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.
Location: North Palm Beach
Fees: $4-5 per vehicle
Open: 8 AM until sunset daily
Leashed pets welcome except on beach
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.