• SPONSOREDWater World: Palm Beach’s Snorkel Trail

    I’m a Miami Beach guy and a self-styled waterman, so when I heard about a premier snorkeling destination in Palm Beach County, I couldn’t resist seeing it for myself. My first stop was Pura Vida Divers on Riviera Beach, where the staff outfitted me with a rental snorkel, a mask, a pair of smart blue-striped fins, and a safety flag to alert boaters of my presence. Next, I headed to Phil Foster Park to begin my adventure.

    In recent years, the park—actually a small island in the center of the Blue Heron Bridge on the Intracoastal Waterway—has become world-renowned for its Snorkel Trail. Akin to an underwater hiking trail, the Snorkel Trail is an 800-foot-long manmade reef constructed by Palm Beach County in 2013 using 600 tons of limestone boulders and other submerged structures that create an idyllic habitat for sea creatures ranging from octopi and squid to seahorses and spotted rays—as well as the many two-legged visitors who come to admire them.

    “Phil Foster Park is a really important diving and snorkeling spot on the Eastern Seaboard,” says Matthias Fretz, a Juno Beach–based Douglas Elliman realtor associate. “People come from all over the world to Blue Heron Bridge. You swim right off the beach and within 20 yards, you’re surrounded by tropical fish, lobsters, eels, and rays. It’s a remarkable place.”

    Like me, Fretz is a relocated Jersey boy, and we share a love of South Florida that stems largely from our enthusiasm for the local waterways. Fretz is a spear fisherman, boater, and surfer. I’m more apt to swim laps in Miami Beach’s Flamingo Park pool or freestyle off the beach, so wading into the turquoise waters off Phil Foster Park was a refreshingly novel experience for me.

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