Opened in 1989 on Singer Island, John D. MacArthur Beach State Park is extraordinarily popular due to its coastal lagoons, well-preserved tropical forests, and beautiful beach with nearshore rocky reefs.
Resources for exploring the area
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Location: North Palm Beach
Address: 10900 Jack Nicklaus Dr, North Palm Beach
Fees: $4-5 per vehicle
Land Manager: Florida State Parks
Open 8 AM until sunset daily. Leashed pets welcome except on beach.
From Interstate 95 exit 79A, drive east on PGA Blvd, which becomes A1A after you cross US 1; watch for the park entrance road on the left after 4.7 miles. Once you pay your entrance fee, follow the “Nature Center” signs and park in the first parking area on the left.
About the Park
The MacArthur Fellowships, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation – if you’re a lover of the arts, sciences, or public radio, you’ve heard these names.
MacArthur made his money in life insurance, but he invested heavily in Palm Beach in the 1950s as well, especially on Singer Island.
He donated more than 700 acres of Singer Island and surrounding submerged lands and small islands to the state of Florida in the 1970s.
Paddlers can take to the lagoon and explore Munyon Island, but most visitors just kick back and soak up the sun.
There’s a (very unofficial) clothing-optional section of the beach at the north end, which you might stumble across if you walk the length sandy strand.
The William T. Kirby Nature Center offers an orientation to coastal habitats (and cool exhibits with local critters the kids will love).
It sits at the gateway to the long boardwalk to the beach, where it’s always possible to see roseate spoonbills on the mud flats during low tide.
More worth exploring while you’re in this area.
In Palm Beach Gardens, Frenchman’s Forest Natural Area offers nearly 3 miles of trails through a 172-acre natural area with seven different habitats to explore, right behind the Gardens Mall.
At Juno Dunes Natural Area, two loop trails flank US 1. While shade is at a premium, botanical diversity makes this a worthy destination for an early morning hike
At Bethedsa-by-the-Sea, worship is not held just in hallowed halls but in the grace of the garden. Surrounding this historic Palm Beach church are colorful plantings of unusual tropical plants like the big leafed sea grape.