Source: O Globo
Close to two of the most visited destinations in Florida, Palm Beaches, Florida, reserves some of the reasons that lead many tourists to travel: nature, sports and shopping. With great weather (in December, in the middle of winter in the country, the average temperature is 27 ° C), the region attracts by the beauty of its beaches, which can be used during the day, and compensates at night with its restaurants, bars and stores.
Palm Beaches is located between Miami and Orlando, where the main entrance airports are for those visiting the region. The region is also close to Fort Lauderdale. The trip between the county and Miami, for example, is 1h30m by car and about 45 minutes by train. From Orlando, the journey takes an hour more by car (it is not yet possible to travel by train, but a railway line is scheduled to open in 2020 or 2021 that will connect the two points).
Unlike what many think, Palm Beaches is not a city. In reality, it is a region that contains 39 small independent cities. The best known is Palm Beach, where American millionaires usually have vacation homes. One is Donald Trump, who boasts a mansion that takes up more than a block.
Among the prominent cities in the area, which deserve to be known, are Palm Beach Gardens, Juno Beach, Riviera Beach, West Palm Beach, Delray Beach and Boca Raton.
The best way to get around is by car, as there are few public transport options connecting cities. On the other hand, most of them have free and exclusive transportation through their main tourist attractions.
The region has a public company to promote tourism, Discover Palm Beachs, which gathers on its website several information that can help tourists to set up the itinerary, starting with daytime activities, many in the water, such as diving classes, visits to islands and kayaking. But there is also room for other distractions: a walk on the beach’s edge, a bike ride or walk in parks and a stop at the stores of the main international brands.
As it is close to Miami, Palm Beaches is seen by many visitors as the perfect place for a day trip. They don’t know what they’re missing.
The region, as it turns out, has a lot to offer. Ideally, on the recommendation of Discover The Palm Beaches, you should book at least three to five days to enjoy most of the many attractions available in the cities that make up the county. Check out why below.
Palm Beaches tourism developed through the idea of Henry Flagler, an Ohio tycoon who moved to Florida when he saw potential in the area to attract visitors and boost the economy. In 1885, he settled in what is now the city of Palm Beach. The house he built to live, and was completed in 1902, houses the Flagler Museum, which tells more deeply the story of the region’s first investor.
It is close to the museum that houses the main hotels in Palm Beach and the shopping haven, Worth Avenue. It is possible to find the most famous and luxurious brands in the world. And who knows how to run into one of the famous people who inhabit the city to escape the cold days of the Northern United States.
The city has an advantage over others in the county: all beaches are public. In some of the neighboring municipalities, it is necessary to pay attention to the signs, because some strips of sand are private.
For Palm Beach, a walk or bicycle tour is recommended, which can be rented. There are companies that do specific tours, where you can get to know the city’s attractions in a more intimate way, from the beaches with crystal clear water to the culinary and fashion options.
West Palm Beach
For younger travelers, perhaps the most attractive city is West Palm Beach, where the night takes place. It is also where the train stop from Miami is located. There is a street called Clematis Street, where the best bars, restaurants and nightclubs are. Nearby is Rosemary Square, a block dedicated to shops. Until 2018, the region was called CityPlace.
In addition to a more youthful atmosphere than Palm Beach, WPB has an artistic touch, with small cinema, theater and street interventions, such as those by Brazilian artist Kobra, who years ago painted a portrait of Albert Einstein in the city. To travel around the region, there is free transportation that stops at predetermined points.
Another city that attracts younger people is small Delray Beach, where the beaches are also crystal clear and, most importantly, public. It also offers free transportation in a nice six-seater electric car. It has an office of the Downtown Development Authority, which promotes tourism specifically in this city.
Riviera Beach – The Palm Beaches
In addition to the luxury itineraries, shopping and cuisine, the main attraction of the Palm Beaches region is the sea and what it can reserve. For those who like water activities, one of the best cities to visit is Riviera Beach. It belongs to Peanut Island, where it is possible to reach, as well as by boat, swimming or kayaking. Several companies offer activities such as diving and snorkeling. The island hides its secrets. It was there that former American President John Kennedy decided to build a bunker, in the middle of the Cold War. After being deactivated, the place became a museum and was even opened for visitation. Today, it is closed, and it is forbidden to approach its entrance.
