With nature as your guide, it can be both fun and easy to get fit in Palm Beach County. Whether hiking the area’s numerous trails, skimming the tops of ocean crests on a surfboard, or breathing in the energizing benefits of outdoor yoga, there’s something to suit all interests and abilities. Exercising in nature is also good for the soul, as studies show that being outside not only elevates physical fitness but mental and emotional health, too. Here are a few options to inspire the mind and strengthen the body.
While kayaking provides a great opportunity to meander through Palm Beach County’s scenic waterways, it is also an excellent upper-body workout, especially for those who choose to tackle challenging ocean waves and currents. Nautical Ventures in Riviera Beach and North Palm Beach offers rentals and tours, including a trip to Peanut Island. Heading north, Jupiter Outdoor Center takes visitors on guided excursions on the Loxahatchee River at Riverbend Park, where you’ll cross through a picturesque cypress swamp. Or, you can rent a kayak and explore the riverbends on your own. Either way, you’ll see plenty of unspoiled nature in the aquatic preserve and dozens of species of animals and plants.
Surfing is the ultimate total-body workout. Paddling revs up the cardiovascular system and also strengthens shoulder and back muscles, while the act of standing up and balancing targets the core and legs. Whether you’re a novice or an expert seeking to hone your wave-reading skills, channel your inner beach bum with surf clinics held up and down the county coastline. Florida may not be known for its killer waves, but surfers take to the water all year long. Ideal swells are more common in the winter months, typically November to February or March. Consult daily surfing conditions at Surfline or Magic Seaweed. Blue Water Surfing in Jupiter offers individual and group lessons as well as surf camps. Nomad Surf Shop in Boynton Beach also hosts lessons and camps, in addition to board rentals.
Gliding along the Intracoastal or the Loxahatchee River on a stand-up paddleboard is the perfect marriage of serenity and exertion. This all-ages activity allows practitioners to strengthen the upper body and improve balance while simultaneously becoming one with nature. Rent a board and enjoy the experience on your own, or take it up a notch with classes that integrate fitness. Paddle Boarding Palm Beach offers SUP yoga and a 60-minute workout session held in the waters around Peanut Island, as well as a new class composed of exercises both on the beach and on the board. South Florida Paddle has a variety of tours, including eco-adventures off Singer Island, a sunset outing, trips around Peanut Island with a nature expert, and a nocturnal glow excursion that utilizes boards outfitted with LED lights.
Relaxing into the mind-body connection only gets better when moving through yoga poses while basking in the rays of a rising sun or listening to the rustle of palm trees. Breathe Salt & Yoga in Jupiter hosts weekly classes in Harbourside Place’s amphitheater. Fido can find his zen, too, with a monthly yoga get-together that incorporates pups into the practice. Feeling more daring? Try stand-up paddleboard yoga on the Loxahatchee River. Register for a session and rent a board with Blueline Surf & Paddle Co. Back on land, Yoga at the Beach in Boca Raton offers sunset sessions at two locations in Red Reef Park—one along the Intracoastal and one at the beach. There’s also a once-a-month nighttime yoga event that takes place under the light of the full moon.
Snorkeling and Diving
Prefer to exercise underwater? In Palm Beach County, you can swim alongside the sea life within the jet stream, or stay closer to land and explore the calm waters of the Intracoastal. For easy shore diving or snorkeling, head to Riviera Beach and the aquatic locales off Phil Foster Park and the Blue Heron Bridge. Follow the shallow Snorkel Trail, located just outside the swimming area, with a depth of 6 to 10 feet. Look for the limestone shark sculpture and poke around the artificial reef outcroppings for spotted eagle rays and squid. Wade into the waters with your own gear or check out Scuba Works in Jupiter for everything you’ll need, including equipment, scuba lessons at the bridge, and tips on the best sites and reef dives.
More locations ideal for either diving or snorkeling include the rocky shores of Coral Cove Park on Jupiter Island and John D. MacArthur Beach State Park in North Palm Beach. Numerous artificial reefs throughout the county make it easy to choose a deep-water adventure. Try diving the Danny, also known as the Daniel McCauley Memorial Reef, a 110-foot-long World War II tugboat that rests in roughly 80 feet of water off the Lake Worth Inlet. More advanced scuba practitioners can join Calypso Dive Charters at Riviera Beach Marina for lobster hunting or shark diving excursions. Free-diving lessons and trips are also available.
Whether you’re pursuing the 10,000-steps-a-day challenge or simply trying to one up your pedometer, Palm Beach County boasts miles of idyllic walking paths set against Atlantic beaches and inland preserves. Take a trip back in time with a visit to Apoxee Park in West Palm Beach, where wilderness trails traverse the Grassy Waters Preserve and recall an era before urbanization. For those who prefer sandy surrounds, John D. MacArthur Beach State Park, nestled on a barrier island in North Palm Beach, has a mangrove forest and showcases an abundance of birds and native plants. Look for the huge strangler fig tree near the welcome center before strolling through the canopy of mastic trees and live oaks in the maritime hammock. In June and July, add a turtle lesson to the outing by reserving a spot on an evening beach walk to catch a glimpse of nesting Loggerheads.
Hobe Sound’s Jonathan Dickinson State Park, the largest in Southeast Florida, is home to paved and off-road trails. Cyclists can roam for hours, explore historic sites such as a World War II training camp, or coast along paths to the peaceful Loxahatchee River. And while arduous mountain-bike hills can be hard to come by in South Florida, Palm Beach County has one of the best. West Palm Beach’s Dyer Park has a 7-mile cycling trail, with 2.5 miles that wind up the side of a former landfill that has been converted into a natural setting.
While Palm Beach County is a mecca for the equestrian elite, novices can also participate in lessons or take advantage of miles of trails for recreation or sport—all of which makes for good exercise, especially for strengthening core and leg muscles. Mentally, concentrating on the task at hand can help you alleviate stress in other areas of your life, and controlling the movements of the horse can be a real confidence booster. Casperey Stables in Loxahatchee can set you up with a horse and offers classes for all ages and levels. Casperey also has a show team for those who become proficient enough to compete. Instructors at Delray Beach’s Golden Gait Riding Stables will teach everyone from beginners to competitors in Western or English style. North County boasts several trails you can trot on your own, including the 8-mile track in Jonathan Dickinson State Park and the historic sites in Riverbend Park.