North of West Palm Beach in South Florida, Riviera Beach is a quieter alternative to the many other destinations in Palm Beach County. Tranquil and community-focused, Riviera Beach is a fabulous spot for either a family vacation or a relaxing, romantic one.
Around Riviera Beach, you’ll find a collection of fantastic parks that complement the typical golden sands of the Atlantic Coast. Because of this, you can mix and match your days between the beaches, tiki bars, and natural areas for a full and exciting itinerary. You can spend the cooler morning hours exploring rare ecosystems or snorkeling above world-renowned dive sites. Your afternoons can be by the ocean trying to tame the waves before settling in for sunset on the restaurant patio, enjoying a classic Floridian evening.
Not sure what to do in Riviera Beach? Read on for our complete Riviera Beach guide.
Things to do in Riviera Beach, FL
Peanut Island Park
Placed just offshore from Riviera Beach, Peanut Island Park is a gorgeous escape into nature. Engulfed by the Intracoastal Waterway, the island is home to walking trails, beaches, and fishing piers, all within this pristine and protected speck of land.
The 1.25-mile walking trail will help you circumnavigate the island, bringing you to beautiful viewpoints and taking you to all four corners of Peanut Island. Along the way, you’ll discover a turnoff that leads to an elevated boardwalk jutting out across the water for over 80 feet. This is the place to go to spot marine life from above, including the island’s resident manatees.
To the left of the boardwalk is a man-made reef where you can chuck on your snorkel gear and explore the lagoon, home to some dazzling tropical fish. For more nature, wander to the western edge and find a maritime hammock where osprey and ibis fly above. As for anglers, head to the northern tip and cast a reel off the island’s fishing pier.
Throughout your time on Peanut Island, you’ll have easy access to facilities including picnic areas, some with BBQs along with restrooms, and a campground.
Ocean Reef Park
On Singer Island, a barrier island minutes from Riviera Beach, you’ll find Ocean Reef Park. It’s one of the best spots in town to enjoy a beach day with easy access to parking, 800 feet of beachfront along with a wide range of amenities to enjoy.
The park is under ten minutes from downtown along North Ocean Drive, with the oceanfront park comprising over ten acres of green space. As you walk from the car park to the beach, you’ll spot playgrounds for the kids to run amok, covered picnic areas with BBQ grills for a vacation-worthy lunch in the shade, and handy showers and bathrooms.
Ocean Reef Park has a designated swimming area where lifeguards stand watch. The swimming conditions are generally inviting, making it a lovely place for young and old.
Outside of the area, you’ll be able to enjoy a spot of shore fishing, quickly changing what’s on the lunch menu!
Phil Foster Park
The Blue Heron Bridge connects Riviera Beach with Singer Island. Along the way, it touches down upon a third piece of land, a small island that’s home to Phil Foster Park. Covering the island’s entirety, the 14.7-acre park is a great place to swim in the Intracoastal Waterway.
While the waterway can have currents away from the shore, for the most part, it’s protected from the conditions, including any Atlantic waves. The park also has a designated swimming area home to lifeguards.
To make your swim even more memorable, experience the park’s snorkeling trail. Discover why this area is internationally recognized for its rich marine life as you spot rays, starfish, and octopuses along the artificial reef.
Although there is limited parking, the boat ramp is a popular access point for those looking to explore beyond the island. There are three fishing locations away from the boat ramp, including a duo of platforms on the western edge and the park’s pier.
Just like Ocean Reef Park, kids can enjoy the playgrounds where there is also a picnic area and bathrooms.
In the Northwood Harbor Historic District is the Manatee Lagoon. This education center is just south of Riviera Beach and is a great way to learn about the majestic creature with seasonal viewings and interactive exhibits.
The main goal of the Manatee Lagoon is to educate visitors about the importance of manatees and Lake Worth Lagoon as a whole. The entire family will have a blast as they learn about nature, science, and why the area around Riviera Beach is so attractive to manatees.
The best time to visit is between late November and the end of March. This is when viewings of the gentle giants are at their peak, however, the center has a busy year-round calendar of events that includes art classes on local nature, educational programs, and even yoga on the water.
