Right in between the coastline of Palm Beach and Singer Island there lies a tiny haven called Peanut Island. It is an 80-acre, man-made island that has now become one of the most popular attractions in the area. The island was created in the early 1900s with sand and material left over from dredging the surrounding Inlet, as part of a series of dredging projects to create better accessibility for trade and transportation in Florida. The island was planned to be used for shipping peanut oil (hence the name), but that operation failed by 1946. In 1961 during the Cuban Missile Crisis, a bomb shelter was constructed on the center of the island for President John F. Kennedy in case of a nuclear attack. While Kennedy spent many of the winter seasons in Palm Beach, he never had to use the shelter. After his assassination in 1963, the "Kennedy Bunker" was left abandoned until the 1990s when the Palm Beach Maritime Museum took it over. The 1,500 square-foot historic shelter has been open to the public since, equipped with original artifacts like gas masks, medical supplies, emergency food cans, and more. The seal of the president is painted on the floor. There is a former U.S. Coast Guard station on the island that is open for tours along with the bunker.
In 2005, the island got a $13 million dollar renovation creating Peanut Island Park (comprising the outer perimeter of the island) which includes camp sites, a fishing pier, and an artificial reef. There is a swimming area specifically with lifeguard coverage which is also where the reef is located. Many people enjoy snorkeling and scuba diving in that area. The island has 14 boat slips for use during the day. Only campers can be parked at the slips overnight. The park has 20 designated camping sites that cost $27 to reserve, though on the western side of the island you may camp at no cost. Either way, all campers must sign in with an ID, cell phone number, and provide the names of all individuals staying overnight for safety. Fishing is permitted from the pier and there are picnic tables and grills close by.
You may be wondering how to reach this island if you don't own a boat. There are two ways; Captain Joe's Peanut Island Ferry departs from the Riviera Beach Marina and costs $10/person round-trip or $5 for children 14 and under. The Palm Beach Water Taxi leaves out of the Sailfish Marina and also costs $10/person round-trip and is free for children under 3 years. Both operate based on seasonal and weather conditions so you'll have to call ahead to confirm.
Historic Peanut Island is the perfect place for a family weekend. It's one of the coolest things to do in Palm Beach County and is a nice amentity to Singer Island. Surrounded by beautiful, clear water and diverse marine life, the island is a favorite for divers, fishermen, and campers alike. Take your boat over or book a ride on the Ferry or Water Taxi for a weekend full of fun.
Island Ferry: 561-339-2504
Water Taxi: 561-683-8294
Camp Ground Reservations: 561-845-4445
Kennedy Bunker & U.S. Coast Guard Tours: 561-832-7428