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The antidote to glitzThe antidote to glitz

West Palm Beach County, FloridaWest Palm Beach County, Florida

Just because you visit Palm Beach doesn’t mean you have to spend an arm and a leg. Instead of flying in to Palm Beach International or Boca Raton, land at Palm Beach County Park Airport, also known as Lantana, where you’ll get bizjet service even if you’ve got an ancient little Cessna or Piper. Leave your Guccis at home and bring walking shoes, because the smaller towns around this airport—Lantana, Atlantis, and Lake Worth—can be explored on foot. A city pier and county-owned beaches and parks offer inexpensive outdoor recreation. You’ll also find affordable golf courses, live entertainment, fun restaurants, and convenient accommodations. You can even camp adjacent to the airport.

  • Flying northbound over the Lake Worth Lagoon toward the Lake Avenue Bridge. Photo courtesy Kimberly Paolini.
  • Aerial view of the West Palm Beach County Park (aka Lantana) Airport, looking southeast toward Lake Osborne and the Atlantic Ocean. Photo courtesy Kimberly Paolini.
  • The Old Key Lime House has indoor/outdoor dining right on the lagoon waterfront, 2.5 miles directly east of the airport. Photo by Don Burkett via Flickr.
  • Golf at the Atlantis Country Club, just north of Rosalita’s and west of the airport. Photo by Patricia Strutz.
  • Practice all your golfing techniques at the John Prince Golf Learning Center in John Prince Park, just north of the airport. Photo courtesy John Prince Golf Learning Center.
  • The Bamboo Room in a quiet moment. By tonight, the place will be packed and rockin’. Photo courtesy Craig Young.
  • Seagulls hope for a handout at the William O. Lockhart Municipal Pier. Photo by Joan Nova via Flickr.
  • The pier is a great place to watch surfers as they try to catch an Atlantic Ocean wave. Photo by Joan Nova via Flickr.
  • The Lake Worth beach is wide, sandy, sunny—and free, although you can rent a luxurious, shaded chaise lounge if you like, near the newly-renovated (no gambling) casino. Photo by Dawn Pennington via Flickr.
  • Benny’s on the Beach is open at 7 a.m. for early risers. Photo courtesy Kim Seng via Flickr.
  • Salmon Benedict with cayenne hollandaise and fresh fruit at Benny’s on the Beach. Photo by Dawn Pennington via Flickr.
  • Palms, gardens, and a limestone terrace surround the pool at the luxurious Four Seasons Resort Palm Beach, just 1,200 feet north of the Lake Avenue Bridge. Photo courtesy Four Seasons Properties.
  • The Renoir Suite at Sabal Palm House B&B has a whirlpool tub for two and private covered balcony. Photo courtesy RandySmithPhoto.com.
  • Enjoy your breakfast in the lush courtyard at Sabal Palm House B&B. Photo courtesy RandySmithPhoto.com.

Since the election of President Donald Trump, airports near his Mar-a-Lago resort, including Palm Beach County Park Airport, have been affected by a temporary flight restriction whenever he is due to be in town. When the TFR is in effect, no departures are allowed, period. Arrivals are only allowed, via prior arrangement, from four “feeder” airports: Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, Dulles, and Teterboro. This situation has significantly hurt the local fixed-base operations. Check to ensure no TFRs are in effect during your planned visit.

Flying in to Lantana, be aware that Class C airspace goes all the way to the ground just 2 nautical miles north of the airport. It’s a good idea to establish contact with Palm Beach Approach so you can enter the Class C and stay well above the numerous towers in the area. Use caution for heavy helicopter traffic; they fly a right pattern. On the ground, you can use a rental or courtesy car, Uber, or just grab those walking shoes and enjoy the sunshine.

The 24-karat margarita at Rosalita’s Tex-Mex Grill. Photo courtesy Rosalita’s.

Favored by locals, the Old Key Lime House is 2.5 miles east of the airport, right on the Lake Worth waterfront. This fun, casual restaurant is south Florida’s largest tiki bar and offers live music. Another favorite, Chris’ Taverna, is 4 miles directly west of the airport; their traditional Greek dishes have earned multiple awards.

It’s only a half-mile west from the airport, an easy walk, to Rosalita’s Tex-Mex Grill, one of the more colorful restaurants we’ve seen, decorated with murals, sparkling sombreros, and serape tablecloths. At this family-run restaurant, happy hour starts at 11 a.m. In addition to traditional favorites, they offer specialties like chicken chorizo flatbread, cactus chili soup, chipotle baby back ribs, seafood-stuffed poblano, and their “24-karat margarita.”

The Atlantis Country Club golf course sits just north of Rosalita’s; it’s about a 20-minute walk to the clubhouse. This semi-private course offers wide and forgiving fairways, in case you had too many margaritas. By hole 17 the drinks should have worn off, which is good since it’s the most challenging, with a large water hazard and a green surrounded by sand traps. Another choice is the Golf Learning Center adjacent to the John Prince Park Campground on the airport border. They offer lessons, a lighted driving range, three regulation holes, practice bunkers, and chipping greens.

The Michelangelo Room at Sabal Palm House B&B. Photo courtesy RandySmithPhoto.com.

You’ll find miles of biking and walking trails along the shoreline of Lake Osborne, directly east of the airport. You can also fish for bass, bluegill, and crappie here. Downtown Lake Worth—the area surrounding parallel Lake and Lucerne Avenues just northeast of Lake Osborne—is home to the Bamboo Room, housed in a restored 1923 building. This is the spot to sip cocktails and listen to live blues.

Continue a few blocks east to the Lake Worth Lagoon; you can cross the lagoon to the barrier island via the Lake Avenue Bridge. At Lake Worth Municipal Beach, which faces the Atlantic Ocean, you can sunbathe, people-watch, or fish from the William O. Lockhart Municipal Pier, just south of the Lake Avenue Bridge. A couple of parks and Benny’s on the Beach restaurant are near the pier.

Of course, luxury unlimited is available on the barrier island at the Four Seasons Resort Palm Beach, just north of the Lake Avenue bridge. But, since we’re on a budget this trip, we’ll mosey back west across the bridge to Sabal Palm House Bed and Breakfast, tastefully furnished with antiques and—original Chagall paintings? Actually, the paintings are forgeries: The inn’s previous owner was a retired policeman who helped break up a forgery ring. It just goes to show you, never judge a book by its cover. And you can visit Palm Beach without breaking the bank!

Aerial view of the William O. Lockhart Municipal Pier jutting into the Atlantic Ocean at Lake Worth beach. To the left, the Lake Avenue Bridge crosses the Lake Worth Lagoon. Photo by Daniel Piraino.

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Crista Worthy

Crista Videriksen Worthy

Crista Videriksen Worthy has been flying around the United States with her pilot-husband Fred and their children since 1995, and writing about fun places to fly since 2006. She has single-engine land and sea ratings. Her favorite places to explore are the backcountry strips of Idaho and Utah's red rock country. She currently lives in Idaho and serves as editor of The Flyline, the monthly publication of the Idaho Aviation Association. To suggest future destination articles, send an email to [email protected]
Topics: US Travel

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