In 2019 the residents of Lake Worth voted to change the name of their city to Lake Worth Beach. Whatever it calls itself, this is a place I can’t help but love.
Lake Worth Beach has a thrilling downtown that has bounced back from some lean years in the late 20th century. Now there’s global dining and a big dose of art at galleries, cultural centers, and performance venues.
Of course, the Atlantic shore is also part of Lake Worth Beach’s charm. There are miles of sandy beaches, to go with a charming main beach park, with a traditional casino building from the 1920s.
In between is the Lake Worth Lagoon, fringed by the century-old Lake Worth Beach Golf Club, and a Saturday morning farmers’ market.
The Snook Islands here are a set of man-made islands that have brought wildlife back to the lagoon in the heart of the city.
1. Downtown Lake Worth Beach
If The Palm Beaches are Florida’s Cultural Capital, then downtown Lake Worth Beach is the bohemian nerve center.
Lining the twin main streets of Lake Avenue and Lucerne Avenue, the downtown is a parade of galleries, live music bars, cultural venues, independent boutiques, and truly international restaurants.
Think Cuban, Caribbean, Mediterranean, Mexican, Asian fusion, Peruvian, pizza, American street food…the choice is massive.
Painted in pastel tones, the whole district looks gorgeous, and there are several examples of Art Deco architecture to check out.
What excites me most about downtown Lake Worth Beach is that it’s always animated, with big annual events, outdoor concerts, exhibitions and much more.
2. Lake Worth Beach Park
No trip to a seaside community in Florida is complete without a substantial amount of beach time. Lake Worth Beach Park is the perfect place to get just that.
For a free spectacle, I think you have to allocate at least one morning to get up early and watch the sun come up here.
In addition to sun, sand, and scenic vistas, the park’s beach is accessible to those in wheelchairs. Weekends are always hopping here, but there’s always a lot of space on weekday afternoons.
The big landmark here is the stately 1920s Casino Building. This was renovated in the 2010s and has a lineup of shops and eateries in its handsome arcade. I’ll also talk about the iconic Lake Worth Pier a little later in this article.
3. Cultural Council for Palm Beach County
A building that always stops me in my tracks downtown is the old Lake Worth Theater. In the Streamline Moderne style the theater opened in 1940, and served as a gallery later in the 20th century.
In 2012 it was reborn as the HQ for the Cultural Council for Palm Beach County, underlining Lake Worth Beach’s status as a cultural hub.
The gallery space here is dedicated to work and artists from Palm Beach County, and there’s always something exciting to see.
This complex also has a calendar of live performances, at the Summer Concert Series, or Evenings at the Council.
Something I do every time I pass by is take a peek at the Roe Green Uniquely Palm Beach Store. With everything from postcards to fashion accessories, this is chock-full of local, artist-made pieces.
4. Lake Worth Playhouse
A stage for live entertainment, the Lake Worth Playhouse features Broadway musicals, tribute acts, dance, plays, and independent movies.Though it hasn’t always had its current name, the Playhouse traces its roots back to 1924.
A few years later it was rebuilt in the Streamline Moderne style, and is one of the earliest examples in the United States.
The playhouse is a not-for-profit enterprise, dedicated to promoting the arts and community involvement.
This is a wonderful cultural and artistic resource for locals and visitors—I’d recommend checking the schedule before you come to Lake Worth.
This venue is also wheelchair accessible, and has seating for those with disabilities.
5. John Prince Park
Aside from the lagoon there’s another large body of water. This is Lake Osborne, on the west side of the city.
The place to make the most of the lake is the 726-acre John Prince Park, managed by Palm Beach County. Dating back to the 1930s, this is a fabulous urban park, and the place to go if you want to be active in Lake Worth Beach.
You’ve got exercise equipment, an aquatic center, and facilities for golf, pickleball, tennis, volleyball, softball, basketball and petanque.
For children there are four playgrounds, one of which is fully accessible and barrier free. This includes a 3,700-square-foot splash park, with ground-level water jets, arches, spray cannons, giant animals and shade sails.
I adore this place on weekends, when the park is full of life, with families picnicking at the pavilions, riding bikes on the trails, or even jet-skiing on the lake.
6. Lake Worth Beach Farmers’ Market
October through April there’s a farmers’ market with more than 80 vendors in Lake Worth Beach. Found Under the overpass at A1A and Lake Avenue, this event takes place on Saturday mornings, 9:00 to 1:00.
The Lake Worth Beach Farmers’ Market has been going for almost 20 seasons, and is open rain or shine.
Shop here for local produce, houseplants, cut flowers, raw local honey, artisan baked treats, imported olive oils, cheeses, fresh-roasted coffee, homemade soaps, candles, and a lot more.
All fresh produce sold here has been grown within a 150-mile radius of Lake Worth Beach.
There’s live music without fail, and I’d urge you to skip breakfast before you come. The choice of prepared food is fantastic, from gyros to empanadas and choripan.
7. Snook Islands Natural Area
The Snook Islands Natural area is on the Lake Worth Lagoon between the mainland and barrier island.
