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24 Free (or Nearly Free) Things to Do in The Palm Beaches

24 Free (or Nearly Free) Things to Do in The Palm Beaches

Ideas for getting serious bang for no (or next-to-no) buck on your next South Florida vacation

Here’s a fun (and surprisingly easy) challenge for your next trip to The Palm Beaches: See how many little-to-no-cost activities you can pack into your itinerary. From free concerts to wildlife encounters and world-class museum exhibitions, you’ll be delighted by how much you can see and do here without ever needing to reach for your wallet. 

Start things off with our list of 24 free (or nearly free) attractions that just might be the highlight of your visit. 

1. Explore Pristine Natural Areas

More than 31,000 acres of The Palm Beaches’ most precious ecosystems are protected by the Department of Environmental Resources Management (ERM), and how lucky we are. These 30+ spectacular natural areas are open from sunrise to sunset, with free admission 365 days a year. Paddle through the marsh at Winding Waters in West Palm Beach, fish from the pier at North Jupiter Flatwoods, or spot gopher tortoise and osprey at Rosemary Scrub in Boynton Beach—and that’s just skimming the surface.

2. Get Around Downtown West Palm Beach for Free

The free, newly-inaugurated RideWPB makes getting around the Downtown West Palm Beach and waterfront a breeze. With a convenient dedicated route and on-demand service, free RideWPB program is a major improvement to fast, efficient carbon-free transportation.

The easily identified vans, carts and Tesla sedans are wrapped in blue with “Free Ride” emblazoned in yellow on the side. Vans carry passengers along a 15-stop route from South Tamarind Avenue and the Tri-Rail station to the west, to South Olive Avenue on the east. The vans are scheduled to make the route every 15 minutes Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.

Click here for more information.

24 Free (or Nearly Free) Things to Do in The Palm Beaches
Courtesy of The City of West Palm Beach

3. Bike The Palm Beach Lake Trail

Running along the western edge of Palm Beach, this 5½-mile trail affords both dramatic vistas and intimate peeks into some of the island’s most palatial properties. Along the way, you’ll pass landmarks like the Flagler Museum and a giant kapok tree originally brought here from the Amazon, as well as the backyards of stunning private homes. Stop to snap a photo of Lake Worth Lagoon and the West Palm Beach skyline before reaching the trail’s terminus at the world-famous Sailfish Club, with its colorful sailboats and impressive yachts.

Kapok Tree on Lake Trail

4. Follow The Underwater Snorkeling Trail at Phil Foster Park

If you’ve already got the gear, then you just need to get to Phil Foster Park in Riviera Beach for a day of no-cost underwater adventure. Located beneath Blue Heron Bridge on a crystal-clear section of the Lake Worth Lagoon, this 800-foot artificial reef fosters an incredible variety of marine life, from sea turtles to manatees to tropical fish—all just a few feet from the shore.

24 Free (or Nearly Free) Things to Do in The Palm Beaches
Courtesy of @Narcosis27

5. Dance The Night Away at Clematis by Night on Thursdays

Known as “the hot spot to chill” for 22 years, this free, weekly open-air concert series takes place in one of The Palm Beaches’ most vibrant and bustling areas, the Clematis Street Entertainment District in West Palm Beach. At the waterfront pavilion, you can catch live performances by the area’s top bands, all with sparkling, moonlit Lake Worth Lagoon and neon Clematis Street signage lighting up the night.

24 Free (or Nearly Free) Things to Do in The Palm Beaches

6. Meet Sea Turtles at Loggerhead Marinelife Center

Beautiful Juno Beach is the preferred nesting ground for scores of sea turtles each year, and Loggerhead Marinelife Center serves to conserve their habit and help the public safely discover these beloved reptiles. At the heart of the center is a full-service veterinary hospital where you can visit rehabilitating sea turtles. There’s also an exhibit hall, nature trails, playgrounds, and a guarded beach just beyond the center.

