The Hugh Taylor Birch State Park makes a day at the beach, well, a day at the beach. The entrance fee is $3.25 per carload and $1 for bikes and pedestrians. That´s cheap for a shady respite from the sun and access to a tunnel that crosses beneath busy A1A to the beach. There´s a mile-long loop on the paved road through the park and a couple of trails through hammocks and a new tidal wetlands area that is being restored. Pack a picnic, grill some meat, go for a walk, and when you feel like a swim and a spell in the sun, you can cross A1A from the park on the west side through a tunnel and emerge onto the beach. On the Hugh Taylor side of the tunnel are bathrooms, snack machines, and an ice-cold water fountain. And hey, if you´re feeling pummeled by the heat, you can spend some time underground.

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