Planning a vacation along Florida’s East Coast? Enjoy some fun in the sun by digging into all the best things to do in West Palm Beach. The center of Palm Beach County, West Palm Beach is one of South Florida’s most popular vacation destinations. The city is famed for its beautiful beaches, pristine weather, and cultural attractions.
Visiting the top tourist attractions in West Palm Beach, you’ll squeeze in glorious beaches, outdoor activities, and museums. Foodies will also savor one of the most innovative culinary scenes in South Florida.
Not sure what to do in West Palm Beach? Plan the ultimate vacation with this guide to the best places to visit in West Palm Beach, Florida.
Must-see places to visit in West Palm Beach, FL
Craving outdoor adventure while visiting Palm Beach County? Venture offshore to Peanut Island. Located in the Lake Worth Inlet of the Intracoastal Waterway, the artificial island is one of the most unique places to see in West Palm Beach.
Peanut Island comprises an 80-acre park with camping, fishing, beachfront restaurants, snorkeling, and swimming. The island is a boating, sailing, kayaking, and jet skiing hotspot, too. On weekends, boaters fill the surrounding banks with yachts and sailboats while kayakers paddle across and jet skiers ride waves in the inlet.
History buffs aren’t left in the dark, either. The island features a bunker built by John F. Kennedy during the Cold War. History enthusiasts can take a walking tour through the facility.
Of course, the main reason to visit Peanut Island on your Florida itinerary is to laze on its scenic sandy beaches under the shade of palm trees. The island bursts with activity every weekend, transforming into a popular hang-out and party spot.
For a more upscale experience, venture northeast of Peanut Island to Singer Island. The glitzy island is home to some of the best West Palm Beach beaches, including Riviera Beach. Even if you don’t splurge on one of Singer Island’s luxury resorts, Riviera Beach is a hotspot for water sports like kitesurfing, windsurfing, and paddleboarding, as well as snorkeling and scuba diving.
To ratchet up the intensity, venture another 8 miles north, via John D. MacArthur Beach State Park, to Juno Beach. Thanks to its generous waves, Juno Beach is a local hub for adrenaline-pumping activities like parasailing, skimboarding, and, of course, surfing.
The heart of Downtown West Palm Beach beats along Clematis Street. The district’s main street is a fantastic place to enjoy a stroll and experience some of the city’s top landmarks and its exuberance and energy.
Take a break from water sports and sunbathing on Clematis Street. Spend time browsing through intriguing shops and snacking on street food. One of the city’s premier neighborhoods, Clematis Street also boasts a massive selection of sidewalk cafes, bars, restaurants, and eateries. From delicious Mediterranean cuisine to trendy cocktails, you’ll find plenty of options here to suit all taste buds and dining budgets.
Night owls can enjoy a night of dancing, drinking, performance, and phenomenal music in one of the many nightclubs and entertainment venues along Clematis Street. The street frequently hosts outdoor concerts, performances, special events, and the popular weekly nightlife festival, Clematis by Night.
South Florida Science Center and Aquarium
Visiting Palm Beach County with kids? Pop in for a visit to the South Florida Science Center and Aquarium. With loads of interesting sea creatures and critters, this popular Palm Beach science museum is one of the coolest places to go in West Palm Beach for families.
Located south of Downtown, the center houses a whopping 10,000-gallon saltwater and freshwater aquarium. The aquariums feature both exotic and native South Florida marine life.
Elsewhere in the South Florida Science Center, kids will love browsing the variety of interactive educational exhibits. Be sure to carve out time to visit the center’s fantastic planetarium. Pop in to enjoy screenings of educational and feature-length films.
Palm Beach Zoo & Conservation Society
Finished up at the science museum? Slide out the door to explore the rest of the Palm Beach Zoo & Conservation Society. Located just off Summit Blvd, the Palm Beach Zoo is famed for its extensive animal habitats and conservation efforts.
Built on an impressive 23-acre campus, the zoo is home to nearly 700 species of animals. A vast selection of animal species, local and exotic, thrive in its lush tropical gardens.
