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The Blue Heron Bridge snorkeling trail is one of the best places in West Palm Beach to take your family and friends for an underwater journey. Visit the Phil Foster Park and explore Florida’s vibrant marine life!
Where is the Blue Heron Bridge snorkeling trail?
The Blue Heron Bridge in Palm Beach Country connects Signer Island to Florida mainland. On the small island under the bridge in the Lake Worth Lagoon there is a 15-acre beach park, the Phil Foster Park which is a life-guarded beach with a fishing area and playground.
Some years ago, an underwater park (commonly known as Blue Heron Bridge snorkeling trail or Phil Foster snorkel trail) was added to the park in order to make it attractive for divers and snorkelers. The installations (concrete blocks, statues and a shipwreck) attract various sea creatures to the area so the beach park became a fantastic place to dive and one of the best snorkel places in Florida.
To get to the Phil Foster snorkel trail, take the Blue Heron Blvd towards Singer Island and turn left at the park sign. Free parking is available as well as restrooms and outdoor showers. Also, there is a supermarket within walking distance.
Phil Foster Park snorkel trail map
The Blue Heron Bridge snorkeling trail is about 800 ft long and runs about 200 ft offshore. With easy access from a sandy beach, fantastic visibility and an average depth of 6-10 feet, it is a perfect place for shore snorkeling and shallow water diving.
The trail mimics a barrier reef including 6 concrete modules, 15 larger and several smaller rock piles along the shore. The small rocks provide shelter to tiny marine animals while as corals started to grow on the blocks, many different fish species settle down here.
Besides the artificial reef installation, you will also find other structures like a small shipwreck, shopping carts and even 3 hammerhead shark statues! The shark sculptures were donated to the Phil Foster snorkel trail by Tom McDonald artist in 2015.
You can see the location of the underwater objects as well as the recommended entry and exit points on the Blue Heron Bridge snorkeling map below!
Tip: if you are around, don’t miss out on visiting the nearby Peanut Island Park snorkeling lagoon!
The Phil Foster Park, like other Florida State Parks, is a well-maintained area that offers everything you need for a relaxing beach day. If you decide to take your family for a Blue Heron Bridge snorkeling tour, pack the usual beach essentials.
The nearby dive shop and Jupiter Outdoor Center offer gear and kayak rental and provides tanks for divers, but if you have one, bring your own equipment for snorkeling! The diving/snorkeling area is protected with buoys where boats cannot enter. However, be aware that according to Florida law, carrying a surface marker/dive flag is mandatory. Although this rule originally applies to divers, since the diving/snorkel area lies next to a busy boat channel, carry one for your own safety.
Marine life and fish species
Although the Blue Heron Bridge snorkeling trail doesn’t offer such vibrant reefs that you can see for example on a John Pennekamp snorkel tour in Key Largo, but there is a lot more to see here than you might think!
Thanks to its geographical location, the Phil Foster Park became a resting place and breeding area for many marine species. The biodiversity is amazing; more than 300 species have been observed here from the giant Florida manatees to tiny worms and nudibranchs.
Most common fish species to see on a Blue Heron Bridge snorkeling trip:
If you are a keen observer, you might spot sea stars, seahorse, octopus, crabs, shrimps and lobster too. If all these would not be enough, stingrays, eagle rays and sometimes turtles also visit the trail!
What is the best time to snorkel at Blue Heron Bridge?
Snorkeling at Phil Foster Park is possible all year round if the weather allows water activities. In summer, wear UV protection rash guard to avoid sunburn and prevent jellyfish stings, while in winter, the best is to use a neoprene suit for snorkeling that keeps you warm.
The Blue Heron Bridge snorkel trail is a strictly high-tide spot! The incoming tide brings in fresh, clear ocean water making the visibility excellent and the reef lively. At low tide, due to limited visibility and strong tidal currents, water activities can be dangerous, therefore entering the water at low tide is not recommended.
The best time for diving and snorkeling starts 1 hour-30 minutes before high tide and ends 1 hour after it. Before your visit, make sure to check the Blue Heron Bridge tide table so you can arrive just at the right time!
Tip: weekends are very busy in West Palm Beach and so in Phil Foster Park! Schedule your visit for a weekday if you can!
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