Sometimes you just need to get away, spoil yourself, and relax under the Florida sun. Palm Beach is one of the best ways to do that with its fabulous beaches, plush hotels, and ample amenities. As you book your flight and plan for your trip, consider these the best things to do in Palm Beach that you must try at least once.
No matter the season, Palm Beach's sandy, clean beaches are an alluring reason to visit on their own. There are several here, including the family-friendly Lake Worth Beach and Gulfstream Park, which is far less crowded with tourists. Check out Peanut Island or Ocean Reef Park when planning a snorkeling trip.
Even if you've never given it a try before, snorkeling is an excellent way to see the beautiful coral reefs, colorful fish, and even some sharks just off the coastline. It's also one of the best spots for first-timers, with a wide range of snorkeling lessons provided by local divers and outfitters. Scuba diving is also a must-do activity in the area, thanks to the clear waters of Palm Beach.
The lush gardens and outdoor sculptures of the Norton Museum Sculpture Garden are fabulous throughout the year. It's also home to the Norton House, built in 1925 by famed architect Maurice Fatio. The home and the gallery within it are available for tours and are listed on the US National Register of Historic Places. It's all located within the El Cid Historic District, an exceptional experience for history and architecture lovers.
With over 200 rescued animals, McCarthy's Wildlife Sanctuary in nearby West Palm Beach is the ideal lesson in conservation and giving back to the planet. There's a full rehabilitation center here, as well as a guided tour. You'll likely see turtles, lizards, and even a few alligators living out their lives in peace after suffering some type of loss. The sanctuary isn't ideal for children under five but is perfect for animal lovers since the admission fees help support the organization's efforts.
After a day on the beach, shopping, or sightseeing, there may not be a better way to take in the natural beauty of Palm Beach than on a sunset cruise. Numerous companies are available, but it's best to book your trip early. For a longer option, consider a half-day cruise to explore more of the coastline and island areas.
This is a stunning space that's more than 40 years old. It's the oldest and largest botanical garden in the country, with some very interesting, unique displays. With over 16 acres of land to roam, it's easy enough to see over 6,000 species of plants thriving in Florida's subtropical weather. Walk along paths, wander off into separated gardens, and learn a bit along the way.
Sometimes referred to as simply The Square, Rosemary Square is a busy area offering a range of art galleries, restaurants, and shops. There's often live music, especially during the afternoon and evening. While you could spend your time (and money) easily here just shopping, consider an alternative activity, like a cooking class or a show at the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts.
Peanut Island is a small area of about 80 acres. It's noted for its beautiful reefs and beaches but is also home to the Palm Beach Maritime Museum. This area used to be President John F. Kennedy's presidential bunker—and you can tour it! It's also a former Coast Guard station. Plan a few hours to explore these sites, grab some lunch, and then hit the water for a full day of fun.
The Palm Beach Zoo and Conservation Society sits on 23 acres of tropical land that's perfect for a wide range of animal habitats. Many of the hundreds of animals that call it home are endangered. Educational conservation programs, lots of animal viewing, and some play areas for younger kids make this a fun thing to do in Palm Beach for the whole family. As a non-profit organization, your admission price helps keep its efforts going.
Dating back to 1936, this stunning, Colonial-style building sits on 10 acres just off the Intracoastal Waterway. What makes the Society of the Four Arts unique is that it's the oldest cultural destination within the region and home to an expansive art gallery, well-managed sculpture gardens, a children's library, and a performance hall. There could be a live event while you visit, so check the calendar as you plan your trip.
When old-style outdoor shopping brings a smile to your face, make a trip to GreenMarket in West Palm Beach. You'll be able to browse around 100 vendors who offer everything from artisan goods to tasty treats. It's open only on Sundays and generally only for a few hours each morning, but it's where the locals go to get organic, fresh produce, flowers, and unique gifts. If you're looking for authentic trinkets to take home, this is where you'll find them.
If you love to surf, which is easily done across many of the beaches here, check out the Palm Beach Boys Club. Not only can you pick up the gear you need, but you can take some lessons and learn to paddleboard. Some make this a frequent stop just to check out the surf shop. With its 30-year history, Palm Beach Boys Club is also the destination for Grateful Dead lovers—there's a dedicated section in the shop with just about anything you can imagine.
To fully appreciate the beauty of Palm Beach, book a helicopter tour. This is a fantastic way to get to know the layout of the area. A 30-minute flight will help you see some of the region's best attractions, including the former Kennedy Estate, Peanut Island, and even Mar-a-Lago. Be sure to take in the downtown area's beautiful layout, too.
For luxury shoppers, Worth Avenue offers everything from Louis Vuitton to Gucci and plenty of others. It's the high-end shopping you've been craving, with a few art galleries and bistros added to the mix. Bring a credit card and some comfortable designer shoes to explore the stores. You may even catch a few celebrities here.