Friday, June 5, 2015

Our Favorite Beaches

Once again, which beach is our favorite often depends on what we want to do. Is it watch a sunrise, build a sand castle, go swimming or snorkeling or fishing, or have a barbecue? Do we have all day or just a few hours? Are we leaving in the morning or the afternoon? Are we going with little children, teenagers, or adults?
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When we moved to Florida 15 years ago we bought a book called Florida Beaches (sorry, but it looks like it's out of print now). It has been invaluable in helping us maximize our beach-going experiences. We have an idea before we even leave home what to expect, and that's been quite helpful. The authors ranked each of the beaches and while haven't agreed with them 100%, a lot of that could be because we just have different priorities and expectations. So, here's how we've rated the eight beaches we've visited so far in Palm Beach County, starting at the north and heading south.
Coral Cove Park - Jupiter Island in Tequesta - 9/17/2011
They gave it 3 suns (or stars), we gave it 2 1/2. The day we went there was a lot of seaweed in the water, and there's a steep drop-off in the water. Maybe that changes from day to day. But there are lifeguards, restrooms and picnic tables, so it's a great place to visit.
Dubois Park - Jupiter (look on a map for directions, finding it can be a bit complicated) - 9/2/2012
They gave it 3 suns, so did we. We first tried going to this park on a Saturday in July. We left home at 10:30 and the parking lot was closed by the time we got there. We tried again on Labor Day, leaving at 9 AM. All the picnic areas were claimed, but we did find parking. (And since we weren't planning on eating there, that was fine.) This is a great park for little kids because it's not on the Atlantic Ocean, so you don't have to worry about waves and steep drop-offs. The swimming areas are shallow parts of the river. However, you can walk over to Jupiter Beach if you really want to get in the ocean. Parking is free and there are lifeguards, rest rooms and picnic tables with grills.

Jupiter Beach County Park - on Jupiter Beach Road in Jupiter - 7/14/2012
They gave it 3 stars, we gave it 4. This was just a nice beach - good sand and water, nice picnic area, complete with lifeguards, rest rooms and free parking.

Carlin Park - south of Indiantown Road in Jupiter - 1/1/2013
They gave it 3 suns, we gave it 4. You'll notice we went in January, so it was a bit chilly, but the sand was nice, there wasn't a super long hike to reach it, and there was plenty of free parking, along with lifeguards, rest rooms, picnic areas (including grills) and the Lazy Loggerhead Cafe.

Juno Beach Park - off A1A in Juno Beach - 7/6/2013
They gave it 4 suns, we gave it 3. Maybe it's because we went in July, but it was crowded, the advertised snack bar had a very limited selection, and there was a steep drop-off in the water.

Loggerhead Park - on US Hwy 1 in Juno Beach - 8/24/2013
They gave it 4 suns, so did we. This is the home of the Marine Life Center, in addition to the site for stake youth service projects. The parking lot can get crowded in the summer, but we learned one time that if you go around to the back of the building, you can find more spots. You'll need to cross A1A to reach the beach, so keep your young children close to you, but it is a very nice place to visit.
John D. MacArthur Beach State Park - on A1A, 2 1/2 miles north of Riviera Beach - 10/26-2013
They gave it 5 suns, we gave it 4 1/2, mainly because it is a LONG trek to get to the beach itself. They do operate a little tram from 10 AM to 4 PM, but it's not always worth waiting for it. That said, this is a wonderful park with a beautiful beach. There's a small reef that's perpendicular to the beach which makes snorkeling easily accessible, just head north once you reach the beach itself. If you head south from the boardwalk you'll find a short little nature trail. There's another one near the picnic areas. You can also rent kayaks and explore the estuary and intercoastal waterway. There's a visitor's center so you can get educated as well. Because it's a state park, there's a $5 entrance fee per car, but it's definitely worth it.

Ocean Reef Park - on A1A on Singer Island - 10/18/2014
They gave it 3 suns, we gave it 4. The free parking is convenient to the beach itself (always a plus when you're toting kids and stuff). Even in August it wasn't super crowded. The tables and grills were shaded. And the beach itself was quite nice.

Riviera Beach Municipal Beach - behind the Ocean Mall on Singer Island
They gave it 4 suns, we haven't rated it yet. It's next on the list. However, Michelle and I have visited here without Wayne. There's not a lot of parking, so it spills over into the shopping center parking lot, which then means you have a hike to get to the water. However, there are covered picnic tables and grills and a playground and a sand volleyball lot and grass before the dune which separates all that from the beach.

Lake Worth Municipal Beach - the far east end of Lake Worth Road
They gave it 2 suns, we haven't rated it yet. However, Michelle and I have also visited this beach a few times. That's because it's the closest one to our house. So, even though the beach itself isn't the best, if you want to experience sun and sand and waves, and you only have a couple of hours available, this is perfect. Note that there's also a metered parking lot ($2 per hour).

Red Reef Park - on A1A in Boca Raton
They gave it 3 suns, we haven't rated it yet. I'm including it because when I mentioned we went snorkeling at MacArthur Beach, one of my friends said we should go here to try snorkeling. Since most of the other beaches listed aren't good for snorkeling, I figured I'd add it just in case that's your particular reason for visiting the beach.
No matter which one you choose, have a marvelous time. We live in a beautiful world!!


Kim and company said...

Awesome!! Thank you so much this is exactly what we needed!! I love your research and your pictures. :-)

Alyssa Fairbrother said...

Thank you for this! It is awesome!