With a population of just 21,000, Royal Palm Beach often gets overlooked as a vacation destination, but it’s full of refreshing small town appeal in an area that’s especially well-known for glitz and glamour.
Despite its name, Royal Palm Beach isn’t on the coast, but although it lies about 15 miles inland, it still gives visitors easy access to many of the area’s most popular natural, cultural, and historical attractions. For savvy, value-minded travelers, it’s possible to find some great deals on lodging that can be noticeably cheaper than other nearby towns.
Below are 15 things to do in and around Royal Palm Beach, Florida.
1. The Village Golf Club
Located on Country Club Drive in Royal Palm Beach, The Village Golf Club is an 18-hole, par 72 public course that’s a favorite of locals and tourists alike.
The course plays about 6,900 yards and has even hosted a few lesser-known PGA tour events.
The course features a nice mix of sand and water hazards as well as treed and open areas that most golfers find both aesthetic and challenging.
For those who generally require a pre-round warm-up period, there’s a full-size driving range too.
Book tee times in advance, especially if you plan on playing during peak times.
2. Oak Bistro and Wine Bar
Relaxing with a tasty glass of wine or a cold beer may be the perfect way to end a long day in the Florida sun.
Located on Southern Boulevard in Royal Palm Beach, Oak Bistro and Wine Bar is known for its comfortable setting, attentive staff, and wide selection of adult beverages, many of which are produced locally.
Oak Bistro offers a number of specials during the week, and it’s a popular happy hour destination too.
For those who’d rather not imbibe too much on an empty stomach, their menu features an impressive selection of tasty fare that’ll be the perfect accompaniment to whatever it is you’re drinking.
3. Dupuis Nature Center
Comprised of nearly 22,000 acres, the Dupuis Nature Center is a renowned center for scientific and environmental studies, and offers visitors a variety of interactive programs relating to the natural world.
Many of the programs are targeted to grade school students and their teachers and include guest speakers, guided tours, and workshops that promote activity and involvement.
They also offer popular stargazing events that are held in conjunction with a local astronomical society.
It’s the perfect way to delve into the mysteries of the cosmos with some amazingly knowledgeable and enthusiastic folks. Check out their website for directions, hours, and a complete list of activity options.
4. The Norton Museum of Art
Located on South Olive Avenue in downtown West Palm Beach, the Norton Museum of Art features one of the Sunshine State’s most complete collections of art, most of which is from America, Europe, and China.
With a permanent collection that includes thousands of pieces created in a variety of mediums, the Norton Museum of Art is also a popular destination for the community events and festivals it holds throughout the year.
There’s probably something on their calendar of events that’ll fit into your busy schedule, and since most of the options are appropriate for kids and adults, finding something that everyone will enjoy shouldn’t be a problem.
5. Mounts Botanical Garden
Due to its balmy subtropical climate, ample rainfall, and abundant sun, Florida is the perfect place for botanical gardens, and Mounts Botanical Garden in West Palm Beach is one of the area’s most popular.
The region’s largest and oldest botanical garden, it is home to thousands of species of plants, trees, and flowers set in a number of distinct cultivated gardens.
Visitors will see plenty of native species and lots of exotic ones too.
The rose, herb and palm gardens are among the most popular, and there’s a butterfly house that’s always a big hit with children.
6. Ragtops Automobile Museum
Florida has always been big classic car country; it may be because the Sunshine State is crawling with retirees who look with fondness on all things that remind them of the past.
Whatever the case, Ragtops Automobile Museum on Claremore Drive in West Palm Beach is one of the state’s most complete repositories of old automobiles, and you don’t have to be a geriatric snowbird to appreciate them.
Featuring thousands of square feet of exhibits, memorabilia, and restored cars, the museum also hosts several popular events, many of which are held outdoors in the winter months when the Florida weather is picture perfect.
7. The Kravis Center for Performing Art
Community performing arts centers are often overlooked resources, but for art and culture-minded travelers, they’re real gems that should be taken advantage of whenever possible.
Located on Okeechobee Boulevard in West Palm Beach, the Kravis Center for Performing Arts hosts a variety of performances throughout the year, including music, drama, and recitals.
Unlike many of its counterparts in rural areas, the Kravis Center often hosts nationally acclaimed performers and productions. Not surprisingly, tickets for many of them go quickly, so do yourself a favor and check out their calendar of events and reserve your spot before making a special trip.
8. Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens
Featuring more than 100 sculptures created by famous artist Ann Weaver Norton, the sculpture gardens that bear her name are located on Barcelona Road in West Palm Beach and are favorite local attractions for art and history aficionados.
The artist’s working career spanned the decades between the turn of the 20th century and the early ‘80s. In addition to her works, guests will learn about her life, influences, and inspirations.
The grounds include her studio and interpretive exhibits as well, and most of the pieces are accompanied by informative plaques so you’ll learn all the interesting details about what it is that you’re seeing.
9. South Florida Science Center and Aquarium
Science and the natural world are best discovered through engagement and interaction, and for those who’d rather do than just view, there’s no better destination than the South Florida Science Center and Aquarium.
Featuring dozens of interactive exhibits and thousands of gallons of salt and fresh water aquariums, it’s the area’s premier science-related attraction, especially for families with children.
There are also a planetarium and theater onsite, and the Everglades exhibit is among the most popular, especially for those not familiar with the unique Florida environment.
Expect a crowd if you go during peak times like holidays and weekends.
10. Rapids Water Park
When the heat and humidity conspire to make being outdoors in the Sunshine State an unattractive option, it’s imperative to find things to do that are either indoors or full of shade and water-centered activities that keep kids engaged, entertained, and refreshed.
Featuring dozens of slides, waves taller than a grown man, and separate areas for toddlers, Rapids Water Park is the complete family package and has been known to keep visitors occupied for hours on end.
Located on North Military Trail in nearby Riviera Beach, there are plenty of bathrooms, changing areas, and food and drink concessions that serve sandwiches, snacks, and cold drinks.
11. West Palm Beach Green Market
From fresh flowers and locally grown seasonal produce to arts, crafts, and prepared food items, West Palm Beach Green Market is one of the Palm Beach area’s most popular destinations, especially for those who’d rather support local farmers and entrepreneurs than faceless national grocery chains.
The market is known for its fresh baked goods, meats, and cheeses, and their offerings change frequently, so no matter how many times you visit, you’ll likely see new items.
The market is conveniently located near other local attractions, so consider stopping off for an hour or two en route to another location.
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12. Antique Row and Art District
Featuring dozens of antique shops and art galleries, West Palm Beach’s Antique Row and Art District is a must-see attraction for those who need a bit of culture in their itinerary.
The shops are full of furniture, housewares, collectibles, and vintage items of nearly every description. Even for those who aren’t in a retail therapy mood, it’s an excellent place for a casual stroll or some passive browsing and window shopping.
The Row and Art District are located on Dixie Highway in West Palm Beach. For a complete list of shops and a detailed map of the area check out their website.
13. Diva Duck Amphibious Tours
Departing from downtown West Palm Beach, Diva Duck Amphibious Tours are a unique and exhilarating way to see the amazing Florida coast.
The amphibious part of their name refers to their vehicles, which are capable of on-road and water travel.
Amphibious tours are one of those must-experience attractions that visitors rave about. They give guests unique perspectives of neighborhoods and natural areas that they wouldn’t see otherwise.
A perennial favorite is the Palm Beach Mansions tour. It’s 75 minutes long and is about as up-close-and-personal as most guests will ever get to living the high-life like Palm Beach’s movers and shakers.
14. Royal Palm Beach Pines Natural Area
At nearly 800 acres, Royal Palm Beach Pines Natural Area includes a variety of preserved natural habitats like pine forests, prairies, and wetlands.
The natural area’s most popular recreation activities include horseback riding, hiking, and strolling along the nature trails and boardwalk.
The facility’s main entrance is located just behind the neighborhood of Saratoga Pines, and there’s another less used one on 40th Street nearby.
The area’s trails are open to bikers as well. For those who choose to bike to the park but would like to explore on foot, there are metal bike racks near the trailhead, but you’ll need to bring your own lock.
15. Florida Power and Light Manatee Lagoon and Eco Discovery Center
Manatees are one of Florida’s most iconic animal species, and there’s no better place to get a glimpse of these immense, slow-moving marine herbivores than at the Florida Power and Light Manatee Lagoon.
Sightings are most common in the winter months when cooler ocean temperatures drive the animals to the plant’s warm water discharge, so if possible, plan your trip accordingly.
The facility’s Eco Discovery Center is the perfect place to start your exploration; it’ll give you an overview of the area’s wildlife and insight into the things you’re about to see.
Don’t forget a hat, sunglasses, and your camera, as you’ll want to protect yourself from the sun and snap a few shots of the venerable sea cows.