Happy weekend loves!! Today I’m so excited to be introducing a new travel series here on Vandi Fair. “Eat, Play, Stay” will be a complete travel guide on where to stay, what to do, where to eat and more tips I’ve picked up when traveling to cities I’ve recently visited. To start the series off, I’m talking about a place Cole and I recently visited for the first time and instantly fell in love – Palm Beach, Florida.
From where to stay to when to go, I’m spilling all the insider details on how to plan the ultimate trip to Palm Beach. Click on the read more button below to get my ultimate travel guide for visiting this beautiful island escape.
Disclaimer – I’m definitely not a world traveler, so most of the time in this series (Disney Parks-related posts excluded) you’ll be getting authentic tips from a first-timer who was advised by the experts and locals, but formed her own opinion based on the experience. 😉
So, first things first…should you visit Palm Beach?
The answer is YES!! In a nutshell, Palm Beach is a slender island off the east coast of Florida (just north of Miami) with pristine white sand beaches, stunning turquoise waters and a flavor that’s distinctly local (I think the only franchise place to eat I saw was Starbucks during our entire visit). It’s not your typical tourist beach town, and if you’re anything like me, you’ll love it that way! Hopping on a flight to West Palm Beach Airport is pretty easy and the drive to the island is less than 10 minutes. My first recommendation would be that it is more of a trip for adults, so leave the kids with the grand parents and plan a romantic getaway or fun girl’s trip to this gorgeous Florida island.
WHEN TO GO?
Late Spring – Summer
What we quickly learned about our stay in Palm Beach was that we had just missed “season”, AKA, there was no need to make reservations at the restaurants and the beaches were pretty much wide open (as in, I didn’t have to photoshop any photobombers in the above photo, which was a dream!!) From what we learned, peak season begins right before Thanksgiving in Palm Beach and end in mid-April, so the best time to go (to beat the summer heat) is end of April like we did or in May. Of course, if the Florida heat doesn’t bother you and you’re more of a summer vacation type, skip out on the crowded tourist beaches like Destin and escape to the quiet, local paradise of Palm Beach. What’s even better about going during off-season is that you can get much better prices on hotels, which brings me to my next tip…
WHERE TO STAY?
The Brazilian Court Hotel
There are so many amazing hotels in Palm Beach!! My first recommendation would be The Brazilian Court Hotel, where Cole and I stayed. You can read a full review on the gorgeous, historic hotel here, but if you prefer more of a boutique-meets-and-and-breakfast luxury escape, then the Brazilian Court is your go-to. A June or July summer stay will cost you just $255 a night, whereas the same room will go for more than $430 during peak season.
If you’re looking for more of a resort beach vacation where there’s plenty to see, eat and do right at your hotel, then The Breakers is a perfect option for you. Founded in 1896, this majestic beach-front hotel (slash palace) is also chock-full of history. With 9 restaurants, two championship golf courses, a spa, shopping and more, there are countless things to see and do during your stay. Just like the Brazilian Court, you can find much better price for a room during the summer months. Even if you don’t stay at The Breakers, it’s definitely a must-see while you’re in Palm Beach, as Cole and I heard time and time again from every local we met during our stay, which brings me to my next point…
WHAT TO DO?
Shop Worth Avenue
There’s so much to see and do in Palm Beach that you really never have to leave the island (at least we never did!) Besides all of the incredible restaurants and food (which I’ll get to next), there are a few things you simply must see and do while visiting Palm Beach. One of the musts is shopping Worth Avenue, whether actually shopping or window shopping. Known for being one of America’s oldest and most beautiful shopping destinations, Worth Avenue is a street just steps from the beach lined with designer and resort shops, from Tiffany’s and Chanel to Calypso St. Barth and Vineyard Vines. Cole and I limited ourselves to just window shopping, but I loved seeing the gorgeous European style architecture and walking through the hidden, botanical-topped archways along the way that lead to more shops and restaurants.
