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Palm Beach Vacationsimage

65 miles north of Miami, 45 miles north of Fort Lauderdale

Palm Beach has long been popular with vacationers attracted to "The Island" to experience this unique enclave of the rich and famous situated on the ocean side of the Intracoastal Waterway.

The town, which has a population of 20,000 in summer and 40,000 in winter, has long been the winter residence of the icons of American society, names such as Rockefeller, Kennedy and Pulitzer.

This is the home of wildly expensive chic boutiques laden with designer labels, jewelry stores, luxury motor cars, oceanfront mansions and private beaches. Palm Beach hotels attract many visitors who come just to experience the 5 star service, elegant restaurants and the up market shopping. Other Palm Beach lodgings are typically ocean side cottages and inns, resorts, motels and condominiums.

Shopping is a Palm Beach highlight, with multi-level glassed malls and a historical shopping district with unique shops and boutiques. The town has an active nightlife and more than 2,000 restaurants, cultural venues and a world-class art museum. 

Across the Intracoastal Waterway from Palm Beach is the downtown area known as West Palm Beach, population 80,000 plus, which is where the less affluent live and work. The area has more nightlife than "The Island", with plenty of bars, clubs, and restaurants. West Palm Beach accommodation is considerably more affordable than in Palm Beach. An active program of urban renewal has seen West Palm Beach start to emerge from the shadow of its better known neighbor across the water.

The Kravis Center For Performing Arts is considered one the premier cultural centers in Florida and the pivotal CityPlace pedestrian-only malls attract visitors and vacationers alike to its shops, bars, concerts and cultural events. The Palm Beach area is reputed to be one of the best bird-watching locations in the state.

imageGetting There & Getting Around

The Palm Beach International Airport is serviced by several major airlines such as Air Canada, American Airlines, Continental, Delta and AirTran. Several economy carries also operate flights to and from the airport. Amtrak has a terminal in West Palm Beach

Most vacationers will opt for a car in this area, although the public transportation system is a convenient way to reach some attractions in both West and Palm Beach. Palm Tran has services to 32 routes with more than 140 buses. In downtown West Palm, free shuttles connect to all the major centers and tourist destinations.

imagePalm Beach Vacation Highlights

In addition to good beaches, boating and diving, holiday makers will find great golf and tennis. Within the Palm Beach County precincts there are over 1,100 tennis courts, and more than 150 golf courses. Two golf courses open to the public are Emerald Dunes Golf Course in West Palm Beach and the Palm Beach Public Golf Course on the island.

The Palm Beach area is popular with scuba divers able to reach the off shore reef using guide boats based at the local marinas. As with nearly all Florida beach destinations, there are lots of opportunities for water sports such as sail boating, jet-skiing, kayaking, water skiing, parasailing and fishing.

The Flagler Museum is the luxury mansion commissioned by Henry Flagler (railroads and oil baron) as a wedding present to his third wife. Known as the "Taj Mahal of North America," the residence contains 55 rooms furnished in an assortment of styles with European antique pieces. The mansion is set in magnificent grounds which also contain Mr. Flagler's private, restored railroad car.

World famous for its permanent collection and the quality of its traveling exhibitions, the Norton Museum of Art first opened in 1941 to display the art collections of Ralph and Elizabeth Norton.  The French collection contains works by CÚzanne, Degas, Gauguin, Matisse, Monet, Picasso, Pissarro, and Renoir.  The permanent exhibits also contain paintings by Warhol, Hopper, Pollock and O'Keefe.

Younger children's eyes light up at the sight of Playmobil Fun Park. This favorite Palm Beach attraction is a replica castle with themed play areas such as a medieval village, a western town and a fantasy doll house. Lion Country Safari is 500 acres of animal preserve divided into geographical regions ranging from the East African Serengeti to the American West. 

Over 1,300 animals are kept here, ranging from elephants, antelopes, chimpanzees, wildebeest, ostriches, American bison, buffalo, flamingos, and many other unusual species. The park operates an un-caged environment for the animals and travel through the park is via motor vehicle following a viewing loop road.

The park also has an amusement park with paddleboats, a carousel, mini golf, and a baby animal nursery that's a hit with the younger children. In all it provides a great day out for the family. A popular scenic biking route is the Lake Trail, running the length of the island on the Intracoastal Waterway side. It offers views of some of the mansions and grounds as well as views of downtown West Palm Beach.

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