Home to America's millionaires and billionaires (Donald Trump, Jimmy Buffet, Tiger Woods and Mark Zuckerberg -- to name a few) for nearly a century, West Palm Beach provides the most luxurious version of the relaxing Floridian lifestyle. Or so people think. Its actually Palm Beach -- the coastal neighborhood adjacent to West Palm -- that serves as the spot where these moguls and celebrities choose to build their waterfront winter homes. Its younger sister, West Palm, was originally an off-shoot. Now the latter is a vacation spot in its own right, offering travelers an array of away-from-the-shore attractions and hotels options for all budgets. You might only be able to distinguish between the two areas by crossing the Intercoastal Waterway and looking at the housing prices.
While the rest of the country battles snowstorms, residents of West Palm sip on piña coladas and watch the tide roll in. And despite the area's tradition of catering to glamorous, designer-decorated clientele, Palm Beach's shores and West Palm's historical neighborhoods appeal to many types; in fact, the famous clientele is part of the allure.
Trendy West Palm adheres to fads and fashions; therefore, go during spring or fall -- slightly less fashionable but much less costly times to be seen there.
Are we there yet?
Consider driving instead of flying. That phrase every parent hates hearing on car trips might start to sound like money in your pocket.
Is that Donald's house?
The seemingly endless succession of mansions along nearby Palm Beach offers enjoyable walking and driving tours for no cost.
Originally built for the servants of Palm Beach residents, West Palm now has highly regarded performance venues and museums as well as interesting architecture. It's also a city of diversity, with large and thriving communities of Cubans, Haitians and Guatemalans.
Although it is more casual than its neighbor across the Intracoastal Waterway, you should still dress appropriately while you are exploring the town of West Palm. If you're coming in from beach activities, be sure to cover up.
West Palm Beach's restaurant options give its Intracoastal Waterway neighbor a legitimate run for its money -- especially since you'll end the meal here holding on to more of yours (money, that is). With such close proximity to the water, West Palm cuisine relies heavily on fresh seafood; like grouper and shrimp, some of the area's most popular dishes. Travelers suggest trying the Gulfstream Seafood Restaurant for fresh seafood entrees like local crab legs and lobster.
The Clematis Street District as your best bet. Try early bird specials at restaurants to save a few bucks on dinner. International cuisines are also well-represented throughout West Palm, particularly Italian and Asian restaurants.