Palm Beach is one of the areas of Florida I have spent the most time in, just behind Orlando and my home on the Space Coast. I have family who retired in the Jupiter area and during college, Andrew and I came down often to scuba dive. When it was time to pick a place to get married, it only made sense to choose this area, because we love the gorgeous beaches and have so many great memories here! After visiting a lot while planning our wedding, I have found tons of fun things to do in Palm Beach.
This post will cover everything from the northern part of the county in Jupiter, down to the southern part of West Palm Beach. I will cover Boca Raton, Boynton Beach, and the south side of the area in a different post. Most of the things to do in Palm Beach are in the central area of West Palm, but it is a large area with plenty to do outside of the main city. I have broken them into categories to help you find what you are looking for!
For more info regarding Jupiter, Florida, check out my interview with We Travel There, all about this charming beach town!
Cultural and Artsy Things to Do in Palm Beach, Florida
Known as Florida’s Cultural Capitol, there is so much to learn and see in Palm Beach County. I got the chance to visit during MOSAIC (AKA Month of Shows, Art, Ideas, and Culture), and was amazed by all the cool museums and art installations there are here. Whether you are a creative type or not, here are some cultural things you can’t miss in Palm Beach!
1. Climb the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse
For an unbeatable view, you have to visit Jupiter, Florida, and climb to the top of the lighthouse. There are 105 steps to the top and though you might be out of breath when you can make it, it is worth it for the pictures. You can also explore the museum and learn about what life as a lighthouse keeper in Florida was like. There is a super informative tour that lasts about an hour and has fun facts sure to amuse any Floridian.
2. Explore the Henry Morrison Flagler Museum
Another interesting museum is the Flagler Museum You can explore the Flagler estate and learn about how this family influenced the area of Palm Beach, and how the area came to be. The building itself is very elegant and you can take a pretty walk by the water too.
3. See a Live Show
The talent of this area is unmatched and nowhere is that more prevalent than at the theater. The Palm Beaches are home to a plethora of independent theaters where you can catch performances of musical favorites, classic works, and original shows. The Maltz Jupiter Theatre and the Eissey Campus Theatre are popular spots in North Palm Beach and Palm Beach Dramaworks and the Kravis Center offer shows in West Palm Beach.
4. Tour an Art Gallery
West Palm Beach is the epicenter for art museums in Florida and there are two must-visits. First, the Norton Museum of Art has been open for over 80 years and includes thousands of works of American, Chinese, and European art. Here, you can find pieces that span history, from Ancient Chinese Jade Carvings of the Qing Dynasty era to Andy Warhol Pop Art.
5. Visit an Enchanting Sculpture Garden
For an outdoor art experience, the Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens is a stunning spot. Not only is the garden home to over 100 impressive works of art, but there is also an expansive collection of rare palm and cycad species. This is an ideal attraction regardless if you are interested in art or nature!
6. Window Shop on Historic Worth Avenue
My favorite thing about Palm Beach is all the different shopping areas! This is definitely the best place for shopping in Florida. Even better though, is that all the shopping is located in outdoor centers alongside some excellent restaurants and scenery. The most famous is Worth Avenue, an oceanfront district with all the upscale stores. This is actually where Lilly Pulitzer’s juice stand was located back in the 1950s that led to the creation of her brand. You can find Lilly Pulitzer, Vineyard Vines, and other coastal brands, as well as high-end designers on this glamorous, palm tree-lined street.
7. Find Shopping and Entertainment at The Square
If you are looking for more of an experience than a shopping trip, I recommend The Square. This town center is home to tons of unique restaurants and bars and is constantly hosting events. I’ve seen everything from a holiday celebration with snow to fitness classes hosted in the plaza here. We love going here for progressive dinners or live music at the different bars. If you are in the mood for a walk, you can park here and head to Nancy M. Graham Centennial Square and check out the harbor as well.
8. Visit the many Palm Beach Town Centers
Jupiter has a couple of its own town centers that are equally nice. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Downtown Abacoa, as we stayed at the Courtyard Palm Beach hotel here before our wedding! This is where we found Civil Society Brewing and tasty restaurants like Hokkaido Sushi and Copacabana. We also enjoy going to the Harbourside Place a little up the road for live music by the water.
