Located along the east-central portion of massive Lake Okeechobee in central Florida’s Palm Beach County, Pahokee is a small city primarily known for its abundance of outdoor recreation options and rural, small-town charm.
At the time of the last census, the city had a population of nearly 6,000 residents. For those who’d like to hit the road while visiting the area, many of the state’s southern Atlantic coast beach towns like Jupiter, West Palm Beach, and Boynton Beach are an easy day-trip away.
Below are 15 things to do in and around Pahokee that rank highly on many traveler’s itineraries.
1. Pahokee State Park
Previous visitors to Pahokee State Park have described it as a hidden gem. Though it’s located just a few blocks from downtown on the shores of Lake Okeechobee, it doesn’t get the number of visitors that more well-known parks do.
The park features a number of campsites and good lake access for shore fishermen, which makes it an excellent place for inexperienced young anglers fishing with a parent for the first time.
The campsites are available on a first-come, first-served basis, and easily-walked trails wind their way around the scenic lake.
Nearby amenities include a marina and boat ramp, and plenty of dining options.
2. Dupuis Nature Center
Dupuis Nature Center and the Florida Center for Environmental Studies are dedicated to nature-centered education programs that are primarily targeted to local students, teachers, and families.
The nature center is a unique community resource that’s often reserved for school programs during the week but is open to the public on the weekends.
There are both indoor and outdoor portions of the center, and they touch on many topics, including animals, habitat preservation, and even space and the stars.
The center’s outdoor grounds include swamps and forests that are home to a variety of animals, which are commonly seen during staff-led tours and summer camps.
3. Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse and Museum
Florida’s extensive coastline is home to a large number of historic lighthouses; many of them have been faithfully performing their duties for more than a century.
The Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse and Museum are favorite attractions for lovers of nautical history. The lighthouse has been preserved in near-original state and is open to daily guided tours from late morning until early afternoon.
It’s possible to climb to the lighthouse’s peak to take in the stunning and panoramic sea views, but kids shorter than 4-feet-tall won’t be able to make the trek.
The museum adjacent to the lighthouse is full of interesting exhibits, and admission is relatively inexpensive.
4. Art Fest on the Green
For nearly a decade, the town of Wellington has been hosting an annual juried arts and crafts show that’s held over two days at the end of January, when the weather in Florida is mild and sunny.
Wellington is just about a 40-minute drive southeast of Pahokee and is a great day-trip destination for those who don’t mind hitting the road.
The event features dozens of artists displaying works in a variety of mediums, from paintings and sculpture to pottery and photography.
During the event, there are some instructional classes offered for amateur artists; there is plenty of food and drink as well as kid-friendly activities.
5. Winter Equestrian Festival
Wellington is one of Florida’s equestrian epicenters and draws horse lovers from all over the world, especially during the winter months.
The Winter Equestrian Festival takes place annually between January and March and is held at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center.
The festival features countless events that are fun and entertaining for horse aficionados and newbies alike. In addition to the horse-centered events, there’s live entertainment, lots of great food options, arts and crafts, and many activities designed with little ones in mind.
Face painting, carnival-style rides and a petting zoo are big attractions too, and the venue is close to other area attractions.
6. Loggerhead Marinelife Center
Located in Juno Beach, Loggerhead Marinelife Center is named after the massive sea turtles that are common along the state’s Atlantic coast.
The center is often referred to as a turtle hospital by locals, and rescuing and rehabilitating marine turtles are big parts of what the staff does on a regular basis.
Educating the public on the wonders of nature and the importance of ecosystem preservation are also focuses, and the center includes permanent exhibits as well as a number of special events and programs aimed at children.
Admission to the Marinelife Center is free, though donations are gladly accepted.
7. International Polo Club Palm Beach
Though its name might lead you to believe otherwise, International Polo Club Palm Beach is actually located in Wellington, just a few miles inland.
The facility is one of the world’s preeminent polo destinations. It hosts some of the most prestigious tournaments during the polo season, which generally lasts from the beginning of January until the end of March.
Polo has the reputation as the exclusive domain of the hopelessly rich and snooty, but events are open to the public, and you don’t need an eight-figure trust fund to enjoy one. Tickets can be as cheap as ten bucks, and most first-time visitors have a blast.
