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IN PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS: FAMILY ADVENTURES IN THE PALM BEACHES
 
(2023 - Spring/Summer Issue)

Writer: JIM BAMBOULIS



It’s true. The Palm Beaches are the internationally legendary home to 76 kilometres of pristine Atlantic coastline, boasting stunning sunrises and spectacular surf. But beyond the beach, adrenalin-pumping adventures, educational ecotourism experiences, ambrosian Floridian flavours and creative, cultural communities await to be discovered. Ditch predictable trips to Florida, and go deeper. The Palm Beaches are the complete package, making it the ideal family destination you’ve been dreaming of.  

Conservation Haven  

Considered to be a precious treasure to The Palm Beaches, sea turtle nesting season is a big deal. For centuries every May, green, leatherback and loggerhead sea turtles lay their eggs on beaches stretching from Jupiter to Boca Raton, giving us a first-hand look into this natural marvel. Take a guided nesting observation tour with park rangers at John D. MacArthur Beach State Park, or head to Loggerhead Marinelife Center to learn about sea turtle conservation efforts, or go on an evening guided turtle walk. 

At the Manatee Lagoon, the educational attraction has interactive exhibits and an observation deck devoted to manatee viewing, for free! Over by the local favourite Busch Wildlife Sanctuary—which is celebrating 40 years—visitors can walk on trails and discover Florida’s unique wild kingdom of gators, crocs and the Florida panther. Inland, Lion Country Safari is the first drive-through safari in the U.S. and Florida’s largest, priding itself on conservation and education. While feeding giraffes and parakeets is a thrill, the highlight is the 45-minute, window seat side-view of rhinos, ostriches, zebras and much more.

Fun on Land

With kids in tow, you can rent a bicycle or lace up the sneakers, and hit the nine-kilometre Palm Beach Lake Trail, a scenic, relaxing, meandering cardio builder lined with swaying palms, ivy and bougainvillea, not to mention views of both West Palm Beach and Lake Worth Lagoon. Rest beneath the octopus-like Amazonian kapok tree before you continue your sun-filled walk, stopping at the palatial Henry Morrison Flagler Museum, a.k.a. “Whitehall,” the jewel of The Palm Beaches and former residence of the late American industrialist.   

Further inland, experience the northern gateway of the Everglades at Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge. You can explore 80 kilometres of hiking trails and a 58-kilometre-long biking trail that offer glimpses of 250+ bird species, the endangered Everglades snail kite, and if you’re lucky, the family can spot an American alligator. 

Yes, The Palm Beaches are revered as “Florida’s Golf Capital,” and with over 160 must-play courses, it’s a golfer’s fantasy come to life. In Boca Raton, at Osprey Point, an Audubon internationally certified golf sanctuary, there’s the challenging yet beautiful course that hugs the natural beauty of the Everglades. At the legendary PGA National Resort, there’s The Champion, a Jack Nicklaus-designed course that features the famous Bear Trap, while The Breakers Palm Beach is home to the Ocean Course, Florida’s oldest 18-hole golf course, and one of its most picturesque. While there, be sure to inquire about the family-friendly golf clinic.

Adrenalin on Water 

Around this Floridian outdoor playground, you can rent jet skis, try flyboarding, go air boating, or hop on a fishing charter and hook a grouper. More than any other point in Florida, The Palm Beaches are located closest to the Gulf Stream, meaning the clear, warm seawater offers fabulous fishing adventures as well as a unique marine ecosystem. While there are several dive spots, Phil Foster Park under Blue Heron Bridge is considered a great scuba and snorkel spot teeming in sea life. The artificial reef has underwater shipwrecks, many of which were sunk to allow marine habitats to flourish.  

If recreational water activities are more your jam, there are countless launch areas to kayak or canoe. Paddle from Riviera Beach to nearby Peanut Island, or venture to Riverbend Park for a 12-kilometre freshwater trek through the Loxahatchee River where portions have been designated as an aquatic preserve. Experience a full moon paddle SUP (stand-up paddleboard) tour of Singer Island and Lake Worth Lagoon, or enjoy the glassy waters in a two-hour Saturday evening sunset SUP tour, perfect for all ages and skill levels. 

The Beaches, Of Course

Home to 30 tropical beach parks, The Palm Beaches offer families ample opportunities to discover their very own curated oasis, complete with seashells and sand. Enjoy Jupiter Beach’s warm-water lagoon or head to Coral Cove in Tequesta, known for the water-carved rock formations. Experience a sunrise on the boardwalk at Ocean Reef Park, or for true island vibes head to the local favourite Peanut Island, a fun-on-the-water oasis for over 100 years.

At Juno Beach, enjoy the breeze along its 300-metre-long pier, or escape the crowds and plant your sun umbrella at Oceanfront Park in Boynton Beach. 

Ditch the predictable, and create fun, fond, family memories in The Palm Beaches, where Floridian vacation fantasies are fulfilled! 

HIP TO BE SQUARE IN DOWNTOWN WPB

While the Harriet Himmel Theater—built in 1926 in the Spanish Colonial Revival style—still serves as a cultural centre, the rest of downtown West Palm Beach has been completely reimagined.  Head to The Square, a revived outdoor plaza, formerly known as CityPlace, to view a community hub where greenery, shady nooks and vine-covered backdrops invite you to peruse the shops, restaurants and galleries. 

The Palm Beaches pride themselves on being Florida’s Cultural Capital. So much so that developers who wish to build large-scale projects must contribute one per cent of their above-ground construction project cost back to the arts. The destination is home to more than 200 art, entertainment and historical venues, from world-class museums and breathtaking outdoor sculpture gardens to premier theatres and performance spaces.

IF YOU’RE IN DELRAY

Explore pristine Atlantic Dunes Park oceanside, then spend the day strolling and shopping on East Atlantic Avenue. Downtown Delray Beach buzzes in electric nightlife, energetic restaurants and beachy boutiques. Getting around the beachside haven is simple thanks to free eco-friendly golf carts. 

Travel Planner

For more information about outdoor adventures in The Palm Beaches, please visit thepalmbeaches.com

 
 
 
 
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