Summer is low season in The Palm Beaches, a picturesque stretch of 39 South Florida cities and towns that dot 47 miles Atlantic Ocean coastline. Resort rates are discounted up to 40% for the months following Memorial Day, so summer is the perfect time to snag a deal on a dreamy Florida vacation for the family! Here are 11 Things to do in The Palm Beaches.
11 Things to do in The Palm Beaches for Families
I visit Florida several times a year and always run into the same problem. There is too much to do! How am I supposed to choose between barefoot beach strolling, resort spa lounging, ocean-view dining, and sea turtle visiting? I want to do all the things! Florida is a state overflowing with awesomeness, and The Palm Beaches are no exception. From animal encounters to water adventures, there are more unique vacation experiences for families than there are days of summer to enjoy them.
Things to do in The Palm Beaches: Where to Stay
Earlier this month, my four-year-old and I headed to The Palm Beaches and did our level best to cram an unreasonable amount of fun into an all-too-short Florida getaway. Our home base for this adventure? A little slice of paradise called the Eau.
Eau Palm Beach Resort & Spa
I feel like I’m setting you up a little with this recommendation, because Eau Palm Beach Resort & Spa is one of the most glorious places on the planet. Complimentary champagne upon arrival, luxurious lobby, breathtaking decor, jaw-dropping rooms, and glorious pools – all nestled in seven acres of private beach for you (and the odd sea turtle hatchling) to enjoy. Once you set up camp in these gorgeous digs, you are going to have a hard time leaving to do anything else.
Kids love the resort too, with its sprawling family pool, sandy pirate playground, and specialty camps just for them: Camp Aqua Nuts and Camp Coast. Let your little one enjoy some supervised play with new friends one morning, so you can sneak away to the world class Eau Spa. You will.not.regret this decision! This spa is your 42,000-square-foot playground. Take a book and relax in a swinging chair, dragging your toes through the shallow pool below. Then, enjoy a treatment, the steam room, the jacuzzi… you can even order lunch!
My daughter and I were beyond delighted by all of the delectable food at Eau Palm Beach Resort and Spa, from the breakfast buffet, to the coconut sorbet on the patio (served in a real coconut, of course), to s’mores by the fire pit. We stayed up too late playing by the pool and consumed far too much sugar past bedtime. In other words, a great vacation!
Things to do in The Palm Beaches: Where to Play
We did manage to leave the hotel to explore The Palm Beaches, and boy oh boy was there a lot of ground to cover. I’ll start with one of our favorite discoveries – the sea turtle hospital.
Loggerhead Marinelife Center
Want to see baby sea turtles? Loggerhead Marinelife Center is the place to go! This sea turtle rehabilitation hospital is free to the public and offers the opportunity to watch ocean conservation in action. Located in Juno Beach, one of the most densely-nested loggerhead turtle nesting beaches in the world, the Center lets guests get up-close to threatened and endangered sea turtles. From new hatchlings to older turtles being treated for injuries, a variety of animal patients are on display in open outdoor tanks. Children are also invited to attend Junior Research Lab, a free hands-on program that teaches junior researchers how to find, identify, and care for turtle hatchlings, before releasing them back to the wild.
Lion Country Safari
Another don’t-miss destination for young animal lovers is Lion Country Safari in West Palm Beach. This four-mile drive-through safari and amusement park is a place where families could easily spend an entire day. Start in the comfort of your air-conditioned car, making your way through 1,000 exotic animals roaming free. You’ll see the largest herd of zebras outside of Africa, watch wildebeests gazing, and laugh at black bucks pronking. (Be sure to ask for an educational audio CD, to accompany your tour.) Then, park and head into Safari World Amusement Park where interactive animal encounters await! Feed giraffes, lories, and fish, watch flamingos, and visit the petting zoo.
Spend the rest of the day enjoying the park’s many free attractions, including a mini train, paddle boats, mini golf, and rides. My daughter and her friends couldn’t believe their luck that the rides were free – and there were no lines! They rode this flying attraction again and again, before becoming permanent fixtures on the carousel. Eventually, I lured my daughter away with the promise of the nearby water spray ground. This was the perfect place to cool off on a hot August afternoon!
Rapids Water Park
Speaking of that Florida sun – it’s no joke! Every vacation plan for The Palm Beaches needs to include water breaks and Rapids Water Park is just the ticket. South Florida’s largest water park boasts 35 water slides, a wave pool, and a relaxing lazy river. My daughter’s favorite section of the park was Splish Splash Lagoon, pictured above, where the three slides have no height restrictions. There were other great options for her, too, including the eight slides on Splash Hill, with a minimum height requirement of 36″. The water park is 30 acres, but it feels very compact and has a large variety of attractions to thrill all ages. Just be sure to wear flip flops – the ground gets hot!
South Florida Science Center and Aquarium Experience
To add an educational element to vacation, The South Florida Science Center & Aquarium is a great place for kids to burn off steam and get their creative juices flowing. My daughter enjoyed the hands-on learning around every corner. In fact, every time I turned around, she had taken off to explore yet another exhibit. Her favorites were the water room, interactive shadow room, and an “amazing butterflies” maze of activities. Outside, we had fun making bubbles, playing telephone on the playground, and checking out the unique animal conservation mini golf course.
Boca Raton Children’s Museum
And finally, if your child is missing the comforts of home, head to the Boca Raton Children’s Museum for a relaxing morning of play. This little historic house hosts hands-on exhibits in each of its rooms, from a grocery store to a storytelling tent. For just $5 per person, guests can sit and play to their heart’s content. Best for little ones, this museum is also a great option for a rainy day. In Florida, it happens!
Things to do in The Palm Beaches: Where to Eat
Eating out with kids on vacation can be a challenge, but there are lots of great casual dining options in The Palm Beaches!
Cool Beans Indoor Playground & Café
If your number one goal is kid happiness at mealtime, this Palm Beach Gardens café is the way to go. Kids can race around the 6,000 square foot indoor playground while adults lounge nearby, outside of the noisy zone. Order a sandwich and some healthy snacks and call it dinner!
Pizza Al Fresco
Pizza Al Fresco is the magic unicorn of restaurants. Set in a gorgeous Worth Avenue courtyard that makes you feel like you’ve been whisked away to Europe, you can dine in style, stress-free, with your kids. My daughter loved the huge, wood-fired cheese pizza and I had a lemon chicken meal to die for.
Old Key Lime House
For an even more relaxed setting, Old Key Lime House offers dining in a palapa-roofed hut by the water. Enjoy live, acoustic music, watch the fish swimming by the dock, and dine outdoors as the sun sets over the water. There’s even a small area with toys for kids to play with (rather worn toys, but still fun for restless littles who have tired of sitting still in their chairs).
Max’s Grille in Boca Raton was the clear winner as my daughter’s favorite meal. She loved the grilled chicken breast kid’s meal. I had a chicken Caesar salad, also delicious. If you have plans to visit the beautiful shops in Mizner Park, make plans to have lunch at Max’s!
Discover The Palm Beaches, Florida
With 39 cities, there are many more things to do in The Palm Beaches. This is a great start! For more information to help you plan your next visit to The Palm Beaches, visit www.thepalmbeaches.com.
Disclosure: I was hosted by The Palm Beaches. All opinions are my own.