30 Things To Do Near West Palm Beach with Kids
You might think of Palm Beach as a preppy playground for America’s elite, but Florida’s largest county is actually quite family-friendly, with an array of fun activities at a variety of price points. Of course, most people come here to frolic in the miles of gorgeous Atlantic surf, and the Sunshine State has plenty to offer in the way of fabulous vacation spots. But Greater West Palm Beach also has a lot of fun things for families to do off the sand, including animal adventures, interactive museums, sporty activities, and more.
Here are 30 things to do in West Palm Beach with kids, including delicious West Palm Beach restaurants and fabulous West Palm Beach Hotels and resorts. And if you're looking for more fun family vacation ideas, check out our Family Travel Guide.
Meet the turtles at Loggerhead Marinelife Center.
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Animal Adventures Near West Palm Beach with Kids
Palm Beach County is a prime turtle nesting spot, and the Loggerhead Marinelife Center provides the chance to learn about these fascinating reptiles. Guests are able to visit injured sea turtle "patients" at this rehabilitation hospital that’s sure to tug at the heartstrings. Note: The facility is currently undergoing a major renovation project that is set to be completed in 2022.
Walk trails through woods and wetlands at Busch Wildlife Sanctuary.
View more animals at this outdoor nature center in Jupiter that also has its own wildlife hospital. Walk the trails through woods and wetlands to see creatures like alligators, bald eagles, and otters. Pro tip: Kids love the Wildlife Encounters program offered on Mondays through Saturdays, where they can really get an up-close look at these amazing creatures (it’s included with the price of admission).
It’s no surprise that Lion Country Safari is my kids' absolute favorite place in Palm Beach County. After all, this drive-through safari adventure in Loxahatchee is home to more than 900 animals, including giraffes, lions, and zebras. And it’s got a walk-through amusement park! And a water park with a giant splash pad and water slides! Need I say more?
Many species of animals call the Palm Beach Zoo home.
This easily walkable zoo boasts its own variety of wildlife like lemurs, monkeys, and macaws. It also has one of the best splash pads in the area, so be sure to pack swimsuits.Pro tip: The lorikeet feeding experience is a major highlight. For $2 a cup, visitors can give nectar to these friendly birds, which may just land on top of your head or shoulder during feeding. It makes for a great photo op!
Oh, say can you see a manatee at Manatee Lagoon?
Manatees are adorable sea creatures, and visitors have a chance to view them up close at Manatee Lagoon in Riviera Beach. During the winter months (typically November through March), the sea cows like to gather in the warm waters outside of the Florida Power & Light plant. Walk around the lagoon’s observation deck to see if you can spot one! The on-site educational center just re-opened with new exhibits that are all things manatee.
Don't miss the nature center at John D. MacArthur Beach State Park.
Outdoor Activities Near West Palm Beach with Kids
Outdoor enthusiasts love this state park, which offers kayak and paddleboard rentals, hiking and biking trails, a playground and picnic pavilions, and a nature center with live animal exhibits. Oh, and there’s always the two miles of pristine beach leading out to the Atlantic. (FYI: It costs $5 to park, and parents should be prepared for a long walk from the parking lot to the water.)
7. Lake Trail
Quite possibly the most scenic bike trail in south Florida, the Lake Trail provides more than five miles of flat, traffic-free space for cyclists, joggers, dog walkers, and stroller striders. The trail hugs the shore of Lake Worth, offering up views of passing sailboats and yachts that look straight out of a postcard.
Calling all mini Ninja Warriors to play at Shark Wave Park!
Channel your inner American Ninja Warrior at this water sports complex located in Okeeheelee Park. Kids ages 7 and up (as well as their brave parents!) can test their skills on Obstacle Island, a massive floating playground with climbing towers and slides that looks straight out of the TV show Wipeout. Teens and tweens also love the cable park where they can go kneeboarding, wakeboarding, water skiing, and wake skating. Gear is available for rent, and families can pay for on-site lessons.
The Palm Beach area offers amazing snorkeling opportunities.
Greater Palm Beach is famous for its amazing snorkel and scuba dive sites. My family’s absolute favorite spot is the underwater trail at Phil Foster Park. Here, snorkelers can follow an 800-foot- long man-made reef that attracts a diverse collection of sea life, from starfish to manatees. My daughters were delighted to swim next to a sting ray on our last outing! Other popular snorkeling sites include Red Reef Park in Boca Raton and DuBois Park in Jupiter. Don’t forget to check local tide charts before heading out and remember that parking lots at these parks fill up quickly, so the earlier you can leave, the better!
