Palm Beach is a premier tourist destination in Florida. While you may think of cities like Miami and Jacksonville before Palm Beach crosses your mind, that takes nothing away from the fact that it is one of the most visited cities in Florida.
But Palm Beach is not just a tourist hotspot because of its idyllic beaches and watersport options, rather its lively downtown area and a variety of upscale boutiques make Palm Beach what it is. Read on to get a break down of the 25 best things to do in Palm Beach!
Interactive Map of 25 Things to Do in West Palm Beach (FL)
1. Henry Morrison Flagler Museum
After construction finished on Whitehall, Henry Flagler’s massive 75-room mansion, the New York Times claimed that it was “more wonderful than any place in Europe….”. So, It is of little surprise that this mansion turned museum was nominated for 2021 Best of Palm Beach County award.
Walking through the harrowed walls of this imposing mansion will conjure up images of Versailles or the Hermitage – and you will have to remind yourself that you are actually in Palm Beach. Even if you are not able to visit the museum in person, you must give some serious thought to taking the virtual tour. If you are looking to host an event, you would be hard-pressed to find a venue as impressive as the Henry Flagler Museum anywhere in the US.
2. Rapids Waterpark
One of the most popular Waterparks in the US, Rapids Waterpark gets 400,000 visitors per year. The park divides its 42 attractions into the biggest (the most thrilling), coolest (inclusive fun for all ages), and wettest (child-friendly fun) and is the perfect place to get away from your busy life and forget all your worries.
It is no wonder that the waterpark has been featured in numerous popular culture products such as Trina’s “Pull Over” song video, and the Donnie Brasco movie. Make sure that you get a hold of the season pass if you plan on making multiple visits to the waterpark!
3. Palm Beach Zoo and Conservatory
The award-winning Palm Beach Zoo and Conservatory is a must-visit attraction in Palm Beach. You will come across a wide range of animals from the Fennec Fox to Tiger Cubsbut the Zoo also plays a significant role in supporting wildlife conservation activities across the world.
When you look at the 500 or so animals at the zoo, it will be hard for you to believe that the Zoo started 64 years ago as a simple small red barn. It now spans 23-acres and welcomes 300,000 visitors annually. The Nature Play Pavilion allows your children to get imaginative while playing outdoor games and is a great place to take a small break from a long day at the zoo.
4. Norton Museum of Art
The Norton Museum of Art was established in 1941 and its collection of 7,000 pieces of art from all over the world makes it the largest museum in Florida. Begin your visit to the museum with some of the finest contemporary American collections gradually make your way to European art through the 1870 section on the top floor.
Along the way, you will come across collections from China, photography collections, and more American artworks. Before leaving the museum, make sure that you visit the Women’s walk paying homage to the remarkable women artists in history. It is a wall of fame that began with 50 names such as Georgia O’Keefe and Marie Edmonia Lewis but those names will increase every year.
5. Peanut Island
Peanut Island is an island located in the Lake Worth Lagoon that served as the site of John F. Kennedy’s bunker in the event of nuclear Armageddon. While the bunker and the surrounding coastguard towers were closed in 2017 with no immediate plans for reopening, Peanut Island still offers visitors plenty of entertaining activities.
Snorkeling and fishing are some of the favorite activities but you can also simply relax on the beaches and take in the sun as well. You can also reserve a site at the campground and spend a majestic night under the Florida sky. Whatever you choose, make sure that you take a lap around the island on one of the paver pathways before you leave.
6. John D. MacArthur Beach State Park
This scenic paradise offers visitors a wide range of activities ranging from snorkeling to hiking. The idyllic park will surely help you forget all your worries, even if for a fleeting moment. You can even rent a kayak and make your way to Munyon Island where you will come across rare wildlife such as blue herons – it may just be in the running for the best picnic location in the US.
Another activity that is a must while you are at the park is the guided sea turtle walk – leatherhead, green, and loggerhead turtles nest along the park coastline and you can fully immerse yourself in the phenomenon.
7. Lion Country Safari
The Lion Country Safari offers you the most authentic safari experience outside of Africa. This award-winning location allows you to fall asleep to the soothing sounds of Africa and wake up to the roar of lions. Take a deep dive into an immersive experience that includes a giraffe feeding exhibit, the Rio Grande Train, a petting zoo, and many more attractions.
