(Last Updated On: December 19, 2022)

clouds above the ocean at John D. MacArthur Beach State Park

Boasting a diverse mix of tropical and coastal hammocks, as well as dense mangrove forest, the John D. MacArthur Beach State Park is an enchanting place to visit.

Situated on Singer Island just 20 minutes from West Palm Beach, it provides a sanctuary for a number of endangered and rare native plant species.

Named after the man whose charitable foundation donated a sizable bit of land for its development, the park opened in 1989.

It covers some 438 acres that incorporate both land and water and is notable for the 1,600 foot boardwalk that crosses an estuary within it. It is also known for accommodating Munyon Island. A pristine wilderness islet, within the Intracoastal Waterway, that once housed the luxury Hygeia Hotel in the early 1900s.

Today the Florida state park is a popular destination for a host of outdoor recreational activities including boating, swimming, scuba diving, snorkeling, fishing, picnicking, geo-seeking and birding.

It is also renowned for being a nesting ground for very rare sea turtles. These include the loggerhead and green sea turtle – both of which are endangered. As well as the much revered leatherback.

Activities

Visitors to the park can enjoy its tranquil surroundings and beautiful scenery in several different ways.

Outlined below is an overview of some of the activities you can engage in during your time there.

Boating at John D. MacArthur Beach State Park

Canoeing, SUP and kayaking are popular activities at the park, as it is the only way you can access Munyon Island.

Once there, be sure to tie your vessel to the protected dock, which you will find on its west shore, next to the Intracoastal Waterway.

Should you not have your own watercraft you can rent them out at the park. You can also choose to go on a guide tour of the estuary as well.

trees growing on the beach at John D. MacArthur Beach State Park

Swimming at John D. MacArthur Beach State Park

Swimming, snorkeling and scuba diving are regularly partaken at the park.

You can swim anywhere along the 2km stretch of pristine beach that runs within the park, although you should be mindful of the beach safety flags that indicate how safe or treacherous water conditions are.

Be aware too that the area is not lifeguarded, so you will need to exercise caution if you enter the ocean.

If you plan on scuba diving or snorkeling you must have a diver-down flag as per law. You can rent them out at the gift shop if you don’t have one of your own.

While scuba diving be mindful that the reefs reside in shallow water and you will have to carry your scuba equipment a fair distance to the beach.

Fishing at John D. MacArthur Beach State Park

Fishing is permitted within specifically designated areas, so try and remember to pack your rods and reels with you.

To fish at the park you may need to have a licence. You will also need to adhere to the regulations and rules of the Florida Wildlife Commission. This relates to the number, size, season and method of capture involved.

If you are not sure what they are, it is a good idea to contact them directly for further clarification.

Picnicking at John D. MacArthur Beach State Park

For those who want to indulge in a picnic whilst at the park, there are several tables available to use.

Situated at various scenic spots, most of them are shaded and also come with grills.

In addition to these tables there are also two picnic pavilions available to hire if you plan to host an event or celebration. These pavilions come with water, electricity and restroom facilities.

boardwalk above the water at John D. MacArthur Beach State Park

Birding at John D. MacArthur Beach State Park

The park is home to many species of birds. So if you are into birding you’ll want to bring your binoculars with you.

Depending on the time of year you visit you should be able to spot plenty of breeds that live there all year round.

Many different species also stop at the park during their annual migration too.

Whilst there, keep an eye out for the likes of terns, gulls, sandpipers and brown pelicans. You might also be able to see wood storks, peregrine falcons, great blue herons and osprey as well.

Nature & Wildlife

Along with the birds the park is notable for the sea turtles who use it as a major nesting site.

Between the months of May and August, big numbers of green, loggerhead and leatherback turtles can be spotted along the shore.

Please do not touch or disturb them or their eggs during this process.

During your time at the park, you might also get to see manatees and dolphins as well.

Pets at John D. MacArthur Beach State Park

Pets are allowed to join you at the park, although strict conditions on their presence do apply.

This includes dogs not being allowed on the beach or boardwalk. It also requires them to be kept on a leash that is no more than six feet in length at all times and for you to clean up after them as well.

To gain a comprehensive understanding of their pet policy, it is worth contacting the park’s main office.

Camping at John D. MacArthur Beach State Park

There are no camping facilities available at the park. However, there is plenty of accommodation available at West Palm Beach.

This includes luxury resorts, hotels, motels and apartments you can hire on Vrbo.

Should you prefer a campground, the Johnathan Dickinson State Park and John Prince Campgrounds are situated within easy driving distance of the park.

Between them they have several sites for RVs, trailers and tent camping. Some of which come with full hookup connections for electricity, water and sewer.

Depending on which of these campsites you stay at, amenities may include flush toilets, hot showers, a dump station, playground and picnicking facilities.

Park Location

John D. MacArthur Beach State Park
10900 Jack Nicklaus Drive,
North Palm Beach, FL 33408
Phone: 561.624.6950

Website

Map

Video

Here is a short YouTube video showcasing several attractions at John D. MacArthur Beach State Park: