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Discover the best things to do in Palm Beach with our comprehensive guide. We’ve curated a collection of activities that promise to make your visit memorable.
Florida, often hailed as “The Sunshine State,” offers a vibrant tapestry of experiences for travelers seeking the perfect blend of relaxation and luxury. Nestled within this sun-kissed haven is the renowned Palm Beach, a destination that epitomizes opulence and leisure. As one of the wealthiest cities in the United States, Palm Beach lives up to its prestigious reputation with its soft sandy shores, inviting waters, and a wealth of lavish resorts, mansions, and fine-dining establishments. If you’re wondering about the best things to do in Palm Beach, you’ve come to the right place. Join us as we explore the attractions and experiences that make Palm Beach a lovely destination.
Palm Beach vs. West Palm Beach: What’s the Difference?
Before we delve into exploring the attractions of Palm Beach, let’s first clarify the differences between Palm Beach and West Palm Beach (WPB). Palm Beach and West Palm Beach are different cities in South Florida, each with its own character and features. To simplify, West Palm Beach is located on the mainland and does not have a beach. Just a short bridge-crossing away is Palm Beach, an island that does indeed have a beach! And, of course, you can easily walk, ride, or book a Blacklane to cross the connecting bridges.
As mentioned, Palm Beach is a serene island with a relatively small population of around 9,000 residents. It boasts a unique charm that sets it apart from its larger neighbor, West Palm Beach. This idyllic island has earned its reputation as a haven for billionaires, counting prominent figures like former President Trump, Rod Stewart, James Patterson, and Billy Joel among its residents. The town’s boundaries are defined by the Atlantic Ocean to the east, the Intracoastal Waterway (known locally as Lake Worth) to the west, Lake Worth Inlet to the north, and the city of Lake Worth to the south.
On the other hand, West Palm Beach has evolved from its humble origins as a working-class city into a vibrant and inviting destination. It offers a variety of attractions and amenities for residents and visitors alike.
To get from West Palm Beach to Palm Beach, you can use any of the four bridges spanning Lake Worth:
- Flagler Memorial Bridge, the northernmost bridge, connects North Quadrille Boulevard in West Palm Beach to Royal Poinciana Way in Palm Beach, forming part of State Road A1A.
- Royal Park Bridge, the middle bridge, links Okeechobee Boulevard in West Palm Beach to Royal Palm Way in Palm Beach.
- Bingham Island Bridge, the southernmost bridge, connects Southern Boulevard (also known as US-98) in West Palm Beach to Southern Boulevard in Palm Beach. This route forms the southern boundary of the Mar-a-Lago Club property.
- Lake Avenue Bridge, located near the southern boundary of Palm Beach, extends from Lake Avenue in the city of Lake Worth.
It’s also worth mentioning that Palm Beach International Airport (PBI) is located in West Palm Beach. It’s just a quick 10-minute drive from the island to the airport. Additionally, Fort Lauderdale Airport (FLL) is approximately 45 minutes away and offers a great number of direct flights. Furthermore, Miami International Airport (MIA) is within reach, providing additional travel options for visitors.
Whether you need a convenient pick-up or a timely drop-off at the airport to catch your flight, we’re here for you. Our professional chauffeurs will ensure that your journey is just as enjoyable as your destination. What’s even better is that our global service is available in popular Florida destinations, allowing you to experience the same level of quality in cities like Tampa, Orlando, Miami and more.
Best Things to do in Palm Beach
First Stop: Henry Morrison Flagler Museum
Start your journey at the Henry Morrison Flagler Museum, a tribute to one of America’s most influential industrialists, Henry Morrison Flagler. As one of the founders of Standard Oil, Flagler made an indelible mark on history, not only for his business prowess but also for his transformative impact on Florida. In the early 20th century, he pioneered the Florida East Coast Railway, laying the groundwork for the development of cities like Miami and Palm Beach. The Flagler Museum is a must-visit for history enthusiasts and curious travelers alike.
