Known for its wealthy residents and legendary resorts, America’s First Resort Destination has recently undergone a rebirth to lure a new generation of travellers. The result is a perfect fusion of glamour and leisure that infuses just the right amount of style, culture and luxury; something I discovered during my recent fam trip hosted by Discover The Palm Beaches Florida and WestJet, to celebration the return of their seasonal nonstop service between Toronto and Palm Beach County.
The Palm Beaches span 75 kilometres of unspoiled beaches on Florida’s Atlantic coast, an area that stretches from the eco-adventure town of Jupiter in the north, to the exciting city of Boca Raton in the south. This iconic resort town is home to 15 tourist districts, 200 cultural attractions, and an array of dining and nightlife venues, as well as world-class golf, shopping, spas and outdoor adventures.
With so many options, the only challenge is figuring out where to start? To help you out, here are my choices for what to see and do in The Palm Beaches.
Where to Stay
In addition to its iconic resorts, there has been an influx of new hotels to the area’s shoreline, like the arrival of the contemporary Tideline Ocean Resort & Spa, Palm Beach – A Kimpton Hotel. This oceanfront property features a beautiful spa, the tasty Tideline Sushi Lounge (best raw Hamachi I ever tasted), and Brandon’s by the Beach with postcard perfect views.
The area has also seen major renovations on existing properties like the gorgeous Eau Palm Beach Resort & Spa, once a Ritz-Carlton property, recently recognized as one of Florida’s top resorts in the 2014 Condé Nast Readers’ Choice Awards. At their impressive Eau Spa, named one of only 48 spas in the world with the prestigious Five-Star rating from Forbes Travel Guide, visitors can indulge in 42,000 sq. ft. of pure bliss! At their Breeze Ocean Kitchen, enjoy an inventive new menu designed by Executive Chef Josh Thomsen and Chef de Cuisine Kevin Knierieman with spectacular ocean views.
Where to Shop
If you can’t afford the luxury boutiques that line Worth Avenue, enjoy a stroll along its picturesque streets to marvel at the area’s historical beauty and European architecture. Afterwards, sit at an outdoor café to people watch, followed by a drive along ‘Billionaires Row’ on South Ocean Boulevard to see the extravagant mansions where intriguing tales of legendary parties and scandals still entertain visitors.
For more affordable mainstream designers, head to West Palm Beach’s open-air CityPlace; an Italian-inspired centre with more than 80 retailers, innovative entertainment venues and restaurants that cater to people of all ages and tastes.
Where to Eat
Home to North America’s winter bread basket, Palm Beach County offers an excellent array of ultra-fresh farm-to-table dining options. Take a culinary walk to explore local fare along Delray Beach’s hip Pineapple Grove district. To sample an array of local cuisine as you learn about history, architecture and culture, take the West Palm Beach Food Tour. At the weekly GreenMarket held October through May sample local fare. If you are looking for a laid back vibe, dine at Guanabanas; a waterfront restaurant set amidst a lush, tropical setting in Jupiter. For a finer dining experience, Palm Beach’s coveted French-American inspired Café Boulud by Celebrity Chef and Restaurateur, Daniel Boulud, and Executive Chef, Rick Mace is perfect.
What to Explore
Hoping to catch a glimpse of South Florida’s abundant wildlife? Visit the Busch Wildlife Sanctuary; a non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation and protection of Florida’s wildlife and natural resources.
There are over 200 cultural centres to explore throughout Palm Beach County. Among them the Flagler Museum, housed in the former Beaux Arts-style winter estate of Palm Beach’s founding father, Henry M. Flagler’s. For an evening of art, sit back and take in an opera, ballet or comedy show at the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts.
There really is so much to see and do in The Palm Beaches with something that will appeal to everyone. For more information on this iconic resort town, visit palmbeachfl.com.