Located on the southern portion of Florida’s Atlantic coast between North Palm Beach and West Palm Beach, Riviera Beach is a smaller city than many of its neighbors but offers visitors an impressive variety of recreation options.
Riviera Beach was incorporated in the early 1920s and sits along the northeast border of the Miami metropolitan area, which is home to more than six million residents and is the state’s largest urban center.
Riviera Beach is most well-known for its abundant parks and the barrier islands that lie between the Atlantic Ocean and Intracoastal Waterway.
Below are 15 things to do in and around Riviera Beach, Florida.
1. Peanut Island Park
Located on the tip of one of the barrier islands that dot the coast, Peanut Island Park has been a public area for nearly 100 years and is a magnet for local saltwater anglers.
The park’s fishing pier is open round-the-clock to accommodate those who want to try their luck in the most productive early morning and late night hours. For those who’d rather just walk and watch, the fishers often pull up exotic and colorful catches.
The park also has stretches of white sandy beach, some of which are monitored by lifeguards and others which are not. Rustic campsites are available as well.
2. Seafood Bar at The Breakers
Florida is surrounded by fish-rich waters on three sides, so it’s no wonder there’s such an abundance of fresh seafood to be had year-round; Seafood Bar at The Breakers on South County Road in Palm Beach is a perennial favorite.
Guests particularly like Seafood Bar’s pleasant mix of contemporary style and relaxed atmosphere, and a drink or two from their full cocktail, beer and wine menu is the perfect way to end a day in the sun.
The views, food, and authentic Florida ambiance may make it one of the most memorable meals you’ve ever had, and they offer vegetarian and gluten-free options as well.
3. Ocean Reef Park
Located on North Ocean Drive in Riviera Beach, Ocean Reef Park is comprised of more than a dozen acres of land that includes nearly 800 feet of beachfront open to swimmers, sunbathers, and anglers.
The park is open daily from sunrise to sunset, and its amenities include a playground and covered picnic areas with built-in barbecue grills.
If you would like to try your hand at surf fishing, you’ll need to do it away from the designated swimming areas. And for those who’ve spent the day on the beach, there are restrooms and showers available to wash away the sand and salt before heading home.
4. Lone Pines Golf Course
With golf courses of all shapes and sizes from top to bottom and coast to coast, Florida is a golf mecca unlike any other.
Lone Pines Golf Course on North Military Trail in West Palm Beach is considered an executive course, which means playing a full round won’t take four or five hours as it does on longer courses.
At just 4,100 yards, the course is about a third shorter than most traditional courses, so it’s perfect for those who want to play around without spending a ton of money or monopolizing the better part of a day.
It’s a first come first serve course, so come early during peak times.
5. John D. MacArthur Beach State Park and Nature Center
The John D. MacArthur Beach State Park and Nature Center is another natural site that draws outdoor and nature-oriented families for its fantastic scenery and array of recreational and educational activities.
There aren’t many places where a day at the beach can be combined with a world-class nature center, and many families choose to spend an entire day to take advantage of all the park has to offer.
The nature center is open daily from 9 AM until 5 PM and is a great place to stop first; it’ll give you a thorough overview of the park’s amenities and wow you with its exhibits, displays, and aquariums.
6. Blue Heron Bridge Diving
As it is for golfers, Florida is a huge destination for SCUBA and skin-divers. It draws visitors from all over the country, who come for its clear blue waters which are among the world’s most beautiful and diver-friendly.
Blue Heron Diving Bridge has repeatedly been voted one of the country’s best dive sites due to water clarity, lack of strong currents, and an abundance of exotic sea life.
The water is about twenty feet at the deepest, so is appropriate for snorkelers as well. But there are safety restrictions in place, so it’s best to do a thorough search online before heading out.
7. Gardens Green Market
If you’ve been paying the least bit of attention, you may have noticed a recurring theme: Florida is a mecca for golfers, divers, and outdoorsy-types, to name just a few – and it’s also got more green farmer’s markets than just about any place else in the country.
Located on North Military Trail in nearby Palm Beach, Gardens Green Market is a community event that takes place on Sunday morning, rain or shine year-round. In addition to its abundance of fresh, seasonal, and mostly organic produce, it offers guests fresh baked goods, arts and crafts, and health and body products.
Nearly all of what you’ll see is grown and made locally, so it’s not only a fun family activity, but also a great way to support the community.
8. The Kravis Center for the Performing Arts
Community performing arts centers are often overlooked vacation destinations, but they usually offer amazing performances and are often more reasonably priced than more commercial attractions.
