The Palm Beaches: A tropical playground in South Florida
Florida’s Palm Beaches are filled with natural beauty, unbeatable shopping destinations and one-of-a-kind experiences.
While some visit for the glamorous Worth Avenue or the grandeur of Boca Raton, The Palm Beaches are so much more than that.
You’ll discover a diverse set of 39 cities and towns filled with awe-inspiring wildlife reserves, a thriving arts scene and a vibrant culinary culture, all of which embrace the LGBTQ+ community with open arms.
Whether you’re planning to visit for a long weekend with friends or a day trip with family, there’s something to appeal to every age, budget and passion.
Sun, sea life and safari
It goes without saying that The Palm Beaches are filled with picturesque coastlines, stretching along 47 miles of pristine sandy shores.
The Atlantic Dunes Park is nestled under a green canopy with a wooden walkway and observation deck, making it a popular choice among LGBTQ+ couples or solo travellers looking for a serene, secluded spot.
John D. MacArthur Beach is ideal for families of every kind who are looking for a fun, educational experience. The only state park in The Palm Beaches, it boasts almost two miles of seafront and houses dozens of endangered animal and plant species.
Those looking to connect with nature might also head to Loggerhead Park in Juno Beach for a day of sea turtle spotting, or go snorkelling at Phil Foster Park in Riviera Beach.
Further inland, Lion Country Safari is home to more than 1,000 wild animals, with lions, giraffe, zebras, ostrich and rhino all roaming free across 300 acres of land.
Elsewhere, the Palm Beach Zoo and Conservation Society gives adults and children alike an intimate opportunity to meet spider monkeys, koalas, lemurs and more than 180 other species.
Lake Worth Beach is a particular favourite of LGBTQ+ holidaymakers, where you’ll find The Palm Beaches’ LGBTQ centre, Compass, and the gay-themed gift and novelty store Studio 205.
Shop, pamper and eat
Shopping in The Palm Beaches is a retail experience unlike any other. Worth Avenue is a headline attraction for the fashion-savvy, filled with luxury brands such as Gucci and Chanel, along with world-class eateries including Bice and Bimini Bar. Work your way down from north to south, ending your day with a cocktail at one of Lake Worth Beach’s many LGBTQ bars. Check out the ever-popular Mad Hatter Lounge or stop for a bite to eat at Paradiso Ristorante.
Those looking for more off-beat wares should head straight for Pineapple Grove, Delray Beach’s colourful arts district. Artisan furniture stores and fine art galleries are the bedrock of the area, which is peppered with authentic Latin American restaurants, sushi spots and vegan eateries.
Somewhere in the middle is Palm Beach’s Royal Poinciana Plaza, which contains a truly eclectic mix of high-end stores (Hermes, Saint Laurent) and local independent makers.
Spread over two sprawling mid-century courtyards lined with palm trees, it’s a great place for a day of pampering with a spa, nail salon and juice bar. At the end of the day, jump in a cab towards the LGBTQ-friendly Northwood Village in West Palm Beach, a highlight of which is the gay-owned Sunset Bar and Grill.
A calendar full of LGBTQ events
No matter the time of year, there’s always something to celebrate in The Palm Beaches, be it Pride, queer sports events or LGBTQ-friendly arts and music festivals.
The cultural calendar kicks off in February with ArtiGras, a three-day fine art show ranked among the best in the U.S.
Hundreds of painters, sculptors, jewellery-makers and other creatives descend on downtown Jupiter, along with art-lovers from around the globe.
A few weeks later, The Festival of the Arts BOCA brings world-renowned jazz, opera and classical performers to Boca Raton and The Palm Beaches for a weekend of music, dance and culture.
The highlight of the LGBTQ year is Palm Beach Pride: a two-day affair celebrating the community’s diversity and open-hearted nature.
One of the largest events of its kind in Florida, it features a colourful parade, live music and most importantly, a safe space for LGBTQ+ people and their allies.
In April, The Palm Beaches welcome the International Gay Polo Tournament, a one-of-a-kind event named Connect Sports’ LGBTQ event of the year in 2017.
One of the equestrian scene’s most hotly anticipated occasions, the tournament stretches across four days and features fast-paced matches, tailgate competitions and an unmissable divot stomp before concluding with a lavish brunch and a high-goal game.
On July 4, Delray Beach hosts a spectacular Independence Day celebration, with live music, BBQ trucks and a lavish firework display.
Two weeks later on July 20, West Palm Beach welcomes a Summer Beer Fest for fans of artisanal and craft beers, who might also take a fancy to Oktoberfest at the American German Club of the Palm Beaches, which takes place from October 11 until October 20.
Whenever and however you decide to visit The Palm Beaches, you’re certain to discover a warm, welcoming community that caters to all.