Make sure that you book one of the cabins or the tent sites overnight in other to have the full experience. It is difficult to find another place where you can come across giraffes and sloths in a natural setting so this is definitely a can’t miss experience.
8. Singer Island
Located near the John D. MacArthur State Park, Singer Island brings the beauty of 7 miles of pristine beaches to life. Sure, you can choose to relax at the beach, but the Island is home to some of the fanciest hotels along the Florida coast. Not only that but the 7-mile stretch is also home to the most elegant shopping and top restaurants that you can frequent in Florida.
If you have a little bit of money to throw around, Singer Island is the first place you would come. However, no one would fault you for going there to just take in the beauty of the island and engage in some wishful thinking.
9. South Florida Science Center
Located on the northern edge of the Palm Beach Zoo and Conservation Society, the South Florida Science Center is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. Its aquarium, planetarium, and Science on a Sphere features are definitely worth checking out but perhaps even more intriguing are its events such as Nights at the Museum, Silver Science, and Engineer It!
Be sure to check the time and dates of the events you are interested in, and you won’t leave disappointed. It will also be worth your while to check out some of its permanent exhibits such as the Everglades Exhibit and River of Glass.
10. Mounts Botanical Garden
The Mounts Botanical Garden is the oldest and largest botanical garden in Florida and has a storied history dating back over 40 years. The 14-acre garden located near the Palm Beach International Airport contains over 2000 species of plants throughout its 25 display gardens.
Some of the most amazing sights to behold in the garden are Florida’s diverse native plants. If you do decide to visit, make sure that you check out the Cutting Corners exhibit that was built through community involvement in 2019.
11. Okeeheelee Park
One of the largest parks in South Florida, Okeeheelee Park has a wide range of activities that will suit anyone’s interests. Whether you simply want to relax and have a nice picnic with family or are looking for the best water skiing lanes, you will find something that suits your interests at Okeeheelee Park.
The Nature Center inside the park also has various displays and aquariums that showcase turtles, snakes, alligators, and much more if you are interested. You might even want to tee off at the Okeeheelee Golf Club.
12. PGA National Golf Club
The PGA National Golf Club is located within the award-winning PGA Resort and brought to life some of the most defining moments of the sport. From the 1983 Ryder Cup to the 1987 PGA Championship, there is no talking about golf without the discussion eventually leading back to the PGA National Golf Club.
Tee off on one of the five courses and walk upon the same green as golf legends. Becoming a member of this exclusive club will make you feel like a golf royalty. If you need some help upping your golf game, the club offers some of the best golf training money can buy.
13. The Society of the Four Arts
The Society of the Four Arts is the cultural hub of Palm Beach and offers hundreds of intriguing concerts, art exhibitions, movie screenings, theatrical performances, and many more. Its Esther B. O’Keefe Gallery building hosts a wide range of traveling exhibits as well as lectures, films, and concerts that are held in its 700-seater auditorium.
Moreover, its Dixon Education Building bills itself as the home for South Florida’s lifelong learning. Even if you are not there for one of its programs, the scenic Four Arts Gardens will simply blow your mind.
14. Manatee Lagoon
The Manatee Lagoon Center was built next to the Next Generation Clean Energy Center that attracts Manatees seeking warmth in the winter. Therefore, there is no other place where you can get as close to the endangered manatees as you can at the Manatee Lagoon. Visiting between November and March, when the surrounding water is the coldest, will give you the best experience.
The Manatee Lagoon Center pursues broad and diverse programming to educate people on the fragility of our environment and how being environmentally responsible is not just an option but a duty.
15. Ann Norton Sculpture Garden
The Ann Norton Sculpture Garden is part of the estate that had belonged to Ann Norton, one of the most accomplished sculptors of her time. While the house itself has around 100 works of art you can marvel at, the garden will simply take your breath away. Located near downtown West Palm Beach, the gardens boast 250 rare tropical palms and 9 monumental structures.
To get to those sculptures, however, you will make your way through the un-manicured lawn that will give you the sensation of entering another dimension. You will also want to look at the diverse programming options on offer to make the best of your experience.
