Palm Beach is a sophisticated town with a robust social circuit. Home to glamorous estates and professional polo players galore, you’ll see your share of women wearing Lilly Pulitzer dresses and men rocking the sockless loafer look. But that’s just a small slice of what’s on tap in Palm Beach County. The natural side of this Florida region beckons to be explored. In summer traffic, the two-hour plane ride to Palm Beach International Airport may very well be speedier than a Jitney ride to East Hampton. Temperatures may be high, but rates plunge until just before Thanksgiving, dropping luxury accommodations straight into the hands of the frugal traveler
Peanut Island is a palm-studded paradise. During the Cold War, it was the secret site of JFK’s bunker. Today, the crystal clear waters of the Intracoastal invite snorkelers and swimmers to splash alongside a Technicolor array of marine life.
The Blue Heron Bridge at Phil Foster Park is recognized for its abundance of sea creatures. The Underwater Snorkel Trail cuts a memorable aquatic swath where squid, octopus, spotted rays and starfish romp.
You can kayak or standup paddle board to one or both of these magical spots with the friendly guides at Visit Palm Beach. They’ll provide all the necessary gear, including mask and fins.
If you’re in the mood for a two-wheel spin, the Lake Trail is a paved 10-mile gem. You’ll spy tropical flora and fauna as you whirl by some of the most elaborate private mansions in the country. Rent a bike or inline skates from the Palm Beach Bicycle Trail Shop and away you’ll go.
While Palm Beach is never going to be confused with Oahu’s North Shore, surfers may find a fairly consistent break on Reef Road and at Jupiter Inlet.
The West Palm Beach dining scene has blossomed into a creative hotbed of chef-driven energy. If you’re partial to Italian-American cuisine served in an effortlessly trendy post-industrial space, head to James Beard award-nominated Chef Clay Conley’s Grato. The open kitchen’s wood-burning oven incubates the menu’s fine pizzas and wood-grilled meats and fish. Handmade pasta is crafted with respect to the motherland and slathered in an array of delectable sauces.
To get a mouth-watering overview of the local food scene, come in December for the annual Palm Beach Food & Wine Festival.
Situated on a private beach surrounded by tropical gardens, Eau Palm Beach Resort has got it going on in all the right ways. From the moment you enter, the complimentary glass of bubbly, ocean views and cooling tropical breeze spell vacation heaven. Elegant yet playful, the lobby rivals the finest old-world European hotels while guest rooms offer fresh and festive pops of nautical colors. Take an outdoor yoga class, kayak or just frolic in the surf or in one of the splendid pools. The resort loans nifty beach cruisers in candy colors for easy pedaling. With decadently delicious onsite restaurants and a sumptuous spa, you may never want to leave. Stay 2 nights and get the 3rd night free, valid until November 20, 2016.
May-October is turtle nesting season and Palm Beach County is a very popular nesting spot. Loggerhead, Leatherback and Green sea turtles loyally return to the same location each year to deposit their precious eggs. Keep your eyes open for nests during your post-sunset sandy stroll, or head to the Loggerhead Marinelife Center in nearby Juno Beach. This conservation center and turtle rehabilitation hospital organizes guided evening walks where visitors may observe these gentle creatures busy at work.
How to Get There:
Many airlines fly here in just over 2 hours. JetBlue offers multiple daily nonstop flights from both LGA and JFK to West Palm International. Those unlimited free nibbles and individual screens help the journey fly by.
Once you’re in town, join Palm Beach County’s vibrant cycling community, where ubiquitous signs remind drivers to share the road. When you want to venture out after dark, Uber is an evening alternative.
For more information, visit www.PalmBeachfl.com
Photo credits: Palm Beach Food & Wine Festival, Michael Pisarri, Discover The Palm Beaches