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Best of Palm Beach County in the Winter.

Updated: Sep 5, 2023


Ocean at Palm Beach
Palm Beach

I just love this area. Palm Beach, West Palm Beach and the many other beaches in Palm Beach County are the best. Today's blog will be about my favorite places spread throughout Palm Beach County. Odd things to see, outdoor activities, restaurants, a little bit of history, and accommodations. Also discussing my best time to visit this special section of the world. I know it sounds odd to be writing this blog in July, but planning ahead for a snowbirds trip south for the winter sounds wonderful on this extremely humid day in Charlotte NC.


Intercoastal waterway at West Palm
View across the waterway

Palm Beach vs West Palm Beach. Most people do not realize little facts about this area. In fact, despite its name, West Palm Beach does not have a beach, it is located on the Intercoastal waterway. Whereas Palm Beach is oceanfront. You can take 1 of 3 bridges to cross over from West Palm to Palm Beach to get you some ocean time. Temperatures will still be in the 60's and 70's for the most part during winter, unless a cold spell drops in on you. In January, the coldest month, the water temperature is still 71 degrees. I typically go in late February, that is the best time for me with my work schedule. and it is the perfect weather.


History

Palm trees
Grove of Palm trees in Palm Beach

In January of 1878 a shipwreck off the coast helped to give this area its name. The ship Providenica wrecked on the way to Cadiz Spain from Havana Cuba, and the ship was carrying coconuts which came ashore, naturalized and became palm trees. Soon thereafter there were tons of palm trees on the beach area and the name Palm Beach stuck.



palm trees
Palm Trees

This area started to grow in population in the late 1800's. The first hotel, The Coconut Grove House was built in 1880 and in the 1890's other hotels started being built because it was becoming a tourist destination. Henry Flagler, an oil tycoon had a lot to do with this growth, building 3 hotels himself, and also building housing in West Palm Beach for the workers in Palm Beach. His contribution to Palm Beach and throughout the coast of Florida helped to cement Florida as a tourist destination. A little bit later in the 1920's Addison Mizner helped in making the Palm Beach area grow, especially on Worth Street. He built over 65 buildings in the area. Those 2 names Henry Flager and Addison Mizner were rich and eccentric but have helped in making the Palm beach area what it is today.

West Palm
View from West Palm

A hurricane named Okeechobee hit the coast in 1928, devastating the area and destroying many buildings and homes, but the area rebuilt with time. Population grew, and the rich continued to flock to the area and build places to live in for vacations. After the great depression it boomed again, and continued on growing and growing, The rich elite kept coming and building homes too. Today there are over 40 Billionaires that live here, and this is a tourist destination for the everyone to enjoy.


Things To Do

cider doughnuts
Cider Doughnuts at GreenMarket

GreenMarket. Is an outdoor market that is rated number 1 in the United States. It is the best. Walk through the open-air farmers market and not only see foods you can take home to cook later, but also plants, cafes, and even a place for some free learning for adults and kids at the pop-up workshops. They always have music playing. Check out the Cider Doughnuts while here. They have the best doughnuts, it's so light and fluffy. Open on Saturdays from October till April on the Great Lawn from 9 AM till 1 PM.


Mandalay Farms is a fully licensed zoo you can visit and even book a sunset safari. This is north of Palm Beach in Jupiter, but only about 25 minutes north. If you book ahead and plan your trip when they offer the safari's they are the best. Even just a normal walk around the farm is a great experience. Spider monkeys, turtles, horses, llamas and so much more. The Armadillos are the best.


Loggerhead Marine Life Center located in Juno Beach focuses on research, rehabilitation, and teaching about the Loggerhead turtles that live in the ocean. It's free to visit and they have aquariums, and a gift shop too.


Outdoor Water Activities

Palm Beach
Palm Beach

Of course, with all the water around there are plenty of fun activities you can do. Boating, tours, fishing, parasailing, paddleboarding and so much more are available all up and down the coast and intercoastal waterway. Water activities are the best in Palm Beach County even in Winter. Just sticking your toes in the ocean is great. In the winter it will be chilly, compared to summer here, but totally manageable at 71 degrees at the lowest.


Get Wet Watersports is great for parasailing, jet ski rental, boat tours and so much more. Water activities are available with them all up and down the coast in Palm Beach County, so you can be at other beaches instead of Palm Beach.


Phil Forest Park, great for snorkeling, scuba and kayaking.


wetlands
wetlands near West Palm

Kayak on the Loxahatchee River near Jupiter, starting at Riverbend Park and heading east to the ocean at about 7 miles away.


Grass Waters Preserve is an everglades habitat in West Palm, take a Swamp Trop Tour while there it is only $5, just don't wear good clothes or shoes. lol



If you enjoy fishing on your own, check out College Park Bait and Tackle store located in Lake Worth. Take your rod and head inland and stand on the banks of the many little inlets in the area and catch some Snakehead fish. It's an invasive species from Asia. Just be sure to pick up a fishing license for about $17.00 Check out Stub Park, Spillway Park, or Curray Park, but there are hundreds of other places to go fishing too.


Nature Trails to walk.

Green Cay Wetland was farmland before 2005 but has been converted into wetlands by the county. Where this is recreated, is what the area would have looked like before civilization. 1.5 miles of boardwalks going through different habitats. There are gazebos, and signs to read along the way.

