New to the area and don’t know where to head for affordable family fun?
Of course, there’s the beach, but Palm Beach County offers a lot more than sand and surf. For local Florida flavor, check out these places that may appeal to everyone. Most are easy on the wallet.
Comfortable shoes, water and sunscreen are recommended. Nature trails and boardwalks are accessible for people with disabilities. And check the forecast because most attractions don’t allow refunds for inclement weather.
ABACOA COMMUNITY GARDEN, 1022 Community Grove Drive, Jupiter
Grow food for your table from your own garden plot and share the bounty. Vegetables grow year-round in Florida. Here’s University of Florida’s list of vegetables that can survive South Florida’s summer heat. Surplus produce is donated to charities and nonprofit organizations. The garden reopens Aug. 1, 2021.
Hours: Dawn to dusk daily for members only
Cost: $40 household annual fee for plot
For more information: https://www.abacoa.com/abacoa-community-garden
COCONUT COVE WATER PARK, Burt Aaronson South County
Regional Park, 20130 Regional Park Drive, west of Boca Raton
Lots of fun and amenities galore out west — including a 986-foot long river ride, lily pad walk, two four-story water slides, recreational pool and children’s water playground. Locker rooms, locker rentals and shower facilities are on-site, plus a full-service concession stand. Birthday parties, swimming lessons and camp are also available.
Hours: Summer hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday; 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday; check for weekend-only schedules in spring and fall
Cost: Around $45 total for two adults and two children for the day; season passes are available
For more information: https://coconutcove-waterpark.com
GREEN CAY NATURE CENTER & WETLANDS, 12800 Hagen Ranch Road, west of Boynton Beach
Don’t forget your camera! Wildlife and natural beauty abound out west in this 100-acre constructed wetland — the newest of Palm Beach County’s nature centers. The 1.5 miles of elevated boardwalk offers QR-code signs for self-guided tours on smartphones. The center’s interior features live animals and a gift shop.
Hours: Sunrise-sunset daily for boardwalk; interior 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday
For more information: https://discover.pbcgov.org/parks/Pages/GreenCay.aspx
PEANUT ISLAND CAMPGROUND, 6500 Peanut Island Road, Riviera Beach
Who needs glamping when you can camp in paradise? Accessible only by boat, all 17 tropical campsites include a tent pad, grill and picnic table. Other accommodations are hot indoor showers, a picnic pavilion and large fire ring. Reservations are a must.
Hours: Check in after 1 p.m.; check out: before 11 a.m.
Cost: $31.64 with tax per night and $63.28 with tax for expanded site. Plus, about $60 for Peanut Island Shuttle Boat to transport two adults and two children.
For more information: https://discover.pbcgov.org/parks/Pages/Camping-PeanutIsland.aspx
RED REEF PARK, 1400 N. Ocean Blvd., Boca Raton
Bring your scuba mask and snorkel! The water is often ultra clear with hundreds of colorful fish swimming around this manmade rock reef near the shore. Be mindful of water conditions and go early or late to avoid crowds. Lifeguards are on duty, and bathrooms and showers are on-site. One hint: Premium parking on the east side is $20 per vehicle, but metered parking on the west side is $3 per hour.
Hours: 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily
For more information: https://redreefpark.com/
SANDOWAY DISCOVERY CENTER, 142 So. Ocean Blvd., Delray Beach
Located in a historic home with the Atlantic Ocean as a neighbor in fun Delray Beach, this award-winning nature center will delight the entire family. Meet a young rescue alligator, learn about marine life and watch live sharks. (Shark feedings will resume once the shark pool renovation is completed). Free special programs for the young set include “Storytime with Darlene” and “Python Hunters.” This fun and energetic facility can be booked for birthday parties. Public parking nearby.
Hours: Tuesday - Saturdays 10 – 4 p.m., Sundays Noon – 4 p.m., Closed Mondays.
Cost: $6 per person.
For more information: https://sandoway.org/
THE GIRLS, 14466 S. Military Trail, Delray Beach
Once a strawberry patch where you picked your own, this hidden gem is a lush tropical garden with swans, exotic birds, a petting zoo, farm animals and a setting so serene that you’ll find it hard to believe you’re in the middle of a city. Feed the animals, mine for minerals and race in the duck derby. Stop at the store for ice cream, old-fashioned candy or baked goods or try out the adjoining pizza shop.
Hours: 10:30 a.m. to dusk Tuesday through Friday; 10 a.m. to dusk weekends
Cost: Children ages 3 to 12, $4.95; Adults, $6.95; Seniors, $4.95
For more information: http://www.thegirlsstrawberryupick.com/
TIGER SHARK COVE, 13800 Greenbriar Blvd., Wellington
This magical ocean-themed playground, funded by private donations, was designed from children’s and village residents’ ideas. Kids can climb in a life-size, pretend sand castle or have their picture taken with a faux shark. Other amenities are a crab shack, an obstacle course, shaded areas, soft rubberized flooring, a submarine with portholes, a sunken pirate ship play area and swings.
Hours: Sunrise to sunset daily
For more information: https://www.wellingtonfl.gov/Facilities/Facility/Details/Tiger-Shark-Cove-44