Blue Heron Bridge
The Blue Heron Bridge first arrived in Riviera Beach in 1925. Over the years, nature and the surge of tourism forced the bridge into multiple renovations, the last one in 1974.
Originally, the bridge was meant to serve a large resort that never panned out, paving the way instead for one of the best dive sites in the United States.
It may not be obvious from either side of the Intracoastal Waterway, but beneath the water is an exceptionally rich marine world, renowned among researchers from around the world.
The bridge’s support structures have created reefs and a home for tropical marine life that will have you filling up the memory card on your underwater camera.
The best way to explore this world is by arriving at Phil Foster Park. To truly appreciate the world around Blue Heron Bridge, you’ll need to scuba dive and find creatures large and small pottering among the reefs and sunken boats.
On Ocean Drive, Riviera Beach is the most popular patch of sand in town. At one of the finest beaches in Palm County, you can bask in the spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean as you laze on the sand.
The stretch is also known as Riviera Beach Municipal Beach. Those seeking a day by the ocean will be rewarded with a pristine length of golden sand along with sports facilities and playgrounds in the adjoining park.
On Singer Island, the beach runs north towards Ocean Reef. It has a number of walking trails through the park, perfect for a morning jog or enjoying a romantic stroll at sunset.
Riviera Beach comes with all the amenities such as bathrooms and showers, but what separates it is the sporting amenities such as playgrounds, volleyball nets, and tennis courts, not to mention the cabanas you can hire.
For lunch, you won’t have to wander far for a meal. The beach backs on to a busy promenade of shops, restaurants, and bars. Stick around for some golden hour cocktails to round out your beach day.
John D. MacArthur Beach State Park
John D. MacArthur Beach State Park combines much of the many highlights of Riviera Beach into one place. The park is on a barrier island, further north along the coast, and is a veritable treasure.
Those who haven’t had enough beach time can lounge on the 1.6 miles of pristine sands where you’ll find pleasant swimming and vibrant snorkeling.
The three nature trails will take you through a state park that contains amazing diversity from a coastal hammock to mangrove forests. Within are numerous rare and endangered flora, along with a range of turtle species and an array of birds. What you can’t reach on foot, you can explore on a kayak as you paddle through the lagoon.
The park, which remains open year-round, is perhaps best known for its nature center. It’s here you’ll get to know the local nature in greater detail through several interactive exhibits and multimedia displays.
These displays include the Sea Turtle Tank, the Natural Communities exhibit, and multiple aquariums that showcase each ecosystem in the park.
Where to eat & drink
An important part of any vacation is the food. In Riviera Beach, you’ll be working up quite the appetite as you venture between the many natural treasures around town. Thankfully, your efforts will be rewarded with delicious cuisine at the many restaurants around Riviera Beach, including these gems.
On President Barack Obama Hwy, you’ll find Pete’s Crazy Grill for a barbecue that will have you feeling crazy good without blowing your wallet. Along the main drag of town is La Granja Riviera Beach, where you can load up on Peruvian Cuisine for lunch or dinner. It’s quick, simple, and downright delicious.
As the sun falls over Riviera Beach, saunter away from the sand and dine at The Islander Grill & Tiki Bar. The beach resort restaurant has wonderful seafood and classic American fare, plus a poolside tiki bar.
Steps away from Riviera Municipal Beach is the Two Drunken Goats. The beach decor hits the spot, as does their Mexican/American cuisine and outdoor patio.
Another popular dinner option is a few doors down at Johnny Longboats. Enjoy your favorite seafood dishes with a vibrant outdoor area and full bar.
Last up is Rafiki Tiki Bar & Grill. This bright and airy space has a large patio with a wide-ranging menu including Italian, Mediterranean, and American cuisine.
Where to stay
For a budget stay in Riviera Beach, book yourself into this no-frills inn. Conveniently located off of Highway 1, this hotel features clean and comfortable rooms and is a quick drive to Palm Beach.
Add a dash of luxury to your Riviera Beach visit by laying your head down at this lovely oceanfront resort on nearby Singer Island. The spacious suites are perfect for everything from a couples getaway to a family vacation. End the day with dip in the luxurious outdoor pool or with a nightcap at the on-site tiki bar to sparkling views to the Atlantic.