Located along the southern portion of the state’s Atlantic coast, Palm Beach Gardens was established in 1959 and is in Palm Beach County.
At the time of the last census, the city had a population of nearly 50,000, and it’s particularly well-known for its gated communities and proximity to the Miami metropolitan area, which is home to almost six million residents.
Though in many ways it’s an oasis from the hustle and bustle of Miami, it’s close enough to its attractions to give visitors an array of recreation options.
Below are 15 things to do in and around Palm Beach Gardens.
1. The Gardens Mall
Though it features premium retail outlets like Saks Fifth Avenue and Nordstrom, not all of The Gardens Mall’s shops are so expensive and exclusive. With more than 150 to choose from, there’s likely a little something for everyone regardless of the limit on their credit card.
In the summer months, the Florida heat and humidity can be downright oppressive, and inside air-conditioned destinations take on tremendous importance, so consider spending an afternoon strolling, shopping, and dining while the sun bakes less savvy travelers.
The Gardens Mall is located just off Interstate 95 on PGA Boulevard in Palm Beach Gardens.
2. Salute Market
Also located on PGA Boulevard in Palm Beach Gardens, Salute Market has been described as a little bit of Napa Valley, California in the heart of the Sunshine State.
For those unfamiliar with fermented adult beverages, Napa Valley is synonymous with wine. Likewise, Salute Market has become a popular destination for those looking to sip and chat their way through an afternoon with a good friend and a glass or two of vino.
Part bistro, part winery, and part boutique shop, it’s a great place to fill your stomach and pick up some uniquely Florida products that you won’t find elsewhere.
3. Abacoa Golf Club
Abacoa Golf club in nearby Jupiter is one of South Florida’s best public golf courses.
Known for its abundant lakes, sand traps, and sloping fairways, most guests consider the course scenic and challenging, but not overly unforgiving.
Many of the area’s natural elements have been incorporated into the course’s design, and with a variety of tees to play from, it’s appropriate for players of most skill levels.
Greens fees are reasonable, but like most of Florida’s courses, tee times fill quickly during peak times, so it’s wise to reserve yours in advance, especially if you plan on playing on a weekend or holiday.
4. John D. MacArthur Beach State Park
Comprised of more than 400 acres of pristine, subtropical coastal environment, John D. MacArthur Beach State Park is considered one of the most well-preserved parks of its kind in the state.
The park’s amenities include more than two miles of beach and barrier islands that are home to a variety of native plant and animal species, many of which are unique to the area.
Diving, snorkeling, and swimming are popular in the park’s clear waters, and it’s not uncommon to see a variety of animals, especially wading and predatory birds. It’s generally less crowded than other more commercial attractions, but you probably won’t have the whole place to yourself.
5. Catch a Game at Roger Dean Stadium
Florida’s baseball spring training season is often referred to as the ‘Grapefruit League,” and for fans of America’s pastime visiting the Sunshine State in spring, there are a variety of options available.
The Roger Dean Stadium is most well-known as the home of the St. Louis Cardinals in the off-season and is the perfect venue to take in a game or two.
Most visitors are pleasantly surprised at the stadium’s amenities, and also that it’s noticeably less expensive than its big league counterparts.
The stadium seats more than 6,000 fans and individual and season tickets are available.
6. Dupuis Nature Center
Spread over nearly 22,000 acres in Palm Beach and Martin counties, Dupuis Nature Center is comprised of a variety of natural environments, including ponds, cypress swamps, pine forests, and glade marshlands that are home to a huge range of plants, trees, and animals.
In addition to its natural splendor, the center’s staff offers educational programs that are specifically geared toward secondary school students, teachers, and local families.
Many of the programs include ranger-led trips into the field, where participants will have a chance to get up close and personal with Mother Nature and learn about the natural ecosystem and some of its more unique inhabitants.
7. Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse & Museum
Second only to Alaska in length of coastline, Florida has a rich maritime history and is home to some of the country’s most beautiful and historic lighthouses, many of which are now museums.
Since it was built in 1860, the nearly 110-foot tall Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse has stood as a coastal sentinel. Now, the preserved structure is a historic site and museum open to the public.
Tours are available daily and are led by historical society guides that are both knowledgeable and enthusiastic, giving guests a unique historic insight they might not get otherwise.
