Saying that Florida has lots of beaches would be the understatement of the century. With over 1,200 miles of coastline, and 825 miles of beaches all you need to do is drive east or west and you’ll run into a beautiful beach.
As a family we enjoy going to the beach, and while our choices are many, we end up just hitting up a handful of beaches that are closest to us & have the amenities that we our little family needs. Here they are in no particular order.
1. Ocean Reef Park
You will find the Wormus family out at Ocean Reef park on days when the water is calm. One of the great draws is the park’s namesake: a beautiful reef that sits about 100 feet in the ocean. During low tide the reef sticks out of the water, but at high tide it will be a foot or two beneath the water. At the east side the reef sticks up about 15-20 feet above the ocean floor making it a great place to view all the pretty little reef fish that live in it.
On rough days the reef is not swimable and in my opinion due to the sharp rocks can be quite dangerous.
Ocean Reef park is on Singer Island just off of Riviera beach. There are always lots of FREE parking spaces and the showers are close to the beach. Because this beach is a little further north of the Singer Island beach there are fewer people on it and it is generally quieter. Having said that, on a beautiful day it can get quite full.
2. John D. Mac Arthur State Park
John D. MacArthur State Park is probably my favorite Beach in Palm Beach County. You will find us there when we want to spend a “day at the beach”.
The 800 acres of land was deeded to the State by John D. MacArthur, who also founded the city of Palm Beach Gardens. The park includes a 535 acre tidal estuary and a 1600ft boardwalk that crosses the estuary and leads you to the beach. The park also provides a boat launch for canoes/kayaks as well as a nature center & a complementary shuttle that takes visitors across the boardwalk.
Due to the relative remoteness of the beach, only the most die-hard beach goers will make the trek. This means that once you reach the beach you’re rewarded with a beautiful & quiet beach experience.
The snorkling is great, and alongside the regular reef fish, we see lots of sting-rays, sand sharks, baracudas, and if we’re lucky a eel or horseshoe crab. Since this is an unguarded beach, dive flags are mandatory.
3. Lake Worth Beach
The Lake Worth Beach is just at the end of South Palm Beach & is our g0-to-beach for shorter beach trips. It’s accessible and clean, with nice showers and easy to access rest-rooms.
The crumbling old “Lake Worth Casino”, which has nothing to do with gambling, was recently replaced with a beautiful new waterfront building. The new casino includes a bike trail, shops, restaurants, a great ice-cream parlor as well as a second floor with a event pavilion with panoramic views of the beach which is used for weddings and other functions.
While there is a lot of parking available, if it’s a nice day you may have a hard time finding a spot. Also at $4/hour a day trip can get expensive quickly.
4. Palm Beach
Palm Beach is exactly what it sounds like, one continues beach stretching from the north side of the island to the Lake Worth Beach.
The problem with Palm Beach is that the town has made it as difficult as possible to access this beautiful beach. To keep the beaches “private” they heavily restrict parking, lifeguards and amenities to a very small public beach in the center of the island.
If you want to enjoy the beaches at the north end of the island you’ll either need to have to make friends with someone who has parking on the island or walk / bike to the beach. Having said that, the return on your trek/bike ride are very rewarding as you’ll find some of the most beautiful and untouched beaches on the north end of the island.
When you are able to access the beach, you’ll find beautiful reefs just a couple hundred feet into the ocean, definitely accessible for the intermediate & determined snorkler. Just remember to take your dive flag as there are lots of boats and Jet Ski’s cruising off the coast.
5. Boynton Beach Public Beach
I just “discovered” the quaint little Boynton Beach Public Beach a few months ago, after being invited to a birthday party in one of the pavilions. The reason why I mention this beach in this list is because I was surprised at how empty it is.
You’ve got quiet stretches of beach, nice bathrooms and showers and for a $5 parking fee you’ll be able to park all day long and enjoy this cute little beach.
Honorary Mention: My own Summa Beach
When talking about beaches I go to, I have to mention the ONLY beach in West Palm Beach, tucked in the south end of the City of West Palm Beach is the quiet intracoastal “Summa Beach”.
While I wouldn’t recommend swimming in this portion of the intracoastal waterway, it does make a beautiful place to come and watch the sun rise in the morning or take our dog Pixel for a little run. A big thanks to the South End Neighborhood Association who’s semi-annual beach clean-ups help keep the beach clean.
What are your favorite beaches?
Comment below and let me know!