Tomoka State Park is a state park located in the U.S. state of Florida, on Tomoka Island across St. Joseph’s Sound from Fort Lauderdale and Hollywood to the north. The park has such amenities as beaches, bicycling, birding, boat tours, cabins, fishing, hiking, picnicking areas, swimming, wildlife viewing and full camping facilities including tent sites, screened shelters and yurts. It also has an interpretive center open for visitors.
A causeway extends between the island and Deer Lake, which is connected to the mainland by the Pompano Bridge. This bridge carries I-95/US 19, with access via exit ramps at each end. On December 7,2016, Tomoka State Park was temporarily closed due to Hurricane Mathew. At least one tree fell on the campground during the storm, but no injuries were reported. The park reopened on December 11, 2016. In January 2020, Tomoka State Park was among eleven Florida State Parks awarded Tripadvisors Travelers Choice Award, which recognizes businesses and attractions that earn consistently high user reviews.
Amenities include the following:
- Beach/Day-Use Area – Located within the park, this area features two separate beach areas, North Cove (area 1) and South Cove (Area 2). Both have bathhouses, concession stands, rental paddleboats, kayak rentals, picnic tables and grills, parking lots, playgrounds, and nature trails. They are patrolled by lifeguards from 9am until 5pm every day except Fridays, where they are staffed 10am until 4pm. Bicycle
- Trail – This 12 mile paved trail follows the shoreline of Tomoka Island, passing through pine forests, hardwood hammocks and marshland. Bicycles are not permitted inside the park, only on it. Boat Tour – Several companies offer narrated bay cruises departing from outside the park, typically once or twice daily.
- Yurt – This rustic structure, available year round, can be reserved for private events such as family reunions, birthday parties, wedding receptions etc… up to a maximum capacity of 100 people per session. It includes electric lights and outlets, countertop, bar, fire pit, and picnic table.
- Campsite – There are 45 campsites divided into three groups, based upon their proximity to Tomoka River. Group 1 consists of 15 waterfront sites, all with water and electrical hookups. Sites include an accessible waterfront site that accommodates those with physical challenges. Group 2 contains 20 interior sites, mostly with water and electricity, though some sites are pet friendly. These sites feature a variety of terrain, ranging from flat ground to hilly topography. Group 3, consisting of five primitive equestrian campsites, is intended for use by horseback riders. Each site comes equipped with a portable toilet, dumping station, and water pump. No other pets are allowed, and there is a $10 fee for overnight stays.
- Cabin – This modern cabin sleeps six people and is equipped with four bedrooms, two bathrooms, kitchen, dining room, living room, roofed front porch, back porch, carport, and yard space. It is available year round, and may be reserved for private events like family reunions, birthday parties, wedding receptions etc. Up to a maximum capacity of 50 people per session, it is primarily intended for group use, although single person usage can be accommodated if needed.
- Interpretive Center – Opened in May 2006, the Tomoka Visitor Center provides interactive exhibits and information about the natural, cultural, and historical heritage of the park. Displays include wildlife dioramas, a large aquarium, a video presentation, and hands-on learning experiences. Live turtles and snakes are part of the educational displays.
An outdoor pavilion overlooking Tomoka Bay allows for more exhibit space and increased public awareness than a simple boardwalk would provide. Educational programs are offered throughout the year. Nature hikes and guided nature walks occur periodically, led by naturalists and history enthusiasts. Ranger-led programs include historical reenactments, story time, holiday magic shows, pumpkin chunking, and more. Volunteers in Parks works closely with local schools to place students on “turtle” teams, allowing them to participate directly in research projects. School project reports and data are used to track population changes in sea turtles over time. Other park related activities include sunset bike rides, moonlight paddles, hayrides, nature photography workshops, and ranger-led hikes and nature walks. Amenities include canoe rentals, kayaking lessons, sand volleyball courts, horseshoe courts, tether ball, pool, laundry facilities, picnic areas, Wi-Fi access, and a park store.
Facilities include restrooms with showers, picnic areas, a park store, tennis courts, softball fields, soccer fields, basketball courts, volleyball court, horseshoe pits, tether ball, swimming area, and a camper services building. The park also offers a beach for swimmers, bathhouse, cabins, a conference center, gift shop, gazebo, lighted boat ramp, unlighted gravel ramp, primitive equestrian campsites, and a dump station. Year-round park facilities include the beach/day-use area, bicycle path, interpretive center, and camper services building; the latter being available for rent when the park is closed. During low tide, the entire length of the spit is exposed, providing ample space for hundreds of thousands of wading birds to congregate prior to migrating south for winter. The adjacent mudflat area supports a thriving bald eagle nest along with several species of duck, herons, loons and rails. Within easy walking distance from the park entrance are restaurants, nature trails, and parks with additional recreational opportunities.
- nature study
- wildlife observation