Peanut Island is originally referred to as Inlet Island, and was created by reshaping the land and water features of the surrounding area in 1918, creating the inlet and the port of Palm Beach as we know today. The island was renamed Peanut Island due to a planned launch of a peanut oil-shipping business back in 1946. The venture failed, but the name has stuck since. Afterwards, a $13 million renovation of the island back in 2005 resulted in the beautiful 80-acre tropical paradise that now hosts a crystal clear Caribbean blue backdrop that tourists around the world flock to and spend the perfect holiday with friends and loved ones in.
If you’ve already planned a fun weekend getaway with your family to snorkel, dive, and escape the busy city streets, then look no further as we’re here to guide you with everything you need to know for your trip to this beautiful island starting from getting the best hotels, the tastiest restaurants, the best spots to spend your mornings and afternoons, as well as finding the best activities within Peanut Island to bond with your loved ones.
Snorkeling in Peanut Island
Peanut island has been voted to be one of the top snorkeling destinations in the U.S. across all major tourism websites and surveys from all around the world. For those looking for a fun adventure, then be prepared to get up close and personal with what’s beneath as the tropical paradise is the ideal place for snorkeling at any time of the year. The water temperature at Peanut Island stays the same all year round and offers calm waters without strong currents. Underneath Peanut Island are various marine habitats and ever-changing sea life to explore. Majestic marine life such as Parrot Fish, Angel Fish, Sea Stars, Sea Turtles, Moray Eels, and other exciting sea creatures are just some of the creatures that you might encounter.
How to Snorkel and do other water activities on Peanut Island ?
Once you’re in Peanut Island, you’ll have to get your own snorkeling rental. Once you have everything you need to explore the snorkeling lagoon, you can also explore all the underwater parts of the park. There are numerous snorkeling lagoons to choose from around Peanut Island so you can select your preferred spot at your own leisure. Peanut Island also offers in-house snorkeling tours so that you let the experts do the exploring for you.
For snorkelers going on their own, then the best time to snorkel around Peanut Island is during the high tide, usually a couple of hours before and after the phenomenon. It’s better to research tide charts to find the best time. Lastly, while snorkeling around Peanut Island is relatively safe compared to other beaches, the current can still pose a considerable risk, especially for children and novice swimmers. As such, observe the water currents for up to 20 minutes and determine whether the currents are safe before going underwater. Don’t forget to wear your snorkel vest or life jacket before you jump!
Paddle boarding has blown in popularity not just in the country but around the world as well due to its peaceful, relaxing, and rewarding nature. You’ll be happy to know that paddle boarding is also available on Peanut Island. It’s the perfect way to enjoy the lagoon’s peaceful surface as well as explore the island from the outside looking in. Paddle boarding also works as a fun physical activity to rejuvenate your muscles. It doesn’t require the skills and courage like other activities such as surfing and jet skiing which is why it’s a great water activity for a lot of people. Paddle boarding can be done by sitting, kneeling, or, if you’re up for it, standing as you paddle around the island.
What’s unique with paddle boarding in Peanut Island is you can do it at any time of day be it morning during night. Unlike other beaches where you’re limited until the sun sets, Peanut Island offers full moon paddle boarding so you can bask in the full moon as it glows overhead while you’re enjoying the reflections of the lagoon. Like snorkeling, there are a lot of paddle boarding tours to guide you around the island so you can easily enjoy Peanut Island without bringing a board.
Renting a jet ski is possible in Peanut Island. This is perfect for those looking for some adrenaline-pumping fun. You’re allowed to ski through the beautiful waters of South Florida and enjoy the beauty of the island to your heart’s content. Like snorkeling and paddle boarding, you have the freedom to jet ski on your own or with a guided group experience if you’re a first-timer. Once you’re done experiencing the waves, you can always switch it up to kayaking or relax with a paddle board, or snorkel around to see the beauty of the island without getting tired.
If skiing is too tiresome for you, kayaking is an easier activity for you to get from one spot to another in a relaxed manner. Kayaking allows you to easily enjoy the sights of the beaches, the palm trees dotting the island, the natural rock formations, as well as the plants along the coast surrounding Peanut Island’s perimeter. Peanut Island allows one and two-person kayak rentals for you and your partner. The island’s mangrove channels as well as the clear waters of the lagoon provide you with a lot of options to explore the island at your own pace. As always, there are also guided kayaking tours to help you find the best spots so your time is better spent elsewhere.
It’s also possible to book a passenger boat for your family to get an awesome view of the island’s beaches, plant life, as well as sea and animal life to fill your mind with natural wonders. You’ll have the ultimate unobstructed view of the history of the area and you can live the good life while doing so. There are a couple of boat tours over Lake Worth Lagoon such as Peanut Island Sunset Tour and Peanut Island Eco Tours for you to have a lot of opportunities to search or stumble upon reefs, mangrove channels, and various sea creatures such as Manatees, Sea Stars, and Hermit Crabs.
Other fun activities to do while staying on Peanut Island
While staying in a hotel after a long day at Peanut Island is definitely relaxing and good for you, camping on the island lets you be part of the area’s natural wilderness so you get to enjoy the breeze on the beach at night. After all, who doesn’t want to eat s’mores at the fire ring with your friends and loved ones? While the number of campsite areas on Peanut Island is limited, it’s the best way to remove yourself from the busy streets and the crowd of tourists if you want to enjoy the natural wildlife and their habitat with fewer people around.
