As we’ve come to quickly learn here at SK dot com, carefully thought out and meticulously organized plans should always be accompanied by an equally thought out and meticulous backup plan. Unfortunately, the backup plan wasn’t meticulously organized but turned out to be just what we needed.
The plan was originally supposed to be a two beach (and possibly a three beach stop if time allowed) weekend. Friday, we would go to Red Reef to snorkel. Saturday would be Atlantic Dunes for some shelling, as we heard it was a hot spot for really cool and larger shells. Sunday, donuts on the way out and maybe a quick stop at Seagate Beach to check out the water.
We decided instead to start out Friday with a hearty breakfast at Nick’s 50’s Diner with the Queen’s brother and hit one of his favorite beach spots – Singer Island in Riviera Beach.
It was a good suggestion. The beach is quiet, peaceful and private. Parking is free (yes!) and it’s very close to a string of eateries and shops. So if you get hungry and thirsty or just need to slip into some A/C, it’s a couple hundred yards away.
It’s not really what I would call a shelling beach, however we did find about a hundred very cool Spectral Bittersweet Clams, some sea glass, a large lip of some sort of helmet or cowrie and some mini shells in the surf.
The water was sparking blue and clear and teeming with marine life. Great if you wanna strap on a mask and snorkel and just enjoy the show. I had a run-in with a teeny tiny little squid, who thought I was some giant plaything. He was about 3 inches long and inquisitive as can be. I think he was a Caribbean Reef Squid. He hung out with me for about 5 minutes or so until I tried to hold him in my hand. Then he decided he’d had enough!
After a long Friday, we decided to skip the fireworks festivities around us and retire to the hotel for some much needed rest.
Saturday, we wanted to hit Atlantic Dunes Park for some shelling. Unfortunately, we woke up to a torrential downpour. So…no beach. Since it was raining, we decided to instead to hit the Lion Country Safari in Loxahatchee, which was about 35 miles to the North.
If you haven’t been to Lion Country Safari, you need to make the trip. The Queen and I visited here once before not long after we got married. It is a drive-through safari that is a MUST see if you are in the West Palm Beach area….and the animals love to come out when it’s raining.
It’s $29.95 per person plus $6 for parking (for the walk-through Safari, which is at the end). When you get your ticket, they give you a ride-along CD that narrates as you pass through the park (at 5-7 MPH).
The preserve is divided into seven sections – each section containing animals that would be in their African counterpart. You coast through the park in your car (windows up please) and the animals quite literally walk beside and in front of your vehicle.
I bet by now you’re looking at the pictures and going, “Where’s the rain?” Yeah, there wasn’t any. Welcome to Florida. Could be nasty rain outside but drive 35 miles North and there’s not a cloud in the sky. Weird, huh?
Oh yeah, Lion Country Safari has lions.
The drive through is 4 miles long. You can make it through in about an hour, but we recommend that you slow down, take pictures and enjoy these truly majestic animals.
There’s something really cool about being literally 10 feet from one of the baddest animals on the planet.
As I mentioned before, there is also a walk-through Safari called Safari World.
The walk-through portion is an all-day event if you have children. Once they see the rides and the 4,000 sqft water park, they’ll be at it all day.
Safari World contains some of the smaller land animals like birds, tortoises, snakes and alligators.
There is also a Giraffe feeding exhibit where you really get up close and personal with these guys.
We had an awesome time!
So upon leaving, we decided we’d try and hit Atlantic Dunes on our way back and see if we could squeeze in some beach time since the weather was completely clear. Good thing we’ve learned our lesson about always packing the beach gear!
Unfortunately, another front was coming through and we didn’t have much time.
It’s another one of those quiet, semi-private beaches that on a sunny day would be perfect.
After about 20 minutes in the warm but murky water, thunder started clapping and the lightning started crackling. The front came through quick! Time to go!
The Boca/Delray/West Palm area is one we will certainly visit again. The water is just as beautiful in spots as you would find in South Beach. Unfortunately we struck out on our search for some keeper shells. Never the less, we filled in our time well and had a great weekend getaway.
We definitely recommend the area to visit if you’re looking for a slower pace with slower traffic and a break from the hustle and bustle. Lots to do and good things to eat (make sure you hit BurgerFi for some great cheeseburgers)….with beaches that will have you salivating.