Top down view of a palm tree filled campground along a sandy beach with a boat dock stretching out into turquoise water.

Tent Camping on Peanut Island | A Florida Adventure

The pristine beaches and turquoise waters of Peanut Island are a camper's dream, just a short trip from Palm Beach. Plan your overnight island getaway with our complete guide.

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We write honestly about our experiences when we visit places and the honest truth is: we had an amazing time on Peanut Island.

Maybe in part because we stayed on a slightly rainy Sunday night. We had almost the entire island to ourselves that evening.

Maybe it was the picture perfect golden sunrise we woke up to the next morning.

But it was also certainly because Peanut Island is a gem of a destination. Despite being right in the heart of an urban area, you can't escape the feeling that you're on a tiny little tropical island.

The campground setting is idyllic, surrounded by palm trees, with thatched roof shelters scattered around. The staff keeps the property clean and well manicured.

We were delighted to arrive to our site and see that the tent pad was filled with soft sand that had been groomed just before our arrival. It's the little things y'all.

This is a place we'd come back to time and time again when we're in the area. And it's a wonderful escape for anyone looking for an authentic overnight tent camping trip, without having to venture into the wild side of Florida.

We'll guide you through everything you need to know about camping on Peanut Island, with tips on getting there, our personal experience at the campground, ways to spend your time on the island, and what you'll need to bring along.

An aerial view of the beach on Peanut Island during sunrise.

Camping on Peanut Island

Peanut Island campground has 17 sites that each include a tent pad, grill, and a picnic table. It occupies the northeast corner of the island, right off the main ferry dock and it's a short walk to the beaches and park office.

If it's primitive camping you're looking for, this is it.

But, despite the simplicity of the campsites, you'll also have access to a restroom with hot showers, an outdoor dish washing station, and the other conveniences of the island.

Reservations are required and the cost is $33.90 per night, including tax.

A tent set up on a sandy pad under palm trees in Peanut Island campground.A palm tree lined walking trail along the beach.

Choose a campsite

You can reference the official campground map to select your preferred site.

We found that sites 12 and 13 felt the most secluded, putting you furthest from the restrooms, pavilion, and main walking path along the beach. There's a good amount of landscaping and foliage around each site, but don't expect to be completely isolated. You can still see from one site to the adjacent ones.

If you're hoping to sleep with a view of the water you could request a site near the beach, such as 3, 4, or 5. Just keep in mind that you won't have much privacy during the day while non-campers are visiting the island.

A campsite with a tent pad and picnic table surrounded by palm trees.

Make your reservation over the phone

Currently, online reservations for Peanut Island Campground are suspended while the county upgrades its system. You can make reservations over the phone by calling 561-845-4445. You can also contact the Parks & Recreation department via email.

Campsites can be reserved up to 90 days in advance. Because of the popularity of Peanut Island, we recommend planning well ahead and making that reservation as soon as possible. Weekends will fill up quickly and, with short notice, you may be limited to only weekdays.

The maximum length of stay is 3 nights and you can cancel or modify up to one week prior.

Check in at the park office

You can check in for access to your campsite after 1 PM. You must "check out" on your last day before 11 AM, but there's no need to stop by the office again. You just need to vacate the site.

If you arrive on the island in the morning, it's possible to place your belongings along the fence line near the campground or at one of the covered shelters while you explore the rest of the island. Of course, you should take some precautions and not leave any valuables in plain sight, but we left our bags for a couple of hours with no problem.

What you need to know before camping

There are a few things you need to know before showing up for your night on Peanut Island.

First, you must have a proper tent. Open air sleeping and hammocks are not permitted, only tent camping. You also can't sleep in any of the picnic areas, under the covered pavilions, or on the docks. You've got to be within your reserved campsite.

There's no electricity at the campsites, but there are outlets at the picnic pavilion near the fire ring and inside the restrooms. You're not allowed to use extension cords or generators.

There are several water spigots spread throughout the campground.

You're not allowed to have an open fire, except in the communal fire ring. Each campsite has a grill and grilling is also allowed on the beach. Firewood can be purchased at the park office.

Pets are allowed on the island and in the campground, but must be kept on a leash at all times.

Alcohol is permitted, but only inside the campground.

Quiet hours are from 11 PM to sunrise.

A beach with a covered picnic shelter and palm trees.A welcome sign for Peanut Island Park surrounded by palm trees.

How to Get to Peanut Island

Peanut Island is boat-in only. If you have your own vessel you can visit the island, anchor out, use an available slip on first come first serve basis, or beach your boat and come ashore.

The fastest and easiest way onto the island is to take a ferry or water taxi.