The jewel of this museum is Whitehall, a resplendent Gilded-Age mansion that Flagler and his wife called home from its completion in 1902 until Flagler’s passing in 1913. Today, Whitehall stands as a National Historic Landmark, inviting visitors to step back in time and immerse themselves in the opulence and elegance of the early 20th century. As you explore each room meticulously restored to its original splendor, you’ll gain insights into Flagler’s colorful life and the era he lived in. Whether you opt for a docent-led tour, complete with knowledgeable guides who provide details about the mansion and its history or prefer to wander at your own pace with an audio tour, the experience is bound to be nothing short of memorable.
The Elegance of Worth Avenue – The Best Shopping in West Palm Beach
Worth Avenue epitomizes the grand design of the town’s architect, Addison Mizner. Known for his creative eccentricities, including a pet monkey as a sidekick, Mizner single-handedly shaped Palm Beach’s aesthetic, and Worth Avenue stands as evidence of his genius. This landmark offers a thoughtfully designed experience, showcasing Mizner’s Mediterranean Revival style dream world. It’s also the iconic thoroughfare for the best shopping in Palm Beach featuring high-end boutiques like Tiffany, Gucci, Chanel, and more, all vying for your attention.
As you meander down Worth Avenue, you’ll discover that it’s a theater of hidden courtyards and alleyways, painstakingly designed to evoke an Old-World charm. Mizner’s love for theatricality is evident in the whimsical staircases and the artfully uneven roof tiles, a touch he referred to as ‘intentional imperfection.”
At the western end of the avenue, you’ll find the Vias – a collection of courtyards. These Vias house various restaurants and shops, including Bottega Veneta designer Tomas Maier’s boutique, Stubbs & Wotton’s preppy velvet slippers, and Walker Zabriskie’s showroom. Take a walk through Via Mizner, once Mizner’s residence, and experience its historical significance. You can also explore Via Amore, which has a fairytale vibe.
Beyond the glitz and glamor, Worth Avenue offers a quieter side. Smaller, winsome shops like Raptis Rare Books house unique finds such as signed first editions by luminaries like Benjamin Franklin and J.K. Rowling. And at the avenue’s end, a small courtyard with a clock tower has become an iconic symbol of Palm Beach. Just remember, Worth Avenue’s culinary scene is equally enticing. From budget-friendly bites to luxurious dining experiences, there’s something to satisfy every palate.
Explore the Scenic Beauty of The Lake Trail
Stretching over 5.5 miles, this enchanting trail runs parallel to the Intracoastal Waterway, treating you to a visual feast of Palm Beach’s opulent estates on one side and the West Palm Beach skyline on the other. You can explore this trail in various ways, such as biking, hiking, or simply taking a walk, and it will lead you to experience both the beauty of nature and the grand architecture of Palm Beach.
As you pedal or stroll along the Lake Trail, you’ll encounter delightful surprises along the way. One such wonder is the giant 185 years old kapok tree affectionately known as “Big Tree,” a beautiful example of nature’s majesty.
As you continue, you’ll come across the coral cut, a stunning passage where tall coral cliffs meet at the junction of North Lake Trail and Country Club Road. Amid this, there’s a simple barred window in the coral. This window has given rise to some urban legends, but it’s just a water department door, or so they say.
Along this trail, which commences at South Lake Drive and concludes just north of the Sailfish Club, you’ll find numerous stopping-off points where you can savor the serenity of this natural haven.
Immerse Yourself in Art at the Norton Museum
Just a stone’s throw away from Palm Beach, the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach beckons art aficionados and curious visitors alike. Recently transformed by the renowned architect Sir Norman Foster, this cultural gem houses an impressive and diverse collection of over 8,000 artworks that span the globe, representing Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas. It’s proof of the universal language of art, and its size now ranks it as the largest museum in the entire state of Florida.
Step inside, and you’ll find a treasure trove of artistic riches, from exquisite amber carvings to timeless Old Masters’ masterpieces. The Norton Museum boasts a particularly robust Americana collection, showcasing exceptional works by iconic artists like Norman Rockwell and Edward Hopper. Those looking for things to do in West Palm Beach with a cultural flavor need look no further.
