Located along the Atlantic coast in South Florida’s Palm Beach County, Lake Worth was named after the large lagoon that’s adjacent to its eastern border.
Though it had a population of just less than 35,000 residents at the time of the last census, it’s part of the Miami metropolitan area, which is home to more than six million.
Throughout the year, the city hosts a variety of festivals that are steadily gaining in popularity, and its scenic beaches, galleries, shops, and eateries have been known to draw crowds as well.
Below are 15 things to do in and around Lake Worth, Florida that you won’t want to miss.
1. Lake Worth Playhouse
Located on Lake Avenue in Lake Worth, the Lake Worth Playhouse features a variety of traditional and contemporary productions, both live performances and film.
Though it hasn’t always had its current name, the playhouse traces its roots back nearly a century, to when it opened as a silent movie house.
The playhouse is a not-for-profit enterprise and is dedicated to promoting the arts and community involvement. It is a valuable cultural and artistic resource for locals and visitors that they may not have access to otherwise.
The playhouse’s quaint theater is wheelchair accessible and has special seating for those with disabilities.
2. Lake Worth Street Painting Festival
Though you may have missed it this year, the Lake Worth Street Painting Festival is an annual event held in February, so it’s something to make a note of for travelers headed south in 2020.
The Street Painting Festival has been going strong for 25 years, is one of the city’s most popular events, and draws art and culture-minded guests from all over the region.
Rumor has it that it’s the largest festival of its kind in the country, and more importantly, it’s free to visit.
Of course, you’ll need to cough up some dough if you want to eat, drink, or buy some art, but there’s no charge for admission.
3. Lake Worth Cultural Plaza
As its name implies, Lake Worth Cultural Plaza is a largely open area that’s been set aside as a gathering place, event venue, and cultural attraction. It’s a valuable community resource that should be taken advantage of when in the area.
Located on M Street, it includes an expansive lawn and outdoor stage that hosts a variety of events and live performances, especially during the fall and winter months when the Florida weather is close to perfect.
The plaza’s historic city annex building is home to the Lake Worth Museum as well, so consider stopping there first and asking the staff about upcoming events.
4. Lake Worth Beach Park
No trip to Florida is complete without a substantial amount of beach time, and Lake Worth Beach Park is the perfect place to get just that.
Located next to the new fishing pier, there’s ample parking nearby that’s charged on an hourly basis.
In addition to sun, sand, and scenic vistas, the park’s beach is accessible to those in wheelchairs. Previous visitors have noted that it’s not very crowded during the week and in the off-season.
Many families choose to bring their own food, but for those who’d rather let someone else do the cooking, there are a variety of casual eateries nearby that cater to the beach crowd.
5. Snook Islands Natural Area
The Snook Islands Natural area is located in the Lake Worth Lagoon after which the city was named. Though it was once an ecologically dead area, it’s undergone quite a turnaround in recent years.
Now, the once lifeless expanse has been repopulated by a variety of plant and animal species, especially birds and even the iconic manatee.
Many guests choose to explore Snook Islands as part of a private eco-tour; those who do will get a unique insight into the area’s history and ecology from a knowledgeable and enthusiastic local guide.
Check out their website for directions, hours, and tour information.
6. Boca Raton History Museum
It’s not too well-known outside the area, but Boca Raton is one of the country’s oldest continually inhabited areas, and not surprisingly, there’s lots of history packed into those centuries.
Located on North Federal Highway, the Boca Raton History Museum is an easily recognizable icon due to its gold dome that towers over the town hall.
The museum was founded in 1927 and is best enjoyed by guided tour, which generally last a little less than an hour.
Tours include an introductory movie and historic narration from a history-savvy local. Tours of other nearby attractions are offered as well, so ask about them at the visitor center.
7. Downtown Delray Beach
Known for its cultural diversity and trendy, relaxed vibe, downtown Delray Beach is a cultural epicenter that draws an artsy and bohemian crowd for its festivals, galleries, shops, and eating and drinking establishments.
Some of the area’s most popular community events are the First Friday Art Walks that happen monthly and feature the works of local and regional artists created in a variety of mediums.
The downtown area features live performances and other cultural events frequently during the year and is home to a number of historic buildings and businesses worth checking out, like the Crest Theatre and Cornell Art Museum.
8. Boca Express Train Museum
Located in Boca Raton’s historic downtown area, the Boca Express Train Museum is housed in the town’s old train depot from the ‘30s and is a must-visit destination for history and train aficionados visiting the Lake Worth Area.