Though it was once an ecologically dead area, it’s come through quite a turnaround in recent years. Winding between this group of man-made islands is a network of waterways. The oyster beds here help clean the lagoon’s waters, while the shallow water is a magnet for wildlife.
Now, this once lifeless expanse has started attracting a host of animal species. I saw quite a few wading birds pecking around the shallows.
A long boardwalk, more than 500 feet, traverses the area. To really appreciate this ecological success story, I reckon you have to launch a kayak and spend some time navigating the little channels.
8. Kayak Lake Worth
The estuarine saltwater ecosystem of the Lake Worth Lagoon deserves to be seen up close. The best way to do this is on a kayak trip, and there’s a family-run company offering tours and rentals.
The main destination is the Snook Islands, where you’ll get to observe the mangroves and vibrant wildlife at close quarters.
You should see plenty of fish close to your kayak, as well as waders like egrets and herons. You’re also free to go ashore and explore the northern, unprotected islands in the chain, though the southern ones are off limits.
I booked a Full Moon on the Lagoon Tour. We got to see the sun go down, and picked up interesting details about the lagoon’s unique ecology. Then we paddled in the light of the full moon, and it’s an experience I won’t soon forget.
9. Benzaiten Center for Creative Arts
Another wonderful arts hub for Lake Worth Beach, this center is in a beautiful converted train depot a couple of blocks from downtown.
In my opinion it’s worth a detour just to see this wonderful 14,500-square-foot space, but there’s a lot going on.
The focus is glassmaking, and you can call in during normal hours for awesome glass blowing demonstrations. The artists’ work is available for purchase, and can be admired in the gallery.
If you’re ready to get hands-on, you can take a class, working with the artist to produce a unique work of glass art that you can collect the next day.
10. Lake Worth Cultural Plaza
As its name implies, Lake Worth Cultural Plaza is an open area, set aside as a gathering place, event venue, and cultural attraction.
The plaza includes an expansive lawn and outdoor stage that hosts a variety of events and live performances. The schedule ramps up during the fall and winter months when the Florida weather is perfect.
The plaza’s historic City Hall Annex (1928) is home to the Lake Worth Museum. This was open Wednesday and Friday afternoons when I stopped by.
I spent an enlightening few minutes browsing the historical photos of the city, a hotel switchboard, preserved textiles, and historic household conveniences.
11. William O. Lockhart Municipal Pier
Setting the scene for sunrise shots of the Atlantic, the William O. Lockhart Municipal Pier dates back to 1960.
It’s a tough life for any pier in Florida, and this structure has been battered by hurricanes over the last 60+ years. Frances, Jeanne, Wilma, and Irene have all forced closures and repairs since the 2000s.
The pier is 900 feet long and a favorite spot for snook fishing. I don’t think it’s a surprise, given the pier’s torrid history, but there’s a $1 fee to access ($3 If you’re fishing).
A favorite morning ritual of mine is to greet the sunrise and call in at Benny’s on The Beach for breakfast. This restaurant at the base of the pier has been a Lake Worth staple since 1986.
12. Lake Worth Beach Golf Club
You’re never more than a couple of minutes from the nearest golf course in Palm Beach County.
One that is particularly special to me is Lake Worth Beach Golf Club, dating back to 1926 and lining the Lake Worth Lagoon.
Naturally the coastal views and fresh breezes are a big part of this track’s appeal. Also special are the mature native trees tracing the fairways, including many grand banyan trees.
Aside from six doglegs, the course has a forgiving layout, so relative newcomers should feel pleased with their round. Afterwards you can spend a little more time enjoying those views at the Beach Club Bar and Grill.
13. Adventure Mini Golf
For a light-hearted family activity, there’s a mom and pop mini golf attraction near John Prince Park. Adventure Mini Golf has two 18-hole mini golf courses, set among little lakes, rocky slopes, waterfalls, fountains and tropical plants.
When I played here, all of the greens and walkways had just been renovated. There’s a slight difference in difficulty between the two courses, but kids will have a blast at both.
There’s also a concession stand, for cold drinks, ice creams and other treats. Picnic tables are provided, but you’re also allowed to take refreshments out onto the course with you.
14. Lake Worth Street Painting Festival
In late February, the pavements of Lake Worth Beach become a giant canvas for more than 600 talented artists.
The Street Painting Festival has been going strong for 25 years now. This is one of the region’s most distinctive events, bringing thousands of people to the city.
The entire event is free, and you can spend your time hopping from one amazing creation to the next.
There’s also three stages for live entertainment, along with a Festival Food Court and Bistro. Meanwhile, all of downtown’s shopping and dining is close at hand throughout the event.
15. Lake Worth Beach Bonfires
On the first and third Fridays, November through February, there’s a heartwarming celebration at Lake Worth Beach.
The city organizes a bonfire on the sand just in front of the Casino Building. You can bring coolers and s’more kits, and huddle around the fire as the sun goes down.
There’s also live music at each of the eight events, in genres from folk to classic rock. You’re free to bring your own food and drink, but there’s a choice of beachfront eateries open close by.
My one tip is to bring a flashlight or use one on your phone to make sure you don’t forget anything on the beach.