For more strictly shopping, Downtown at the Gardens and the Gardens Mall has pretty much every store you could imagine! We always head to this mall when it’s raining. However, my favorite place for shopping is the Palm Beach Outlets. They always seem to have way better deals and way fewer crowds than the Orlando outlets. Definitely check it out if you need to freshen up your wardrobe!
Nature Things To Do in Palm Beach
Of course, everyone knows about the beautiful beaches of Jupiter and West Palm, but surprisingly, there is even more to this area than that! Nature lovers will be amazed by the biodiversity to find in the botanical gardens and state parks of the areas. Scuba Divers and snorkelers are especially in for a treat with so many opportunities to dive and see turtles, sharks, and even starfish. For those who prefer to see wildlife from a safer distance, the zoo and wildlife sanctuaries here offer that and more! the limits are endless for experiencing nature in Palm Beach.
9. Wander through Mounts Botanical Garden
By far one of the most enchanting gardens I have visited in Florida, Mounts Botanical Garden is definitely worth a visit. There are 25 different garden areas to peruse, each with its own theme. You can learn a lot about the flowers and the subtropical climate of Florida, just by checking out each garden here. My favorite parts were the Mediterranean Garden, the Edible Garden, and the Butterfly Garden. definitely recommend taking a picnic or snack to enjoy while basking in the sun at one of the best nature things to do in Palm Beach.
10. See Blowing Rocks Beach
For a beach unlike any other, head towards the north area, where you can see the Blowing Rocks Preserve. These formations amazed us so much, that we took our engagement pictures here! It’s not the best beach for swimming, but the rock formations are unforgettable and great for pictures.
11. Spend a Day at the Beach
Blowing Rocks is my favorite beach, but there are excellent spots all along the coast. One of the most popular is Juno Beach Park, with its impressive pier. For a more natural experience, you can visit John D. MacArthur State Park beach or even take a boat to Peanut Island Park. Further south, there are plenty of beach accesses in West Palm Beach, like Municipal Beach and Phipps Ocean Park.
12. Visit a Wildlife Sanctuary
One place to see animals in their natural habitat is at the Busch Wildlife Sanctuary. Here, there are nature trails where you may spot deer, otters, or even a bald eagle. The sanctuary also rehabilitates wild animals and cares for those that have injuries too severe to be reintroduced back into the wild. You can see these animals, learn a lot from the different exhibits and tour it for a small fee.
The McCarthy’s Wildlife Sanctuary is also in the area and is known for its guided tours that get up close and personal with many of the rehabilitated animals. They cost $35 and are filled with valuable information.
13. Explore the Palm Beach Zoo
For a more family-orientated experience, the Palm Beach Zoo is a great place to spend the day. Here you can see animals you don’t see at most zoos like capybaras, fennec foxes, and busch dogs. Of course, it has bears, jaguars, tigers, and other impressively large species too! A variety of events take place throughout the year here, like the summer Roar & Pour series where you can enjoy live music, food, and the tiki bar during your zoo visit.
14. See Manatees and Turtles
The Manatee Lagoon is a free eco-discovery center with all sorts of exhibits about Florida wildlife, especially manatees! If you go between November and March, you are very likely to see them congregating in the warm water outside the center! You can even take a yoga class, attend a lecture or just enjoy the ocean view here. Lastly, I have to mention the Loggerhead Marinelife Center where you can learn about sea turtle rescues and rehabilitation. If you go in the fall, you might just see some rescued sea turtles or hatchlings too!
15. Learn Something New at the Cox Science Center & Aquarium
One of the best nature things to do for families in Palm Beach is to visit the Cox Science Center & Aquarium. This center has a museum, an aquarium, a planetarium, and an outdoor park all in one! The aquarium has some of the best exhibits I have seen that imitate the different aquatic ecosystems of Florida. The museum has all sorts of displays, including ones that go in-depth on the science of renewable energy, the human brain, and computer coding. And outside, kids can run off energy while learning about dinosaurs and gem mining with the outdoor exhibits.
Active Things To Do in Palm Beach
For those who like to break a sweat while experiencing the local area, there are all sorts of activities to try in Palm Beach. Most are outside, so make sure to stay hydrated and watch for thunderstorms. These next things to do prove Palm Beach is much more than a snowbird town!