Most guests start their tour at the renovated rail car from the mid-‘40s that’s one of the museum’s highlights.
Dining and lounge cars, a caboose, and a steam locomotive from 1930 that have been restored to near-original condition round out the impressive exhibits. For those who’d like to pick up a keepsake or two before heading out, there’s a great little gift shop on site as well.
9. Butterfly World
What started as a hobby bordering on an obsession in the mid-‘80s, eventually turned into one of the country’s most impressive collections of butterflies. For visitors traveling with animal-loving children, it’s an attraction that shouldn’t be passed up.
Now, the sprawling and diverse facility includes a butterfly aviary, botanical gardens, and a tropical bird center.
Butterfly World is located on West Sample Road in nearby Coconut Creek. Much of the revenue raised goes toward research and the breeding and reintroduction of endangered butterfly species all over the world; visiting is not only fun and educational, but you’ll be supporting a great cause.
10. Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge
Florida’s Everglades are a natural wonder that are often referred to as a ‘river of grass.’
Consisting of marshes, swamps, and seasonal lakes and rivers, the northern portion of the glades in the vicinity of Lake Worth is an amazingly scenic and diverse area that’s best experienced at the Loxahatchee National Refuge.
Though self-guided exploration is a popular way to experience the area, the refuge staff offers a variety of guided tour options as well. For those who don’t mind spending a few extra bucks, they’re great ways to get unique and in-depth insights into the area’s plant and animal life, history, and ecology you might not get otherwise.
11. Children’s Science Explorium
Boca Raton’s Children’s Science Explorium is located in popular Sugar Sand Park on South Military Trail.
The facility was designed with pre-teen kids in mind and is chockfull of interactive exhibits that touch on science and the natural world, history, technology, and culture.
In addition to their permanent exhibits, they host temporary ones as well, and a variety of family-friendly events and activities are held throughout the year, mostly in the cooler non-summer months when the Florida weather is more conducive to being outdoors.
At more than 130 acres, Sugar Sand Park offers guests a variety of recreation options, so check online or ask a local before heading out.
12. Hillsboro Inlet Lighthouse
Located on North Ocean Boulevard in Pompano Beach, the historic Hillsboro Inlet Lighthouse has the unique distinction of being built more than a thousand miles away in Michigan, but being constructed on its current site in 1907.
In addition, the lighthouse’s powerful radiating lens was built in France, making it a distinctly local historical attraction with fascinating national and international elements.
Guests generally spend a few hours on site, and it’s possible to climb to the top – but you’ll need to wear close-toed shoes for safety reasons.
The lighthouse is open to the public but not every day, so be sure to check their website or ask a local before making a special trip.
13. Boynton Beach Mall
Florida’s abundance of surf, sand, and sun can be a bit overwhelming, even for diehard beach people; air-conditioned indoor attractions like malls are popular alternatives, especially when it’s oppressively hot or windy and rainy outside.
Featuring more than 100 shops, including some well-known national retailers like Macy’s, Express and Victoria’s Secret, Boynton Beach Mall is a great short-term escape from the elements and offers abundant parking and a number of dining options ranging from food court-style to full-service.
Malls like Boynton Beach can get crowded during peak times, so if you’d rather avoid the masses, consider an early morning or weekday visit.
14. The Morikami Museum and Japanese Garden
In the ‘20s, the area in the vicinity of Lake Worth was colonized by Japanese farmers in what was known as the Yamato Colony.
Over the years, many of those immigrants relocated to other parts of the county, but many of their traditions and cultural influences remain; the Morikami Museum and Japanese Garden is the perfect place to learn all about this little-known bit of local history.
Featuring several exhibits focusing on the often traumatic plight of Japanese families living in the United States during World War II, the facility is also known for its cultivated gardens that masterfully meld components of the natural and manmade worlds.
15. Sports Immortals Museum
Over the years, the Sports Immortals Museum on North Federal Highway in Boca Raton has gained a reputation as one of the finest sports history museums in the world.
Visiting curators from esteemed institutions like The Smithsonian Institute have called it a one-of-a-kind treasure, so for traveling sports enthusiasts, it’s one of those attractions that shouldn’t be passed up.
The museum’s items have been valued at nearly 250 million dollars and touch on a diverse variety of sports, like tennis, boxing, baseball, and even the Olympics.
Consider saving your visit to the Sports Immortals Museum for when the weather outside is less than inviting.