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Palm Beach Vacation Ideas on a Budget

Buzzle Staff Jan 1, 2019
For many, Florida does not exist outside Orlando and Miami. But there is a part of Florida which is an economical and yet highly enjoyable vacationing destination. You will further discover a Florida, very different, colorful, and replete with entertainment options for all pocket sizes.

Did You Know?

The Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens at Delray Beach is the only museum in the country dedicated solely to the living culture of Japan
The first few things that come to our mind when we think of Florida are theme parks, South Beach, and luxurious high-end hotels. However, there is much more to the state. If you stay away from Orlando and Miami, things get a lot more affordable.
A great option to explore Florida on a budget is the equivalent of exploring the Palm Beach County. It offers luxury, history, natural respite, and so much unadulterated fun that you'll be exhausted but not theme-park broke.
Palm Beach County is the largest county in the state, home to old money, a rich history, and a burgeoning biotechnology industry. The county not only includes famous luxury towns, like Palm Beach and Boca Raton, but also the metropolitan West Palm Beach, rural Loxahatchee, charming Delray Beach, and laid-back Jupiter.

Palm Beach County Avenue

Where to Stay

The rule of thumb in Florida is that the farther to the west you go, the cheaper things are. Look for hotels in Wellington or Boynton Beach. Boca Raton and West Palm Beach offer moderate to high-end rooms.
Palm Beach also boasts of the luxury offered by The Breakers Resort, The Ritz-Carlton, and the Brazilian Court, along with myriad smaller boutique hotels. Alternatively, there are plenty of beach house rentals available for both short- and long-term stays, especially in Delray Beach.

Getting Around

Public transportation in the area is at best. There are buses, cabs, and even a limited commuter rail. However, relying on these will mean spending the majority of your vacation commuting.
A variety of car rentals are available right at the Palm Beach International Airport located about three minutes from downtown West Palm. Don't worry about finding your way around, the county is arranged on a grid system and all roads either run east-west or north-south. Following GPS is a cinch.

Food and Drink

Palm Beach County is a foodie's paradise. There are literally thousands of bars and restaurants at all stops on the price scale.
Chains like The Cheesecake Factory, Carrabba's Italian Grill, and Outback Steakhouse are everywhere in Boca, Delray, Boynton, and West Palm. However, apart from these famous dining chains, there is much more to the place.
Try Riggins Crabhouse in Lantana for Old Florida-style seafood, including jumbo crabs. The Boca Beach House in Boca Raton offers inexpensive but fresh breakfast and lunch, and the owners grow most of the produce themselves.
Dixie Highway in West Palm Beach is home to tiny mom-and-pop restaurants representing all of Latin and South America-the area between Forest Hill Blvd. and Belvedere Rd. boasts of shops offering Cuban, Ecuadoran, Honduran, Salvadoran, Costa Rican, Argentinian, Brazilian, and Venezuelan food.
For high-end dining, Palm Beach has Charlie's Crab. Similarly, West Palm has both-a Ruth's Chris Steak House and Morton's The Steakhouse.

You will also find a lot of bars everywhere. Nightlife is centered around Clematis Street and CityPlace in downtown West Palm, and around Atlantic Avenue in Delray Beac.
These are places to see and be seen in, so definitely look sharp. Mizner Park in Boca Raton has a slightly more laid-back scene with an Irish pub, the Blue Martini Lounge, and several other restaurants which are open till late in the night.


The Raymond F. Kravis Center for the Performing Arts in West Palm is home to the Palm Beach Pops, the Palm Beach Ballet, and a host of touring shows and concerts.
The convention center right across the street hosts frequent conferences and events, and Flagler Street has sponsored festivals on all major holidays. SunFest attracts famous bands during spring break and MoonFest does the same during the Halloween weekend.
There is also weekly Jazz in the Park downtown from September to May as well as a Sunday morning Green Market. Palm Beach has the 'Big Easy' Riverboat Casino and West Palm offers greyhound racing at the Palm Beach Kennel Club.
Of course, there's also shopping. Palm Beach is famous for Worth Avenue, but Boca's Town Center Mall offers luxury shopping opportunities as well. Downtown West Palm Beach is the place to find it all-independent boutiques throughout the city (the ones in Clematis Street) and well-known chains like Anthropologie, Restoration Hardware, and BCBG in CityPlace.
The Wellington mall is the place to visit when you have a budget to stick to, and the mall at Palm Beach Gardens is somewhere in between-neither too steep nor too cheap.

Stuff to Do

There's always the beach-it runs the length of the county and is beautiful everywhere. Boating, snorkeling, swimming, windsurfing, parasailing, kite surfing-anything you want to do that's related to the beach is there.
But there are other things to do as well. The Everglades are just out west, and so is Lion Country Safari. The Palm Beach Zoo and the Science Museum are right next to each other just outside of downtown West Palm, and Pahokee and Belle Glade have lovely parks on Lake Okeechobee. Boca Raton's Gumbo Limbo Nature Center will show you the beauty of the wetlands.
You can also stay clean and dry with a historical tour of West Palm and Palm Beach-haunted or otherwise. The architecture and Old Florida grandeur of Henry Flagler's old haunts can keep you occupied for days, and the history of the freed slave settlements around Belle Glade have innumerable fascinating, albeit tragic stories to tell you.
So whether you want to spend your trip communing with nature, ensconced in luxurious spa treatments, or immersed in history, Palm Beach County has something for you, especially if you want to do it all, because it's all right there and that too on a budget.