Located just north of West Palm Beach near the scenic Florida state road A1A, Phil Foster Park offers unparalleled access to world-class scuba diving and snorkeling. Due to its proximity to the Lake Worth Inlet, the area is subjected to incoming tides leading to the diversity of marine life visible year round.
Adjacent to the parking lot and located underneath the spans of the Blue Heron Boulevard Bridge, a sandy beach with a designated swim area and lifeguard towers serves as the entry point for swimmers, scuba divers, and snorkelers. Just south (150 feet from the beach) of the designated swim area and within the safety of a boat exclusion area, an 800-foot artificial reef was constructed parallel to the beach to serve as a snorkeling trail. Easily accessible from shore in 6 to 10 feet of water, the concrete structures and small wrecks host an astonishingly varied list of rare marine creatures. These structures easily guide scuba divers and snorkelers to additional areas to explore: "Little Bridge" to the east and "Big Bridge" to the west.
Commonly visible marine critters include banded shrimp, flounder, mantis shrimp, mimic octopus, starfish, fireworms, small nudibranchs, and many species of crabs. Less common marine critters known to inhabit the site are jawfish, batfish, seahorses, pipefish, sea robins, frogfish, and blennies. Juvenile spotted eagle rays are often spotted as well.
Due to the warmth of the Gulf Stream that is pushed in with the tides, the water temperatures remain tolerable year round. Snorkeling and diving should be done 45 minutes before the high tide to maximize visibility and minimize current. If you're planing on using local tide charts, the Blue Heron Bridge site may be dived twice in a day to include a dusk/night dive. Local dive shops will have tidal information, parking permits (for night dives and snorkeling), and often offer free guided night dives. Due to the shallow nature of the sites, scuba divers may have up to two hours of dive time on a single tank. Divers and snorkelers should be aware of Florida State Law that requires the use of dive flags and should stay clear of boating channels located to the west of the "Big Bridge" and south of the snorkeling trail.
Amenities at Phil Foster Park include covered picnic pavilions with grills, a fishing pier, showers and restrooms, drinking fountains, a boat ramp, boat docks, a playground, and a full-service dive shop. Parking is free, but all parking rules should be strictly followed, and valuables should never be left in vehicles.