The Presidential Hideaway: Peanut Island’s Secret Cold War Relic

Deep in the heart of Florida's turquoise waters lies an unassuming island steeped in history and intrigue.

Peanut Island, a tropical paradise with a past as rich as its natural beauty, holds secrets that whisper of political intrigue, clandestine operations, and the looming threat of the Cold War.

Aerial view of Peanut Island sandbar with Singer Island in the background

Here, among the palm trees and the sun-kissed beaches, you can discover the remnants of a bygone era and a secret refuge that was once meant to shelter the most powerful man in the free world.

A Slice of Paradise: What is Peanut Island?

Peanut Island is a man-made island located in the Intracoastal Waterway near the Lake Worth Inlet in Palm Beach County, Florida.

Covering an area of approximately 80 acres, the island's origins are as humble as its name suggests - it was created in 1918 due to material dredged from the Palm Beach Inlet.

Despite its name, Peanut Island was never used for the cultivation of peanuts.

The name is a relic from a failed business venture in the early 20th century to use the island as a terminal for shipping peanut oil.

When the venture failed, the name "Peanut Island" stuck, adding a charming quirk to its rich history.

The Kennedy Bunker: A Presidential Retreat

Beneath the island's lush foliage, you'll find one of the most fascinating relics of the Cold War era - the Kennedy Bunker.

The Kennedy Bunker on Peanut Island

Commissioned in 1961, during the height of Cold War tensions, this presidential fallout shelter was designed to protect President John F. Kennedy in case of a nuclear attack while he was at his "winter White House" in Palm Beach.

The Kennedy Bunker, with its 12-inch thick concrete walls and air-tight steel doors, remains a testament to the fears and uncertainties that marked the Cold War era.

The bunker, now a museum, has been carefully preserved, allowing visitors to explore its rooms.

Inside, they can see the decontamination showers, diesel generator, and supplies meant to sustain the President and his entourage for 30 days in the event of a nuclear fallout.

Check out this video for a peek at what's inside.

Other Attractions on Peanut Island

Beyond the bunker, the island is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts and history buffs alike.

Visitors can explore the Palm Beach Maritime Museum, located in the historic Coast Guard Station, or snorkel in the clear, shallow waters surrounding the island.

Maritime Museum Palm Beach

The island's reef is teeming with marine life, offering a spectacular underwater experience.

For those who prefer to stay on dry land, the island's park offers picnic areas, a swimming lagoon, and a network of paved walkways perfect for leisurely strolls.

With camping facilities available, you can even choose to spend the night under the stars, lulled to sleep by the gentle sound of the waves.

Here are some recommended activities:

1. Snorkeling

Peanut Island's clear waters offer an amazing snorkeling experience.

Snorkeling is allowed in designated areas marked by yellow buoys on the island's eastern coast.

You may come across schools of colorful fish, starfish, and even sea turtles. You can rent your snorkeling gear at the Peanut Island Outdoor Center​​.

2. Swimming

There are two swimming areas on the island.

The first, the lagoon, is located on the east side of the island and is great for kids and less confident swimmers as the water is calm and shallow.

The second area, the beach, is on the island's south side and is ideal for swimming and playing in the waves.

The beach also provides a perfect spot for sunbathing​​.

3. Kayaking

Kayaking is a popular activity on Peanut Island.

Two woman kayaking off Peanut Island

There are several rental companies that provide all necessary equipment for safe and comfortable kayaking, with prices averaging around $20 to $30 an hour.

Paddling around the island offers a unique perspective of its natural beauty and the chance to witness the stunning marine life that flourishes around the island​​.

How to Get There

Getting to Peanut Island is an adventure in itself. It is only accessible by boat, which adds a layer of exclusivity to the island's charm.

There are several options for reaching the island. You can rent a kayak or paddleboard and make the journey yourself, or you can opt for a water taxi service from Riviera Beach Marina.

The new Riviera Beach Marina Village

For the more adventurous, chartering a private boat is also an option.

Just be sure to check the weather before you set sail - while the island is beautiful, it can be challenging to reach in inclement weather.

A Journey into History

Peanut Island offers a unique blend of history, adventure, and natural beauty. It is the ideal place for you if you're interested in exploring historical sites.

From snorkeling in crystal clear waters to kayaking around the island, or simply basking in the sun on its pristine beaches, the variety of activities will ensure you leave with unforgettable memories.

For more historical places to see in Florida, check out these other areas:

Fort Matanzas National Monument: Explore History and Natural Beauty!

De Soto National Memorial: Uncover History’s Thrilling Adventures!

A boarding pass salute to OpenAI's ChatGPT for charting the course of this article.

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