15 Palm Beach Activities For When You Want To Get Outside
One of the best remedies for maintaining a healthy body, mind and spirit lies in the air, land and sea. Basking in the breeze, hiking in a park and swimming in the ocean can recharge the soul and bring about a sense of calmness at the same time. Take advantage of the abundance of attractions available in South Florida with our guide to the great outdoors.
1. South Florida Science Center And Aquarium
In one mind-blowing building, museumgoers can see dozens of native marine life species in the “Aquariums of the Atlantic” exhibit, play the 18-hole miniature golf course, conduct experiments and research like real-world biologists in the “Florida Conservation Station” exhibit and learn about earth systems in the “Science on a Sphere” exhibit. In addition to the permanent exhibits are ongoing temporary ones, including “Our Body: The Universe Within,” an artful look at anatomy on display now.
4801 Dreher Trail N., West Palm Beach / 561.832.1988 / sfsciencecenter.org
2. Mounts Botanical Garden Of Palm Beach County
A suburban gem west of Palm Beach International Airport, the glorious garden brings blooming beauty to the hustle and bustle of everyday life. The grounds harbor begonias, birds of paradise, bottlebrush, bougainvillea and butterfly ginger, and those are just the Bs. All things green from A to Z cover the soil with more than 2,000 species ranging from native to exotic to tropical to curious. An example of the latter is the signature sausage tree.
531 N. Military Trail, West Palm Beach / 561.233.1757 / mounts.org
3. Pine Glades Natural Area
The sandhill crane is a common sight at Palm Beach County’s newest of 34 natural areas. So are the green-winged teal and white-tailed deer. Appreciate them and other wildlife by hiking more than seven miles of trails, accessing an observation platform or kayaking within the park, which is a mix of flatwoods and marsh with a scenic cypress dome.
14122 W. Indiantown Road, Jupiter / 561.233.2400 / pbcgov.com/erm/natural/natural-areas/pine-glades
4. Palm Beach Zoo & Conservation Society
Adventure awaits those who patronize the family-friendly facility that houses more than 700 animals from the Americas, Australia and Madagascar. The living collection covers four habitats: Asia, Florida, the islands and the tropics. Animal experiences are also offered, enabling guests to get up close and personal with anteaters, capybaras, sloths and tortoises. An interactive fountain where children can play, the “Wings Over Water” show featuring 20 trained birds and daily talks about tigers and bears make a day at the zoo both entertaining and educational.
1301 Summit Blvd., West Palm Beach / 561.547.9453 / palmbeachzoo.org
5. Reel Intense Fishing Charters
Four-, six- and eight-hour expeditions aboard Capt. Weston Russell’s 30-footer deliver deep-sea fishing at its finest. Depending on the time of year, anglers can catch dolphin, grouper, kingfish, permit and wahoo while taking in views of the offshore vista. Trips start by heading out to the Gulf Stream, and time is set aside on the return for fishing in the Intracoastal Waterway. Rates include bait, rods, reels and soft drinks, plus the expertise of a professional who aims to send his customers home with dinner.
255 E. 22nd Court, Riviera Beach / 561.310.2690 / reelintensefishing.com
6. Jupiter Dog Beach
Fido is free to frolic in the sand, sun and surf on 2.5 miles of breakers where four-legged friends are welcome. Here, dogs and their owners are able to enjoy a piece of the outdoors that often is off-limits to pets. Friends of Jupiter Beach has worked with Jupiter Town Council for such a privilege, and as long as everyone’s animals are behaved, obedient and well-socialized (B.O.W.), the tail-wagging tradition will continue.
2188 Marcinski Road (Beach Marker No. 25) / 561.748.8140 / friendsofjupiterbeach.org/the-beach
7. Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens
Larger-than-life sculptures that speak to Ann Norton’s style as an artist are complemented with rare palms and fruit-bearing plants. Inside the late artist’s studio are prolific works in bronze, stone and wood. The non-profit entity, supported by paid memberships, is best known for its “Festival of Trees” holiday exhibit. This year, more than two dozen pines will be decorated by local creatives to the theme “Celebrating Design Through the Decades.” A fundraising gala Dec. 2, 2016, will kick off the show.
253 Barcelona Road, West Palm Beach / 561.832.5328 / ansg.org
8. Lion Country Safari
It is billed as Florida’s only drive-thru African adventure, and it boasts more than 900 animals in a preserve that evokes different regions of the continent, as well as India and South America. Alpacas, buffaloes, impalas and ostriches join giraffes and zebras, in addition to the king of the jungle, at the 49-year-old tourist attraction. There is also a walk-through amusement park with children’s rides, gift and snack shops, fish feedings and additional animal exhibits. Other activities include miniature golf, paddleboat rides and a water slide.
