Last Updated on March 31, 2024

Are you traveling to Florida for your next vacation?  Maybe you’re having trouble deciding between Palm Beach and West Palm Beach.

If so, you’ve landed on the right article.  As a Florida travel fanatic, I know that choosing the right destination can make or break your trip.

Whether you are a solo traveler or have to juggle the preferences of your partner and family members, we’re here to help.

In this post, we’ll give you an honest comparison of Palm Beach vs West Palm Beach.

We’ll talk about the beaches, the nightlife, events, and the best things to do.

Let’s dive in!

Palm Beach vs West Palm Beach: Which Is Better?

Before we get into the finer details, it’s important to discuss the difference between these two destinations on the Atlantic Coast of Florida.

Even though Palm Beach and West Palm Beach are only a short drive from each other, they are VERY different.

Palm Beach is essentially a small town with an abundance of palm trees, beautiful beaches, and an upscale but laid-back beach vibe.

About Palm Beach

Palm Beach is a 10.4 square mile area just under two hours from Miami.

It is populated by billionaires, exclusive restaurants, and the most stunning houses you’ve seen in your life.

Scions of industry and famous authors like James Patterson have homes here.

The Palm Beach Country Club, the controversial Everglades Club, and the most fabulous shopping streets you can imagine are all found here, including the world-famous Worth Avenue. 

Uber gourmet dining, exclusive tennis clubs, golf courses, Louis Vuitton stores, and more await in what Tinsley Mortimer describes as the “Range Rover capital of the world.”

Palm Beach is essentially a small town with an abundance of palm trees, beautiful beaches, and an upscale but laid-back beach vibe.

 👉 Tip: Looking for somewhere to stay in Palm Beach?

🏨 Consider the Palm Beach Historic Inn, an intimate boutique hotel that is quaint, charming, and lusciously comfortable.



panoramic scene of the buildings and city of West Palm Beach FL

About West Palm Beach

West Palm Beach is a vibrant city with tons of amenities, a popping nightlife, and a slew of incredible restaurants.

But the name is misleading because there are no beaches in West Palm Beach.

That’s one of the most obvious differences between the two destinations.

The second rather obvious thing is that West Palm Beach has way more things to do.

The entire town is packed with art galleries, restaurants, botanical gardens, and shopping opportunities.

The Port of Palm Beach is a cruise ship portal, while City Place is a mecca for eateries, theaters, art galleries, and plenty of activities.

West Palm Beach has an upmarket feel but is more affordable than Palm Beach.



serene beach scene at Palm Beach Florida USA

Which Has Better Beaches?

Palm Beach has better beaches than West Palm Beach. In fact, West Palm Beach doesn’t have any beaches.

It is separated from the Atlantic Ocean (and Palm Beach Island) by the Lake Worth Lagoon.

If your goal is to enjoy some of the best beaches in Florida, that’s a point in favor of Palm Beach.

Swaying palm trees, turquoise water, and white sand–what could be better?

Which Is Better For Families Or Couples?

One of the main reasons to stay on the Island of Palm Beach is that it is super safe.

The crime rate is less than half the national average, meaning you’re twice as safe here as anywhere else in the country.

Palm Beach is a luxurious and classy tropical paradise.

If you love shopping, eating in exclusive gourmet restaurants, and lounging on the beach, this could be the perfect place.

However, if you are looking for lots of fun things to do, buzzing nightlife, more affordable rates, and city amenities, you’ll find plenty to love in West Palm Beach.

 👉 Tip: If you’re traveling to Palm Beach with your family,

consider staying in the fabulous Breakers Hotel.

Photo credit – Unsplash by Clay LeConey

Downtown West Palm Beach at night

Which Has Better Nightlife?

If you’re looking for nightlife, downtown West Palm Beach is the place to be.

Clematis Street is home to the best clubs, lively bars, and dance clubs—places like Respectable Street, The Loft, and Renegades are of particular note.

Palm Beach, on the other hand, has a much more laid-back nightlife.

It has more of a social drinking scene than the parties you’ll find in entertainment districts in the surrounding area.

Photo credit – Unsplash by Richard Sagredo

South Florida Flair carnival event in West Palm Beach FL, USA

Which Has Better Events Throughout The Year?