The most popular exhibits at the Palm Beach Zoo include a lizard house, koala & wallaby habitat, tiger habitat, and its tropics exhibit.
Got a soft spot for animals? You should also consider driving 30 minutes northwest of the city to McCarthy’s Wildlife Sanctuary. Visitable only by appointment, the heartfelt Southern Florida wildlife sanctuary treats hundreds of injured and endangered animals every year. Book tickets in advance to enjoy one of its tours and kids’ programs.
Or, if you’ve got a little more time on your hands, take a journey 40 minutes west of town to check out the Lion Country Safari. This popular drive-in safari destination winds through 600 acres of land teeming with exotic animals like lions, tapirs, lions, alpacas, and impalas.
After your safari, get some family-friendly thrills at the neighboring Adventure Park. The small amusement park features a handful of kid-friendly rides, a splash playground, water slides, and animal encounters.
Rapids Water Park
Need to cool off in the hot Florida sun? Splash around at Rapids Water Park. Located close to Riviera Beach, the water park is one of the top West Palm Beach tourist attractions for families with younger kids.
At Rapids Water Park, you can cool down in its popular wave pool, featuring waves as high as six feet. Or, for a more relaxing ride, float along the quarter-mile-long lazy river in a tube.
RELATED: Most Popular Side Trips from Miami
The water activities and rides are split into three categories, ranging from relaxing to exhilarating. Rapids Water Park boasts thirty-five distinct water slides. It even features a separate area for children and toddlers.
Mounts Botanical Garden
Want to escape the buzz of the city? Add Mounts Botanical Garden to your itinerary. Located 15 minutes from downtown, the 14-acre public garden is the city’s largest and oldest garden. For nature lovers, it’s one of the must-see points of interest in West Palm Beach.
Mounts Botanical Garden is home to nearly two thousand species of plants, with exhibitions spanning six continents. The botanic garden splits into several distinct areas. Walk along the trails of this beautiful oasis to dazzle at exotic trees, tropical fruits, herbs, palms, and citrus plants. In its range of ecosystems and natural habitats, you’ll see everything from butterflies to scarce & unique plants.
Norton Museum of Art
Looking for a dash of arts & culture on your getaway? Journey over to the Norton Museum of Art, one of Florida’s top cultural attractions. Located south of the downtown area, the art museum features over 8,200 paintings, sculptures, and artifacts from around the world. It’s now the largest art museum in Florida, sweeping John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota out of the top spot in 2003.
Locals and tourists alike flock to the Norton Museum of Art to get a glimpse of its eclectic art collection, including European, American, and Chinese art and artifacts. Marvel at the wide array of artwork by famous international artists like Matisse, Monet, and Picasso.
Visit the museum on Thursday evening when its hosts “Norton After Dark.” Delight in art exhibits in the courtyard under the night sky with soft music in the background. There’s also a restaurant where guests can fuel up before or after dazzling at the collections. Be sure to also pop into the gift shop to grab a couple unique souvenirs for the folks back home.
The Norton Museum of Art is open daily from 10 am to 5 pm, with the exception of Fridays when it’s open until 10 pm. Admission to the museum is $18 for adults and free for children.
Craving a dynamic shopping experience on your South Florida trip? Set your sights on Rosemary Square. Located in the heart of City Place, the square bursts with elegant buildings hiding shops, restaurants, and plenty of entertainment options. No matter the time of day, the neighborhood buzzes with excitement.
Rosemary Square launched in 2000. In only a few years, it transformed into one of the liveliest areas in Downtown West Palm Beach. The entertainment district assembles the city’s brightest local artists, fitness enthusiasts, chefs, and entrepreneurs.
Enjoy a dinner at one of its trendy restaurants, grab a drink at one of its hip bars, or catch a show at one of its entertainment venues.
Antique Row Art & Design District
Got a keen eye for antiques? Take your skills to the Antique Row Art & Design District. Located off the South Dixie Highway, the neighborhood features nearly 50 shops filled with antiques and fine art.
In Antique Row’s antique shops, you’ll find everything from Art Deco and deco-period pieces to contemporary and vintage furnishings. The area also teems with coffee shops, serving up freshly roasted craft coffee and snacks.
