West Palm Beach

West Palm Beach
West Palm Beach is just one of the many coastal cities that can be found in Florida’s famous Gold Coast region. This region can be found in the southeastern part of the state and also includes such other high-profile destinations as Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale, and Miami. Beaches abound along the Gold Coast, and there are plenty more to the north along the Treasure Coast, so while West Palm Beach proper isn’t exactly known for its strips of sand, residents and visitors alike don’t have to go very far to enjoy some beach exposure. When a break from the beach is in order, there are plenty of options for other things to do in and around West Palm Beach. The city is one of the principal cities in the South Florida metropolitan area, and among other things, it boasts museums, shops, restaurants, and a wonderful performing arts center. Other things such as golf courses, waterparks, and the Palm Beach Zoo at Dreher Park only add to the area activity options.

Palm Beach

Palm Beach is West Palm Beach’s much more affluent neighbor. Found just across the Intracoastal Waterway, it occupies a barrier island that is approximately 16 miles long and counts many notable people among its past and present residents. The majority of the beaches on this exclusive island are privately owned. There are at least two, however, that cater to the general public. One of these beaches is Midtown Beach. A relatively undeveloped strip of sand, Midtown Beach has lifeguards and is a good place to swim, sunbathe, or build sandcastles. The other gem among the public beaches in Palm Beach is found at the Phipps Ocean Park. Particularly popular with families, this park offers a groomed beach, picnic facilities, and a variety of outdoor recreation options.

Singer Island

Actually a peninsula and not an island, Singer Island is found on the Atlantic coast of Palm Beach County to the near north of West Palm Beach. The majority of the peninsula is the city of Riviera Beach, though the town of Palm Beach Shores can be found on its southern tip. In addition to marinas, parks, and hiking/biking paths, Singer Island boasts miles of sparkling white sand beaches. These beaches consistently rank among the best beaches in Palm Beach County and are lined with condos and upscale hotels. Between the hotels and the vacation rentals, there are various amenities to take advantage of, including restaurants and water sports equipment rentals.

John D. MacArthur Beach State Park

Once again, while beaches in West Palm Beach proper might be lacking, there are plenty to choose from close by. One of the best is found at John D. MacArthur Beach State Park. This park is located between Riviera Beach and North Palm Beach and is the only state park in Palm Beach County. In addition to nearly two miles of pristine beach, John D. MacArthur Beach State Park offers a nature center, a playground, picnic facilities, nature trails, and a gift shop. Popular activities among visitors include swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving, surfing, and fishing. Kayaking is just one more option for things to do at the park, and kayak rentals are available. A 1,600-foot boardwalk leads to the beach, and if you don’t want to walk it, there is a free tram service. Showers and toilet facilities are found near the beach. No lifeguards are present, and dogs are not allowed.

Peanut Island Park

Just a short distance north of West Palm Beach, Peanut Island Park is set on an 80-acre island between Riviera Beach and Palm Beach Shores. Surrounding it are the waters of the Intracoastal Waterway, and much of the island’s coastline features guarded and unguarded swimming beaches. Camping is available for those who wish to stay overnight, and this includes beach camping. Other Peanut Island Park activity options include fishing, snorkeling, picnicking, and walking along the designated pedestrian pathways. Peanut Island Park is also a popular boating destination, due in part to the fact that the island can only be reached by boat. If you don’t have your own watercraft, a number of water taxi services operate in the surrounding area. As a side note, Peanut Island features a blast shelter that was built for President John F. Kennedy. This shelter is operated by the Palm Beach Maritime Museum and is open to visitors.

Juno Beach Park

Rounding out this list of beach destinations near West Palm Beach is the Juno Beach Park. More specifically found to the north of West Palm Beach in Juno Beach, this park has a lovely beach that is backed by vegetation and several palm trees. Swimming and building sandcastles are among the activities of choice at the Juno Beach Park, and thanks to its 990-foot pier, fishing is also an option. A concession stand on the pier sells fish food. People food is also available for purchase, as are beverages. Other amenities include lifeguards, showers, and toilets. Parking at the Juno Beach Park is free, though there is a small admission fee for the beach. An added fee applies for anyone who wants to fish. Generally, the Juno Beach Park is open from sunrise to sunset. From November through February, however, the gates open at 6 am and don’t close until 10 pm on weeknights and midnight on weekends.

Top image: eoringel (flickr)

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