Rapids Water Park is the perfect place to play and cool off.
Take your little thrill seekers to Rapids Water Park in Riviera Beach to check out the park’s 42 different water slides and attractions. Toddlers and young children will enjoy the wave pool and lengthy lazy river. Big kids can test their nerves on rides like Black Thunder, a giant two-person slide that twists and turns in complete darkness. I have never screamed as loudly in my life as when I rode Black Thunder with my 9 year-old!
Enjoy a free, family-friendly concert along the West Palm Beach waterfront every Thursday night. The live entertainment kicks off at 6pm on the Great Lawn in Centennial Square. Food and drink vendors are also on the scene. (Picture children running around barefoot while their parents sip wine and enjoy the music.) Come back to the same location for Screen on the Green, an alfresco family movie experience that takes place every second Friday of the month.
Interactive Museums Near West Palm Beach
A family can easily spend the whole day at this West Palm Beach museum, which features more than 50 hands-on exhibits for kids of all ages. There is an aquarium, a room full of brain teasers, a planetarium, an outdoor physics forest, and an early childhood play area for kids 6 and under. The museum also hosts seasonal exhibits like the current Dinosaur Revolution, which is on display through the end of November.
This museum, located inside the Mall at Wellington Green, may be small, but what it lacks in space it makes up for in fossils. That includes Cheryll the Triceratops, south Florida’s only real dinosaur skeleton available for viewing. Visitors can also check out bones from giant ground sloths, saber-toothed cats, and mammoths. My daughters love to dig for shark teeth in the museum’s fossil pit. The best part is that they get to keep them!
Check out the oldest structure in Palm Beach County, the 1860 Jupiter Lighthouse. The property features a museum spotlighting 5,000 years of local history, as well as an old pioneer house that was home to a family in the 1890s. Of course, the biggest draw is the lighthouse itself, and agile visitors can climb the 105 steps inside. The stunning views at the top are worth the strenuous price. FYI: Kids must be 48 inches tall to do the climb.
Indulge your fancy side at the Henry Morrison Flagler Museum.
If your kids take a shine to the highbrow, the Flagler Museum is sure to delight. When it was completed in 1902, newspapers described this 100,000 square-foot, 75-room mansion as “more wonderful than any palace in Europe.” Families enjoy seeing the opulent decor and gold-encrusted details, all of it straight out of a Downtown Abbey episode. Be sure to pick up a kid’s activity guide at the entrance.
View the historic sites of West Palm Beach during a 75-minute narrated tour aboard this amphibious vehicle. Start the journey in an open-air bus, passing sights such as the Biltmore Estates and the legendary Breakers Hotel. Then splash into the waters of the Intracoastal Waterway to finish the tour, enjoying the sights at sea.
Even American Girl dolls can ice skate at Palm Beach Skate Zone!
More Things To Do Near West Palm Beach with Kids
17. Go Ice Skating
Who knew that sunny Palm Beach was home to two excellent ice skating rinks? Take the kids for a spin around the ice at Palm Beach Skate Zone in Lake Worth or Palm Beach Ice Works in West Palm Beach. Both facilities offer lessons for skaters of all abilities, as well as public sessions. My daughters love the themed events on Saturdays at Palm Beach Skate Zone. Most recently, they brought their dolls for an American Girl skating party, complete with hot cocoa for all guests!
If you prefer your skating on wheels instead of blades, head over to this large and long-standing roller rink in Greenacres. From the hanging disco ball to the old school hip hop music, this place is like stepping back in time (and I mean that in the best possible way!) Atlantis Skateway offers public sessions and skate lessons on Saturdays. Pro tip: The roller rink is cash only. Bring a little extra for the classic arcade in the back.
19. Go Bouncing
When the weather takes a turn and your kids have energy to burn, you can always head to one of Palm Beach’s trampoline parks. Urban Air Adventure Park in Wellington features a high-flying Sky Rider, a ropes course, and climbing walls among its attractions. Meanwhile, at Launch West Palm Beach, kids can hit the dodgeball court, joust their friends in a battle pit full of foam blocks, and free-fall from 10 feet in the air onto a giant airbag.
20. Play Mini Golf
Palm Beach may be known for its premiere golf courses, but with kids, mini golf is probably more your speed. Practice your short game at Lighthouse Cove Adventure Golf in Jupiter, which features two 18-hole courses, an ice cream shop and burger shack, and a children’s playground. Adventure Mini Golf in Lake Worth also has two 18-hole courses set amongst water features, fountains, and rolling hills.