On the island, it is possible to be enchanted with different types of animals. It is in its vicinity that the marine manatees, also known as manatees, seek refuge. With luck, it is possible to see an entire family swimming peacefully in the sea. Still on Peanut Island, in addition to the (rare) possibility of diving with manatees, it is possible to see rays and turtles. From the mainland to the island, it is ten minutes paddling in a kayak.
In Riviera Beach, there is a manatee lagoon preservation center, the Manatee Lagoon, open to visitors. The place studies the animals, teaches about their preservation and tries to boost the reproduction of the species.
Near the island, under a bridge, many tourists do their baptism in diving, in shallow water. For the more experienced, there is the option of taking boats and diving in deeper waters.
Another possibility is diving only with snorkel. As the water is crystal clear, it is possible to see all the movement of the seabed without prejudice. There, there are some artificial corals, which helps to attract different species of fish. And also turtles. There is even a hospital specializing in the treatment of this animal, the Loggerhead Marinelife Center, in Juno Beach. Admission is free – a contribution of US $ 5 is required – and the visitor can see the animals in rehabilitation and learn about the differences between species. As all animals are named and their medical records are updated daily on the hospital’s website, if the visitor gets attached to any of them, they can follow their development on the internet until they are returned to the sea.
Palm Beach Gardens
Although Palm Beaches’ main sporting attractions are on the water, there are other leisure options. In Palm Beach Gardens, for example, the PGA hotel is located. In addition to being one of the best resorts in Florida, with several swimming pools, massage options, a gym and tennis court, the hotel attracts with another facility: an extensive and popular golf course. When he is in Palm Beach, where he has a restaurant, tennis player Tiger Woods likes to train there. In the same city, there are also shopping options, especially at Garden Malls, one of the main malls in the region.
Jupiter – The Palm Beaches
Jupiter is another popular city in the Palm Beaches region that cannot be missed, with options for museums, nature contemplation and gastronomic pleasures. The day can start with a walk at Riverbend Park, which has a lot of history to tell and a lot to be seen. It was here that two battles took place between white and Seminole Indians, both in 1838. Pause for history. The first battle of the Loxahatchee, the river that runs through the park, was commanded by Lt. Levin M. Powell, of the United States Navy Expeditionary Seafarers Unit, on January 15. In search of the seminoles, Powell’s unit, led by a captured Indian, found some trails and were surprised by the attack by the Indians. The battle stretched across the swamp and ended with an advantage for the Seminoles. There were great casualties among Powell’s 80 sailors. Ten days later, the Navy sent a response to the Indians. A troop of 1,500 soldiers led by Major General Thomas Jesup fought against some 300 Indians. The seminoles tried to escape, but failed. It was a massacre.
After these dark times (although there were only two battles in the park, the confrontation lasted seven years), the park now maintains its climate of peace and tranquility. Several tours can be done, starting with hikes. There are several trails in the park covered with trees and memories of the time when the Indians inhabited the region – even if there are no more seminole there. The route can also be done by bicycle. At the entrance to the park, there is a window at the Jupiter Outdoor Center, which offers bike rentals and provides a guide to accompany the tour. It also offers kayaks for a ride on the Loxahatchee River. It is one of the few freshwater experiences in the region. And the best one to come across animals, among birds and even crocodiles.
Still in the city, another tour available and also a must is a visit to the Jupiter Lighthouse Museum. It is a small house that tells the story not only of Jupiter, but of the entire Palm Beaches region, from the first inhabitants to today. It also includes the city’s participation in World War II, remembering that the region where the museum is located has become a military base. The icing on the cake is to climb the more than one hundred steps and go to the top of a lighthouse. Although it seems tiring – and it is not – the climb is worth it. It is possible to have a 360 degree view of the entire city, with its sea and coves and modern buildings.
At night, gastronomy asks for passage. As a city by the sea, most of its restaurants offer seafood, but not only that. There are several options. Among them, 1000 North, whose partner is former basketball player Michael Jordan, who invests in the region and likes to take advantage of the PGA Golf Resort to have fun with one of his hobbies.
Boca Raton – The Palm Beaches
Another city of Palm Beaches that needs to be on the road is Boca Raton, the closest to Miami, about 40 minutes away by car. It contains the Boca Raton Museum of Art, which has already received works from the Brazilian Vik Muniz, for example.