Check their website for directions, hours, and prices.
8. Historic Flagler Museum
Consisting of 55 rooms built for the wife of a local oil mogul, the home that’s the Historic Flagler Museum’s centerpiece was built in 1902 and has been restored to near-original condition, giving visitors an interesting glimpse into the lifestyles of the uber-wealthy in eras past.
Full of original art, furniture, and housewares that were the height of luxury by the standards of the time, the home and museum are a favorite destination for history-minded travelers.
Most guests end up spending an hour or two onsite, and many choose to take advantage of the professionally guided tours that are offered.
9. Loggerhead Marinelife Center
Named after the famous loggerhead marine turtles, the Loggerhead Marinelife Center is free to visit, though most visitors leave a donation to help them continue their important work.
Referred to by locals as the ‘turtle hospital,’ this is a rehabilitation center and a favorite destination for families traveling with animal-loving children.
The center includes permanent exhibits and is staffed by friendly volunteers who are glad to show you around and explain the backgrounds of the resident animals.
Just a short drive from Palm Beach Gardens, it’s a truly one of a kind facility that shouldn’t be missed.
10. Blowing Rocks Preserve
Located on more than 70 acres and including a variety of unique Florida landscapes, Blowing Rocks Preserve is a barrier island that’s made mainly of limestone. Surrounded by shimmering waters, it provides nature lovers and amateur photographers with some of the best views they’re likely to see on their Florida trip.
Including areas of dunes, forests, and rugged shorelines, it’s a fun place to explore and is home to a variety of plants and animals, especially shorebirds.
Don’t forget the butterfly garden and education center, as well as the pristine stretch of beach that’s the perfect sunny day sunbathing destination.
11. Norton Museum of Art
With thousands of works of art primarily from the Americas, Europe, and China, The Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach was founded nearly eight decades ago and has grown into one of the country’s most recognized museums.
Most of what you’ll see is contemporary, though there are older pieces as well.
The museum is the largest of its kind in the state and is most well-known for its permanent collection, but offers a variety of community-minded programs as well. The best way to keep abreast of what’s on the schedule is to check out their website periodically.
12. Busch Wildlife Sanctuary
Full of wild Florida animals – from panthers and eagles to gators, crocs and snakes – the Busch Wildlife Sanctuary is the perfect destination for those looking to be engaged, entertained and educated all at once.
There’s no better place to learn about Florida’s natural world, and in addition to their animal and interactive exhibits, the sanctuary’s staff offers a variety of programs and activities, most of which are geared toward children.
The sanctuary includes a variety of walkable trails and a wildlife rehabilitation facility, so stopping by and spending a few bucks will go a long way to helping them continue their important work.
13. South Florida Science Center and Aquarium
Located on Dreher Trail North in West Palm Beach, the South Florida Science Center and Aquarium was founded more than 60 years ago. Their primary aim is to engage and educate the public on the wonders and importance of the natural world.
In addition to their interactive and animal exhibits, the center offers a variety of community-centered programs that touch on science, plants, animals, and the environment.
The center has different hours on weekends and weekdays, and during peak times can get crowded, so if you’d like to avoid the hordes, consider visiting in the morning when they first open or during the week.
14. Historical Society of Palm Beach County
Consisting of a variety of individual galleries spread over multiple floors, the Historical Society of Palm Beach County is the area’s most complete repository of all things related to the history of the southern Atlantic coast.
From history and the economy to cultural heritage and the natural world, the museum has a little something for everyone, regardless of age or interests.
A particular favorite is the Barefoot Mailman exhibit, which gives guests an interesting view into a unique slice of Florida history.
The museum is conveniently located close to town and housed in an old courthouse from the early 20th century that was built in the neoclassical style.
15. Panther Ridge Conservation Center
All tours of the Panther Ridge Conservation Center are professionally guided and include amazing insights into the lives and habits of the center’s feline inhabitants that most guests find entertaining and educational.
The center is a not-for-profit organization that’s dedicated to helping big cats in a number of ways. Their programs include education, rehabilitation, and participating in initiatives to reintroduce animals back into the wild, thereby bolstering their numbers to healthy and sustainable levels.
Visitation is by reservation only, so check out their website for hours, directions, and costs, and make the necessary arrangements before making a special trip.