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 as one of the best snorkeling spots in Florida, the Peanut Island Park gives visitors the opportunity to observe many different fish 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, sponges besides coral species.

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. 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.

Manatees underwater around Peanut Island

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

Best time for Peanut Island snorkeling

Thanks to the island good location, the ocean temperatures stay mild even during winter making Peanut Island snorkeling trips possible anytime of the year. Snorkeling is the best at high tide. The hours before and after high tide offering 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 the there is a chance for strong current as the tide changes so weak swimmers recommend to stay close to shore and 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. Should you arrive with your own boat, docking at Peanut Island is free. Boat slips are available on first-come first-served basis.

Sandy beach on Peanut Island

Tip: if you are looking for hotels nearby, we recommend La Doral Aparthotel on Palm Beach Shores!

Peanut Island ferry

The best way to get to Peanut Island is taking the shuttle boat from Riviera Beach Marina where free parking is available. The ferry runs 7 day a week in every 20 minutes. A roundtrip costs 12 USD for adults, 6 USD for kids. 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 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. Interesting fact is that after this, it was John F. Kennedy President’s nuclear bomb shelter during the Cold War. You can visit the underground Kennedy Bunker too. In 2005 the park was opened after a renovation process that included creating a walking paths, picnic areas, 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 the top of snorkeling, you get a variety of programs to choose from! Paddle boarding and kayaking is a popular way of exploring the natural beauty of the park. Don’t miss out sunset and full moon paddle tours for the best experience! You can bring your own board/kayak but rental is also possible. 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!

Bridge above the snorkeling lagoon

Camping

Should you plan a longer getaway to this idyllic place, the park offers designated campground with 17 campsites that come with 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 reservation, contact the park’s office! Camping ticket can be purchased by the shuttle boat operator too for 20 USD per person that includes camping gear. Kids go for half price.

What to bring

You can’t buy food nor beverages on site, therefore pack everything you will need during your stay. Picnic areas, grills, huts, shower 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!

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!

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