The Kravis Center for the Performing Arts on Okeechobee Boulevard in West Palm Beach is one of the state’s premier performing arts centers and often hosts big names in theater, music, and dance.
A perfect option for a romantic, kids-free evening, it is close enough to a variety of West Palm Beach restaurants and bars to make it the ideal accompaniment to an early happy hour or a late dinner overlooking the ocean.
9. South Florida Science Center and Aquarium
Featuring dozens of hands-on exhibits and activities that focus on animals and the natural world, the South Florida Science Center and Aquarium in West Palm Beach is a perfect place to spend a few morning or afternoon hours when the weather isn’t conducive to being outside.
The center features thousands of gallons of fresh and saltwater aquariums full of an amazing diversity of native species, many of which are colorful, exotic, and rare.
A perennial favorite is the center’s Everglades exhibit, and there’s a state of the art planetarium onsite as well.
Guest’s expectations are usually exceeded, so plan on spending more than just an hour.
10. Palm Beach Zoo and Conservation Society
Sporting more than 700 species of local and exotic animals, the Palm Beach Zoo and Conservation Society is located on nearly 25 acres of land near downtown, making it a convenient and popular attraction – especially for those traveling with little ones.
A few favorites are the tigers – which are native to India and parts of Asia – and the area dedicated to the diverse array of birds, lizards, fish, and mammals that are Florida natives.
The zoo can get crowded during peak vacation months on the weekends. If you’d rather avoid the masses, consider visiting during the week or when they first open in the morning.
11. The Gardens Mall
Though malls are often looked upon as yesterday’s news and ho-hum attractions not worthy of limited vacation time, they’re usually convenient and fun places to hang out – even if it’s just to suck up the free air-conditioning and do some window shopping.
Located on PGA Boulevard in Palm Beach Gardens, The Gardens Mall features more than 150 unique stores and is one of the most contemporary shopping centers in the area.
There are a few nationally-known, high-end stores like Saks Fifth Avenue and Nordstroms, but also a variety of smaller stores; many of them offer unique Florida products that are surprisingly affordable.
12. Ragtops Automobile Museum
Perhaps it’s the abundant sun, laid-back atmosphere, or plentiful retirees that head south in the winter, but Florida is big classic car country. For those visiting Riviera Beach, there’s no better place to see a world-class collection of classics than Ragtops Automobile Museum in West Palm Beach.
The museum’s centerpieces are the restored vintage automobiles, but there are a variety of other auto-related memorabilia from years past as well.
A number of exhibits highlight transportation in general, and throughout the year, the museum hosts events including classic car shows that are usually held outdoors in winter when the Florida weather is perfect.
13. Twisted Trunk Brewing
Palm Beach Garden’s Twisted Trunk Brewing is housed in a unique setting that’s a mixture of old-world elegance and contemporary-industrial.
It’s a local craft brewing mecca that’s known for its wide selection of tasty brews, its comfortable and relaxed setting, and quirky men’s bathroom with beer keg urinals.
Twisted Trunk is open daily with slightly extended hours on weekends; though they don’t serve food, they offer guests menus from nearby restaurants that deliver.
During the week, they offer $1 off pints during happy hour, and they even fill growlers to go. They’re located on PGA Boulevard in Palm Beach Gardens.
14. Ballet Palm Beach
Also located in Palm Beach Garden, Ballet Palm Peach is one of the area’s only ballet venues, and is the perfect place to spend a few hours for those who are tired of the sun, sand, and sea.
Throughout the year, the ballet hosts a variety of classic productions, including the Nutcracker during the holidays, and other originals like the one based on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel The Great Gatsby.
In addition to their popular performances, the ballet’s trained dancers and staff offer instructional courses and outreach programs designed to engage and encourage children to take an interest in the performing arts.
15. Frenchman’s Forest Natural Area
Comprised of more than 170 acres of preserved natural habitat on Prosperity Farms Road in Palm Beach Garden, Frenchman’s Forest Natural Area is a convenient destination for those who are tired of the area’s more commercial and touristy sites.
The natural area’s habitats include mangrove-lined waterways, forests, tidal pools, and cypress swamps, and are home to a large variety of animal species; many of them are regularly seen from the hiking trails.
Though the hiking trails can get muddy and slick when it rains, there’s also an elevated boardwalk that leads to lots of great viewing areas, so you won’t need to get your feet wet and dirty.