Palm Beach County: Your Ultimate Family Fun Vacation Guide

With the natural beauty of the Palms, this Florida beach county has so much family fun. Regardless of the season, there are year-round kid-friendly attractions and activities in Palm Beach County Florida if you know where to find them. We’ve compiled a list of things to do in Palm Beach County that will help you plan the perfect family vacation in South Florida!

palm beach county

Traveling to Palm Beach County

Palm Beach County is one of the three counties in South Florida and is part of the Miami metropolitan area. From Atlanta, it will take about 8.5 hours to drive or take a direct flight into Palm Beach International Airport.

Top Attractions in Palm Beach County

Photo courtesy of Mandy Carter

Lion Country Safari  is a memorable Palm Beach County attraction where you drive-through a safari setting and try  to spot more than 900 animals throughout a number of sections. You are given a CD to listen to as you drive your own vehicle through the safari space.

Afterwards you can enjoy animal displays and encounters, animal feeding experiences, kid rides, a water spray ground, and grab some food at their on-site restaurant. My daughter loved seeing the animals walk right up to our car as if they were peaking in to see what we were doing. Watch this video to see this large pack of zebras run alongside our car.

South Florida Science Center and Aquarium – This 5,000 square foot Discovery Museum contains 30 hands-on exhibits, a planetarium, a 1,000 square foot early childhood education room, theater, and a science laboratory. There are touch tank demonstrations and live feedings daily in the Aquarium area.

You can spend a couple of hours inside then venture outdoors on their interactive nature trail which includes hands-on exhibits: Bubbleology, fossil dig, whisper dishes, and a brand-new 18-hole miniature golf course. This is definitely a fun way to spend half a day with the family.

Palm Beach Zoo is small but it’s a great place to see local wildlife like river otters, Florida panthers, gators and more exotic species, such as tigers, jaguars, and monkeys. A perfect zoo for kids because you will certainly stay cool throughout your visit due to the wonderfully tropical canopy.

Outdoor Fun in Palm Beach County

Daggerwing Nature Center, photo from pbcgov.org

Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse is a waterfront lighthouse, museum and grounds featuring 5,000 years of history. You can climb the lighthouse if you are over 48” tall and can complete strenuous activities. It is recommended that you allow 2 hours to visit the site and trail.

Ann Norton Sculpture Garden is an oasis on a hot and sunny day. The gardens not only house beautiful sculptures but also contains rare palms and native plants and is the largest collection north of Miami.

Okeeheelee Park offers many amenities to enjoy nature from kayak rentals, bike trails, tennis courts, a BMX track, nature center and even an Equestrian Center. There are picnic pavilions and a dog park making it a great place to spend a day with the entire family.

Mounts Botanical Garden of Palm Beach County offers 19 distinct gardens to explore. There is a Children’s Maze that is fun for everyone, especially the little ones as they stroll through the castle-like structure with turrets that can be seen from a distance.

Children’s Maze at Mounts Botanical Gardens, photo from mounts.org

Lake Trail in the town of Palm Beach is one of the best paved bike trails in South Florida for families. This beautiful Palm Beach County bike trail provides traffic-free bicycling with postcard-worthy scenery, some historic sights and glimpses into the backyards of some mansions.

The Daggerwing Nature Center is located in Burt Aaronson South County Regional Park and features a 3,000 sq ft. exhibit hall with live animals and interactive state-of-the-art exhibits. The elevated boardwalk takes you on a fun journey through a swamp.

Rapids Water Park is the premiere family water park in South Florida with over 30 acres of water fun. Whether you want to relax while floating down a lazy river or experience thrills on the fast water slides, you will have no problem enjoying a day of family fun in the sun.

Museums and Educational Centers in Palm Beach County

Loggerhead Marine Center, Photo by Mandy Carter

Loggerhead Marinelife Center is a free educational marine hospital dedicated to the rescue and rehabilitation of sea turtles. We participated in the Mommy & Me Paint! Program that is offered each Thursday morning during the winter season. I found it to be designed perfectly for introducing basic sea turtle conservation and biology to young children.

My 3 year old daughter loved the program’s ocean-themed story that followed the painting activity. And now we have the cutest little painted turtles to display at home. A great memory to create while learning.

Manatee Lagoon offers free admission, providing an engaging opportunity to learn about manatees. Modern exhibits offer insight into South Florida’s coastal ecosystem. On cold days, the Center is the ideal spot to view hundreds of wild manatee basking in warm-water outflows from Florida Power & Light Company’s adjacent Riviera Beach Next Generation Clean Energy Center.

Exhibit at Manatee Lagoon, Photo by Mandy Carter

Norton Museum of Art is a free museum that has become one of Florida’s major cultural institutions. The Museum is internationally known for its distinguished permanent collection featuring American Art, Chinese Art, Contemporary Art, European Art and Photography.

Flagler Museum is a beautiful building which showcases Florida history like no other. You can choose to tour with a docent or do a self-guided audio version.

