Palm Beach is on a long barrier island, just off the coast of southeast Florida, 70 miles north of Miami. It is the easternmost town in Florida and has a year-round population of 10,000, which triples in the winter months with snowbird visitors. This desirable town has a high number of wealthy residents, many of whom are Russian or Austrian.
With average winter temperatures in the high 70s, it is the perfect escape from winter weather. However, the summer months are hot, humid and rainy with the risk of a hurricane or two.
History of Palm Beach
Palm Beach only came into being in the early 1900s when railroad tycoon Henry Morrison Flagler built the Florida East Coast Railway down the Florida coastline. He originally visited St Augustine for his wife’s health and saw the potential of Florida as a winter haven. Having already made a fortune with his company, Standard Oil, he started a second career building a railroad all the way to Key West.
Flagler chose Palm Beach to build two luxury hotels, the Royal Ponciana and the Breakers Hotel, which is still an exclusive five star hotel today. He also built himself a stunning Beaux-Arts mansion, Whitehall, in 1902, which now offers informative guided tours.
The town of Palm Beach was incorporated in 1911 and was already attracting the Who’s Who of New York society. Many black workers who worked as servants in the mansions rented small homes in an area called the Styx. The landowners agreed to evict all these tenants, who were moved to West Palm Beach, and the land was sold for development.
Palm Beach Attractions
The gorgeous beach is the number one attraction to Palm beach. It offers fine white sand and clear Atlantic waters. Take a beach chair and enjoy the sound of the waves gently turning along the seashore or watch the many boats sailing by. Even the odd cruise ship can be seen heading for the nearby ports of Fort Lauderdale and Miami.
The Four Arts Gardens are botanical gardens of note, established in 1938 and now maintained by the Garden Club of Palm Beach. They were designed as a series of themed garden rooms. Look for the moongate and statues in the Chinese Garden, the decorative well, and the fountain in the Madonna Garden.
Worth Avenue is where the rich and famous come to browse and drop their dollars. Known as “The Avenue”, luxury brand names such as Chanel, Gucci, Valentino, Dior and Saks Fifth Avenue line this beautiful street. The Galleria of Sculpture and the John H. Surovek Gallery are well worth browsing. City place is a more regular place to shop with national chains such as Macy’s and Williams-Sonoma. A free trolley transports visitors to and from this palm-lined shopper’s paradise located across the Intracoastal Waterway on Rosemary Ave.
For eating and drinking you can choose Starbucks, the Japanese Steakhouse or one of the local favorites such as Renato’s or the Trevini Restorante, but you may want to check the prices first!
Historic Buildings in Palm Beach
The Breakers Hotel is a wonderfully located historic hotel surrounded by lush gardens. It is on the National Register of Historic Places and is strictly gated.
The Flagler Museum and tour of the Whitehall mansion make a truly enjoyable day out in Palm Beach. It was designed around an open-air courtyard with a beautiful ballroom and has Flagler’s railroad car in the garden. Another splendid landmark mansion in Palm Beach is Mar-a-Lago, built by socialite Marjorie Merriweather Post and the location of many charitable balls. It is now privately owned by Donald Trump.
This informative book offers details of 20 best beaches and coastal cities in Florida
It is also available to download as an ebook:
20 Best Florida Beaches and Coastal Cities