16 Free Things to Do in Coconut Creek, FL

Free Things to Do in Coconut Creek, FL
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Coconut Creek is one of the most laid-back cities in Broward County, South Florida.

Enjoy a quiet stay and complete a fun itinerary encompassing nearby coastal cities and nature parks.

One of the best things about the location is its proximity to some of Florida’s most renowned beaches, particularly the Pompano Beach and Deerfield Beach shores.

Even though the city is on the small side, the government has done a decent job at maintaining patches of land that represent some of the old landscape and terrain that preceded the modern city.

The free things to do in Coconut Creek even feature some of these beautifully preserved areas that serve as respite for locals and visitors.

You can spend some time with nature while not wholly detached from the comforts of the city and the greater community.

Explore Fern Forest Nature Center

Moss tree at Fern Forest Nature Center
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The 247-acre Fern Forest Nature Center is ideal for hiking and picnics.

Since 1985, this designated urban wilderness in Coconut Creek has fostered native plants and wildlife for residents to appreciate and enjoy.

The trails typically loop through a community of native plants, like the one-mile Prairie Overlook Trail, which leads to an open prairie and an oak/cabbage palm community that includes a 20-foot-tall observation platform.

Boardwalk at Fern Forest Nature Center
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Some trails and walkways along the swamp will require boots depending on weather conditions, as the natural pathways can get too soggy or slippery.

The park is the former Cypress Creek Hammock, a remnant of the Cypress Creek drainage system for the old tomatoes and pepper farms and logging and milling operations.

You can access Fern Forest Nature Center via South Lyons Road.

Walk Around Windmill Park

The ample, open space in Windmill Park is perfect for groups and some light walking.

The park is located along Lyons Road, open for outdoor recreation and nature observation.

Within the urban preserve is Windmill Park Pond, which only adds to the charm of the city park.

In 2018, the city finished renovations that included repositioned tennis courts, an expanded dog park, picnic pavilions, stationed outdoor exercise paths, and additional restrooms.

Discover Helene Klein Pineland Preserve

Helene Klein Pineland Preserve is a quaint green space at West Hillsboro Boulevard that features some wildlife and vegetation.

This natural area is among the smallest in all of Broward County but is surprisingly also one of the most diverse.

The loop around the Helene Klein Pineland Preserve is about half a mile, with most of the pathway shaded under the trees.

Up to 55 species of wildlife have been seen in Helene Klein Pineland Preserve, including giant swallowtail butterflies, Florida brown snakes, and pileated woodpeckers.

The 13-acre preserve is open all week, although you are still advised to view the full schedule on Broward’s official page before planning your visit.

Take a Break at Sabal Pines

Sabal Pines Park at Northwest 39th Avenue is one of the more spacious recreational parks in Coconut Creek.

The park amenities include sports fields, picnic grounds, a walking trail, and playgrounds.

Seasonal events are also hosted at Sabal Pines.

On most days, Sabal Pines Park is a relaxing place to retreat if you’re touring nearby attractions in downtown Coconut Creek.

Escape to Winston Park Nature Center

Winston Park Nature Center is a great place to visit if you want to experience what Coconut Creek was like before countless urban development projects.

The nature center preserves many cypress trees and ferns native to the region.

There’s also a vast space for recreational activities, with tennis courts, basketball courts, picnic tables, and walking trails scattered around the land.

Winston Park Nature Center is located at Northwest 49th Avenue.

Visit the Hidden Cypress Park

You can find Cypress Park via 49th Terrace Street, a small entry point from West Copans Road.

As the name suggests, Cypress Park is a haven for cypress trees, wildlife, and recreational areas that serve nearby communities.

There is also a water fountain and a small canal that attracts birds and small amphibians.

The multipurpose pathways are perfect for light jogging, while the sand-filled volleyball court offers a refreshing alternative for groups and enthusiasts.

As are picnic areas, green fields are abundant here, including covered pavilions with barbecue racks and tables.

Explore the Kristin Jacobs Natural Area at Hillsboro Pineland

Kristin Jacobs Natural Area at Hillsboro Pineland was named after the late County Commissioner and State Representative Kristin Jacobs, the county’s leading conservationist in public office.

It’s one of the most scenic nature parks in Coconut Creek, owing to its spacious green fields filled with pine flatwoods and various grasses and wildflowers.

Historically, the area was once part of the headwaters for the Hillsboro River, which flowed into what is now called the Intracoastal Waterway.

Aside from its bustling wildlife, the Kristin Jacobs Natural Area at Hillsboro Pineland has two moderate hiking trails, a large parking lot, and a beautiful boardwalk.

The boardwalk will take you through the area’s wet habitats and the park’s signature pinelands and flatwoods.

Other Free Things to Do Nearby

Aside from exploring recreational parks and nature reserves, there are plenty of other free things to enjoy in nearby cities if you can travel just a few minutes out of Coconut Creek.

Take a Trip to the Iconic Pompano Beach

Aerial view of Pompano Beach
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It wouldn’t be a well-rounded trip to South Florida without stopping by Pompano Beach, Florida, roughly just half an hour from Coconut Creek.

In recent years, the multipurpose beach has experienced a significant renaissance, essentially reestablishing itself as the “Heart of the Gold Coast.”

