My experiences with Florida when I was younger was Palm Beach County and Delray Beach/Palm Beach are still some of my favorite places in Florida. I took my friend Jess to some of my favorite places in Palm Beach when we stayed up in Delray for Memorial Day Weekend like Worth Ave and the Breakers.
Palm Beach was built by Henry Flagler as a winter resort for the nation’s wealthy as he extended his railroad south along the Florida coast (eventually it went all the way to Key West). He built his own mansion Whitehall in Palm Beach that now is a museum showcasing life during the Gilded Age (I’ve visited before and might do a review very post-visit). It’s full of history, beauty, and wealth and is a pretty cool place to experience.
My plan was to drive up Ocean Blvd to Worth Ave but we had a couple detours (the bridge at Lantana/Manalapan is closed for construction and just north of Lake Worth the road was also blocked). If you’re visiting after Summer 2012 (since a lot of construction is done in the summer) I’d definitely recommend driving up Ocean Blvd from the south. We crossed over at Southern Blvd right near Donald Trump’s Mar-A-Lago club. The Mar-A-Lago estate was built by Marjorie Merriweather Post (heiress to the Post cereal fortune) and was bought by Donald Trump and turned into a club when he couldn’t gain entry in the Palm Beach Country Club. North of Mar-A-Lago (and south but that was blocked by the construction) Ocean Blvd drives along the ocean and has tons of impressive mansions to check out as you drive by.
We turned off onto Worth Ave and since it’s out of season were easily able to find parking on the street. Worth Ave is Palm Beach’s version of Rodeo Drive and Fifth Ave with a lot of the top stores and designers. I appreciate Worth Ave for it’s architecture and represents why I love Palm Beach overall. All throughout the entire island there is so much elegant detail (columns, trim, windows, plants etc), especially on the buildings. My favorite parts of Worth Ave are west of A1A where there are tons of little courtyards and shops to explore (check out the pics below). Worth Ave was pretty quiet and empty since it’s not the season, but I actually enjoyed it more for the ability to walk around and take a lot of pictures.
After Worth Ave we went to The Breakers, which has always been one of my favorite hotels in the country (along with the Biltmore and the Grand Hotel in Mackinac). The Breakers, similar to Palm Beach at large, is packed with architectural and design details. My aunt almost got married here and while I am really happy it took place at the Seagate in Delray instead the Breakers would have been great too. As we walked by the ballrooms they were in fact setting up for some weddings and it was really cool to see what they were doing. Everyone who walked by were snapping pics and in awe with the hanging flowers and the way the rooms glowed from the decoration. My friend Jess (whose own wedding is coming up in just a few months) was very impressed!
Whether you only have time to drive through beautiful Palm Beach or time to stop and explore I’d definitely recommend driving up Ocean Blvd, driving down/exploring Worth Ave, and seeing the Breakers (just outside or inside too). I fell in love with the city when I was younger and always going back to visit.
Shots of Ocean Blvd from a trip when I was younger