24 Free (or Nearly Free) Things to Do in The Palm Beaches

7. Go Green at The West Palm Beach GreenMarket October Through May

If you happen to be visiting October through May, this frugal activity could keep you busy—and well-fed—for the better part of a Saturday. See the bounty of more than 90 vendors who gather each weekend at the waterfront Lake Pavilion to sell local produce, handmade crafts, exotic flowers, and much more. There’s also live music, shaded seating areas, and free kids’ activities. You probably won’t want to leave without buying something, so come out and snag amazing deals on tasty treats you can’t find anywhere else.

West Palm Beach Green Market
Courtesy of the City of West Palm Beach​​​​

8. Go on Only-in-the-Everglades Adventures at Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge

Encompassing nearly 144,000 acres of northern Everglades and cypress swamp, this prized refuge provides habitat for threatened and endangered wildlife such as the wood stork, snail kite, American alligator, and Florida sandhill crane. Free for pedestrian and bicyclists, and at a cost of just $10 for cars, you can spend all day hiking, biking, birding, fishing, and paddling through the famed “rivers of grass” in this rare and bewitchingly beautiful ecosystem.

24 Free (or Nearly Free) Things to Do in The Palm Beaches

9. Stroll botanical Gardens at The Society of the Four Arts

These lush demonstration gardens were first planted in 1938 to give early Palm Beach residents ideas for their own home gardens. Today, you can stroll through manicured grounds, tropical plants, and artfully placed sculptures for a relaxing respite that’s about as Palm Beach as it gets.

10. Learn About Our Heritage at The Richard and Pat Johnson Palm Beach County History Museum

A giant mosquito, interactive touchscreen displays, and memorabilia from local sports stars like Jack Nicklaus are among the must-see exhibits at this museum, located inside a 1916 courthouse in downtown West Palm Beach. Two galleries, the People Gallery and Place Gallery, salute the individuals and environments that make The Palm Beaches such a special place.

24 Free (or Nearly Free) Things to Do in The Palm Beaches

11. Watch a Movie on the West Palm Beach Waterfront

On the second Friday of every month, Screen on the Green transforms the West Palm Beach Waterfront into a theater under the stars. Bring your own chair or blanket, grab dinner from the food vendors, and enjoy a free movie with the entire family starting at 7 pm. See the schedule here.

Screen on the Green, West Palm Beach

12. Have Up-Close Sea-Cow Sightings at Manatee Lagoon

We Floridians have a thing for manatees. They’re our state marine mammals, and we proudly go to great lengths to protect them. Manatee Lagoon is one such place dedicated to the conservation of this endangered animal through public education and discovery. During the colder months, manatees are drawn to warm-water outflows from the neighboring Florida Power & Light Company Next Generation Clean Energy Center, making this one of the top places to watch manatees in the wild. Kids will love free activities like Manatee Tales Story Time (pre-registration may be required, so check their website for more info).

13. Discover Pineapple Grove Arts District

This eclectic Delray Beach ’hood boasts mural-lined streets practically made for selfies, colorful storefronts for window (or actual) shopping, art galleries, and other cultural institutions, plus plenty of cafés and wine bars for when you’ve worked up a thirst. If it works with your visit, don’t miss First Friday Art Walks for great local art and free entertainment.

Pineapple grove art district

14. Explore Family-Friendly Nature Centers Throughout The Palm Beaches

Palm Beach County operates multiple nature centers that provide hours of free fun for kids and grown-ups alike. Daggerwing Nature Center in Boca Raton features a 3,000-square-foot exhibit hall with live animals and interactive exhibits, an elevated boardwalk through swampland, and a butterfly garden where you can spot the center’s namesake Ruddy Daggerwing butterfly. Learn all about Boynton Beach’s wetlands (and the native wildlife that inhabits it) at the Green Cay Nature CenterOkeeheelee Nature Center in West Palm Beach offers 2½ miles of trails, hands-on exhibits, and animal encounters featuring snakes and birds of prey.

A white bird in a marsh
Courtesy of Chelsea Fetter

15. Enjoy Free Concerts on The Waterfront

On the third Sunday of each month, enjoy a free, family-friendly concert on the West Palm Beach waterfront. Sunday on the Waterfront is a perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon in South Florida! Bring your lawn chairs, blankets, friends, and family and have fun enjoying great music while taking in the natural beauty of the Intracoastal Waterway.

