Phil Foster Park and Snorkel Trail
||Palm Beach, FL|
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Under the Blue Heron Boulevard Bridge is a fantastic park! On weekends it is full of action and you can see all kinds of different people swimming, snorkeling, paddleboarding, diving, kayaking, fishing, and playing in the sand. What a blast! There is a small, fenced playground for toddlers and big kids with views of the water. In the shade of the bridge and blessed with a cool breeze off the water is a mucky beach where you can swim in the shallow water. A lifeguard stand makes it safe. On the weekend too many boats roar by, past the buoys, which makes for smelly diesel air. On the outer edge of the swimming area is an artificial reef made of limestone boulders and reef modules. These contain tunnels, indents, and ledges where octopus, fish, and sea horses live. The water is shallow (6-10ft) and the snorkel trail is close to shore which makes it easy for all types of snorkelers.
This park is a famous scuba diving spot. People come from Canada and afar and spend a month each winter just photographing the unique creatures that live below the two bridges. There is an area separated by wooden barricades where the boats are allowed and all the rest of the water under the bridge is for scuba divers! Macro photographers come with their flashing lights below the water and take pictures of the tiny shrimp, fish eggs, and sea horses. At the scuba shop on the southwest side of the bridge you can buy a book with photos of all the different creatures found in this spot. They are found almost nowhere else in Florida or the US!
Manatees frequent this spot too, huge dark blobs below the water, moving slowly and coming up every so often for air. What a joy! The water is incredibly clear and beautiful. Stand on the old bridge which is now a fishing bridge and watch for manatees. They used to love the warm water at the coal plant (that is now natural gas powered) and there are hundreds that still hang around here in wintertime. There's a manatee viewing center beside the power plant with great views from the second level- come at high tide for clear water. The power plant, which no longer produces heat in the water as a byproduct of its operation, has built a facility to heat the water especially for the manatees!
You can get away from the boat fumes by walking on the path along the intracoastal, where you will find fishermen, divers washing off their gear, and families BBQing under the picnic shelters. Look over the edge and see the huge orange starfish on the floor of the intracoastal. There are yellow ones too!
What an amazing place!
The water here is in the intracoastal near the huge port, so I'm not sure how clean it would be for swimming, but it certainly looks clean. Come a few hours before high tide, when the water is at its cleanest.
To get across to the island that you see from the beach under the bridge, take a ferry to Peanut Island.
For more crystal clear water but pristine sand, have a swim just minutes away at Riviera Beach on Singer Island.
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Phil Foster Park is located at 900 E. Blue Heron Blvd, Riviera Beach FL 33404.
You access Phil Foster Park on the northeast end of the bridge. In other words, if you are driving toward the freeway from the beach on Blue Heron Blvd, you enter the park right before you get to the bridge. Turn right into the parking lot. There is a big sign that says Phil Foster Park.
Open dawn to dusk for divers, till 10pm for fishing, and 24 hours for boat launching.
Parking is free, except for boat trailers ($10).
This is an interactive map, you can zoom and move it.
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|Looks great! Fancy seeing manatees - I'd love to do that. We looked for them once at the power plant but didnt see any. will definitely try this place :)|