Both West Palm Beach and the Palm Beaches offer spectacular events throughout the year.

In West Palm Beach, you can enjoy the South Florida Fair, the CANVAS Outdoor Museum Show, the Palm Beaches Restaurant Month, and Holiday in Paradise, among others.

In Palm Beach, you can enjoy Flavor Palm Beach, the Palm Beach Shakespeare Festival, the Festival of the Arts Boca, and the Sunfest, among others.



Palm Beach vs West Palm Beach: Which Is Better For Food?

Foodies, you’re in for a treat because both Palm Beach and West Palm Beach have scrumptious cuisine.

The difference comes down to the vibe and exclusivity.

The anachronistic little village of Palm Beach features uber-gourmet eateries requiring reservations.

Many of them have specific dress codes (such as collared shirts and jackets), so be sure to check ahead.

What Are The Best Restaurants In Each City?

The Butcher’s Club in Palm Beach Gardens is one of the best restaurants in Palm Beach.

This steakhouse was created by Michelin-star chef Jeremy Ford.

Café Boulud in Palm Beach features the delicious flavors and colors of France.

Impeccable service and exquisite food make this one of the best places to eat lunch or dinner.

Felice, in West Palm Beach, is a wonderful Tuscan-inspired restaurant located in The Square Plaza downtown.

beautiful aerial view of the coastline of Palm Beach, Florida, USA

Palm Beach vs West Palm Beach: Is One Cheaper?

When it comes to Palm Beach vs West Palm Beach, the latter tends to be more affordable.

Of course, there are budget, mid-range, and luxury options in both places, but it’s much easier to find affordable accommodations and restaurants in West Palm Beach.

 👉 Tip: Wondering where to stay?

🏩 The Grandview Gardens in West Palm Beach is a gorgeous and charming 9-bedroom with a swimming pool.



Palm Beach vs West Palm Beach: Things To Do

Looking for the best things to do in Palm Beach or West Palm Beach?

Here’s my list of local favorites to enjoy sunny days in these great spots on the East Coast.

Flagler Museum entrance and facade in Palm Beach Florida

Best Things To Do In Palm Beach

Henry Morrison Flagler Museum

One place you won’t want to miss is the Flagler Museum.

This house was built by railroad tycoon Henry Morrison Flagler and is now a National Historic Landmark.

Head over for a self-guided tour and a fascinating look at the exhibits.

Society Of The Four Arts

The Society of the Four Arts is one of the best things to do to immerse yourself in local culture and art.

The campus sits along the Intracoastal Waterway and features an education center, an art gallery, a performance hall, sculpture gardens, and multiple libraries.

If you visit between November and April, be sure to check out their lineup of events, including film showings, children’s programs, art exhibits, concerts, and workshops.

Phipps Ocean Park

Nature lovers will adore Phipps Ocean Park in Palm Beach.

This gorgeous beach is a wonderful place to spend a few hours or an entire day.

The park also has great amenities, including picnic tables, cabanas, a tennis center, restrooms, and a boardwalk.

Note: If you have mobility challenges, you may need to look for a place with easier access.

man paddle boarding in the Florida waters with a sunset background

High Point Paddle Adventures

One of the best ways to enjoy Palm Beach County is by kayak, paddleboard, or snorkel tour.

Consider joining one of the wonderful outings available at High Point Paddle Adventures.

You can enjoy a Peanut Island SUP and Snorkel Tour, A Flat Water Nature Tour, Surfing Lessons, and Full Moon Paddle Adventures. 

John D. MacArthur Beach State Park

If you’re a fan of nature parks, John D. MacArthur Beach State Park is going to be right up your alley.

This barrier island is a paradise of tropical plants and pristine beaches.

There are plenty of things to do here, including kayaking, fishing, swimming, surfing, birding, picnicking, and exploring the mangroves.



Photo credit – Unsplash by FRANCO POLANCO

A bird in Palm Beach Zoo & Conservation Society

Best Things To Do In West Palm Beach

Palm Beach Zoo

Palm Beach Zoo and Conservation Society is located in the metropolitan area of Summit Boulevard and is undoubtedly a favorite field day destination for elementary schools.

