Yes, Virginia, there is such a thing as an affordable Palm Beach vacation! For anyone who thinks you have to live like Donald Trump to have a good time in Palm Beach, Florida, you're wrong! This beautiful part of south Florida can make for a fun beach vacation and it can be economical, even for big families.
Located about 70 miles north of Miami, Palm Beach, FL is best known for the uber-rich that live in the mansions lining the ocean along Route A1A. While there certainly is a Polo-playing country club set that vacations at the posh resorts in the area, there are also a lot of everyday people who are drawn to the area. The lower crowds, pristine sand, almost always perfect weather, and many miles of public beaches draw visitors from across the country.
The easiest, most fun, and cheapest form of entertainment in Palm Beach is in the name itself. The beach! Where else can family of any size spend the whole day and enjoy every minute? With 47 miles of prime Atlantic coastline in Palm Beach county, there is room for everyone in Palm Beach.
Look for public beaches in Palm Beach and you're likely to find John D. MacArthur State Park and Ocean Reef Park listed among the top-rated beaches in the area. Bring your own chairs, umbrella, food and drinks (though no glass bottles, please) and save yourself tons of money. Take advantage of the children's playground, picnic tables, and public grills if you are feeling adventurous. Need more activities that just jumping the crashing ocean waves? A $1 beach ball and Frisbee can help extend the fun.
There is also a lot more to do off the beach, from museums to window shopping down the famed Worth Avenue. Check out this great list of free things to do Palm Beach for some fun beyond the beach.
There are definitely some fine hotels and resorts in Palm Beach, and for the most part, they are fabulous. However, when you need a more affordable option, the Best Western Palm Beach Lakes Inn might be a viable option for you. At just about $125/night during high season, staying here could save you hundreds or even thousands for an extended trip. Know that there are only two sets of adjoining rooms, so if those aren't available, big families will have to stay in separate rooms.
Located next door to a Target and across the street from the vast Palm Beach Outlet Mall and many restaurants, the Best Western Palm Beach Lakes is well located and has a retro appeal. While this hotel is not a resort, it has a large pool and the rooms have a mini refrigerator and a microwave. It is a clean, comfortable, and very affordable place to lay your head after a long day in the sun.
For another value-adding option, look into renting a house or one of the many spacious condos through VRBO.com. This vacation home rental service gives big families another option for lodging while keeping a Palm Beach vacation affordable.
VRBO.com offers private residences on the beach, some even within resorts, for often hundreds of dollars less per night than a typical hotel in the area. Be sure to get all the fees up front and note any restrictions on the size of your party, clean up specifications, or pet policies. These should be clearly spelled out before you book your accommodations. While the nightly rate might be more than a budget hotel, the amenities and space to spread out may be well worth the investment.
The best way to save money in Palm Beach is to spend some time visiting the local grocery store to stock up on supplies for quick breakfasts, picnic lunches, and perhaps some easy dinners. If you are staying in a place with a kitchen, then take advantage and spend the time to make many of your meals in your room. If not, try to buy supplies for breakfast and lunch and then splurge on dinner.
Chain restaurants are plentiful in Palm Beach and even more so in neighboring West Palm Beach, but there are also local dining establishments worth your dollars too. Take a walk down Clematis St. and see what small cafe catches your eye. Try to go on off hours for a late lunch or early dinner, to avoid the hipster crowds who will be out after dinner to take advantage of the street's nightlife. Check out the Discover The Palm Beaches website to see any restaurant deals that are occurring during your visit, especially the kids eat free nights!
City Place in West Palm Beach, an open air mall, is a great place to walk around, people watch and have a nice after dinner treat. Check out their entertainment schedules and children's activities they offer throughout the year. Often times they are free!
Palm Beach Florida is one of the poshest cities in the country, however that shouldn't stop anyone from visiting. With some pre-planning and creativity, families (even big ones) can visit the area without breaking the bank. You can have an affordable Palm Beach vacation!