Located in Palm Beach County on the south-central Florida Atlantic coast, Palm Beach has long been associated with glitz, glamour, and scenic beaches.
Although Palm Beach’s population is only about 10,000 residents, the city’s population grows for most of the year as tourists flock to its unique resorts to golf, relax and dine at its world-class restaurants. Inflated to nearly triple that number.
Palm Beach might not be the place for families on a budget, but it’s an unforgettable destination for those with a high credit card limit and plenty of cash.
Here are 15 things to do in and around Palm Beach, Florida.
1. Flagler Museum
In its heyday in the early 20th century, Palm Beach was widely believed to rival the traditional overseas beach destinations of the super-rich like Monaco and the French Riviera.
The Flagler Museum on Whitehall Road in Palm Beach is housed in the historic Whitehall Mansion, the estate of wealthy locals and often referred to as the world’s grandest private residence.
The museum features art, culture and historical exhibits, and offers a particularly fascinating insight into the lives of the wealthy over the past few years.
Guided tours are available in multiple languages, and the museum is open Tuesday to Sunday.
2. Loxahatchee Paddle Trail
The Loxahatchee was one of the first rivers in the state to be listed as a National Wild Scenic River. It is known for its rich natural diversity, including cypress swamps, ponds, and large nearby unspoilt forests.
Much of the Loxahatchee Paddling Trail flows through land that was once owned by an old fur trapper who worked in the area around the turn of the 20th century. His country cabin is a popular spot at Jonathan Dickinson State Park at the end of the trail.
Paddle trails start near Palm Beach, and many tour providers offer guided excursions.
3. Breakers Palm Beach Seafood Bar
While nearly all vacationers flock to Florida for its warm weather, plenty of sunshine, and stunning beaches, there are some who will pamper themselves at upscale resorts. Breakers Palm Beach is one such place.
The Breakers Seafood Bar offers visitors sweeping views of the Atlantic Ocean and a full menu of fresh local seafood that is top-notch even by Florida seafood standards.
Serving fresh oysters, stone crabs and a range of recently caught fish, the restaurant is the perfect setting for a romantic evening.
Lunch and dinner are served daily from 11am to 11pm, and as you might expect, there is a dress code, so don’t wear cropped jeans and flip flops for another night.
4. International Polo Club
Polo is a sport reserved almost exclusively for the highest echelons of the affluent, and the International Polo Club in Palm Beach is one of the sport’s most famous and impressive venues.
The polo season generally runs from January to early April. The race is open to the public, and there are a variety of ticket options, from amazingly affordable to downright prohibitive.
Polo matches are not just sporting events. In fact, they’re often all-day events with cocktails, socializing, tailgating and plenty of food, including a champagne brunch for those looking to immerse themselves in polo culture.
5. Four Arts Club
Palm Beach’s four arts associations are unrivaled for their breadth and variety of events and activities.
The Society hosts art exhibitions, guest speakers, artist workshops and a variety of live entertainment throughout the year; it has been around for more than eight years.
It is located in Siyi Square and includes several different areas such as the library, education center, outdoor sculpture garden and concert hall.
The Four Arts Guilds are a wonderful community resource, often overlooked by travelers, but a true gem for lovers of art, culture, and entertainment.
6. Richard and Pat Johnson Palm Beach County Historical Museum
The Richard and Pat Johnson Palm Beach County Historical Museum is located on the North Dixie Freeway near West Palm Beach. For lovers of Florida culture and history, this is one of those places worth an hour or two.
Operated by the County Historical Society, the museum has been open to the public for over a decade.
Housed in the city’s more than a century old courthouse, it’s filled with interesting exhibits, artifacts and memorabilia that relate to the era of discovery and settlement, and before the first non-Aboriginal people appeared Generations of settlers of Native American culture arrive.
7. Mountain Botanical Garden
South Florida’s tropical climate provides perfect growing conditions for a wide variety of plants, flowers and trees of native and exotic species.
Located on the North Military Trail in West Palm Beach, Mounts Botanical Garden is the oldest and largest publicly cultivated garden in the area, with many different areas with their own unique themes.
The palm, citrus and herb gardens are the most popular, and there is also a seasonal butterfly garden that is always popular, especially with the kids.
The gardens are connected by easy-to-walk and clearly marked paths that include informational signs and seating areas.
