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Arguably Florida’s most famous resort destination, Palm Beach County includes tony Palm Beach, spa-centric Boca Raton, outdoorsy Greenacres, and small-town Mangonia Park. But West Palm Beach, the largest district in the county, is where lovers of arts and culture flock during the warm, sunny winter months. More relaxed and residential than its neighbors, West Palm Beach is nevertheless packed with things to do. Don’t miss the downtown shopping, especially in Northwood Village, which is lined with bohemian galleries and home décor shops, and look for 17th-through-20th-century fine and decorative art along the legendary Antique Row. Be sure to catch a show at the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts or tour one of the city’s museums and sculpture gardens. West Palm Beach is also home to many green spaces, as well as water parks, equestrian centers, and world-class golf courses. Despite the name, there are no actual beaches here, but some of the area’s most beautiful, such as Jupiter Beach, Riviera Beach, and Municipal Beach, are a short drive away. And when the sun goes down, Clematis Street lights up with a lively nightlife scene complete with buzzy restaurants and live music.
Fly into Palm Beach International Airport (PBI), which is just over four miles from West Palm Beach, with direct and connecting flights from hundreds of major cities. There are also three smaller airports in the area for private planes.
There is a local bus system, the Palm Tran, as well as a free trolley that provides easy access to such popular spots as Clematis Street, the Kravis Center, and CityPlace; that said, you’ll probably find it easiest to get around this largely suburban area with a car. You can find most major car rental services at the airport, and remember to be aware of tolls if you travel on the Florida Turnpike.
When much of the rest of the United States is battling winter frosts and gray days, West Palm Beach is enjoying its best weather. November through April is this tropical destination’s dry season — and its busiest — with sunny days and average temperatures between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. The summer wet season here is hot, humid, and rainy, with temperatures pushing 90 degrees, regular passing storms, and a risk of hurricanes from June through October. To avoid the crowds and the most extreme weather, visit in late spring or early fall.
Spend a day (or more!) enjoying the great outdoors at the 1,700-acre Okeeheelee Park. There are lakes for water skiing, paddleboarding, kayaking, and fishing, as well as a 27-hole golf course, basketball courts, tennis courts, and ballfields. Hike, bike, or horseback ride along the park’s trails, or head to the nature center to learn about and encounter local wildlife.
Between October and April, a Saturday morning farmers’ market pops up on the waterfront along Clematis Street. If you aren’t shopped out from Antique Row and Northwood Village, pop over to meet the makers, bakers, and farmers of Southern Florida and to pick up seasonal produce, cheeses, and one-of-a-kind souvenirs.