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Backpacker Magazine – August 2013

One Night Wonders: Ocean Lovers, Peanut Island Park

Snorkel among manatees.

by: Kelly Bastone


Peanut Island Park
West Palm Beach, FL

Sure, pleasure cruisers dock on Peanut. But the 80-acre island also affords backcountry serenity to kayakers. Campers roost well away from the moored boats, and stellar snorkeling awaits: Twice daily, the Gulf Stream courses past, clearing the reef-bottomed waters and offering primo snorkeling among manatees and jewel-hued fish. To flutter kick among them, launch from the Riviera Beach Marina ($10 overnight parking pass; 561-842-7806) and paddle a quarter-mile east to Peanut Island. Drag your boat onto the western shore and pitch a tent along an undeveloped stretch of sandy beach dedicated to primitive camping. Then gather your mask and fins and walk 15 minutes south on the paved path that circumnavigates the island to the snorkeling lagoon on Peanut’s southeast corner. Find the clearest water during the hour before high tide. Trailhead 50 miles north of Fort Lauderdale; 26.773513, -80.052546 Best season Nov. to Feb. for manatees; Mar. to Oct. for fish Permit None Gear rental From $35/day; (561) 881-7218; kayakkayak.com Contact (561) 845-4445; pcbgov.com Tide Chart bit.ly/PItide


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