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MacArthur Beach State Park, Florida

MacArthur Beach State Park, North Beach

MacArthur Beach State Park is a bit of a mystery, as to why more people don't visit.

Located in Southeast Florida, in North Palm Beach, it's close to a lot of people in this densely populated area.  From the south side of the beach, some large Singer Island condominiums are visible.

Yet on any given day, the beach is lightly populated. Either people don't know about it, or they don't want to walk the longer-than-usual distance to the beach.

Probably a little of both, which means MacArthur Beach State Park beaches in North Palm Beach are lovely and quiet.

Getting to the Beach Itself

From the parking lot, you first need to get to the boardwalk across Lake Worth Cove to the beach area.

This boardwalk is approximately 600 yards, so it's not a hike you want to take with a heavy load of chairs and coolers.  On the upside, there is a golf-cart-type transportation that runs between the Nature Center and the beach.  There isn't a fee for this transportation, but a small donation of a dollar or two is appreciated.

Once you get to the beach, though, you have to climb steps to the top of the dunes, then more steps down to the beach.  Again, you don't want to be carrying a lot of heavy beach accoutrements.

At both the north and south beach dune entrances there are restrooms and showers. At the central beach entrance there is only a shower.

MacArthur Beach State Park Beach WalkingSunning and Beach-Walking

You won't have a problem finding a place to spread your blanket on the beach.  Your biggest decision is which bark of the beach you want to go to -- the north, central or south.  There is a trail that runs from north to south, and there are steps and boardwalk across the dunes, to the beaches themselves.

There's plenty of sunshine here at MacArthur Beach State Park, and most days you won't be disappointed with the wonderful weather.  It can get very hot in the summer, while the winter is cooler but usually still temperate.

You have around two miles of beach to walk at MacArthur Beach State Park.  The breeze will keep the insects away, and feels refreshing.

Swimming at MacArthur Beach State Park

There aren't any lifeguards here at this Florida beach.  While swimming is available, it's only in designated areas.

Swim here at  your own risk. The ocean is generally pretty calm, unless there is a big storm out to sea.  Unfortunately, rip currents aren't all that rare here, so you want to be very careful if there have been storms in the area.

The summer waters are warm, in the 80+ degree range.  Winter waters are cooler, around 75 degrees.  While most Florida residents consider it too cold to swim, our northern visitors consider it delightful!

Scuba and Snorkel the Reef

Bring along your "diver down" flag for all snorkeling and scuba activities at MacArthur Beach State Park-- it's required.  If you forget, check at the Nature Center, as there may be a few available for rent.  It's first-come-first-served, though.

Do bring your own fins, mask, etc. because those items are not available for rent at the park.

There are some worm reefs close offshore that are easily accessible.

If you've never heard of a worm reef, it's a large underwater structure, composed of clusters of oval, table-like mounds constructed by marine worms.

Compared to colorful coral reefs, worm reefs are rather drab. However, worm reefs do provide feeding and browsing grounds for a diverse community of marine organisms and is an ideal home for attaching plants and sponges.

So, while it can be interesting, don't expect to see a brightly-colored tropical underwater paradise.

Directions to MacArthur Beach

For directions to MacArthur Beach State Park, as well as hours, check out the main John D. MacArthur State Park page.

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