By Jan Norris
Why stay on Singer Island when you live in South Florida? The Marriott Singer Island, where you can be pampered to perfection, and dine with award winning chef Dean Max at 3800 Ocean might be one answer, but there are several others. Read more…
The Ocean Mall at the beach has been rebuilt and is a draw, with new restaurants (and a frozen yogurt shop), along with rehabbed old favorites like Johnny Longboat’s. Coming soon: the Mexican cantina, Two Drunken Goats, from the owners of Longboat’s. A new sushi spot, Happy Fish, is nearby.
Other old favorites include the diner-like Buddy’s, open till the wee hours for breakfast, and Graeter Gator’s mini grocery, where you can pick up choice thick steaks for the barbie or shrimp — or a box of Tide in case you need clean underwear.
Sailfish Marina a Water Taxi stop
The Sailfish Marina, where sunset drinks and a water taxi ride across to Peanut Island for a boat party are de rigeur. There are picnic pavilions on the island – close enough to wade during some tidal patterns. Weekends at Peanut are one huge party; real party animals are allowed, so bring your swimming Fido. Just don’t lose track of time and miss the last taxi back to the Sailfish; though there are campgrounds and cabins here, they’re spoken for well in advance.
The best meal at Sailfish Marina, some say, is breakfast or Sunday brunch. But anytime is fine for watching the fish surround the docks or just hanging out to see what the charter boats bring in.
If you’re there on Thursday night, shop for handmade art or jewelry at the craft show along the waterfront in the parking lot.
They have rooms, as well – the small hotel features rooms with kitchenettes or full kitchens in a tropical décor; there’s a pool and all the marina amenities.
Also nearby is the restaurant and Tiki Hut at the Palm Beach Shores Resort and Villas. Fresh fish sandwiches here are notable, as are the drinks.
Accommodations for the beachfront resort are full apartments, with kitchens, living areas and separate bedrooms. Rates start around $154 with some packages available. Check the resort’s web site for pricing.
The Palm Beach Marriott Singer Island, formerly the Resort at Singer Island, boasts contemporary rooms and modern décor in a hotel with a boutique feel.
A luxury resort all around, the rooms are more like small condo apartments with full kitchens, and laundries, making a week long stay affordable for families who can do their own cooking.
The resort also has the SiSpa, with steam room, a number of scrubs, wraps and treatments, along with massages and fitness classes. Special spa packages are among those offered for summer guests.
A fitness center and two pools on site give athletes the chance to work out.
The resort also features the new dining venue at the 3800 Ocean restaurant from noted chef Dean Max. 3800 Ocean is a farm-and sea-to-table concept, set in a contemporary space with a chef’s community table, and ocean views along with patio dining under the moonlight. Chef Max’s menu leans to fresh seafood; he was awarded the title of American Seafood Chef for 2010.
Other activities at the hotel include snorkeling on the reef only a short swim off the property’s beach. A SCUBA for two getaway is a special summer package (there’s one for kids, too) starting at $349 a night, and includes resort diving certification, open water dives over the reef and more.
Beyond the resort, there’s Ocean Reef Park, a public beachfront park on the island, with picnic pavilions, a playground and lifeguards for swimmers’ safety.
Nature lovers won’t want to miss John D. Macarthur Beach State Park, where nature trails and a small estuary thick with mangroves afford a chance to see beach critters and sea life.
A number of programs are available here, with nature walks and lectures, butterfly walks, birding programs, guided snorkeling tours and kayak clincs. There’s a summer camp for youngsters, and bluegrass picking held on some Sunday afternoons (check the park’s web site at www.macarthurbeach.org for schedule).
At the south end of the island, take a stroll to the park that overlooks the Palm Beach Inlet and watch the big boats, including the floating casinos, come and go to the nearby Port of Palm Beach. It’s only a drive over the island’s Blue Heron Bridge to board a ship for a daytrip to the Bahamas, or just offshore to play the slots.
IF YOU STAY
- Palm Beach Marriott Singer Island, 3800 N. Ocean Dr., Singer Island, Riviera Beach
- 561-340-1700; www.marriott.com
- Palm Beach Shores Resort, 181 S. Ocean Ave., Palm Beach Shores
- 561-863-4000; www.pbsr.com
- Sailfish Marina, 98 Lake Dr., Palm Beach Shores
- 561-844-1724; www.sailfishmarina.com
For other places to stay in Florida, check out the web site about Florida’s small inns and B&Bs at INNsideFlorida.com.