24 Free (or Nearly Free) Things to Do in The Palm Beaches

16. Relieve Stress with Fitness Activities

Whether you want to slow down, reconnect with nature, or stay fit while on vacation, The Palm Beaches offer a variety of free or nearly free fitness activities you can choose from! For example, for just $5, you can attend a yoga class led by a certified instructor and against the calming backdrop of Lake Worth Lagoon at Manatee Lagoon. Classes are held outdoors on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5.45 pm to 6.45 pm, or on Saturdays from 8.00 am to 9.00 am. All classes require advance registration. For more information, click here.

24 Free (or Nearly Free) Things to Do in The Palm Beaches

17. Encounter Wildlife at Gumbo Limbo Nature Center

As a rescue and rehabilitation center for sick and injured sea turtles, Gumbo Limbo plays a vital role in protecting Boca Raton’s local ecosystem. You can visit these reptiles, as well as explore boardwalk trails, butterfly gardens, and amazing outdoor aquariums featuring thousands of tropical fish, for a fee of only $5 per person.

Butterfly at the Gumbo Limbo Nature Center

18. Listen to Live Music Saturdays at Downtown Palm Beach Gardens

Downtown Palm Beach Gardens has become a major hotspot in The Palm Beaches. Every Saturday, enjoy an afternoon of acoustic sounds at the Interactive Water Feature from 1:00 – 3:00 PM featuring amazing local musicians. See the lineup here.

19. Admire Gallery Exhibitions at The Palm Beach Photographic Centre

If you’re as hooked on Instagram as we are, then you’ll love learning about the relevant-as-ever craft of photography at the Palm Beach Photographic Centre. Browse striking images ranging from the historic to the ultra-modern in the 5,000-square-foot gallery, and sign up for workshops, lectures, and children’s events centered around the enrichment of life through photography.

24 Free (or Nearly Free) Things to Do in The Palm Beaches
Ronald Reagan & Mikhail Gorbachev, Palm Beach Photographic Centre

20. Go Birdwatching at Wakodahatchee Wetlands

Birders, bring your binoculars to spot as many as 178 species of birds at this western Delray Beach wetlands preserve that’s part of the Great Florida Birding Trail. As fun to visit as it is to pronounce, Wakodahatchee Wetlands also offers boardwalks with interpretive signage, gazebos, and benches for simply soaking up a peaceful moment. 

21. See Us Through Our Artists at The Cultural Council for Palm Beach County

Located inside the stunning, Streamline Moderne-style Robert M. Montgomery, Jr. building in Lake Worth Beach, The Cultural Council for Palm Beach County is the only organization solely dedicated to supporting arts and culture in The Palm Beaches, Florida’s Cultural Capital®. The main gallery and Donald M. Ephraim Family Gallery showcase ongoing temporary exhibitions focused on art made in or unique to Palm Beach County. Click here to find current and upcoming exhibitions.

24 Free (or Nearly Free) Things to Do in The Palm Beaches
Courtesy of the Cultural Council of Palm Beach County

22. Shop Delray Beach Winter GreenMarket October through May

The Winter Green Market has been a Saturday tradition in Delray Beach for over 20 years, with more than 65 vendors selling farm-to-fork produce, local fruits, artisan cheeses, jams, baked goods, and more on Old School Square.

23. Spy Swamp Things at Grassy Waters Preserve

You don’t have to leave West Palm Beach to experience the Everglades—you just have to go to Grassy Waters Preserve, a pristine wetland that’s part of the Greater Everglades watershed. This 23-square-mile park is home to a variety of native wildlife, from white ibis and great blue heron to bobcats. Activities at Grassy Waters Preserve include hiking, canoeing, kayaking, and dip netting, plus low- or no-fee guided tours, “swamp tromps” and kids’ programs (check their calendar to sign up in advance).

24 Free (or Nearly Free) Things to Do in The Palm Beaches

24. Have a Day at The Beach!

Of course, no list of free attractions in The Palm Beaches is complete without, well, beaches! No matter what kind of beach person you are, from sporty to relaxed to family-friendly to unspoiled and unpopulated, you’ll find your perfect tropical beach along our 47 miles of sun-kissed coastline.

Singer Island Beach

 


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