Peanut Island Shuttle | Runs daily every 30 minutes between 10 AM and 5 PM. Campers must make a reservation at least 24 hours in advance. The cost is $25 per adult, $12 for children under 10.

This is the service we used and would recommend. Making a reservation was simple and the staff was very friendly and helpful.

Their dock is located at the Riviera Beach City Marina. Use the main parking lot just south of the large blue building, then follow the road that curves to the right towards the water until you see signs for Peanut Island Shuttle.

Note that they strictly enforce the no-alcohol policy of the island and reserve the right to inspect luggage, but if you're a registered overnight camper they will allow you to bring it aboard.

Sailfish Marina Water Taxi | A second option that departs three times a day between 9:30 AM and 1:30 PM. The cost is $20 per person and they leave from Palm Beach Shores, on the eastern side of the intracoastal waterway.

An aerial view of Peanut Island's beach and boat docks with the city in the background.

Another option for reaching the island is to rent a kayak or paddleboard. For a camping trip this isn't the most practical option, since you'll not only need to rent one overnight, you'll also need to fit all your gear onboard.

But, if you're an ultralight packer and looking to up the adventure, then we say go for it! It'll also give you a different way of exploring and seeing the island.

Things to do on Peanut Island

Once you're on the island, it's time to explore. There are plenty of things to do both in the water and on dry land to keep you busy for the day.

Swimming & Snorkeling

Hands down, the best way to enjoy an afternoon on Peanut Island is at the beach.

It's one of Florida's best snorkeling destinations and just off the shore you'll find several artificial reefs that attract a variety of fish and other aquatic wildlife. In just a short visit here we spotted all kinds of animals, including stingrays, sea turtles, parrotfish, angelfish, needlefish, and sea hares.

One creature we saw, thankfully, washed up on the shore and not on the water was a Portuguese man o' war. These potentially dangerous jellyfish-like guys pack a real punch when they sting you. They're most often present between November and April when winds carry them ashore.

The lifeguard stations on Peanut Island are only manned during the weekends, but a purple flag will be flown at the beach when man o' war are likely to be encountered.

Water temperatures here are pretty comfortable year round. Even in the winter they average in the mid 70s (low 20s C) and rarely dip below 72, right in line with Florida's natural springs.

A woman uses a cell phone to photograph a school of fish while snorkeling

Kayaking & Paddleboarding

Paddling is a fun way to not only get to and from the island, but also see more of it.

This is how we saw some of the best sea life, because the water around Peanut Island is so clear. You can also get out a little, away from shore or the beach when it's crowded, to see what you can find.

Kayak and paddleboard rentals from nearby vendors start around $30 for a few hours.

Walk Around the Island

A 1.3 mile loop trail goes all the way around the perimeter of the island, allowing you to gets views from every side of Peanut Island.

It's a flat paved walkway and even has lights to keep it illuminated the entire way. We did it once during the day and then again after sunset.

You're sure to see some iguanas along the way and it will also take you past the snorkeling lagoon, where you can look around for sea life from the boardwalk above.

A woman walks down a paved trail among palm trees and lush undergrowth.

US Coast Guard Station & The Kennedy Bunker

In 1960, a fallout shelter was built on the island for President John F. Kennedy, who had a home in Palm Beach. It was integrated into the existing Coast Guard station under the guise of a storage facility and was designed to house 30 people for up to 30 days.

The bunker underwent restoration and was opened to the public in 1998, but unfortunately in recent years there's been dispute over the property between the Port of Palm Beach and the Maritime Museum. It's currently closed to the public, with no word on when it might re-open.

The existing buildings of the Coast Guard station can be seen from the walking trail, but they're currently fenced off.

An old building at the site of the historic US Coast Guard station on Peanut Island.

Peanut Island Packing Essentials

For our recommendations on camping essentials, shop our entire camping gear list.

Beyond your camping gear, there are a few things you should bring along to make the most of your Peanut Island visit.

Snorkel gear | Don't miss out on all the aquatic wildlife swimming around the artificial reefs.

Reef safe sunscreen | Speaking of wildlife, keep your skin protected without introducing harmful chemicals into the ocean.

Quick drying towel | We love the convenience of an absorbent, quick drying towel.

Beach blanket | A good day at the beach is one where you don't end up with sand everywhere. Bring along one of these sand-free mats to use as a beach blanket.

Bug spray | Mosquitoes and no-see-um midges are common along the Florida coast.

Power bank | You can recharge devices at one of the outlets, but we always bring along a power bank on camping trips for convenience.

Food | There are no concessions or vendors on the island, so pack all your own food. A few backpacking meals are the easiest way to have a good meal at a primitive campsite.

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An aerial photo of Peanut Island's beach with text overlay that says 'Camp on Florida's Peanut Island'

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