Once upon a time, I worked in Florida for four months every winter. When my then-boyfriend, now-husband came to visit, multiple people recommended we go snorkeling at Peanut Island.
This sounded very cool but I’d never been snorkeling before and the ocean freaks me out a little bit. Of course, I immediately convinced myself I would a) drown, b) run into a barracuda, or c) meet my untimely end in another maritime fashion.
Billy assured me this was a FUN IDEA. In a development that should surprise absolutely no one, it was a blast.
Peanut Island turned out to be the perfect place to try snorkeling for the first time. It’s beautiful, easy to get to, and the water (and wildlife) is very tame. You can go out into “open water,” but there’s an inlet that is nice and shallow with more private beaches.
How to get there
Peanut Island is, as you may have guessed, an island. To get there, you have to take a water taxi. It leaves every 20 minutes from the Riviera Beach Marina. The water taxi costs $12 per person (round-trip, but still kind of pricey considering you’re going 10 minutes away). It picks you up every 20 minutes right where it dropped you off on the island, so it’s not hard to find your way back.
Where to rent gear
Most places charge at least $30 for renting snorkel gear, but Force-E Scuba Center only charges $15.50. Everyone there was also super friendly and helpful, so I highly recommend taking a few extra minutes to stop at Force-E on your way into Riviera Beach. Just don’t forget to drop your gear back off if you’re already 30 minutes in the other direction…yes, we did that.
Where to eat and drink
Pack a lunch and snacks since there aren’t any restaurants on Peanut Island. This is more affordable than stopping at the tiki bar back in Riviera Beach, which has very mediocre Yelp reviews. I remember having tropical drinks at an actual tiki bar right on the water, but I can’t seem to find it now. If you find it, let me know so I can add it to this post!
You can’t drink alcohol on Peanut Island, but that wasn’t a dealbreaker for us. If you are that desperate to day drink, get a friend with a boat. Lord knows all the boats parked off Peanut Island are getting shwasty.
The actual snorkeling
There’s a trail all the way around Peanut Island that you can walk around to scope out your spot if you want to stay on the shore. We opted for the inlet because it was more sheltered from the wind (it wasn’t super warm that day) and I was more comfortable in the shallow water.
There was also minimal wildlife in this inlet, which was preferable for me. I realize I’m likely in the minority, but I did not want to see any manatees or large fish. Once I got closer to the mouth of the inlet, I did see a few fish. But by that time, I was feeling pretty confident and was actually excited to see something.
Wildlife aversion aside, I loved snorkeling in the inlet because I could get the hang of breathing through the mask in a very low-risk environment. I didn’t have to worry about drifting out with the tide, there were no waves so swimming was really easy, and if I accidentally inhaled water instead of air, I could immediately stand up while I coughed up a lung.
If you love Peanut Island so much you want to stay the night, that’s also an option! I’ve always wanted to camp on the beach, but unfortunately, we didn’t have time, mostly because we had no idea that was even doable before arriving on Peanut Island and were therefore quite unprepared.
If you don’t want to go snorkeling at all, you can also rent kayaks and stand-up paddleboards from a number of places. If you don’t want to do anything at all, just bring a beach towel and park it on the beach! Especially tucked away in the inlet, you feel like you’re all by yourself and the island is absolutely beautiful. It’s a great spot to just relax and soak up the sun.
No matter what you end up doing, Peanut Island is a great getaway for a beach day in the Palm Beach area. It’s particularly great for your first time snorkeling, and Force-E Scuba Center will help you save money on your rental gear.