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​​​ Sweetbay

12560 Aviation Road, Palm Beach Gardens

Picture of the shaded observation platform and accessible boardwalk overlooking the wetland at Sweetbay Natural Area  

ADA Accessible Paved Nature Trails Natural Surface Hiking Trails Information Signs Parking lot Wildlife Viewing

Part of the great Loxahatchee Slough, historic headwaters of the Loxahatchee River

Open Sunrise to Sunset, 365 Days a Year 

At a Glance     

Little Bay Head on the Wet Prairie

The Sweetbay Natural Area has an unique history unlike any natural area in Palm Beach County.  The natural area was established by Palm Beach County as a part of the original development of the North Palm Beach County General Aviation Airport and remains a part of Palm Beach County’s system of airports.  The Palm Beach County Department of Airport funds the on-going maintenance of the 1,094 acre natural area and provides public access for  passive, nature-based activities such as hiking, bird watching, and environmental education.

This 1,094-acre natural area adjacent to the North County Airport consists of mesic flatwoods, hydric flatwoods, wet prairie, baygall, mesic hammock, and dome swamp ecosystems. A slight elevation in the center of the wetlands holds a tree island called a bay head full of sweetbay, dahoon, coastalplain willow, and pond apple trees that provide roosting and nesting habitat for wading birds, including snowy egret, black-crowned night-heron, and the endangered wood stork.​