21. Go Bowling
Get some family competition going at one of Palm Beach’s local bowling alleys. Sleekly designed Bowlero in Jupiter is home to 60 lanes, as well as a significant arcade and billiards area. For more of a classic vibe, head to Greenacres Bowl, which also has 60 bowling lanes and an in-house restaurant.
What's Cooking Kids has hands-on classes for your little chef.
22. Get Crafty
When those creative juices start flowing, take the kids to paint their own pottery at Craft Haus in Palm Beach Gardens. Teens may also want to try sister studio Clay Haus, where they themselves can get behind the pottery wheel. Painting With a Twist in Boynton Beach offers canvas painting classes for families on weekends, as well as after-school classes for kids. Got a little one who’s into the culinary arts? What’s Cooking Kids has hands-on classes for junior chefs. (My daughters recently made Halloween spider pies, and it was a huge hit.) And when all else fails to entertain, there is always slime. Take your family for the ultimate oozy experience at The Slime Factory in Wellington, where kids can make a gooey creation to take home.
West Palm Beach Restaurants Kids Love
23. Waterfront Dining
It really does wonders for the soul to enjoy a meal with your family while basking in the beauty of the Florida coast. Guanabanas in Jupiter is perhaps the most well-known open-air eatery in the area. This Tiki-bar themed restaurant specializes in seafood and has great laid-back vibes. Straddling the Palm Beach/Martin County line is Blue Pointe Bar and Grill, which takes waterfront dining to a whole new level. Along with its 270 degree views of the beach, there is an actual heated pool within the restaurant!
24. Italian Anyone?
Kids love pasta and pizza, and Palm Beach has an abundance of great Italian restaurants. Pizza Al Fresco serves up delicious thin-crust pizza from its wood-burning oven, with an outdoor patio that makes for a very pleasant night out. Ask my own kids what their favorite local spot is and they will tell you hands-down that it’s Carmine’s La Trattoria. This white-linen eatery has a large menu and wine list, making it a great go-to when dining with grandparents and extended family. (Though there’s no official kids' menu, servers have always been happy to halve portions for us.) Pro tip: Carmine’s is adjacent to an excellent gourmet grocery, so you can do some shopping before or after your meal.
25. Spots the Locals Love
Crosby Kitchen & Bar is an intimate neighborhood bistro in Tequesta with upscale American offerings and a great kids' menu (the homemade vanilla ice cream that comes with the kids meals is seriously fantastic). Seafood rules at Leftovers Cafe, an unassuming fresh-fish joint in Jupiter. Chris’ Taverna, with locations in Lake Worth and Boynton Beach, is considered to have some of the best Greek food in the area, with portions that are quite generous. And for no-frills, delicious Mexican food, head to El Fogoncito in Jupiter. We love the chicken tacos!
With locations across south Florida, Sloan's is a favorite spot for homemade ice cream.
26. You Scream, I Scream, Kids love Ice Cream
No better way to beat the Florida heat than with a scoop of ice cream.Travel & Leisure Magazine recently named Matty’s Gelato Factory in Juno Beach the best ice cream shop in Florida. How’s that for an endorsement? Oh My Chocolates in West Palm Beach also serves up great gelato, though many know this local gem for its equally great homemade truffles. And my kids swear by Sloan’s, which has locations across south Florida. With its hot pink color scheme and whimsical decor, Sloan’s is a treat for the eyes as well as the tummy!
West Palm Beach Hotels and Resorts for Families
This oceanfront hotel with gorgeous views of the coast has a family-friendly pool with a waterslide, a kids club with daily activities, and an on-site spa. Mommy Poppins recently crowned it one of the 9 best Florida vacation destinations for families.
Another Mommy Poppins favorite, the Delray Sands Resort in Highland Beach has 115 guest rooms and suites that will put you steps from the sand and waves. Visitors love the resort's bright and airy decor and its two oceanside pools.
Located within the Harbourside Place shopping center in Jupiter, this luxury hotel benefits from a super convenient location. Take the kids in a stroller for dinner at one of the many nearby restaurants. A walk along the Intracoastal Waterway after your meal adds the perfect touch. Pro tip: If you grow tired of playing in the hotel pool, there is a great splash pad at Harbourside Place.
If you are feeling the urge to splurge, the Eau Palm Beach has got it all. Exclusive beachfront property, complimentary bike rental, and four on-site dining options (plus an ice cream shop) are just a few of the amenities offered. The hotel kids club (re-opening this winter after a lengthy renovation) will feature a light-up wall, a playground, and a movie theater.
Photos by the author