How do I spend a day itinerary in Palm Beach?
From stunning beaches to world-class shopping and dining, Palm Beach has something for everyone. In this Palm Beach itinerary, I’ll take you through some of the must-see sights and experiences that the city has to offer so that you can make the most of your day trip.
Whilst basing ourselves in Bal Harbour for the whole duration of our recent trip to Florida, we were keen to explore a bit more using a tried a tested concept: quick and easy day trips to nearby places of interest (you can check all the coverage on my Instagram Stories here, or some posts here).
We visited Fort Lauderdale first, and next up was somewhere I had visited once before (many moons ago en route to Saint Augustine) and I was very keen to return to: the wonderful Palm Beaches area.
The idea behind these day trips from Miami Beach was simple: to see other places (obviously) but also to ‘scout’ for potential for bases for future stays in Florida.
We only had a day in the Palm Beach area, so this isn’t obviously an exhaustive guide of everything this part of Florida has to offer, but gives you a little flavour of what to expect on a day trip from Miami to Palm Beach.
Where is Palm Beach, Florida?
Palm Beach is a city in the Atlantic coast of Florida, located a little over 90 minutes north of Miami Beach.
It is actually located on an island, separated from the mainland (and the city of West Palm Beach) by the Lake Worth lagoon.
What is so special about the Palm Beach area?
It is a very wealthy part of Florida, known for its extraordinary houses and everything that goes with it – exceptional dining, shopping and well, the whole lifestyle.
It has pristine weather, pristine landscaping and pristinely-dressed residents. Everything is kind of pristine and we really quite liked it.
5 Things to Do in Palm Beach
Visit the Palm Beach Zoo
Located outside the town (obviously), our first stop was the Palm Beach Zoo. We had never been to a zoo with our (then) 2.5 year old, and we figured that a place like Palm Beach would offer a very satisfactory ‘introductory’ experience.
Needless to say, it delivered. It was compact (it took us just under an hour to get around it – but I suspect you could make it last a bit longer), which was perfect for us.
There was enough variety (my favourite were the flamingos, whereas Miss O loved seeing monkeys for the first time.
After the zoo, we headed into the town, just in time for lunch.
Tickets cost $21 for children aged over 3, and $27 for adults.
Enjoy some of Palm Beaches’ fabulous restaurants
When I was looking for restaurant options in Palm Beach – there was something very familiar about it! I recognised half the names as many of the area’s top restaurants are outposts of New York and The Hamptons.
We booked last minute and only just managed to get a table at La Goulue, which was actually excellent. It had the right amount of casualness for lunch and you could tell the ambiance would completely change for dinner.
The area around the restaurant is also worth a little exploration as it has a handful of local boutiques where that Palm Beach style really comes to life.
Other places that friends recommended were Le Bilboquet (all the way from the Hamptons), Saint Ambroeus (all the way from NYC), Cafe Boulud (by chef Daniel Boulud who seems to be be pretty much everywhere now). Buccan and Lola 41 were also mentioned, but I did not get a chance to try.
Shop and explore Worth Avenue without forgetting the Vias
If you needed any evidence about the purchasing power of the Palm Beaches residents and its visitors, you will not after a stroll down Worth Avenue. We visited during the Christmas season and the decor was quite on point too.
You will find every single luxury brand in Palm Beach – and this is more evident since Covid, when the Palm Beaches area welcomed a whole new flurry of younger new residents from New York and Los Angeles. You will see all the snowbird favourites but also some cooler things. Shopping in Palm Beach is a national sport and I am here for it.
One note: don’t dismiss the side streets. Called Vias, they are located wither side of Worth Avenue and they really are a delight (and one of the things that is unique to West Palm Beach shopping. You will find boutiques, galleries, restaurants and ice cream parlours – so yes, get lost in the vias.
One shop you cannot miss: Aerin’s shop. There are only 4 – 2 in the Hamptons, one in Miami and one here. It is tiny but perfectly formed – I wanted to buy everything but restrained myself (but did not leave empty handed).
Have a snoop around ‘the hotels’
We didn’t stay this time as this was only a day trip from Miami (so I cannot say how comfortable the beds were, nor the service), but I always like to check out hotels when I visit a place.
Palm Beach is known for its two ‘heritage’ hotels: The Breakers and The Colony. The first is a true American style resort (literally drive in and go for a drink and a snoop around – valet park at the entrance or just self park) – the other is a local gem and known for its very local decor. There is also a Four Seasons right on the beach.
I find going for lunch gives you a good flavour – but on this occasion, we went for a drink.
Discover the Royal Poinciana Plaza
Royal Poinciana Plaza could be described as Worth Avenue’s hipster younger sister and it is worth a visit on a day trip from Miami to Palm Beach.
It is the home of ‘very trendy’ yoga and pilates studios and an impeccably curated selection of shops – from Assouline to Hermes, it also describes itself as ‘an idyllic backdrop for philanthropic soirees’, so there is clearly more than meets the eye.
I enjoyed a visit to Hill House Home, La Ligne, Roller Rabbit and of course a little bite to eat at Saint Ambroeus (you absolutely need to book).
Is Palm Beach worth visiting?
Absolutely – and so much so, we thought it would be worth staying for a few nights as obviously we did not see anything (and I would love to see it come to life in the evenings too and understand the beach situation). I will need to make sure I bring the perfect beach bag.
On our day trip from Miami to Palm Beach, we started with the Zoo, enjoyed lunch, checked out The Colony after Worth Avenue, then drove down to Royal Poinciana and finally the Breakers. We also drove around the waterfront, which was pretty beautiful.
I hope this post inspires you to explore a bit more of Florida!
Check out my other Florida articles:
For more information about The Palm Beaches, visit their website. Start planning your next trip to Florida here.
This article is brought to you in association with Visit Florida