The Busch Wildlife Sanctuary is set up like a small zoo. Visitors can take guided tours or explore at their own pace. Educational activities take place each day to include wildlife encounters, feedings and special programs geared toward raptors and snakes.

Morikami Museum & Japanese Gardens allows you to discover a century-old connection between Japan and South Florida. From the exhibits, gardens, museum and cafe, a full day experience is possible at this beautiful and enlightening attraction.

Shopping and Dining

Photo courtesy of Mandy Carter

Cool Beans Play Café indoor playground is designed to offer a stimulating play environment for young children while providing a relaxing, cozy spot for parents to enjoy a light lunch.

3800 Ocean is the perfect upscale dining for the entire family. Sometimes parents want a nice meal but need a kid friendly menu and atmosphere. There is a kids menu with all the normal items, table entertainment and a great view to distract the kids while mom and dad enjoy steak or seafood beachfront.

Park Avenue Barbecue Grill has served South Florida with delicious BBQ for over two decades. Whether you are in the mood for ribs, chicken or a good old fashion pork sandwich this is your spot.

C.R. Chicks offers fresh rotisserie chicken prepared just about any way you can imagine. There menu is simple but plentiful from family dinners to gluten free options.

El Paso Taco is an affordable place to take the family to dinner with kids’ plates under $4 and many other meals around $6.

ER Bradley’s Saloon serves up burgers, sandwiches, salads, and fresh seafood in an old gambling establishment. This is a local favorite that will please all ages.

Antique Row is a charming district with over 40 antique shops all within walking distance. This area offer a large selection of 17th to 20th century antiques, fine and decorative arts, period deco, vintage and more.

Downtown at the Gardens  has not only a selection of unique boutiques, top-notch restaurants, and Whole Foods Market but there is a movie theater, dancing fountains and a carousel that will delight the kids.

Harbourside Place sits along Jupiter’s Intracoastal Waterway and gives a coastal vibe. Restaurants, specialty shops, a hotel, frequent events, and the waterfront amphitheater make this shopping center more than just stores.

PGA Commons is a great collection of upscale boutiques, outdoor dining, art galleries, and entertainment located along the south side of PGA Boulevard in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

Legacy Place offer a charming shopping experience within a main-street style setting. There is a large selection of retail stores and restaurants, including the classics like Best Buy and Pier 1 Imports.

The Gardens Mall is a luxurious 1.4 million square foot regional shopping center, featuring over 160 shops, anchored by Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdale’s, Macy’s and Sears. Be sure to check out their events calendar because it stays full of fun activities for the entire family throughout the year.

Palm Beach Outlets is the first outlet center in Palm Beach County. The outlet features over 100 stores including brand favorites Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5TH, J. Crew|crewcuts Factory, Banana Republic Factory Store, Nike, Vera Bradley and White House|Black Market.

A Guide To The Beaches

Riviera Beach at sunset, Photo by Mandy Carter

Boynton Beach Oceanfront Park  is a family friendly beach offering canopy-covered walkways, a playground, umbrella and lounge chair rentals, and a concession stand.

Delray Beach Municipal Beach is great for kids because of its calm waves and warm waters. Plus there are a number of restaurants just a short walking distance from the sand.

Juno Beach Pier is great for the entire family including the furry members, This dog-friendly beach also offers fishing pole rentals, a tackle shop and barbecue grills for preparing a beachside dinner.

John D. MacArthur Beach State Park in North Palm Beach is such a great beach for walking and snorkeling.  There are almost two miles of beach here, lined with wild sand dunes and native vegetation. Note that there is a 1,600-foot boardwalk crosses a waterway that separates the parking lot from the beach.  Luckily a tram runs regularly helping you out with the beach gear.

Ocean Reef Park is a wide beach allowing a family plenty of space to spread out. This area offers a picnic pavilion with grills, a playground and even showers.

Peanut Island is an 80-acre county park with guarded swimming, picnic shelters, 20 camp sites and a 1.25 mile paved walking path around the perimeter. In addition to wonderful snorkeling this beach offers a fascinating historic site — the bomb shelter used by President John F. Kennedy.

Riviera Beach on Singer Island is located on the Atlantic coast of Palm Beach County providing a wide, picturesque, upscale and pristine beach.

Where To Stay with kids in Palm Beach County

Palm Beach Marriott at Singer Island, Photo by Mandy Carter

There are many options of beautiful accommodations in Palm Beach County. Since I have personally experienced a hotel stay on Singer Island I highly recommend the Palm Beach Marriott for families (check here for discounts and specials). This condominium style hotel offers spacious bedrooms, full kitchens, living space and laundry. You can read my family’s full hotel experience at Acupful.com.

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We’ve compiled a list of over 35 things to do in Palm Beach County that will help you plan an unforgettable family vacation in South Florida!

Mandy Carter is a freelance travel writer and speaker based in Southwest Florida. She owns a digital marketing business and covers family travel for a variety of outlets, including her website A Cupful of Carers.

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