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.
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.
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.
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!
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