Roam around the charming district, browsing from one shop to the next. Antique Row is one of the premier antique shopping districts in the United States; you’re bound to find the perfect showpieces to bring home along the route!
Henry Morrison Flagler Museum
The West Palm Beach region is rich in history. See its cornerstone at the Henry Morrison Flagler Museum. Located across the lagoon in Palm Beach, the museum occupies a stunning historic Edwardian mansion. Even without its history museum, the lovely home is one of the top West Palm Beach points of interest.
The picturesque historical landmark has been been in the Flagler family for decades. Henry Flagler lived in the home, built as a gift to his third wife, until his death in 1913. The spectacular Flagler Museum comprises 75 rooms and stretches out over 100,000 square feet. It’s so impressive that this must-see attraction has been compared to several European palaces.
Located on the Lake Worth Lagoon, Manatee Lagoon is one of the most popular attractions in West Palm Beach for aquatic life lovers of all ages. At the 16,000-square foot facility, your entire travel group will learn all about the gentle marine animal and other ocean wonders through its hands-on exhibits.
On your visit to Manatee Lagoon, be sure to pop over to the observation deck. If you time your visit right, you’ll catch herds of manatee gliding by while you take in breathtaking views of Palm Beach and Lake Worth.
Ragtops Automobile Museum
Few places will make vintage automobile lovers put the brakes on like Ragtops Automobile Museum. Car lovers can quickly lose an afternoon surrounded by unique automobiles at this popular Palm Beach attraction.
Blast to the past as you check out the museum’s sleek vintage models. Covering nearly 10,000 square feet, the museum hosts various interpretive & interactive exhibits. They’re bound to ref up any car enthusiast’s heart rate.
Offering a vast selection of activities for its guests, Okeeheelee Park is a treasure in West Palm Beach. Open from sunrise to sunset, it’s perfect for early risers and those who like to snooze in, too.
For animal lovers, Okeeheelee Nature Center is the most popular section of the park. Its exhibit hall is a magnet for families, featuring educational hands-on wildlife displays.
After getting all the information you need at the nature center, slide onto the Okeeheelee Nature Trail. The trail winds through 90 acres of pines, oaks, and palms. Keep your eyes peeled to spot native birds and other wildlife.
Okeekeelee Park is also home to a gorgeous butterfly garden. Grab your camera and delight as colorful butterflies flutter above your head.
Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens
After a visit to the Norton Museum of Art, art lovers should take a jaunt southeast to the Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens. The gardens sit on the grounds of a lovely historic home a block from the Lake Worth Lagoon. The house once belonged to artist Ann Weaver Norton, widow of famed art collector Ralph Hubbard Norton.
The Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens display more than 100 jaw-dropping sculptures created between 1905 and 1982. Visitors will enjoy marveling at the stunning pieces inside the home, in the gardens, and in Ann’s former studio. Carved from unique materials, each sculpture will feel like poetry motion.
Kravis Center for the Performing Arts
Want to spin a little culture into your trip itinerary? Try to fit in a performance at the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts. Featuring three separate entertainment venues, it’s one of the top performing arts centers in Southern Florida and in the Southeast USA.
The 285-seat Rinker Playhouse features local & international musicals, comedy shows, and concerts. At Dreyfoos Hall, you can catch everything from jazz quartets to symphonies to rock bands. Or plop down in the Cabernet-style seating at the 70-seat Persson Hall for a more intimate performance.
West Palm Beach Green Market
Craving locally grown produce? West Palm Beach Green Market won’t disappoint. Located on S Clematis Street, the market is a fantastic outing for anyone interested in absorbing some local culture.
West Palm Beach Green Market hosts more than 90 vendors. Goods include fruits & vegetables, freshly cut flowers & plants, homemade meats, cheeses, baked goodies, drinks, and other delicacies.
The West Palm Beach Green Market is open from 9 am until 1 pm daily.
Tanger Outlets Palm Beach
Tired of splashing in the waves and soaking up the sun by the sea? Tanger Outlets Palm Beach make for a relaxing afternoon of retail therapy. Whether you are looking for something specific or just browsing, the outlets offer plenty that’ll catch your eye.
