If you happen to find yourself on the coast while in Florida, arguably one of the best ways to get around and see the area is by water. Whether by boat, jetski, kayak, or paddleboard, the many inlets and the intercoastal waterways make exploring the coastal areas ideal! One of my favorite things to do is hit the water and explore via kayak – it’s fun, easy, offers amazing views and experiences, and is a great workout, too!
On my most recent excursion to West Palm Beach, I visited John D. MacArthur State Park, located right on Singer Island off route 1. I love this park because the employees are always amazing and friendly, there is a wonderful beach, elevated bridge walks, lots of waterfowl and marine life to see, an education center, and kayaks to rent! The park offers single and double kayaks by the hour, half day, or full day. The key is get there as early as possible – I’ve gone in the afternoon and have found myself waiting upwards of two hours for a kayak. If you really want to do some exploring, give yourself as much time as possible. There’s lots to see!
Kayaking out of the park from the rental launch point (if you bring your own kayak you can launch from different places throughout the area) requires following a foot-and-tram bridge and then eventually paddling beneath route A1A on Singer Island. From there, you can enter the intercoastal, though it’s always a good idea to be cautious of larger crafts and to stay clear of any high-trafficked lanes. I prefer to stick to the mangroves, as these areas are always full of gorgeous waterfowl and lots of marine life tend to stay near the calm and shallow waters.
While paddling, I was able to catch a glimpse of fish jumping out of the water on multiple occasions – whole schools of them! It really was incredible! I was hoping to spy some spotted eagle rays as they’re normally in the area, but none surfaced as far as I could see. There were a surprising number of jelly fish in the water, though, and much larger than I normally see there. I’m always fascinated by the different things I get to see each time I paddle out!
The waters were rough on this trip, so it really took a lot to stay ahead of the tide, current, and winds. After awhile, you almost forget you’re kayaking and it feels more like just gliding across the water. It’s a fantastic feeling!
I dragged my kayak up onto one of my favorite beach spots to go and do some exploring on foot. I’ve never in my life before seen a live horseshoe crab, but the little islands around MacArthur State Park always tend to be full of dead ones – at least, I always manage to see at least one dead one on every excursion I take there. And this time was no different. That’s why I keep my flip flops on when I walk in the shallow water around there, since I never know what might be right beneath the sand!
For the first time ever, I found sea urchins washed up on the beach. I made sure they were dead before picking them up and was amazed at how cool they looked! I decided to carefully put them into my bag and bring them back with me to be washed out (it’s absolutely incredible how they turn out once you wash them off!). I also found quite a number of hermit crabs, which I of course let be, and lots of nice, big, shells which I did take back with me. I really love searching the beaches along the little intercoastal islands for goodies like these since they tend to be much different than the things you find along a regular ocean-facing beach.
Sometimes I bring my hammock to pitch up in the trees on the island but I didn’t on this trip. I simply enjoyed walking the beach and gliding through the waters. The water was just as rough when I finally decided to head back, but the paddling was so worth it! It was a great way to see some wildlife, explore some beaches and islands, and get a little workout done, too!