8. The Spa at Breakers
With nearly 20 private treatment rooms spanning over 20,000 square feet, Breakers Spa is an impressive facility rich in Mediterranean art and architecture, just a stone’s throw from the sea.
The spa facilities include men’s and women’s changing rooms, steam and sauna rooms, a beauty salon, massage therapy, and indoor and outdoor areas for relaxation and sunbathing.
The spa is also staffed by multilingual staff and offers a variety of holistic skin and body treatments using only the highest quality natural products.
None of this is cheap, but previous guests have found it an unforgettable experience and worth the money.
9. Book exchanges and comic shops
Especially for die-hard beach lovers, a good book is an essential part of overall holiday bliss. While ebooks are all the rage these days, there are still people who prefer the feel of paper between their fingertips.
With rows of moderately used comics, non-fiction and fiction books organized by genre, Book Exchange and Comic Shop is one of the few remaining independent bookstores in the Palm Beach area and a treasure trove for book lovers.
If you have a few books you’ve already read, keep them with you, as you can gain valuable store credit by trading them.
10. Manatee Lagoon Ecological Discovery Centre
Manatees are often referred to as manatees because, like their terrestrial relatives, they are large, slow-moving, and grazing.
During winter months when water temperatures are colder than they like, many manatees travel to the state’s inland rivers and waterways, where water temperatures are often warmer. They gather around warm water drains that flow from power generation facilities.
The Manatee Lagoon Eco Discovery Center is the perfect place for nature lovers to see these fascinating animals, and admission is free. The center features several viewing platforms, information signs and comfortable seating areas.
11. John D. MacArthur Beach State Park
One of the most popular public beaches in the area, John D. MacArthur Beach State Park is located on a particularly idyllic stretch of coastline along Jack Nicklaus Boulevard in North Palm Beach.
Known for its pristine beaches, the park is more rural and less developed than many other public beaches in the area.
Just a short drive to the coast from Palm Beach, this is the perfect escape destination for those looking to get away from the crowds and commune with nature.
Park activities include fishing, hiking and mountain biking, and there is a visitor and nature center.
12. South Florida Science Center and Aquarium
Located on Dreher Trail North in West Palm Beach, the South Florida Science Center and Aquarium is an exhibit and event rich attraction that is engaging, entertaining and educational.
The Science Center features dozens of interactive exhibits focused on animals, the natural world, and habitat conservation. The aquarium portion of the facility includes thousands of gallons of freshwater and saltwater aquariums that showcase a wide variety of marine life.
There’s also an on-site planetarium and a theater featuring full-length movies, many of which are geared toward children.
13. Ragtops Car Museum
The Sunshine State is full of retirees from all over the country; as such, it is home to many classic and vintage car enthusiasts.
Located on Claremore Drive in West Palm Beach, the Ragtops Car Museum includes an impressive collection of restored cars, as well as exhibits of interesting and unique car-related memorabilia from nearly every era.
In addition to its permanent collection, the museum often hosts special events and temporary exhibitions on loan from other museums and private collectors. Most guests agreed that this is not only a fun attraction, but an educational one as well.
14. Palm Beach Zoo and Conservation Society
Home to hundreds of native and exotic animals, the Palm Beach Zoo and Conservation Society covers nearly 25 acres and is a popular attraction for families traveling with animal-loving kids.
The zoo is conveniently located in downtown West Palm Beach, just minutes from Palm Beach. While the entrance fee is modest, most guests agree that it’s worth it considering what they’ve seen and done.
Zoo staff host many special events throughout the year, including temporary animal exhibits, guest speakers, kid-friendly events and guided tours.
15. Jupiter Bay Lighthouse and Museum
Of the lower 48 states, Florida has the longest coastline. Not surprisingly, there are plenty of historic lighthouses along the Gulf and Atlantic coasts.
One of the oldest and best-preserved lighthouses on the Atlantic coast, the Jupiter Bay Lighthouse has been restored to near pristine condition and is open to the public.
Construction of the lighthouse was completed a century and a half ago, and it is still possible to climb more than 100 steps to the top.
Guided tours of the lighthouse and museum are offered regularly, and most guests stay on site for a few hours.
Where to Stay: Best Hotels in Palm Beach (FL), FL
Lowest price guaranteed.