Water Sports Worth Doing in The Palm Beaches (and Where to Do Them)

August 8, 2018

​Getting on the water is not only a great way to cool off during the warm months (which is most of the year here), but also the best way to view local landscapes, native wildlife, and beautiful estates.

We asked Mandy Mizell of TheGlobalLocal.com to round up must-do water sports to give you a 360-degree, wet-and-wild view of The Palm Beaches. Here are her top picks.

Snorkel Breakers Reef

The most popular destinations while snorkeling South Florida are the Peanut Island jetty and Blue Heron Bridge in West Palm Beach. While these sites are certainly must-sees, they are often crowded on the weekends with dive classes and tours.
 

 
To get more space for your fins, I suggest Breakers Reef. The reef begins at the remnants of a fishing pier at The Breakers Hotel that was wiped away by a hurricane in the 1920s. Breakers Reef is home to all the usual suspects of Palm Beach waters and also welcomes diverse reef residents as they take a break from cruising the Gulf Stream just miles away. This reef is a favorite of local boaters and shore divers alike, with snorkelers sparsely dispersed along the two-mile stretch.

During my first plunge at Breakers Reef, I was submerged among black-and-yellow-striped fish known as Sergeant Majors. My damselfish friends did not mind my swimming with the school, as we floated north with the current over the reef. During our drift, I heard parrotfish crunching on coral and viewed French angelfish fluttering their fins. The highlight of my snorkel session was my close encounter with a young green sea turtle, who was taking a nap at a sandy break between reef ledges.

Book a tour with Keylypso of the Palm Beaches; call (561) 718-2123 for more information.

Jet Ski Lake Worth Lagoon

If your preference is motorized watercraft, then a jet ski is your go-to. Jet-ski rentals are available in the heart of downtown West Palm. From the docks, you can jaunt south down the Intracoastal to race past views of the downtown skyline, sprawling Palm Beach estates and the famous Mar-A-Lago.

As you go under the Southern Bridge, shift into neutral to pass the Bingham Islands. These mangrove islands are home to nesting seabirds, oyster beds and manatees. One of its residents, the American Oystercatcher, almost faced extinction during the Gilded Age because its plumage was sought after to make hats for women of high society. Today these islands are protected as part of the Audubon Sanctuary, safe housing all the nesting birds and their feathers. 

Reserve your vessel with Visit Palm Beach; call (561) 881-9757 for more information.

Set Sail to Peanut Island

Embrace the breezy days of The Palm Beaches and set sail on the Intracoastal. Catamaran rentals are available at Get Wet Watersports in Riviera Beach, just before the Blue Heron Bridge. Their fleet has two versions of Hobie Cat available, depending on your skill set and party size. 

If you’re an unskilled sailor, they offer lessons to have you hitting the seas in a few hours. After you learn how to sail like a Kennedy, you can cruise over to Peanut Island, the home of JFK’s bunker during the Cold War.

Book with Get Wet Watersports; call (561) 243-8938 for more information.

Kayak Jupiter Sound

The best way to go kayaking in South Florida is to catch a Hide Tide Ride at Jupiter Inlet. A water taxi will take you for a 20-minute cruise north through the Intracoastal and drop you off with a kayak or paddleboard. Your paddle back through Jupiter Sound is assisted by the outgoing tide so you can enjoy the scenery with less work.

The paddle route starts with the native beauty of Hobe Sound, flowing through crystal-clear Jupiter Sound between plush estates on Jupiter Island and the quaint town of Tequesta. This is an interesting ecological area where the freshwaters of the Loxahatchee meet the brackish Indian River, then collide with the current of the Atlantic. The estuary ecosystem is a cradle for the ocean, where younger marine life can grow safely hidden amongst mangrove coves and grass beds. I often see cushion starfish the size of dinner plates lying on the sea floor, and manatees munching on grass beds. 

The end of your adventure is marked with the Jupiter Lighthouse across from the Jupiter Outdoor Center, where you return your vessel. After your adventure, there are plenty of neighboring local restaurants and bars on Love Street to refuel. 

Book a tour with Jupiter Outdoor Center; call (561) 747-0063 for more information.

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Mandy Mizell
Mandy Mizell
Mandy Mizell is a local blogger, avid paddler, and beach comber. With a background in Environmental Science, she is a self-proclaimed Florida naturalist. Her blog, thegloballocal.world, inspires people to live global and stay local with ways to experience culture, respect the environment and live the best of the Florida lifestyle. Follow her on Instagram @the.global.local