The Palm Beaches made Forbes’ list of the cheapest places to travel this summer. Surprised? We aren’t. Discover our hidden gems and one-of-a-kind South Florida treasures, all absolutely free. Endless ocean waves and miles (and miles and miles!) of silky sand beaches, all bathed in that golden South Florida sunshine. Summer vacation time is here, and what better place to spend it than The Palm Beaches.
Actually, what better way to not spend and still savor only-in-South Florida treasures?
The Palm Beaches were recently named to Forbes’ list for Cheapest Summer Travel. So forget your wallet and come savor unforgettable experiences that you will only find here in The Palm Beaches.
Admire Local Artwork
Visit the Cultural Council of Palm Beach County’s Robert M. Montgomery, Jr. building in downtown Lake Worth to view collections of artwork made in or exclusive to The Palm Beaches. Wander approximately 2,500 square feet of flexible gallery space Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., then stroll south to the Cultural Council’s Project Space to see a giant Martin Luther King, Jr. mural by Brazilian artist Eduardo Kobra. Insider tip: Families can acquire new skills in visual arts, dance and theater programs through the Arts in My Backyard (AIMBY) Family Saturdays program.
Even more local pieces are at Pineapple Grove in Delray Beach, just off Atlantic Avenue. The eclectic neighborhood is filled with murals, sculptures, galleries, shops and restaurants.
Visit a Museum
Learn about The Palm Beaches’ rich heritage at the Richard and Pat Johnson Palm Beach County History Museum in West Palm Beach. State-of-the-art interactive exhibits are on display inside this former 1916 courthouse, reflecting stories behind the area’s history. The People Gallery contains tributes to notable Palm Beach County residents and visitors from past to present, whose contributions have made lasting change, and the Place Gallery explores the area’s natural environment. Upstairs, discover a rotating set of courtroom exhibits. Insider tip: Don’t miss the must-see Barefoot Mailman exhibit covering U.S. postal workers who delivered the mail in the 1850s by walking barefoot from Palm Beach to Miami.
Experience the Everglades
More than 31,000 acres of The Palm Beaches’ most precious South Florida ecosystems are protected among dozens of pristine natural areas—open from sunrise to sunset, 365 days a year. Step back into the Everglades’ past at Grassy Waters Nature Preserve as you zigzag your way along broad boardwalks rimmed with open marsh, fragrant pines and verdant young cypress stands. Witness diverse plant and animal life, and reconnect with Old Florida when you canoe, kayak or dipnet amid shimmering sheets of sawgrass that were once part of the River of Grass. Insider tip: Arrive when the preserve opens at 8 a.m. to see more of the natural wildlife.
Walk on the Wild Side
The Palm Beaches’ nature preserves rival the beaches—and that’s saying something. Visit sick patients in the Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Center at Boca Raton’s Gumbo Limbo Nature Center. And hunt for Florida’s state butterfly, the zebra longwing, in the preserve’s butterfly garden. Stroll the quarter-mile boardwalk through preserved tropical hardwood hammock, and watch for animals such as grey foxes, red-bellied woodpeckers and five-lined skinks. The nature center is also home to four amazing outdoor aquariums, each with a marine habitat featuring thousands of tropical fish. Insider tip: At the aquarium with the sunken ship, keep your eyes peeled for Sharkie, the preserve’s shy but lovable shark.
For even more nature therapy, visit Green Cay Nature Center in Boynton Beach. It overlooks 100 acres of constructed wetlands and offers informative lectures and talks throughout the day. Walk along the 1.5-mile elevated boardwalk and capture photos of rare Florida birds like least bitterns and wintering painted buntings. Insider tip: Bring your smartphone to scan the QR codes for fascinating information on native flora and fauna.
Encounters of the Bird Kind
Birdsong fills the air at Wakodahatchee Wetlands, located at the southern section of the Great Florida Birding Trail, and home to about 178 species of birds. A boardwalk carries you through successive stages of marsh—ranging from bulrush in the shallows, to deeper water with alligator flag, and islands with shrubs and snags—ideal habitats for nesting and roosting. Interpretive signage and plenty of gazebos with benches let you soak up tranquil moments and admire the views of airborne wildlife, as well as up-close views of an array of wading birds. Insider tip: Watch for the rainbow plumage of the purple gallinule. Sometimes they’ll hop right up on the railings as you pass by.
If you’ve already got snorkel gear, enjoy a day of underwater adventure amid an incredible variety of marine life at Phil Foster Park in Riviera Beach. The internationally recognized Underwater Snorkeling Trail is located beneath the Blue Heron Bridge in the sparkling waters of Lake Worth Lagoon. The artificial reef is made of limestone boulders and submerged concrete pilings, spanning a two-acre area in six to 10 feet of water. Insider tip: Wear your GoPro and dive down to weave in and out of the pillars alongside vibrant schools of exotic fish and spotted moray eels. Peek under rocks to spy yellowline arrow crabs, and record memorable footage of encounters with giant starfish, squid, octopuses and manatees.
Dance the Nights Away
By night, bustling Clematis Street Entertainment District is known as the “Hot Spot to Chill,” a moniker it’s held for more than 20 years. Clematis by Night takes place against the starlit backdrop of Lake Worth Lagoon, where you can dance the night away during free, open-air concerts on Thursday evenings.
And live music plays on throughout Friday and Saturday nights at the Italian-style plaza Rosemary Square (formerly CityPlace). Starting at 7:30 p.m. each night, visitors and locals gather to hear free performances in just about every genre of music you can imagine, from relaxing acoustic sets to cover bands cranking out your favorite throwback jams. Insider tip: Don’t forget your lawn chair!
Source: The Palm Beaches