Peanut Island snorkeling – A must do in West Palm Beach

A Peanut Island snorkeling trip is an adventure you cannot miss when visiting West Palm Beach. The park is not only a great place to discover South Florida’s marine life but offers activities for the whole family like kayaking, paddle boarding, and camping. Read everything you need to know before your visit including how to get there with ferry prices, what to bring, and where to snorkel.

Peanut Island snorkeling lagoon

Being considered one of the best snorkeling spots in Florida, Peanut Island Park gives visitors the opportunity to observe many different fish species as well as invertebrates. The Peanut Island snorkeling lagoon on the southeast tip offers easy and safe shallow-water snorkeling for kids and adults too.

Also, the rock breakwaters that work as an artificial reef on the east side attract a wide variety of marine life. Here you can spot crabs, lobsters, shrimps, sea urchins, and sponges besides coral species.

Common fish species to see:

  • Atlantic Spadefish
  • Grey and Queen Angelfish
  • Sergeant Majorfish
  • Atlantic Tarpon
  • Barracuda
  • Parrotfish
  • Green moray eel

On this Peanut Island snorkeling map, you can see where the snorkeling lagoon and the artificial reef is:

Peanut Island map for snorkeling

Peanut Island manatees

Manatees are present all year round in the coastal waters of Palm Beach Country. During winter months, they gather in the warm waters around the Riviera Beach Power and Light Plant and they frequently visit the Peanut Island snorkeling lagoon too! They love to hang around in the calm, protected bay and around the breakwaters.

Manatees underwater around Peanut Island
2 manatees near Peanut Island

Look for a swirl or nose on the water because manatees surface regularly to breathe. You can also spot manatees in the mangrove lagoon on the west side where swimming is not allowed, but you can observe them while walking on the mangrove boardwalk.

Tip: when around West Palm Beach, make sure to visit the nearby Phil Foster Park snorkel trail too! Should you look for snorkeling spots around Miami, visit the famous John Pennekamp Park in Key Largo or discover Key West snorkeling places!

Best time for Peanut Island snorkeling

Thanks to the island’s good location, the ocean temperatures stay mild even during winter making Peanut Island snorkeling trips possible any time of the year. Snorkeling is the best at high tide. The hours before and after high tide offer the best conditions with clear and calm water.

To know when high tide is, check the marine forecast before your trip or ask the shuttle boat staff who also can inform you about the conditions. Please note, that there is a chance for a strong current as the tide changes so weak swimmers recommend staying close to shore and it is good to wear an inflatable snorkel vest.

Where is Peanut Island in Florida

The 80-acre park can be found in Riviera Beach Palm Beach Country, South Florida, between Palm Beach Island and Singer Island. There is no bridge, you can get to the park by shuttle boat, paddle, or kayak.

Sandy beach on Peanut Island
Peanut Island Beach

Should you arrive with your own boat, docking at Peanut Island is free. Boat slips are available on a first-come first-served basis.

Tip: if you are looking for budget-friendly accommodation nearby, we recommend La Doral Aparthotel on Palm Beach Shores!

Peanut Island ferry

The best way to get to Peanut Island is by taking the shuttle boat from Riviera Beach Marina where free parking is available. The ferry runs 7 days a week every 20 minutes. A roundtrip costs 12 USD for adults, 6 USD for kids. Even better, you can bring your furry friends too since the whole establishment is dog-friendly. Snorkel rental is 10 USD per day.

Alternatively, you can take a water taxi from Sailfish Marina too, but this operates not so often and not every day so make sure to check in advance if you wish to choose this option.

History of the island

Believe it or not, this little paradise has such an interesting story. It was created with the dredged sand when developing Lake Worth Inlet and surrounding waterways. The process started in 1918 and this piece of land slowly became an 80-acre park.

It has got the name Peanut because the original plan was to establish a peanut oil shipping operation, however, this never happened. An interesting fact is that after this, it was John F. Kennedy President’s nuclear bomb shelter during the Cold War. When on the island, you can visit the underground Kennedy Bunker too.

In 2005 the park was opened after a renovation process that included creating walking paths, picnic areas, a campsite, and the Peanut Island snorkeling lagoon.

What to do on Peanut Island

No matter if you arrive solo, with family or friends, sure you will spend a relaxing yet active time here with tons of things to do! On top of snorkeling, you get a variety of programs to choose from!

Paddleboarding and kayaking is a popular way of exploring the natural beauty of the park. Don’t miss out on the sunset and full moon paddle tours for the best experience! You can bring your own board/kayak but rental is also possible.

Bridge above the snorkeling lagoon
The island is a perfect place to enjoy Florida’s natural attractions and outdoor activities

You can do fishing in designated areas, from the pier, or from boat. Adrenalin junkies can rent jet sky too. Besides these activities, the more than 1 mile-long walking path is perfect for walking and jogging!


Should you plan a longer getaway to this idyllic place, the park offers a designated campground with 17 campsites that come with a picnic table, grill, and tent pad. Thanks to this limited number, you can enjoy the pure nature of the isle without feeling crowded.

There are bathrooms and showers too. For reservations, contact the park’s office! Camping tickets can be purchased by the shuttle boat operator too for 20 USD per person which includes camping gear. Kids go for half price.

What to bring

You can’t buy food or beverages on-site, therefore pack everything you will need during your stay. Picnic areas, grills, huts, showers, and bathrooms are available.

Please note that alcoholic beverages are not allowed (except in the designated camping areas) and the staff might check your cooler box when boarding the shuttle boat. As mentioned above, snorkel rental is available on the shuttle boat, but take your own snorkel googles and flippers if you have!

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Peanut Island snorkeling guide

Anett Szaszi

Anett is a certified scuba diver, freediver and an expert in snorkeling with more than 10 years experience. She fell in love with the ocean when she put her head underwater in the Red Sea in 2008. Since then , she is traveling all over the world to discover our waters. Wherever she goes, she takes her mask, fins and underwater camera with her. Visiting mega-cities is not her style but getting lost in tiny coastal villages, capturing the beauty of the sea while snorkeling. She is interested in sustainable traveling and marine conservation. She is hoping to inspire people to protect our oceans by sharing her underwater stories. Find her photos on @anett.szaszi Instagram too!