On the southeast coast of Florida, about an hour north of Miami, you’ll find the busy metropolitan area of West Palm Beach & Palm Beach Gardens. This area has a vibrant downtown and beautiful beaches, and is a favorite among tourists! The area is less busy and overwhelming than Miami, but still loaded with activities for people with and without children. Below our some of our area favorites.
1. Molly’s Trolleys – FREE
This is a free trolley that loops through the downtown area of West Palm Beach. It runs about every 10-15 min. The trolley has three lines, which go to different places in the city (downtown, Cityplace- which is a shopping center, and Palm Beach outlets- another shopping center). You don’t have to be shopping to enjoy this free ride around the city! You can check their schedule on their website – and please do because some lines only run on certain days. Who doesn’t love a free trolley ride?!
2. Norton Museum of Art – Free on Fridays and Saturdays
Are you looking for a morning or afternoon spent immersed in art and culture? Look no further than the Norton Museum of Art. The museum offers reasonably priced admission during the week, and FREE on Fridays and Saturdays.
Additional information provided by Norton about their museum is as follows:
The Norton presents special exhibitions, lectures, tours, and programs for adults and children throughout the year.
In 2019, the Norton opened a visionary expansion designed by architecture firm Foster + Partners, under the direction of Pritzker Prize- winning architect Lord Norman Foster. The project reoriented the Norton’s entrance to the main thoroughfare of South Dixie Highway, restoring the symmetry of the museum’s original 1941 design, and includes a new 59,000-square-foot West Wing that increased gallery space for the Norton’s renowned collection. The transformation of the Museum’s 6.3-acre campus created a museum in a garden, featuring new, verdant spaces and a sculpture garden.
Museum admission is free to the public on Fridays, and Saturdays.
- Free Fridays are made possible by the generosity of The Lunder Foundation – Peter and Paula Lunder Family.
- Free Saturdays are made possible by the generosity of the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Foundation.
3. Manatee Lagoon – FREE
The manatee lagoon and center offers a two level educational exhibit and observation area to learn and observe one of Florida’s gentle sea creatures. They are open Tuesday through Saturday 9-4. During the year they offer tours, events, science activities designed for kids, and even free YOGA on the observation deck! This spot is a place the whole family will enjoy.
4. Okeeheelee nature center – FREE
For a trail walk in natural Florida wetlands and pine flatwoods, make a stop at Okeeheelee Preserve! There is a 2.5 mile trail through nature as well as an indoor exhibit area where you can view birds, snakes, and owls. The nature center is open only on certain days (Wednesday to Saturday), Visit their website -link above- to see their events throughout the year and to view the hours for the nature center. The trail is open sunrise to sunset daily. All free!
5. Phil Foster Park, Beach & Underwater Reef – FREE
Palm beach boasts many beautiful beaches – the water is just SO blue in this part of Florida. One of the great parks with a life-guarded beach access is Phil Foster. You area able to swim and snorkel right off the beach! There is also a shipwreck just offshore for those who enjoy scuba diving. Nice peaceful place to spend the day and relax. In addition to the beach, the park boasts a playground, picnic area, fishing pier, and boat ramp.
6. The Four Arts Botanical Garden – Donation Based
The botanical gardens provided by the Society of the Four Arts, sits in a beautiful location right near the river in West Palm Beach! The gardens is open everyday from 10-5 for visitors. The area also has a sculpture garden, gallery, theater, library and a children’s library nearby in the plaza. There is enough to occupy you for an entire day or half day! The Palm Beach Lake Trail, which runs up the river for five and a half miles, also begins here. Many people enjoy biking, walking, and running along this trail!
7. Grassy Waters nature preserve – Donation Based
Off the beaten path, out to the West of West Palm, is a huge nature preserve and wetlands area called Grassy Waters. This nature preserve is funded by the grassy waters nature conservatory, which works to protect the everglades in south Florida. There is a huge network of trails which you can view on your a map here. The also offer community events, such as free lectures on birds of prey, and guided kayak tours ($10 a person) for those ages 10+.