The sands of Pompano Beach
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Pompano Beach gets livelier and more vibrant during the most celebrated festivals in the city, like the holiday boat parade in December, the seafood festival in April, or the fishing rodeo in May.

Pier of Pompano Beach
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Enjoy a Fine Afternoon at Crystal Lake Sand Pine Scrub

Crystal Lake Sand Pine Scrub is a rare sand pine scrub community that is one of the oldest preserved “urban wilderness” in Florida.

The scrub is a remnant of Broward County’s original sand pine terrains; it is one of the few locations where the land's early wildlife remains, including tortoises and foxes.

You will find Crystal Lake south of Sample Road, east of I-95 in Pompano Beach, 13 minutes from Coconut Creek.

Besides wildlife, Crystal Lake is also home to several accessible multipurpose trails, including the Gray Fox, a natural surface trail that will lead you through the preserve.

Make a Detour to the Deerfield Beach Boardwalk

The view from Deerfield Beach Boardwalk
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Deerfield Beach, Florida, is ideal for experiencing what South Florida offers without getting overwhelmed by massive crowds or commercial establishments.

This nearby city is roughly 23 minutes from Coconut Creek and is quite famous for its waterparks and culture-rich downtown.

The scenic Deerfield Beach Boardwalk is a must-see if you’re heading to the coast, especially during the afternoon and evening, to see the skyline and the boardwalk in a new light.

Find the Fort Lauderdale Outdoor Murals

Take snapshots of the vibrant Fort Lauderdale outdoor murals scattered around the city.

Some murals are installed on the exterior walls of the NSU art museum, while others are painted in more accessible spaces like the North Fort Lauderdale Beach Boulevard.

There is also a new one on the east wall of Cube Libre Restaurant and Rum Bar, called Esperanza, commemorating the anniversary of the uprising in Cuba.

Check out the Fort Lauderdale outdoor murals, about 27 minutes from Coconut Creek.

Enjoy a Laid-Back Hike at Tall Cypress Area

A bird at Tall Cypress Area
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Tall Cypress Area boasts a dense and incredible canopy of cypress trees that transitions to slash pines.

It’s the next place to visit if you enjoy the smaller Cypress Park but are looking for more dynamic activities and bigger trails to explore.

Aside from cypress, there are sabal palm heads, red maples, pond apple depressions, and strangler fig trees in this 66-acre natural area nearby Coral Springs, Florida.

The Tall Cypress Area is ten minutes from Coconut Creek.

Drop by the Military Trail Natural Area

Military Trail Natural Area is 19.9 acres of scrubs and flatwoods that offers a moderate trail from land once cleared for urbanization.

The government purchased it to curb further development.

The area got its name when it was used as a pathway to move troops during the Second Seminole War.

The Military Trail Natural Area runs between Pompano Beach in the south and Palm Beach Country to the north.

It’s an ideal place to visit after spending time at the nearby Crystal Lake Sand Pine Scrub.

Just note that Military Trail has no dedicated parking lot, as residents from the surrounding neighborhoods mostly use it.

You can find this area in Pompano Beach, 13 minutes from Coconut Creek.

Take a Selfie with the “Thrive” Sculpture

Daytime view of the Thrive sculpture
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South Africa-based multidisciplinary artist Daniel Popper has made a name for himself with his unique larger-than-life sculptures depicting humanlike beings.

One is “Thrive,” a 14-ton sculpture at the grounds of Society Las Olas apartments.

The massive seraphic figure features live ferns around an archway that passes through the sculpture's chest.

According to Popper, he wanted to send a message of hope through the installation, particularly amid a slew of environmental problems that continue to ravage different parts of the world.

The "Thrive" sculpture is in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, 30 minutes from Coconut Creek.

Stop by the International Peace Garden

The International Peace Garden is located outside the Coral Springs Museum of Art and Theater.

This site is known locally for hosting monthly Silent Peace Walks and the Annual International Day of Peace celebrations.

However, you can also visit any time to marvel at the local art installations and collections of native plants and trees in Florida.

Walking here can also be relaxing as it’s mostly covered in the shade and is generally quiet throughout the day.

The garden is usually a secondary attraction next to the city museum. However, this is something you can enjoy for free when you’re in downtown Coral Springs, 18 minutes from Coconut Creek.

Take a Scenic Walk at Esplanade Park

The grounds of Esplanade Park
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Esplanade Park is a gorgeous 2.56-acre riverside park in Fort Lauderdale, 27 minutes from Coconut Creek.

The scenic views make for an excellent backdrop for light walking or taking photos, especially in the afternoon.

The place fills with light from the fading sun.

At night, the glass-covered pavilion also lights up.

There are also plenty of places of interest around the mark, including the Fort Lauderdale History Museum and the Old Fort Lauderdale Village and Museum.

You can find Esplanade Park along Southwest Second Street.

A memorial at Esplanade Park
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Final Thoughts

Coconut Creek is an attractive place to stay if you want to break free from Florida’s busy eastern coast.

Likewise, Coconut Creek offers a handful of beautiful nature preserves and some laid-back urban parks that you can visit for free during your stay.

You can also add some notable destinations nearby and expand your budget-friendly itinerary.

Check out the free things to do in Coconut Creek, Florida!

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