There are still a wide range of hotel options nearby and all of them are just a boat ride away if camping is not for you. Once you’ve decided to go camping with your family and friends, you’ll be needing a permit. You will also need to call the Island for a reservation to camp within the island. According to Peanut Island’s official website, you must make a reservation by calling their hotline within 90 days to secure your camp as online reservations are currently not possible.
The campgrounds in Peanut Island consist of 17 beautifully landscaped campsites loaded with tropical plants and feature everything you need such as tents, picnic tables, grill, and a whole lot more. The wider campground meanwhile is equipped with a picnic pavilion, fire ring, as well as on-site restrooms with hot showers for you to relax after a long night.
Going on a beach vacation isn’t complete if you’re not allowed to take part in pier fishing or fishing from a boat for sport or to dine after a tiring day of activities. Fishing around the sparkling waters of South Florida should be one of the highlights of your stay as you’ll have endless opportunities to catch various saltwater fish, or even different varieties of shellfish in the clear waters of the island.
There are a lot of guarded swimming spots all along the island to catch your next fish but you first have to obtain a fishing license if you’re a visitor of the island unless exempt.
Peanut Island is also home to a 1.25-mile-long footpath to allow tourists the chance to run, walk, jog, or bike along the vicinity of the island. All the walking paths are paved to make it easy for everyone to enjoy the view as all the paths are always close to the shore. Along the walking path are coastal dunes, mangrove channels, as well as a variety of wildlife that peppers the island. The walking path is a favorite among vacation-goers as it allows them to stay active and stick to their fitness routine even when on a vacation.
Other places in Peanut Island to watch out for
Bringing your own picnic and cooler for a fun beach dine-out is the way to go when you’re on Peanut Island. While the Island itself does not include restaurants for dining, you can simply head off the island and grab a boat to the nearby South Florida dining destinations. There are bars and cafes available nearby such as the Johnny Longboats, RafikiTiki, Sailfish Marina, The Islander Grill and Tiki Bar, Frigate’s Waterfront Bar, and so much more.
The variety of restaurants near Peanut Island will surely fit your taste and budget should you fancy a glass of wine or a nice cocktail after doing a lot of water activities. You can find additional spots via TripAdvisor for places to eat near Peanut Island if you want to find the best dining experiences nearby.
Did you know that Peanut Island once served as a fallout bunker way back in the 60s? In 1961, Peanut Island became a command center for the then President of the United States President John F. Kennedy. As well as being a command center, it also became the president’s shelter whenever he was staying at his home near Palm Beach, during the Cold War. To this day, a lot of tourists and even locals do not know of its existence, as the hidden entrance to the bunker is hard to notice when you’re on the island.
The fallout bunker was restored in 1999 thanks to the Palm Beach Maritime Museum. It continues to operate to this day along with the Boat House and Coast Guard Station, also on the same site. Taking a tour of the museum is as easy as taking a ferry to Peanut Island. This way, you will get a chance to catch a glimpse of one of the defining moments in the island’s history. The tour itself takes about 40 minutes to complete. While the president’s bunker is quite small, it’s something you should see at least once in your life after you’ve taken a break from the beaches and outdoor adventures the island has to offer.
Along with the president’s bunker, booking a tour also includes a visit to the island’s military coast guard station and the boat house. While both sites are no longer used by the military, the feeling of going back in time to catch a glimpse of the past is a feeling you’ll never get used to. There are a lot of relics to marvel at once you arrive at the museum such as a survival suit, emergency drinking water in a can, gas masks, and other historical ship fixtures from when the station was in operation.
Lastly, you also have the chance to get a stunning view of the picturesque Lake Worth Lagoon if you visit Peanut Island’s Observation Deck on the island’s south side. The deck allows you to have an unobstructed 20-mile wide view of Lake Worth Lagoon as it takes you above sea level to get a better look at the scenery. You will be able to capture the most amazing images to take home.
Recommended hotels within Peanut Island
While going natural and camping is the best way to experience Peanut Island, there are still AirBnB and several hotels just a short distance away from the Island for those who want to head back to a nice hotel or rental once the sun sets. The best hotels near Peanut Island are the Marriott Singer Island Resort, West Palm Beach Marriott, and the Hilton Singer Island, among others. If you’re looking for more affordable rates, renting through AirBnB allows you to have more room for the family with a living area and a kitchen. If budget is not an issue, you can even stay on a sailboat!
How do you get to Peanut Island?
Once you’ve decided that Peanut Island will be your family’s next destination, you’ll need to travel by boat in order to get to the island. Since there is no bridge to get you there, the amazing first boat ride is actually part of the experience! There are a lot of ferries to choose from once you arrive in the area as a sort of water taxi service. You can check out Captain Joe’s Ferry, or Peanut Island Water Taxi for some affordable rates to get you into the island in no time.
Why is the middle part of Peanut Island inaccessible to tourists and vacationers?
The middle part of Peanut Island is inaccessible to tourists and beach goers because it has its own purpose for the community. While the whole of the island is designated as a public park, the middle area’s purpose is to hold dredged material from area waterways, ensuring the water of South Florida stays clean, clear, and of high quality. 23 Acres of Peanut Island have been set aside for this sole purpose. The southwest part of the island also has another 15 acres set aside for dock and turning dredging materials for basin maintenance. With all things being considered, Peanut Island is still one of the best vacation destinations in the entirety of the U.S. if you want to enjoy gorgeous beaches as well as marvel at the natural habitats beaming with life along the perimeter.