Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Holland Park

Holland Park in Hollywood, Florida, marks the first appearance of a non Miami-Dade park for The Parks Department. At first when I started this blog I figured it would be easier to just limit myself to Miami. I've come to view this as foolish. While I don't spend too much time in Broward County (and even less in Palm Beach), this is afterall, the era of the staycation, and maybe a trip to a park in adjacent counties is a good way to explore close but unfamiliar territory.

Holland Park sits alongside the intracoastal waterway in Hollywood. It can be difficult to find, but it is basically at the east end of Johnson Street on the mainland (Johnson Street technically extends to the barrier island where Hollywood Beach is located.) Located across the intracoastal waterway from Hollywood Beach, you get a full view of Ocean Avenue/A1A from the park. It is a really cool place, and definitely has a more "natural" feel to it than the parks I've visited in Miami. In this sense, it reminds me more of the parks and springs I've visited in Northern Florida areas like Gainesville.

Since the park is bordered by water, aquatic activities are the norm here. Kayak launches, rowing, and jet skis are all good ideas for fun at Holland Park. There is also a boat launch area, and a nature walk/wooden boardwalk around the edges of the park that are next to the water. There are spiders and birds and other animals all along the walk

One of the best features of the park is the waterfront observation tower. From the top of the tower you can see all across the intracoastal waterway, and over to Hollywood Beach. You can even catch a slight glimpse of the ocean from the top of the tower. This is a really cool place to just hang out and take in the sunshine. Lower portions of the tower also have seats to sit and relax, while still enjoying the view.

Holland Park was such a cool place to visit. As I said, it seemed more of a natural place than many of the parks I've been to in the past. This is not to knock parks in Miami, just to point out some differences in how parks are planned. Whereas many of the past parks I've been to are so clearly the works of careful planning and design, Holland Park seems to be a natural area retrofitted with certain man made improvements to make it a park. Both concepts serve a purpose, it is just nice to experience both and have some variety. I look forward to coming back to Holland Park in the future, and recommend everyone, whether you live in Dade, Broward or anywhere else, to visit the park. Thank you to Michelle for the pictures, more after the jump.

Walking amongst the mangroves

Just a warning for the dogs

Protection measures

Crew boats

Le Tub, a great waterfront restaurant

Surveying the landscape

A peak at the Atlantic Ocean

Boat launch

BBQ along the water

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