2003 Lion Country Safari Road, Loxahatchee / 561.793.1084 / lioncountrysafari.com
9. Manatee Lagoon
The 16,000-square-foot, two-story educational facility features dozens of exhibits chronicling the plight of the mammoth marine mammals, as well as an observation balcony from which visitors can watch the endangered creatures lumbering in the warm-water outflows of Florida Power & Light Co.’s adjacent plant. Project partner Loggerhead Marinelife Center in Juno Beach staffs Manatee Lagoon’s bountiful gift shop and convenient café. Admission is free.
6000 N. Flagler Drive, West Palm Beach / 561.626.2833 / visitmanateelagoon.com
10. John D. MacArthur Beach State Park
Palm Beach County’s only state park offers a paradise-like playground for outdoor enthusiasts to experience the sights and sounds of old Florida. Among the sanctuary’s habitats, which include a maritime hammock accessible from the Satinleaf Trail, a flourishing estuary viewable from a quarter-mile-long boardwalk and an undeveloped beach and dune with an archaeologically significant Indian midden, the rock reef might be the most fascinating. Teeming with tropical fish, snorkelers can enjoy the underwater oasis simply by strapping on their masks and fins.
10900 Jack Nicklaus Drive, North Palm Beach / 561.624.6952 / macarthurbeach.org
11. Cycle Party
Expertly engineered quadracycles that carry up to 15 passengers at a time give new meaning to the words “pub crawl.” Once aboard, pedalers proudly pump their way up and down Clematis Street and in and around CityPlace to various gin joints during a two-hour, toast-worthy tour. The ingenious invention can be rented for bachelor or bachelorette parties and other celebratory occasions. While rowdy riders provide the muscle for the motion, a Cycle Party employee safely controls the braking and steering.
501 Fern St., West Palm Beach / 561.408.0848 / cp-tours.com/ westpalmbeach/cycle-party
12. Airboat Rides West Palm Beach
Exploring the Everglades atop an airboat is an activity every Floridian should pursue. Capt. Wayne Gilbert Jr. offers the “ride of a lifetime” on the iconic river of grass, where trip-takers will encounter some of the area’s most beautiful— and most dangerous—wildlife. Flat-bottomed vessels equipped with large, fan-like propellers glide across the aquatic terrain at speeds of up to 65 miles per hour. Adventure-seekers can book one-, two- or three-hour packages through the northeastern edge of the environmental wonder.
13798 55th Place N. / 561.252.4030 / airboatrideswestpalmbeach.com
13. Perfect Vodka Amphitheatre
The outdoor concert venue’s location on the grounds of the South Florida Fair & Expo Center qualifies it as one of the coolest, most-casual places to catch an act. The shows, especially in the summer, are top-notch, with superstars such as Jimmy Buffett, Dave Matthews and Kid Rock appearing on the storied stage. This month will bring Daryl Hall and John Oates to the 19,000-seat “shed.” The cheap seats are on the lawn, where ticket holders laze on blankets and enjoy food and drinks, picnic-style.
601-7 Sansburys Way, West Palm Beach / 561.795.8883 / westpalmbeachamphitheatre.com
14. Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge
More than 250 species of birds and reptiles, like the American alligator and Florida cottonmouth, and amphibians such as frogs, toads and salamanders, inhabit the federally managed 144,000 acres of wetlands. The refuge comprises a mosaic of cattails, sawgrass and tree islands, prairies and sloughs, and a healthy cypress swamp that represents the largest of its kind in the Everglades. Bicycling, canoeing, hiking and photography are a few of the ways visitors can interpret the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service-protected ecosystem.
10216 Lee Road, Boynton Beach / 561.734.8303 / fws.gov/refuge/arm_loxahatchee
15. Riverbend Park
One of Palm Beach County’s best-kept secrets is about to get better. Improvements are underway at the pristine park that will result in a new launch area for kayakers, an overlook plaza for Battlefield Park—named after the Seminole wars that took place there—and a 4,500-square-foot building that will house staff offices and public restrooms. Construction began in September and should be completed by mid-2017. Meanwhile, paddlers can access Picnic Island, south of the current launch, to navigate the inviting blueway.
9060 W. Indiantown Road, Jupiter / 561.741.1359 / pbcgov.com/parks/locations/riverbend.htm