Take a Stroll Through The Society of the Four Arts Gardens
The Society of the Four Arts is a non-profit organization located in Palm Beach, offering a diverse range of attractions that cater to both art connoisseurs and nature enthusiasts. As you explore this cultural haven, you’ll discover a concert hall, two libraries, and the Esther B. O’Keeffe Art Gallery, showcasing creative works of art. However, it’s the botanical gardens that steal the spotlight and capture the essence of the Four Arts.
Dating back to the 1930s, these gardens transport you to old worlds with Chinese- and Spanish-themed planted areas. Although they weathered the ravages of two hurricanes in 2004, the gardens have undergone a remarkable transformation, faithfully restoring their original splendor. Walking through the gardens is a truly special experience.
Step Back in Time at Bethesda-By-The-Sea
Bethesda-by-the-Sea is a unique blend of history, architecture, and spirituality. This exquisite Gothic Revival Episcopal Church has earned its place as one of the city’s most beloved attractions.
The church’s origins date back to January 1889 when it was first built as the Little Red Schoolhouse. Its remote location meant that reaching the church was a navigational challenge, often requiring a journey by boat. This unique circumstance led to the construction of a larger church and rectory on a more accessible lot in the 1890s. Bethesda-by-the-Sea’s main church building stands today as a stellar example of Gothic Revival architecture, a style that’s rare and cherished in Palm Beach.
The church is surrounded by a beautiful garden filled with various tropical trees, including well-known Florida plants like royal poinciana, queen sago, and bougainvillea. There are also some unique trees like the sausage tree, along with less common native plants like the Geiger tree, pigeon plum, and mahogany.
Behind the church, there’s a lively garden called Cluett Memorial Garden. When you walk through it, you’ll notice colorful koi fish swimming around. They may even follow you, especially if you offer them some food. The whole area is truly a peaceful place to enjoy a quiet moment.
Savor the Seaside
Anyone wondering what to do in Palm Beach need wonder no more. With a name like Palm Beach, you naturally expect to find an abundance of warm, sun-drenched, powdery white sand shores to explore. Start your beachfront adventure at Municipal Beach, also affectionately known as Midtown Beach. Here, you can capture a photo at the iconic Worth Avenue Clock Tower, and then immerse yourself in the tranquility of the sea. If you’re yearning for more sandy shores, head over to Phipps Ocean Park or Kreusler Park, both of which offer clean and inviting beachfronts with amenities for a relaxed and enjoyable day by the ocean. Don’t be afraid to ask locals for their opinion for the best beach in Palm Beach — if you’re not in town for long it can pay to heed a long-term resident’s opinion.
Embark on a Boat Ride
When you find yourself in the splendid coastal enclave of Palm Beach, taking a boat ride becomes an absolute must-do activity. After all, you’re right by the ocean, and open waters are inviting, with a mix of adventure and relaxation.
For those seeking an enriching experience, consider hopping aboard a chartered catamaran that takes you on historic site-seeing cruises, offering a glimpse into the area’s heritage. Alternatively, you can go on a thrilling fishing expedition, casting your line into the bountiful waters surrounding Palm Beach. And for those who simply wish to revel in the sun-drenched beauty of the ocean, a day on a private yacht is the epitome of bliss.
Moreover, venture offshore to Peanut Island, an 80-acre county park with a rich history. Once a Coast Guard station and even President John F. Kennedy’s presidential bunker, you can now easily access it via a water taxi ride. Upon arrival, you’ll discover a multitude of activities to enjoy. The island’s crystal-clear turquoise waters create the perfect setting for snorkeling, where you can spot colorful reef dwellers such as parrotfish, angelfish, starfish, and occasionally even manta rays. For snorkeling in West Palm Beach, prime locations include a small reef on the eastern shore facing the inlet and a designated snorkeling lagoon on the southern shore. If you prefer to stay on solid ground, explore Peanut Island via a 12.5-mile paved trail that encircles the island, offering beautiful views throughout your journey.
