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palm beaches

A Family Travel Guide to the Palm Beaches

Palm Beach family vacations are chock-full of wildlife, sunny outdoor adventures, and kid-friendly attractions from laser tag to bustling fairgrounds.
Photo Credit: Tracy Welker

On the Water

The ocean calls, and if you want something a little more active than catching rays on white sands, Peanut Island State Park is just three miles south of North Palm Beach, with more than 80 acres of underwater dive spots with shallow reefs, the historic and explorable Kennedy Bunker that once served as JFK’s nuclear fallout shelter, and extensive swimming spots across the island. Locals give it high marks for snorkeling, wildlife spotting, and just roaming, making it ideal for rambunctious kids.

Fishing & Boating

If the beach isn’t your speed, you may want to make a beeline west for Lake Okechobee. Named after the Native American word for “big water,” the second-largest lake in the continental US is home to teeming populations of freshwater bass, miles of clear water for canoeing and kayaking, and a walking path around the perimeter where eagle-eyed families can spot basking alligators, snapping turtles, and soaring eagles.

Events & Attractions

The South Florida Fairgrounds in West Palm Beach is home to more than 100 shows, fairs, and events per year, many of them geared to families. Check out huge Halloween festivals in the fall, Christmas-themed celebrations late in the year, and some terrific open-air bazaars in the summer. There’s also year-round access to Yesteryear Village, a 10-acre portal to the past with blacksmiths, a one-room schoolhouse, and an immaculate former Palm Beach general store to be leisurely explored.

Fun & Games

Fun Depot is a throwback entertainment center, with more than 100 arcade machines, half-mile go-kart track, and batting cages for kids and those parents willing to cast off the shackles of adulthood for a few hours. Travel 40 minutes south alongside Interstate 95, and bring your sharp aim and fresh legs to the huge indoor laser tag arena.

Dining Out

E.R. Bradley’s Saloon is a favorite because of its laid-back scene right on the water in West Palm Beach, and the restaurant is well-stocked with both Old Bay–tinged Bloody Mary and Argentine steak kabobs for adults and the kind of tasty burgers, salads, and tacos kids love. If you’re in a hurry but still hungry, TooJay’s Deli comes highly recommended for its fresh sandwiches and quick service, and it’s just a three-minute walk from Palm Beach’s bustling Royal Poinciana Way.

Where To Stay

Jupiter Beach Resort & Spa is right on the beach, is home to a terrific Game Room stocked with arcade consoles and air hockey, and boasts a family-friendly pool and a nice mix of gourmet and casual restaurants right on the property.

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