west palm beach snorkeling spots

West Palm Beach Snorkeling Spots

Written by Brandon Williams
December 17, 2021

Last Updated on March 9, 2022 by Boatsetter Team

West Palm Beach is nestled along the Atlantic Ocean in southern Florida. The area offers many opportunities to access the waterways, including the Lake Worth Lagoon, and direct access to the ocean. In addition, the tropical climate makes it possible to go snorkeling in the waters of West Palm Beach year-round. Plus, with approximately 47 miles of beachfront, there are plenty of underwater playgrounds to explore just off the coast.

Best place to go snorkeling in West Palm Beach

The waters off the shores of West Palm Beach offer many opportunities to go boating, swimming, and snorkeling. Those seeking the best place in the area to go snorkeling will want to head on over to Phil Foster Park in nearby Riviera Beach. This area is part of The Palm BEaches’ Snorkeling Trail, located directly under the Blue Heron Bridge. Snorkelers can enjoy exploring this 800-foot-long tract of artificial reef created using 600 tons of rock boulders.

While snorkeling, take a moment to gaze up from the water over to Peanut Island. This small island is across from the park and has an incredible history. During the Cold War, it had presidential bunkers and is a long-time Coast Guard base.

Many who snorkel in this area see manatees up close as they make their way inland for warmer waters during the winter months.

Other top places to go snorkeling in West Palm Beach

other spots to go snorkeling in west palm beach

The Corridor Wreck Trek offers many opportunities to come face-to-face with underwater sea life, including sea turtles, Goliath Groupers, stingrays, corals, and sponges. 

These creatures can be found swimming around the many wrecks in the area, including Ana Cecilia, PC 1174, and Amaryllis.

Other top places found in and around West Palm Beach for snorkeling include:

  • Ocean Reef Park on Singer Island offers first-rate water conditions, perfect for snorkeling.
  • John D. MacArthur Beach State Park is located just north of West Palm Beach on Highway A1A with enormous rock outcroppings that create a reef on the water’s edge.
  • South Inlet Beach in nearby Boca Raton is home to a natural reef about 175 feet off the beach.
  • Red Reef Park has an artificial reef nestled close to the shore and is perfect for beginners and kids.
  • Delray Beach Municipal Park is the location where the S.S. Inchulva sank during a storm in 1903, offering a nearly-400-foot freighter to explore just 20 feet below the water’s surface.
  • Boynton Ledges is where the seafloor makes a dramatic plunge and is home to many large schools of fish, including snapper, moray eels, and grunts.
  • Gulfstream Beach Park has many colorful schools of fish, including nurse sharks, reef fish, and stingrays swimming around.
  • Sea Emperor and United Caribbean wrecks are off the coast and home to colorful fish. The Sea Emperor is a 191-foot-long and 45-foot wide barge that settled upside down on the seafloor. The United Caribbean is a steel cargo ship located about 50 feet below sea level that was deliberately sunk to become a part of the Palm Beach artificial reef program.

All of these locations can be reached and explored with the convenience of a West Palm Beach boat rental from Boatsetter. With an experienced local captain, familiar with these locations you can relax and focus on snorkeling rather than navigating.

Are there any coral reefs in West Palm Beach?

The waters off of West Palm Beach are full of coral reefs, offering many unique underwater habitats for snorkelers to explore. Just offshore from the Breaker’s Hotel and continuing south, snorkelers can enjoy the spectacular coral reef system varying between depths of 42 and 60 feet.

 With such a diverse ecosystem just under the water, this is a popular snorkeling destination where you may encounter soft and hard corals, parrotfish, rays, eels, angelfish, and sea turtles. On the north end of Breaker’s Reef is an eight-foot statue of King Neptune where even more underwater creatures playfully swim.


Dive-O-Rama offers unforgettable coral backdrops for underwater creatures, offering many beautiful photo opportunities for snorkelers. In addition, you may encounter frogfish, flamingo tongues, and cleaning shrimp when snorkeling in this area. The depths of this reef ranges between 46 and 58 feet.

South Flower Gardens is about 42 to 54 feet deep, consisting of immense forests of corals swaying in the tides. Thousands of fish call this reef home and swim around dense amounts of soft and hard corals. In addition to all the other sea life, you expect to encounter in a coral reef, you may also encounter a spiny lobster or two during your adventure.

Those looking to snorkel among a different and diverse South Florida reef will want to explore Paul’s Reef. This reef is home to soft and hard corals, massive sponges, brilliant tropical fish, and more. Average depths for this reef range between 45 and 56 feet, with a series of jumps created by the ledge curves, found inshore.

Playpen is an artificial reef located just south of the inlet constructed using concrete culverts and telephone poles. This reef is great to spot lobsters, barracuda, green turtles, and a Goliath grouper. Another artificial reef is 60 Foot Rock Piles, created when the Palm Beach Inlet was cut and is the oldest artificial reef in the Palm Beach area.

Does Palm Beach County have artificial reefs?

Palm Beach County is home to many artificial reefs, including the two mentioned above – Playpen and 60 Foot Rock Piles. Artificial reefs in the Palm Beach County area have been created in various ways, including sinking ships, dropping metal structures, and scattering construction debris. The Palm Beach County area is home to more than 170 artificial reefs, including Amaryllis, Cross Reef, DH Barge, and FDOT Reef.

Preparing for an upcoming snorkeling trip

Preparing in advance can help make your snorkeling trip a fantastic experience. The first thing to do is ensure you are a good swimmer and if you are not the best swimmer, consider taking some lessons at a local pool. Strong swimmers are less likely to suffer from fatigue and do not have to wear a life jacket while snorkeling.

Next, take out your own private captained boat with Boatsetter! With Boatsetter you can explore all of these popular snorkeling destinations in west palm beach

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