Palm Beach Outlets comprise more than 100 shops, offering incredible deals daily. With thousands of products and name brands at outlet prices, it’s no surprise that guests keep returning to this retail hotspot.
The marketplace also offers restaurants, a coffee bar, and take-out joints to tackle your post-shopping hunger. At night, the central courtyard transforms into a beautifully lit plaza, making it even more appealing for shoppers.
Need to soak up some more rays? You’ll love the laid-back, artsy, and bohemian vibe in Delray Beach. Located between West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale, this South Florida beach town seeps creativity and oozes charm. If you’ve got an extra day or two, it’s one of the most popular day trips from West Palm Beach.
Delray Beach offers countless ways to keep you busy. Hit the streets for some shopping and eating. You’ll love browsing its eclectic art galleries and boutique shops. By day, you can explore its nature preserves; by night, attend open-air concerts. (And, of course, you can always just slink over to the oceanfront to swim and enjoy the rays to beautiful ocean views.)
For more seaside pleasures, slip up north to Boynton Beach to laze around OceanFront Park, one of the best beaches on Florida’s East Coast. Or head south of Delray Beach to add a dash of luxury to your trip in glitzy Boca Raton.
Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge
Located west of Boynton Beach, the Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge stretches across 226 square miles of the northern Florida Everglades. With more than 250 species of birds, the park is one of Palm Beach County’s top birding locations year-round.
The refuge is also a favorite spot for wildlife lovers, who come to scope out endangered and threatened species like the American alligator along with dozens of reptile, amphibian, and mammal species.
At Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to explore the wetlands. From the Visitor Center, saunter along the boardwalk, winding through the cypress swamp.
The preserve also holds regular educational sessions and guided walks to help you learn more about its precious ecosystem.
Want to see Palm Beach at its ritziest? Meander over to Worth Avenue. Located steps from the Atlantic Ocean, the famed shopping district teems with top-end boutiques, antique shops, and trendy restaurants. For luxury travelers, it’s one of the most popular places to hang out in Palm Beach County.
Worth Avenue is most famous for its wide selection of international clothing boutiques, covering the entire gamut of luxury fashion brands. Whether you’re looking to fill your suitcase with a new Gucci purse or a Giorgio Armani suit, you’ll find plenty to unload your dollars in at the hundreds of shops along Worth Avenue.
After a day of splurging, fuel up at one of the avenue’s fine-dining restaurants. For upscale French in the sun, settle down on the outdoor terrace of the Café Boulud at the Brazilian Court Hotel. Or indulge in classic American dishes at Ta-boo Restaurant, an elegant 1940s-style bistro.
While you’re in the area, don’t miss the chance to catch an epic sunset at Municipal Beach, the island’s main public stretch of sand. Immerse yourself in the natural beauty with a walk along the shoreline. If you show up earlier in the day, Municipal Beach is also a great spot for in-water experiences like swimming and bodyboarding.
Recommended places to stay in West Palm Beach for sightseeing
For travelers, most of the best places to stay in West Palm Beach fall within Downtown and on Palm Beach Island. Prices for hotels in the city center, however, tend to be steeper than elsewhere. If you’re looking for more budget-friendly options, widen your search to Palm Beach Lakes or even Singer Island.
Located near the epicenter of downtown, this hotel offers spacious rooms with warm, modern decor. Cool down in the indoor pool and savor delicious food at the on-site restaurant. Other amenities include a fitness center, bakery, free breakfast, and bar.
Charming guests with its Spanish-style architecture, this historic inn is one of the island’s top accommodation picks. Besides the bright & elegant rooms, you’ll love the superb location. The property is a short 4-minute walk to the Atlantic Ocean and the Worth Avenue shopping area.
Immerse yourself in a garden-like atmosphere at this luxurious boutique hotel. Luxuriate in its courtyard and escape the sun in its outdoor pool. The quiet location in Flamingo Parks is a huge boon for travelers looking for a quieter urban vibe, too.