16. Phil Foster Park
You can find one of the best snorkeling trails you will come across at Phil Foster Park. Keep in mind that there are no markers so the trail might be difficult to locate but if you do find it, it will be well worth your while. You will come across hundreds of fish from pufferfish to barracudas. You might even be lucky enough to come across an octopus or two.
Before you go, check the tide table and plan on going snorkeling half an hour before high tide for the best results. Perhaps you will come across exited snorkelers enthusiastically telling anyone that will listen about what they saw and where so it might serve you well to keep an open ear.
17. McCarthy’s Wildlife Sanctuary
This wildlife sanctuary is a permanent refuge for hundreds of animals that are saved from dangerous and illegal environments as well as countless animals needing medical attention at any given time.
To offset the costs of running such a massive undertaking, educational tours for small groups are offered with all proceeds going to the care of the animals. The small size of the tours and the popularity of the sanctuary mean that the tours are usually fully booked so you will want to plan your visit well in advance.
18. Rosemary Square
The Rosemary square is a shopping center in Palm Beach. While that is technically true, it is so much more than that. You can visit the Water Pavilion that will mesmerize you with its constantly shifting water rooms, walk through District Art to marvel at the works of local and international artists, or enjoy one of the live events that are constantly on offer.
More than a shopping experience, Rosemary square offers you the complete experience at the heart of Palm Beach.
19. Grassy Water Preserve
The Grassy Water Preserve is one of the last untouched parts of the once-mighty Everglades system. This 23-mile wetland allows you to get close to native wildlife such as the everglades snail kite, white ibis, and the great blue heron that continue to live on the preserve undisturbed.
Head over to one of the hiking trails to witness the true undisturbed beauty of the wetlands. The preserve also offers some engaging educational tours for schools designed to build awareness among students.
20. Downtown West Palm Beach
The calling card of Downtown West Palm Beach is the historic Clematis street that is full of boutique shops, nightclubs, restaurants, and historical landmarks. You can take a break from shopping and check out the Norton Museum of Art or the newly opened Culture Lab that strives to become a hub of art and culture in Downtown Palm Beach.
You can also participate in the Clematis By Night weekly event that features the best singers in the region and amazing food for an unforgettable experience.
21. Yesteryear Village
Visiting this village, you will get an eerie feeling that time had forgotten it in the past. You will be met with people, buildings, attitudes, and unsophistication of the pre-1940s when you step into it. More than a glimpse into the past, Yesteryear Village will allow you to relive the past and get a new perspective on history.
Explore the 20 historic structures nestled across the 9-acre compound and just marvel at how different life was back then. If you are up for it, look into joining the History and Haunts event that looks into the darker side of the village.
22. Ocean Walk
Ocean Walk is the stretch of road that leads to the pristine sands of Singer Island. However, it is one of the main sights of Palm Beach in its own right. The manner in which it combines retail and entertainment options create a truly lively atmosphere.
This unique atmosphere can’t be replicated anywhere else and will stay in your mind forever. It honestly would not make sense to not visit Ocean Walk if you are ever in Palm Beach.
23. Meyer Amphitheater
This amphitheater with a view of the waterfront hosts some of the biggest concerts, festivals, and events in Palm Beach. Events such as the 4th on Flager, SunFest, IndiaFest, Irish Fest, and the Sunday on the Waterfront Series are held here against the backdrop of the scenic Lake Worth Lagoon.
This is the perfect place to relax and soak in some free entertainment while watching the sun slowly set over Palm Beach.
24. Riviera Beach
It’s easy to see why Riviera Beach bills itself as the best waterfront city when you consider the sheer number of attractions it has and the amazing experiences you can embark on. Firstly, it is home to the Rapids Waterpark that was already on this list.
Rapids on its own could have gotten Riviera Beach on this list but it also possesses Blue Heron Bridge, one of the best dive sites in the country. This is in addition to all the water activities you can expect from a beach.
25. Okeechobee Steak House
Opened in 1947, the Okeechobee Steak House is the oldest in Florida and has become a staple of the Palm Beach community. Its secret is in the closely guarded exclusive aging process that the family developed and it simply takes their steaks to another level.
Seeing that you are on the waterfront, you might want to go for the Steak and Lobster option, or perhaps the Seabass. Whatever, you end up choosing the Okeechobee Steak House only serves up the highest quality food and offers even higher quality customer service.