It’s no secret that The Palm Beaches is home to world-class beaches, golfing, shopping and historic landmarks.
But behind these attractions are myriad opportunities to venture off the beaten path. Iconic beachfront hotels, storied shops and an abundance of arts and culture characterize The Palm Beaches, a balmy escape with a pristine, uncrowded Atlantic Ocean coastline. Before you reserve that beach cabana, spice up your vacation itinerary by shopping, dining, golfing and exploring like a local.
Stroll Iconic Worth Avenue
If there was ever an avenue made for strolling and daydreaming, Worth Avenue is it. This iconic thoroughfare resembles a street plucked out of a European village, sprinkled with tropical flair. Start your explorations at the striking clock tower, just steps from the beach, before continuing down sidewalks lined with swaying palm trees and posh shops. Make a stop at the original Lilly Pulitzer store. Preppy beach frocks made legendary by the American socialite, Lilly Pulitzer, are the “it” item here. Farther down the avenue, pop into C.J. Laing, a local boutique known for hip, bohemian-style clothing, jewelry and gift-worthy accessories. Catch a glimpse of the charming side streets known as “vias,” adorned with avant-garde sculptures and bougainvillea bursting with fuchsia-colored blooms.
Once you’ve worked up an appetite, have lunch at Green’s Pharmacy & Luncheonette, a classic soda fountain, for an old-timey milkshake and all-American diner food. Rumor has it that John F. Kennedy (the 35th president of the USA) and his wife Jacqueline used to bring their kids to eat here. Just off Worth Avenue, walk into what feels like your own secret park at Pan’s Garden. Hang out with the native songbirds and butterflies amid the flowering vines, shrubs and trees in this tiny paradise.
The iconic beachfront clock tower that marks the start of Worth Avenue
Play the Palm Beach Par 3 Course
A mere 15-minute drive south of Worth Avenue will lead you to the Palm Beach Par 3, a public oceanfront golf course. With six holes running along the beach and another five on the Intracoastal Waterway, you can count on golfing with breezy ocean views. Despite being a short course, no two holes are alike. Plus, there’s a fair share of deep bunkers woven throughout. As you travel the greens, you’ll notice the cart paths are lined with coquina rock, adding to the classic Florida ambiance. Want to sign up for a golf clinic or lesson? Drop by the Clubhouse, where you can also set up a tee time.
It’s not a true Palm Beach Par 3 experience without a visit to Benny’s on the Beach just a short drive away. Stave off post-game hunger with a burger, power bowl or delicious seafood right on the Lake Worth Pier overlooking the stunning Atlantic Ocean surf.
Aerial view of the beachfront Palm Beach Par 3 golf course
Art Indoors & Out in Norton Museum of Art
An enormous 80-year-old banyan tree marks the entrance to West Palm Beach’s cultural jewel – the Norton Museum of Art – only a few kilometers inland from Palm Beach Par 3. Inside, you’ll be transported into a world filled with treasured collections of Classical, Chinese, American and Modern European art and special photography exhibitions. Check out highlights such as the Baum Gallery, which showcases the museum founder’s original collection of Modern European art with pieces from Claude Monet, Constantin Brancusi and Pablo Picasso. Dale Chihuly’s “Persian Sea,” a blown glass exhibition adorning the ceiling, demands a look as well. The courtyard in the heart of the building serves as a wonderful venue for the sub-tropical sculpture gardens. Expect impressive sculptures by Keith Haring, Jenny Holzer and Franz West in this “museum in a garden.” For a bite of brioche and a latte, pop into The Coffee Bar located in the museum’s “living room,” also called the Ruth and Carol Shapiro Great Hall. More sustenance can be found at The Restaurant at the Norton. Be sure to stop inside The Store housing a variety of beautifully hand-crafted items apt to make the perfect gift or keepsake.
The “Typewriter Eraser, Scale X” sculpture by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen at the entrance to the Norton Museum of Art
Catch a flight to Palm Beach International Airport (PBI) for your next holiday. Optionally, fly into Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International (FLL) or Miami International (MIA) airports. To get to The Palm Beaches, you can rent a car or board one of two train options: Tri-Rail or the Brightline (soon to be called Virgin Trains USA) – the latter being a luxury, high-speed rail service.