Although it’s relatively small, each exhibit is informative and fascinating.

Over 500 animals live here, including spider monkeys, jaguars, and tigers.

Cox Science Center & Aquarium

Spend a day learning about planets, sea creatures, and more at the Cox Science Center & Aquarium.

This small science museum is a great place for families with kids.

It is hands-on, educational, and entertaining. Plus, the expansions planned will give the place a whole new look.

Go to the official website.

Tip: Looking for more museums? Be sure to check out the Norton Museum of Art, the largest museum in Florida.

The Square

Live music, shopping, glowing trees, stellar dining choices, vegan ice cream, and bustling shops await in The Square.

This is a prime place to hang out with your family, kids, or significant other.

Enjoy the fountain, a delectable meal, and the overall splendor. 

Tip: If you prefer to travel by public transportation, the Palm Tran bus system has an extensive network.

The West Palm Beach Trolley is another great choice.

Photo credit – Unsplash by Richard Sagredo

beautiful yellow butterfly on top of a flower in Mounts Botanical Garden Florida

Mounts Botanical Garden

If you love plants, the Mounts Botanical Garden is a true gem.

These manicured gardens are only about six minutes from the Palm Beach International Airport.

Beautiful art, lectures, tours, a shop, and plenty of places to snap photos make this an excellent spot to unwind, breathe deep, and enjoy the beauties of nature.

Some residents of West Palm Beach wish they could visit every day.

Okeeheelee Park

Ready to expend some energy? If so, Okeeheelee Park is an epicenter for sports and outdoor activities.

This waterside park features a BMX track, a water park, a dog park, a frisbee golf course, an equestrian center, walking and running trails, soccer fields, baseball fields, and picnic areas, 

Tip: Looking for more places to visit? Check out the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts or the Rapids Water Park in Riviera Beach.

For shopping, head to Antique Row, a delightful district with antique shops, art galleries, and restaurants.

The West Palm Beach Green Market is a great place to pick up veggies and local delights on Saturday mornings. Manatee Lagoon offers interesting free tours as well.



Wide Palm Beach Florida highway leading to nearby attractions and things to do

Best Things to Do Nearby

Are you looking for the best things to do in the vicinity of Palm Beach and West Palm Beach?

If so, I recommend Juno Beach Pier, Jonathan Dickinson State Park, Delray Public Beach, South Peach Park Boca Raton, and Deerfield Beach Pier.

Lake Worth Beach is a thriving center for experimental music, visual arts, dance and theater groups, boutiques, and public art that’s also worth checking out.

Don’t miss the Street Painting Festival if you visit in February!

Lion Country Safari could make another interesting day trip. 

Alternatively, hit up the main attractions and water activities in Fort Lauderdale.



Worth ave clock tower in Palm Beach vs West Palm Beach Downtown

Final Thoughts: Palm Beach vs West Palm Beach

Have you decided which destination wins out in the Palm Beach vs West Palm Beach showdown?

If white-sand beaches, gourmet dining, upscale living, and the chance to rub shoulders with billionaires sounds like it’s up your alley, Palm Beach is the prime choice.

However, if you prefer nightlife, plenty of activity options, and more affordable choices, West Palm Beach could be perfect.



Always On The Shore contains affiliate links and if you make a purchase, we make a small commission at no cost to you.

For more information, please read the disclaimer page


Booking a last-minute trip to Palm Beach or West Palm Beach?  

If so, we have you covered.  

Top Tours in Palm Beach and West Palm Beach – Viator

Top Rated Hotels & Accommodations –

Looking To Get Around In Palm Beach or West Palm Beach? 

Check out rental car rates here! 🚗



Travel Resources


Book Your Next Trip!  For Accommodations and short-term rentals, I recommend as they are the best in the business when it comes to rates and places to stay.

To Book Activities- For activities, I suggest booking with Viator, they have thousands of 5-star activities to choose from!

Looking To Start Your Own Travel Blog Or Take Yours To The Next Level? 

Check Out This Free Workshop!I personally joined Scale Your Travel Blog in 2021 and my website has grown exponentially.