8. Palm Beach Summer Beer Fest
The Palm Beach Summer Beer Fest is held each year in July. For lovers of craft and microbrews who find themselves with an afternoon to kill under the Florida sun, there are few better events.
It all takes place at the South Florida Fairgrounds and includes a mind-boggling array of beers from all over the country, with flavor profiles ranging from hoppy IPAs to bitter stouts.
Live entertainment, tons of great food, and fun activities will make it a day to remember, and much of the proceeds go to help local children in need.
9. Wakodahatchee Wetlands
Located in nearby Delray Beach, the Wakodahatchee Wetlands include almost 50 acres of diverse environments that are home to a variety of local wildlife.
The wetlands are free to visit and open year-round. They are popular with hikers, bikers, nature lovers, and amateur photographers.
There are several well-marked trails leading through the wetland’s pristine areas, and it’s common to see a variety of animals, including more than a hundred species of birds as well as foxes, gators, turtles, and snakes.
The area is often hot and full of mosquitos, so bring a hat, bottled water, and insect repellant.
10. Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium
During the early spring months when much of the country is still buried in snow and ice, the weather in sunny Florida typically hovers in the 70s and 80s.
The Grapefruit League is a term used to describe Major League Baseball’s spring training league that takes place across Florida. For those in the Pahokee area during that time, there’s no better place to catch a game or two than Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium.
The stadium is located on Main Street in Jupiter and is where the St. Louis Cardinals play their spring training games.
It’s a world-class facility, and enjoying a game won’t break the bank as it will at most Major League venues.
11. Norton Museum of Art
The Norton Museum of Art is located on South Olive Avenue in West Palm Beach and is particularly well-known for its unique collection of local, national, and international works done in a variety of mediums.
The museum’s permanent collection numbers in the thousands and focus on American, European, and Chinese art. Throughout the year, it often hosts temporary exhibits from other institutions and private collections.
The museum staff offers a large selection of educational programs and classes on a regular basis; many of them are aimed at budding artists and children brimming with creativity who need a little of guidance.
12. Mounts Botanical Garden
Florida’s soil and climate are perfect for growing a variety of native and exotic species of plants, trees, and flowers, and Mounts Botanical Garden in West Palm Beach is one of the oldest and largest cultivated gardens in the area.
Mounts is home to thousands of distinct species from nearly every corner of the globe and is one of West Palm Beach’s most popular attractions.
The garden is comprised of many themed areas, including fruit trees, herbs, orchids, and begonias. They’re all connected by easily walkable paths and include informative signs that tell visitors about the beautiful things they’re seeing.
13. McCarthy’s Wildlife Sanctuary
Much like it has an abundance of beaches, parks, and botanical gardens, Florida has more than its fair share of wildlife sanctuaries; they’re dedicated to protecting animals as varied as big cats, birds of prey, and sea turtles.
McCarthy’s Wildlife Sanctuary is located on 61st Street North in West Palm Beach. It’s committed to rescuing and rehabilitating animals that have been injured or orphaned in the wild.
Behind the scenes tours are great ways to get a unique insight into the resident animals and their treatment, and for many visitors, it ends up being one of the most poignant experiences of their trip.
14. Oceanfront Park
Though Pahokee is well inland of the state’s Atlantic coast, for visitors with access to a car, a variety of convenient day-trip options are available for those who need their beach fix.
Boynton Beach’s Oceanfront Park is located on North Ocean Boulevard and is an inexpensive option for visitors traveling on a budget. It features a wide variety of amenities that have been known to keep guests busy for an entire day.
Beach chairs and umbrellas are available for rent on-site, and there’s a playground and boardwalk as well as a variety of dining and shopping options within walking distance.
15. Schoolhouse Children’s Museum and Learning Center
Featuring inexpensive admission, a convenient location close to a number of busy highways, and a variety of entertaining and educational attractions, the Schoolhouse Children’s Museum and Learning Center in Boynton Beach is a great community resource that’s often overlooked by visitors.
The museum’s exhibits promote interaction and engagement and touch on a variety of topics, like science, culture, and art. Though the facility is all about kids, parents usually end-up having a great time and learning a lot too.
The staff offer regular activities like storytime and instruction programs, so check out the calendar of events on their website before making a special trip.