If you happen to possess a boating license, Palm Beach also presents the opportunity to rent boats for a few hours or the entire day. This flexible option allows you to chart your course and explore the coastline at your own pace, making it one of the most enjoyable things to do in Palm Beach.
Indulge in the Elegance of The Historic Breakers Hotel
The Breakers Hotel is a legendary oasis steeped in history and luxury. Its story begins in the late 1890s, a period when opulence was taking root in this seaside haven. Remarkably, The Breakers was not only founded during this era of transformation but was also the brainchild of Henry Flagler himself, the same visionary behind the Flagler Mansion. From its very inception, The Breakers was envisioned as a playground for the crème de la crème of American high society, setting a standard for luxury that endures to this day.
Even though there were two fires in the early 1900s that damaged the hotel, each time it happened, they made the hotel even more luxurious. Today, The Breakers stands as a grand example of history, where the past seamlessly converges with modern luxury.
One of the highlights of The Breakers experience is the HMF Lounge, a lavish enclave that exudes timeless elegance. You can enjoy the experience even if you’re not a hotel guest by perching at the oceanfront Seafood Bar and indulging in a signature cocktail. You can also opt for a meal there that is nothing short of culinary excellence. As you enjoy your time here, you’ll find yourself transported to an era of The Great Gatsby glamor, making it one of the most unforgettable things to do in Palm Beach.
If you are in search of perfect accommodations in Palm Beach, it’s worth exploring other stylish hotels such as The Brazilian Court, renowned for its Mediterranean-style charm, and The Colony, famously recognized as Palm Beach’s iconic pink hotel.
Wine and Dine
After a day filled with activities, it’s time to explore Palm Beach’s vibrant dining scene, where Michelin-starred chefs and award-winning restaurants are the norm. Café Boulud, helmed by Chef Daniel Boulud, beckons with upscale French cuisine, perfect for special occasions. Discover seasonal Voyage menus that showcase the flavors of selected countries inspired by Boulud’s travels.
For a taste of the sea, venture to PB Catch, a sophisticated eatery adorned with sleek nautical decor. Here, you’ll be treated to an elevated seafood menu that promises an exquisite journey through the ocean’s finest offerings. Meanwhile, Pizza Al Fresco entices with a charming courtyard illuminated by string lights and offers wood-fired pizzas that please at any time of day.
Fun fact: In the elegance of Pizza Al Fresco’s courtyard, two gravestones catch your eye. Oddly enough, they’re side by side and dedicated to unconventional “residents.” One is for Johnnie Brown, Addison Mizner, the town’s architect’s monkey, and next to him lies Laddie, a beloved dog of the Sachs family, who lived in Mizner’s villa for nearly 50 years.
How to Get Around Between Things to Do in Palm Beach
Whether you’re exploring the vibrant West Palm Beach nightlife or basking in the sun on the beautiful sandy shorefront, you are never short of things to do in Palm Beach. In a town that values class and elegance, a professional chauffeur service is the perfect way to make an impression for any special occasion.
For convenient in-city travel, you can easily book a Blacklane ride, ensuring hassle-free navigation within the town. With Blacklane, you can enjoy a relaxed ride, while taking in the sights and sounds of the city. As a result, you don’t have to worry about anything from driving to parking, leaving you free to enjoy your trip to the fullest.
If you’re planning to explore more of Florida or need to travel between different cities within the state, our City to City ride is the perfect choice for you. With our door-to-door rides, you can avoid waiting in lines or switching between various modes of transportation. In addition, alongside the usual booking in advance, we have just launched a new on-demand Chauffeur Hailing Service in Miami, allowing you to enjoy a comfortable chauffeured ride within minutes.
And finally, when traveling to and from Florida, why not rely on Blacklane airport transfer service to provide seamless transportation to airports such as MIA and Fort Lauderdale Airport? With our service, you can avoid parking and traffic hassles, ensuring a smooth travel experience and arrive at the airport on time.