Bananaquit Bird
Bananaquit bird

Check out the nature center, walk the paths and bridges and look at the animals. Lots of birds are here and winter is best to see the migratory birds that stop here to lay eggs and raise their babies before taking off again. There are 178 different species of just birds that make this area their home. The bird I took a picture of is a very rare bird in this area, almost never seen here. Called the Bananaquit, it mainly lives in South America and the Caribbean. What made it venture to Green Cay and I catch a glimpse of it is a miracle. Yep, I just showed that I am a bird nerd. lol


Wakodahatchee Wetlands located right behind Green Cay and is 10 years older, so it appears more natural the trees are taller and the environment is fuller.. The walking paths, boardwalks and informational signs are just as great here as they are at Green Cay.


Jeaga Wildways is a great place for hiking, walking or biking. It will take you from Jupiter to Palm Gardens and connect 160,000 acres. Watch out for the Sand Hill Cranes. I swear they know they are a protected bird species and will chase you if you get too close. It usually isn't a problem, they are beautiful birds, but I have seen it happen, because they are very protective of their babies.


Marsh land
Marsh land near West Palm Beach

Here are a few more I need to mention.

- Walking on ancient sand dunes at Jupiter Ridge Natural Area

-Winding Waters Natural Area in West Palm, its a freshwater wetland.

-Loxahatchee Slough Natural Area, great for walking in Palm Beach Gardens.



Odd Attractions

Nuclear Dinosaur- located just outside the South Florida Science Center. It used to stand near a Nuclear Plant but moved here in the 1990s. While visiting, go inside and check out the science center, it costs about $17.00 and there is lots to see.


Paul McCarthy as Orpheus Statue- located at the Ann Norton Sculpture Garden. Very odd to see. Check out the rest of the garden, beautiful gardens and sculptures. There is lots to see here.


Grave of Johnnie Brown the human monkey. This is a very odd and unique gravestone from 1927 located in the courtyard of a restaurant Pizza al Fresco on Worth street. (The food is great here also) Johnnie Brown was a spider monkey owned by an influential man that lived here named Addison Mizner. Right beside this unusual grave is the grave if a dog named Laddie from the 1950s




Flagler Museum- was the home of Henry Flagler who built the island-hopping train from Miami to Key West, and making this area a tourist destination. He was a very rich businessman, so when you tour this museum take a look at all the elitist decor, but while here check out Gold Telegram and the train car Flagler used to travel on for the first time to Key West in 1912. You can also ask to visit the bathroom where Flagler died if you are interested. Lol


Manatee Lagoon
Manatee Lagoon

Manatee Lagoon on Flagler drive. This is a water flow from a power plant that the Manatee's absolutely love. Best time to see them is in the winter, as the warm outflow of water from the PowerPoint keeps these cute cows of the sea warm. This little area opened in 2016 and it's free for the public to visit. Walk the boardwalk, take pictures and visit the Eco Discovery Center.




Underground Shark Attack, located north in Palm Beach Gardens at the Nove Southeast University Campus. These statues of Mako sharks are coming out of the ground and look like they could chomp on you.


Restaurants

A great area to take a walk and enjoy some night life in West Palm with great restaurants is the area near Bright line Station in downtown. Hullabaloo, Kapow!, The Blind Monk, and Camelot are some favorites in this area of West Palm for a fancy night out on town. If you want some cheaper options in this same area look into Roxy's Pub, Rocco's Tacos and Tequila Bar, and Hot Pie Pizza. Some others nearby are Coolinary and Cholo Soy Cocina. Of course, I have to mention Angie's Epicurean its Ice Cream since we share a name. Stop by The Square and get ice cream from the truck. You can also shop online and she has other locations in south Florida.


There are some great coffee shops in Palm Beach County, but my favorite has to be Harold's Coffee Lounge in the Northwood Village area of West Palm Beach. Order a coffee, tea or specialty drinks that you cannot find anywhere else. sit for a spell and people watch. This isn't your normal coffee shop, and visit in the evenings too.


In Palm Beach check out the Flagler Steak House, The Honor Bar, PB Catch, and Cucina Palm Beach, but just know that everything in Palm Beach is more expensive, but their food is amazing.


Accommodations

There are so many places to stay, but I will name a few I just love.


Built in 1947 the Colony House Hotel is a beautiful place to stay. And even if you don't stay there, stop by and take a picture with it. It has beautiful architecture.


Palm Beach Historic Inn is in a great location and a little bit friendlier to the pocketbook and more boutique with only 13 rooms.


The Palm Beach Hotel Condominium is just .06 miles from the beach and close the Flagler Museum

Palm Beach
Palm Beach

Tideline Ocean Resort, and The Ambassador are the best on the south side of Palm Beach.

The Canopy by Hilton and Hyatt Place are my favorites in West Palm.


You can find many other places to stay in West Palm and all surrounding beach areas if you like. If you are looking for more budget friendly options, you can find those in West Palm or Lake Worth Beach area just south of Palm Beach.


In this blog I did not even cover half of what this wonderful area has to offer. There is just so much to see, do, and eat. I hope you have enjoyed what I consider the best of the area and it makes you want to take a trip and down south in the winter.


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