The Palm Beaches are popular for a reason: they are warm year-round. Peanut Island is a small island located near West Palm Beach. With unique offerings like a pizza boat, it's a great choice for a day trip. Camping is available too. Family-friendly Peanut Island has something for everyone.
Peanut Island got its name from its shape, which resembles a peanut. The island is man-made and was created in 1918 as part of the Lake Worth Inlet and Intra-coastal Waterway project. Today, it is a popular tourist destination known for its stunning tropical beaches, rich history, and wide range of recreational activities.
Getting to Peanut Island Park
There is no bridge or causeway connecting Peanut Island to the mainland, so access to the island is limited to those with a boat or access to a boat. Admission to the park is free, but there is a cost for a ferry or water taxi to get there. Expect to pay from $16 up for each person but call ahead to get exact fees. You may also have to pay more for a beach cart. The shuttle parking lots fill up quickly so get there early. Here are a couple of available shuttle services:
Peanut Island Shuttle Boat
Where: The Peanut Island Shuttle runs out of the Riviera Beach Marina, located at 200 E 13th St, Riviera Beach. Call 561-777-0438.
Sailfish Marina: Peanut Island Shuttle service
Where: The Palm Beach Water Taxi runs out of the Sailfish Marina Resort, located at 98 Lake Drive, Palm Beach Shores. Call 561-844-1724.
Peanut Island Park is the perfect place to relax and get a suntan. The sand is white and the beaches are perfect for sunbathing. The beaches are clean and well-maintained by the park. There are also several shaded areas on the island, which provide respite from the sun on hot days. Dogs are allowed on a leash and doggy pickup bags are located around the island.
The water is shallow, clear blue and clean. It is a great depth for everyone, including kids, to enjoy. Not to mention warm! At the time of our visit in February, the ocean temperature was a delightful 77 degrees. That's 10 degrees warmer than Clearwater Beach in the Gulf of Mexico!
Beach Parking and Amenities
As mentioned above, you will have to take the ferry or a water taxi. Peanut Island Park has several facilities that provide a comfortable experience for visitors. Some of the amenities on the island include:
Boat Slips: Peanut Island has a large docking area that provides ample space for boats and other watercraft. Getting a boat slip is free but on a first-come, first-served basis. Larger boats may anchor offshore. There is no fishing or swimming in this area for safety reasons. More information is available here.
Restrooms and Showers: There are several restrooms and showers located around the island, which are well-maintained and clean.
Take all your beach essentials like chairs, umbrella, a cooler, and everything you need to have the best day on the beach. You must bring your own water and food because the island has no food or rental concessions available. Alcohol is prohibited unless you have a campsite. If you forget something before you arrive to park for the day there is a Publix grocery store on W. Blue Heron Blvd. Grills are provided in dedicated picnic areas. Keep in mind if you bring a large beach wagon you may have to pay extra for it on a ferry or taxi service.
What to do on Peanut Island: 80 acres of fun
Fishing: Peanut Island is an excellent location for fishing. There are several fishing docks and piers around the island, which are perfect for fishing enthusiasts. The island is home to a wide variety of fish, such as snook, tarpon, and redfish.
Boating and Paddleboarding: Peanut Island is a popular destination for those who love to use watercraft. It is close enough to the mainland that paddling across to the island is quick and easy. Rent one and give it a try next time you go.
Snorkeling and Scuba Diving: Peanut Island is home to a vibrant underwater world, making it an excellent destination for snorkeling. There are several popular snorkeling and diving spots around the island, including a snorkeling lagoon. You will be amazed at the fish you encounter. Watch out for jellyfish.
Although you may have heard about the famous John F. Kennedy Bunker on Peanut Island, it is currently closed and scheduled to be renovated. The Presidential Fallout Shelter was built during the Cold War and was designed to be used by President John F. Kennedy in the event of a nuclear attack. It contains fascinating artifacts and equipment from the 1960's. In January 2022, Palm Beach County Commissioners voted to take over the facility, renovate it and re-open it to the public. This process will take several years. As soon as it opens, we are going back!
What is really fascinating is watching the expensive yachts and ships sail by. We even saw a cruise ship! Afterward you can stroll along the walking paths or use one of the grills for cooking your food. Keep in mind Peanut Island can get busy and the water gets crowded. It is similar to Disappearing Island in Ponce Inlet and Crab Island in Destin, Florida.
Camping on Peanut Island
Camping on Peanut Island Park is rustic and tropical. They have 17 campsites that include a tent pad, grill, and picnic table. These can be reserved online. The facility also features restrooms with hot indoor showers, a picnic pavilion, and a large fire ring. Pets are allowed. Camping is by permit only (reservations are required). Click here for more information on Peanut Island camping.
Look Out! This Could Happen...
A known issue in the Palm Beaches (and even in Jensen Beach) are the biting midges. Locals call them "no-see-ums". You may get bitten if you are out on the coast during early morning and evenings, or during the daytime on cloudy days when winds are calm. The bites are irritating and can cause painful lesions for some people. You may end up scratching for several weeks. We certainly have experienced this in Florida.
Being prepared can make a big difference to your beach day. Repellents containing DEET typically used as mosquito repellents are also labeled for use against no-see-ums. It can be applied prior to exposure to the biting midges and may help. It is important that the directions for application that are printed on the label are followed for any product used as a repellent.
What We Really Think about Peanut Island Park
Peanut Island Park is an amazing place to go with views and activities for every age. Like every Florida beach during the winter tourist season, get there as early as you can because the line to get to the island can get long. Take lots of food, water and sunscreen so you can enjoy a relaxing beach trip. Peanut Island feels like a tropical paradise and is a great escape from everyday life.
Hotels near Peanut Island
Restaurants near Peanut Island
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Susan and Bruno are travel bloggers. We write about Florida beaches on every coast. Our opinions only.