Fort Lauderdale is home to several beaches, state parks, and natural reserves, making it an excellent destination for vacationers who plan to spend time outside. Lloyd State Park in Dania Beach is just one of those; it is a barrier island protecting many of the natural environments imperative for the survival of the local wildlife. John U Lloyd Beach State Park was named after a county lawyer who helped preserve the first piece of land that is, today, part of this park. Visitors to Lloyd Beach State Park will find a medley of activities, including a nature hike through subtropical hammocks, mangroves, and beaches.
John Lloyd was an attorney for Broward County when the land for the park was first acquired, and in honor of his hard word, the area was from the beginning named John U Lloyd Beach State Park. There are several interesting facts and lore surrounding this land, including the tales of the barefoot mailman and the red-eyed lady. In 1885, a mail route from Palm Beach to Miami was established, and though it was a particularly long distance to walk, one mailman would walk or boat his way to and from Miami across lakes, beaches, and other various bodies of water over the course of six days.
The tale of the red eyed lady at Lloyd State Park in Dania Beach is also a historic one. The Native Americans used the New River Sound as a passage between the Everglades and Fort Lauderdale; today, the sound is known as Whiskey Creek, where several murders took place, and though this sounds a bit of a macabre piece of information, it is the story behind sightings of the red-eyed lady, who is said to be the spirit of one of the victims.
The 253-acre barrier island of Lloyd Beach State Park is home to a host of wildlife and protects many habitat areas for these animals, including the beach, where sea turtles nest. Each year, about 10,000 turtles hatch on this beach alone; to prevent the eggs from washing away, they are sometimes transported to protected hatcheries. Exotic plants are in the process of being removed to make way for a more native environment for the wildlife, and artificial wetlands have been created in John U Lloyd Beach State Park to encourage the growth of the red mangroves, providing a place for fish and other marine animals to lay eggs and raise young.
Visitors have a wide array of activities available at the Lloyd Beach State Park. Pack a lunch and go picnicking at one of the pavilions, or take advantage of the barbecue facilities. Scuba diving and snorkeling are available in designated areas and are some of the more interesting things to do; visitors can see a diversity of underwater wildlife from fish to sharks to corals. Lloyd State Park in Dania Beach has a lot to offer visitors from history to folklore to the beautiful natural surroundings to a host of activities.
Image: Florida Department of Environmental Protection