Have a Beach Day
This is rather obvious, but planning a beach day is a must during your Palm Beach visit. Cole so badly wanted to go deep sea fishing or do something out on the water as we normally would while traveling, but since we were only there for a few days, we just couldn’t squeeze an excursion like that in, but we definitely enjoyed soaking up the sun (and collecting seashells – did I mention how much I love bringing back seashells from my beach travels?!) on the beach, all of which is open to the public.
Island Explore Via Bike
Since Cole and I couldn’t fit any time in for ocean activities (or golf…side note – if you or your guy loves golf, you’ll definitely have to take a day to do that in Palm Beach!), we wanted to do something active during our stay, and bike riding was the perfect way to get active and see more of Palm Beach. Since it is such a small island, it was super easy to navigate and was a nice way to catch a cool breeze too! Please I LOVED the custom Lilly Pulitzer bikes that the Brazilian Court hotel offered us to use for free (idk if Cole shares the feeling haha!)
Visit The Breakers
As I mentioned before, whether or not you choose to make The Breakers your home for the week or weekend, going to visit is an absolute must (and Cole and I loved it so much we visited multiple times!) Just walking through the property is a mesmerizing event of its own, but there are also so many amazing restaurants you can grab lunch or dinner at (keep reading to find out my recommendation!) Cole and I loved it so much here, in fact, that we came back one evening after dinner to grab drinks at HMF, an absolutely beautiful bar that’s been a spot for celebrities of the past and present located in the gorgeous Florentine Room of the hotel.
Experience Lilly Pulitzer
And while you’re at The Breakers, you simply must visit the Lilly Pulitzer store, located in the shops. Surrounding a lush, botanical courtyard, fabricated with furniture in bright Lilly prints. The beach-inspired and oh-so-colorful Lilly Pulitzer got her start in Palm Beach and the lifestyle brand still has its heart there in the island, so even if you don’t pick up a Lilly dress to wear (I couldn’t resist this one y’all!), you simply must see the prints and colors of the designs, all inspired by Palm Beach.
WHERE TO EAT
I’m no food photographer (sorry y’all!), so I just rounded up a few shots I had on my camera roll from my Instagram stories and Snapchat because I just had to share some of the amazing spots we dined during our stay in Palm Beach. In no particular order, here are my recommendations…
1 – Seafood Bar
Located inside The Breakers, this new restaurant provides breath-taking ocean views and serves up the most delicious, fresh sea food. Cole and I had the seafood platter and the Florida stone crab was absolutely melt-in-your-mouth delicious. It was literally caught in Florida that morning, and you could definitely tell. We topped off our meal with what was probably the best key lime pie ever I’ve ever had, made from just four ingredients, one of them being authentic limes from the Florida Keys.
2 – Buccan
Okay I lied about the order. Buccan was hand-down our very favorite meal of the trip. I think 10 different locals recommended this spot to us, so we simply had to try it, and it did not disappoint! Although it was off-season, this place was crowded with people (and after we finished our meal we knew why). We were able to snag a table in the bar area and immediately started our tapas-style meal. Every dish that came out was more delicious than the next – each unexpected and bursting with flavor. If we weren’t so full we would have tried everything on the menu! It was divine!! Side note – on the weekends, this place turns into a bar after 11:00pm and since we dined late, we got to experience the live DJ and dancing! So fun!
3 – Pizza Al Fresco
This was a spot that Cole and I stumbled upon for dinner on the first day of our arrival and we’re so glad we did!! Located in one of those hidden cove areas I mentioned before on Worth Avenue, Pizza Al Fresco has a gorgeous outdoor dining area atop cobblestone floors and blue umbrellas, complete with a live Italian singer that made it feel like we were in Italy. Their wine and pizza menus are both sooo extensive, it was hard to choose what we wanted, but we loved every sip and bite!
4 – Cafe Boulud
We were treated to brunch at Cafe Boulud inside the hotel that hosted us, the Brazilian Court, but we also got to pass by the gorgeous outdoor patio that extends into the courtyard each day. French-inspired cuisine is what this restaurant is known for and every dish was delectable.
I’d love to know…what are your favorite things to see, do or eat while in Palm Beach?