Monday, March 19, 2007

Palm Beach, Florida

I've made several trips to Florida, however, this was my first trip to the Palm Beach area, one of the most expensive areas in the state. Palm Beach has its own international airport, however, due to fewer flights I opted to fly into Ft. Lauderdale and drive the 50 miles north.I had always heard good things about the Ft. Lauderdale airport - smaller, clean, quick access to luggage and rental cars - and I found all of those things to be true.

The weather, of course, was gorgeous. I drove down Okechobee past the Convention Center to City Place. City Place is an outdoor mall stretching over an area approximately 10 city blocks by 3 city blocks. It's loaded with upscale boutiques and restaurants.

From there, I continued east on Okechobee over the Intercoastal waterway with its $1 million yachts tied to their docks and out to Ocean Drive. There's plenty of metered parking along the street, so you can park and walk along the wide, sandy beach. Nearby is Worth Avenue, a half-mile or so stretch of more than 250 upscale shops that include Saks and Nieman Marcus.

Taking the A1A highway north, one passes one of the several championship golf courses in the area before arriving at Singer Island. While high-rise hotels and condos block the view of the ocean, their are many places to stay. John D MacArthur State Park is also located here. The park protects more than 400 acres of various habitats and features bike trails and hiking trails as well as water activities.

Further north on the A1A is Juno Beach. For $1, you can walk out over the Atlantic on a 300-yard pier. In addition to numerous fisherman, I encountered two pelicans perched on the rail paying no attention to the visitors studying them from just feet away.

All in all, Palm Beach County has something for everyone. Plenty of outdoor activities in the sunshine as well as upscale shopping and dining.