A second-generation Floridian born and raised in the Palm Beach area, Rick Rose is the official historian and tour guide for the Worth Avenue Association; he’s also an active member of the Historical Society of Palm Beach County, and recently wrote a book about the region. Here are his five top tips on what to see and do…
1) The Henry Morrison Flagler Museum, also known as Whitehall, was built by Henry Flagler for his wife Lily. A guided tour is the best way to experience this 75-room mansion.
Top tip: Don’t miss the Flagler Museum Music Series, which features acclaimed musicians performing music composed prior to 1930. After each concert, the audience has a rare opportunity to meet the performers during a champagne and dessert reception (tickets from $70 a person).
2) The Breakers Palm Beach Hotel is an iconic hotel; built in 1896 by Henry Flagler, it’s still owned by the Flagler family to this day. One of the most the most extravagant hotels in the world, The Breakers Palm Beach Hotel sets the standard for sophisticated elegance in a tropical setting.
Top tip: To visit The Breakers without paying $700 a night, take a guided tour led by the Flagler Museum, book a reservation at one of the restaurants or visit Breakers News & Gourmet gift shop in the Palm Courtyard for fresh pastries and the best coffee in The Palm Beaches.
3) Worth Avenue is a Mediterranean Revival-style shopping and dining boulevard. One of the most exclusive shopping districts in the USA, it’s home to high-end brands from Cartier to Chanel.
Top tip: Plan your trip around lunch: Worth Avenue is the place to see and be seen. So, dress to impress, enjoy a glass of wine and indulge in a spot of people-watching.
4) The Lake Trail was created in the 1890s, so that guests could get to their hotels by rickshaw, or by Palm Beach chariot, as we like to say. Right up until the 1950s, guests were transported to their hotels this way. Today, the Lake Trail provides traffic-free cycling and walking with postcard-worthy scenery, historic buildings and glimpses into exclusive backyards and their mansions.
Top tip: Take a packed lunch and make a day of it. There are many scenic spots along the trail; however, the beaches at the north end are particularly spectacular and only accessible by foot: expect golden sand dunes and not a tourist in sight.
5) Alternatively, hire a car and explore The Palm Beaches on a self-guided city tour. Take the ever-so scenic A1A coastal road and bypass famous landmarks, from the Old Kennedy Estate to The Breakers.
Top tip: Opt for a convertible and enjoy encountering The Palm Beaches’ beauty at your own pace.