16. Paddle through the Mangroves at a State Park
There are a lot of ways you can actively interact with nature in Palm Beach. The John D. MacArthur Beach I mentioned before is also a great place to snorkel, kayak, fish, and take a hike at. There are tons of places all over the area to rent paddleboards and kayaks and glide along the water near dolphins and manatees. I have found Nautical Ventures to be a good place to rent from.
17. Take a Scuba Diving Charter
A lot of people don’t realize how great this area is for scuba diving and snorkeling. In fact, it is actually the best spot for diving in the state of Florida. Possibly the best in the country, if it weren’t for Hawaii! I got scuba certified here with Florida Scuba Charters and had an amazing experience on the water seeing turtles and fish. Kyalami Charters is actually my favorite boat to dive with, and they always take us to the best reefs for a dive.
18. Snorkel or Dive with Sea Horses at Blue Heron Bridge
If you don’t want to take a charter, you can actually dive or snorkel on your own at Blue Heron Bridge. This is a spectacular, shallow spot accessible right off the shore that has a diverse variety of sea life. You can rent equipment nearby and then park there close to an hour before high tide because the lot fills up fast. We have seen everything from puffer fish, to sea horses to octopus. People often get certified here because it’s a relaxing, but one-of-a-kind dive spot.
19. Relax on a Boat Tour
If you rather explore the waterways by staying dry, take one of the many boat tours offered in Palm Beach. Cruisin’ Tikis is a favorite where you can take a relaxing boat tour by the mansions of Palm Beach. Or for a romantic evening, sunset cruises are a wonderful way to see the sun go down from the water.
20. Play a Game of Golf
The thing that people do know Palm Beach for is golfing and you can find all sorts of courses here. I personally have not been, but I know there are many options from oceanfront courses to par 3’s for beginners. For family fun, Adventure Mini Golf is a beloved spot and the Topgolf-like Drive Shack is now open!
Unique Things To Experience in Palm Beach
This last section goes through some Palm Beach icons that you can’t experience anywhere else! Whether you are a local or on vacation, try and hit as many things to do from this part of the list!
21. Go to a Spring Training Game
For sports enthusiasts, the Spring Training games here attract thousands of visitors each year. The Nationals, Astros, Cardinals, and Marlins play in West Palm Beach and Jupiter, against most of the other MLB East teams. You can usually get tickets pretty cheap and it’s a cool way to see some of the most popular players in a smaller setting. They also have lots of games and entertainment to liven up the experience too!
22. Try the Best Craft Brewery in Florida
While in Palm Beach, craft beer lovers need to visit my favorite brewery. Civil Society Brewing is continually named one of the best breweries for IPA’s in the country and it’s #1 on my best Florida breweries post! Even those who hate bitter beer will love it here, as the IPAs are so fresh and juicy.
23. Taste your way through Grandview Public Market
Foodies would be remiss to not try Grandview Public Market while here. I have tried almost every vendor here and love everything from the sushi burritos to the Cuban specialties. This is such a fun way to try a bunch of different cuisines in one meal and there is often live music too.
24. Experience a Summer in Paradise Event
Summers are hot here, but that is no reason to stay away. The city of West Palm Beach offers free concerts, movies, and fireworks every week. Past concerts include funk bands and orchestras, with all sorts of styles in between. The fireworks on the fourth of July are quite the spectacle and one of the best celebrations in South Florida for it!
25. Attend the Palm Beach Food & Wine Festival
Every December, chefs from all over the world flock to Palm Beach to cook up amazing cuisine, and attendees of the PB Food and Wine Festival get to try it all! Tickets for the main event include all sorts of testing and you can also attend specially-themed parties throughout the weekend.
Know Before You Go: Things to Do in Palm Beach
Palm Beach is a dreamy vacation spot for so many reasons! This list doesn’t even cover everything and there are always new things popping in West Palm and Jupiter. If you are visiting the area, here are a few things to keep in mind for your trip.
- The best time of year to visit Palm Beach is from November through April. It can get very hot in the summer and stormy in the fall.
- It’s recommended that you use sunscreen without oxybenzone if you are going in the water because normal sunscreen is so damaging to the coral reefs.
- This area is quite large and it is best to rent a car. You will be very limited to a small area without one, as there is not reliable public transportation.
- Though the demographics of Palm Beach are changing, it is still home to a lot of retirees. There is not a huge party scene and the nightlife is limited.
Save this pin for later while you are here too!