatened. Going through the preserve is a mile long hiking trail built by Tropical Trekkers. The South Fork Nature Trail connects together two prior trails that the Tropical Trekkers built along the South Fork of the St. Lucie River. There is also a separate mountain bike trail built by the Airborne Mountain Bike Club. You can find the trailheads past all the ballfields, at the very back of the park where the park road ends.
This week a cyclist was bitten by an alligator in the park after he fell off a bridge into the water. Unfortunately he landed next to what was likely a mother alligator protecting her nest. The cyclist is going to be okay and the nest and mother were relocated. The parks name, Halpatiokee is actually the Seminole Indian word meaning "Alligator Water." Although alligator attacks are actually very rare in Florida it is best to stay out of the lakes and wetlands whenever possible. The bike paths in the park remain closed.