Let’s say you’ve been in Orlando for some action-packed, theme-park family fun. It’s been a blast, but now you need some R&R. It’s time to head to the coast, specifically to The Palm Beaches, to kick back, chill out and enjoy the natural side of Florida.
The region stretches for 76 kilometres along Florida’s mid-eastern coastline and features beautiful beaches and seaside communities protected by several long, thin barrier islands that parallel the coast. The largest city is West Palm Beach. The most beautiful? Well, that’s up for debate. From lovely Jupiter in the north to bustling Delray Beach in the south, each community has something different and special to see.
Morning Start with a climb up the 105 steps of the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse, an 1860 landmark that offers spectacular views of the Florida coastline from the highest point in the tiny community of Jupiter. After your climb, explore the fantastic History Museum located nearby in the restored Second World War Navy building, where exhibits share more than 5,000 years of the area’s history.
Afternoon Head to Rapids Water Park, an epic attraction that boasts 35 giant slides with names like Black Thunder and Old Yellar, and a long, lazy river for mellowing out. Grab lunch at one of the well-stocked concessions.
Evening Freshen up before dinner at 3800 Ocean, the elegant signature restaurant at the Palm Beach Marriott Singer Island Beach Resort & Spa, located on Singer Island—one of several long, narrow barrier islands that shelter the Palm Beaches from the open Atlantic. Feast on dishes like pan-roasted grouper with potato-artichoke hash, then venture onto the glorious beach for an after-dinner walk.
Morning Take an Everglades airboat ride at Sawgrass Recreation Park, and feel the breeze in your hair as you glide across the water’s glassy surface in search of a gator. Whether you spot one or not, this fab outing will teach you all about the Everglades ecosystem. Afterward, visit the Gator Grill for lunch.
Afternoon Drive north on the I-95 to Delray Beach, where fantastic shopping and charming side streets abound within the historic downtown district. Browse the area’s unique boutiques, then fill up on sweets at the massive It’Sugar candy store, or build your own sundae at Sloan’s Ice Cream.
Evening Stroll over to Deck 84 restaurant on Atlantic Avenue to take in some live music, a great waterfront setting and lots of fresh, casual food. Try the signature grilled Mahi Mahi with mango-chile chutney, or the legendary 10-oz. Deck Burger, and wash it all down with a tasty Build-Your-Own Mojito.
Morning Head to Juno Beach’s Loggerhead Marinelife Center, in Loggerhead Park, to see rescued sea turtles up close. Browse the aquariums, marine displays and well-stocked gift shop. If you’re lucky, the sanctuary will be ready to release one of the sea turtles during your visit, and you can join the hundreds of spectators who show up to cheer.
Afternoon Grab lunch at the Lazy Loggerhead Café, then stick around for an afternoon at the beach. One of the best public beach options in the area is right there at Loggerhead Park.
Evening Head south (about 25 minutes on the I-95) to bustling downtown West Palm Beach and stroll along the waterfront, an area packed with shops and cafés. Dine at Pistache, an upscale Parisian bistro that offers a mouth-watering cheese and charcuterie menu. With a glass of Prosecco in hand, propose a toast to your Florida getaway.
Getting there: WestJet flies to West Palm Beach twice a week from Toronto.