John D. MacArthur Beach State Park is a Florida state park located on the Atlantic coast, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The park consists of two areas, one for day use and the other for camping/RV sites with full hookup services. It lies between North Sunrise Boulevard and A1A S.W., about 3 miles (5km) south of downtown Fort Lauderdale. The park has such amenities as beaches, bicycling, birding, boat tours, cabins, fishing, hiking, picnicking facilities, swimming, wildlife viewing and full camping facilities including water, electric and cable TV hookups. There are also covered picnic shelters available by reservation.
The park’s campground features tent and RV sites with full hookups, as well as screened, open-air pavilions for group events. Canoeing and kayaking rentals are offered during part of the year. In addition to nature trails, there is an extensive system of bike routes within the park. Bicycle traffic can be heavy so it is recommended that cyclists wear fluorescent clothing. On Saturday, July 13, 2011, a man died from injuries sustained in a bicycle accident at this park. According to witnesses, he was riding along the beach when he fell off his bike and into the ocean. Rescue personnel attempted to save him but were unsuccessful. An investigation revealed that he had fallen asleep while riding and was thrown from his bike. This resulted in charges being filed against 27-year-old Anthony Baskin of Hollywood, Florida for manslaughter. He was released from jail after posting $200,000 bond.
In September 2021, Baskin was cleared of all charges related to the death of Larkin due to lack of evidence; however, he still faces several civil lawsuits related to the incident. The park is named after John D. MacArthur whose Foundation donated half of the land needed to establish the park. The other half of the property was provided by Broward County through its Parks & Recreation Department. Construction began in 1971 and was finished four years later. The park officially opened on June 22, 1977.
One of the main goals of establishing the park was to provide public access to fresh drinking water. To achieve this goal, a filtration plant was installed which processes approximately 1 million gallons of water each day. Water is then delivered to local residences and businesses via a 36-mile aqueduct. The park offers a variety of opportunities for outdoors enthusiasts. Among the wildlife observed at the park are a number of species of birds, fish, turtles and mammals. Other than those already mentioned, nocturnal animals also roam throughout the park at nightfall and into early morning hours.
- wildlife viewing
- gopher tortoises