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Palm Beach County is situated on the Atlantic coastline and is made up of 39 cities, including Jupiter, Palm Beach Gardens, West Palm Beach, Delray Beach and Boca Raton. Just a two-hour drive to Orlando or Miami, the Palm Beaches makes an ideal central location for visitors looking for beaches, theme parks and the city. Even more convenient, Florida’s new Brightline train service is currently running from West Palm Beach to Fort Lauderdale and Miami, with future plans to connect in Orlando.

STAY

The Hilton Garden Inn Palm Beach Gardens

Rating: 4+ stars

The Hilton Garden Inn Palm Beach Gardens has a luxurious coastal aesthetic, both inside and out. The crisp and clean colours and exotic gardens fit the overall feel of the Palm Beaches. My children and I stayed in a deluxe suite that featured two double beds in one room and a sitting area with a pull-out couch in the adjoining room. It had a full washroom in each area and plenty of space which was optimal for a family. Our rooms offered a view of the pool, gardens and waterway, and free wifi is offered throughout the hotel. In the lobby we found a small market area that had soft drinks, treats and necessities like toothpaste and acetaminophen. The on-site restaurant, The Garden Grille, offers daily breakfast at a cost and full-service meals throughout the day. We grabbed pizza there when we arrived, and it was exceptional wood fired pizza at a very reasonable rate. Weather permitting, you can enjoy your meal poolside. The hotel staff were friendly and extremely accommodating, even when I requested a bag of dry rice to dry out my phone. The hotel is currently undergoing a guest room enhancement that is expected to complete late November 2018.

Nightly rate: $188+

EAT

Guanabanas

A tropical open-air restaurant with an island vibe, Guanabanas has an affordable menu full of fresh ingredients. The kid’s menu had the usual kid pleasing options like hot dogs and fries. I nominate Guanabanas as the number 1 place in Florida for queso!

960 North Highway A1a Jupiter, FL 33477

Hours:

  • Lunch & Dinner: Opens at 11:30am, 7 days a week
  • Breakfast: Sat and Sun from 8:30am-11:00am

Dress code: casual

Reservations not accepted.

MENU

Duffy’s Sports Grill

11588 U.S. Hwy. 1 North Palm Beach, FL 33408

This is a chain restaurant in Florida that began in The Palm Beaches in 1985. It was the first visit for me and my children. Located right off PGA drive, it has the atmosphere you would expect in a sports grill… many televisions playing a variety of sporting events and a fun, athletic themed décor. They offered a typical kid’s menu and some fabulous fish, steak and taco dishes.

Hours: 11am – 11pm daily

Dress code: casual

Reservations not required.

MENU

GO

John D. MacArthur State Park

10900 Jack Nicklaus Drive.
North Palm Beach, FL 33408

This state park offers several hiking trails, an educational center and kayak rentals. We learned about the eco-system at the nature and wellness center and took a walking bridge to the beach, where we found an iguana hiding in the trees. We discovered several different types of birds on our hikes and watched people kayak and paddleboard.

HOURS OF OPERATION

Park: 8 AM to Sunset – 365 days a year
Nature Center: 9 AM to 5 PM Daily
Beach Outfitters Gift Shop: 9 AM to 5 PM Daily
Kayak Rentals: 9 AM to 3 PM Daily

ENTRANCE FEES

Members of Friends of MacArthur Beach State Park: Free
Non-members:
$5.00 per vehicle. Limit 2-8 people per vehicle.
$4.00 Single-occupant vehicle or motorcycle.
$2.00 Pedestrians, bicyclists, extra passengers, passengers in vehicle with holder of Annual Individual Entrance Pass.

The Gardens Mall

Located directly across the street from the Hilton Garden Inn Palm Beach Gardens, this shopping mall is 1.4 million square feet of shopping. It is home to 150 specialty shops and department stores. Shopping is not an activity that I enjoy so we didn’t go into the mall, but I did notice that they had Nordstrom, Macy’s and Sak’s Fifth Avenue.

Hours: Monday – Saturday; 10am – 9pm and Sunday 12 noon – 6pm

Rapids Water Park

We visited the waterpark on a very hot Saturday and we had a bit of a late start, so we ended up sitting in line to enter for about twenty minutes. However, traffic was directed by several people and the entire system seemed to run smoothly. I recommend getting there early, if possible. Despite the park being quite busy, we were able to find a shaded spot to put our belongings before heading to the lazy river. This and the wave pool were the highlights for my kids and they decided to bypass the waterslides and stick to what they were enjoying. There are lockers and places to grab a bite to eat in the park. Season passes and cabana rentals are available at the park.

Hours: Vary by season

Cost:

  • Children 2 and under are free.
  • Regular Admission (All Day):
    • Individual rate Monday–Friday (No Holidays) — $42.99 plus tax
    • Individual rate Saturday–Sunday (And Holidays) — $47.99 plus tax

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