If you listen closely to the local crowd during South Florida's summer months, you can hear derogatory talk about the weather. "It's too hot to go outside," they say. "I'm sun-birding to Alaska," another whispers. Truth be told, it is hot here from June through September, very hot. That doesn't mean you should shy away from the state, because there are plenty of activities that allow you to keep cool while having a fun and exciting time.
One area of Palm Beach County that must be explored during the summer is Peanut Island. The 80-acre island situated in the Lake Worth Inlet has recreational activities for days. (If you're not up with the current lingo, this means they have a lot going on.)
Snorkeling is all the rage at Peanut Island — Photo courtesy of Lorenzo Massacci
If you have kids in tow, perfect. Hop the ferry over to Peanut Island and check out the snorkeling lagoon. It is considered one of the best areas to snorkel in all of Florida, with a dense population of diverse species. Rumor has it, if you time it right, you can even see manatees! You can rent gear, or bring your own. Water shoes are recommended, as some areas can be rocky.
Once you complete the obligatory two hours of underwater fish ogling, have your group try their hand at paddle boarding or kayaking. There are guided tours that will take you around the island, schooling you up on island history and the environment as part of the jaunt.
Later on, grab a pole and go fishing off the pier (provided you have a license). Cook your catch up at one of the many fire pits. If you want to get really aggressive, you can even camp on the Island. There are 20 slots that can be reserved with a phone call. The maximum stay is three nights.
So, yea, there is a lot to do on the island. Besides the nature, beauty, etc., the island also has historical significance. Back in the Cold War era, President John F. Kennedy had a secret nuclear blast bunker constructed on the island. His winter home was a hop-skip-and-a-jump-away in Palm Beach, so if things got hairy, he could paddle over to Peanut and ride out the radiation.
The shelter was declassified in 1974, and a museum started guiding tour groups through the facility in the late '90s. It is very well preserved and worth the time to check out.
Boaters anchor near the Peanut Island sandbars and just chill — Photo courtesy of luvjnx
You can't get near Peanut Island without being amazed at all the boats that pull up to anchor on the surrounding sandbars, music blaring, tubes out and drinks in hand. It looks to be a non-stop party. (Caveat: This happens far enough away from the island to preserve the peace and serenity.)
Depending on the number in your group, it is worth looking into renting a pontoon boat. You could spend the day with family and friends lounging on the sandbar, your own tropical mini-paradise.