With summer vacation upon us, parents are faced with the predicament of filling languid days with activities—and making sure the kids are fed along the way. Lucky for local families and those visiting the area, Palm Beach County is packed with cultural organizations, cool activities, and wonderful restaurants that are suitable for kids of all ages. Here, we highlight five landmarks and offer tips from area moms about how to structure your day around that destination.

Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse & Museum

Photography by Rachel Mayo

One of The Palm Beaches’ most iconic destinations, the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse & Museum is a beacon of cultural fun in North County. The historic 1860 lighthouse is the centerpiece of a campus that also includes the Tindall Pioneer Homestead, the Keeper’s Workshop, and the Seminole Chickee, so there are ample opportunities for kids to learn about the lives of some of Florida’s earliest settlers. In addition, the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse Outstanding Natural Area covers 120 acres of native habitats and boasts a hiking trail. The lighthouse hosts tours and special programming, including locally beloved sunset and moonrise tours. If you’re planning on climbing the lighthouse, keep in mind that children must be at least 48 inches tall to do so. jupiterlighthouse.org, 561.747.8380

All this activity is sure to work up an appetite, and there is no shortage of great dining in the area. Cristyle Egitto, a mom of two and the foodie influencer behind @eatpalmbeach, recommends stopping for a picnic lunch of hot dogs and waffle fries at Dune Dog Café. Angela Cruz, a mom of one and the blogger behind @angelacruztube, suggests The Burger Shack at Lighthouse Cove, which has a marine-themed playground that toddlers will love, as well as cornhole and mini-golf for older children and adults.

Christen Thompson
@palmbeachmomcollective
“Lynora’s serves classic Italian dishes, including authentic wood-oven pizzas. It is one of the best Italian restaurants in South Florida, and the atmosphere is elevated casual, perfect for dining out after a visit to the Jupiter Lighthouse.”

Cristyle Egitto
@eatpalmbeach
“Book a paddle-boarding adventure for the family and enjoy the waterways of Jupiter with Blueline Surf & Paddle, then grab a scoop of ice cream or a Pumphouse coffee at Cones & Coffee.”

Monique Boothe
@momlifeandmonique
“Jetty’s is one of my favorite restaurants to go to after visiting the Jupiter Lighthouse. You can see the lighthouse while enjoying dinner on the water’s edge.”

Palm Beach Zoo

Photography by Rachel Mayo

What’s not to love about the Palm Beach Zoo? Not only is it home to hundreds of animals, but it also has a play pavilion where kids can unleash their wild sides and a fountain where they can cool off—so don’t forget their bathing suits! A great addition to any visit is one of the zoo’s animal experiences, which give kids and parents some up-close time with otters, tortoises, sloths, and flamingos. (These experiences must be reserved and come at an additional cost to regular zoo admission.) Perhaps best of all: The zoo neighbors the Cox Science Center and Aquarium, and visitors can purchase a Dual Discovery Pass to gain access to both. palmbeachzoo.org, 561.547.9453

The zoo and science center are both located at Dreher Park, so start your exploration there before venturing out to other area attractions. Many of our moms recommended The Square, a dining and shopping center in downtown West Palm Beach where you can find an interactive fountain and a beautiful Wishing Tree sculpture. Michelle Olson-Rogers, the mom of one behind @modernbocamom, also suggests visiting the Norton Museum of Art, which mounts kid-friendly exhibitions and hosts a free Art After Dark event every Friday night, complete with live music, art workshops, and more.

Christen Thompson
@palmbeachmomcollective
“Grandview Public Market is a food hall in West Palm Beach that serves food from different vendors and has live music on the weekends.”

Angela Cruz
@angelacruztube
“I want my son to be aware of the world around him, so I recommend Rohi’s Readery, a children’s bookstore dedicated to literacy that promotes inclusivity and diversity. Since I am biracial, I especially want my toddler’s library to be filled with books featuring characters reflective of multiple cultures and ethnicities.”

Cristyle Egitto
@eatpalmbeach
“Let the kids run around Dreher Park before heading into the Palm Beach Zoo or science center. Enjoy lunch or a baked-good treat at Aioli on the Dixie Corridor then take a walk along Antique Row to visit the shops and find a few treasures.”

Yesteryear Village

Photography by Rachel Mayo

Experience Palm Beach County’s living history at Yesteryear Village in West Palm Beach. At this 10-acre park at the South Florida Fairgrounds—open Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.—interpreters share stories about what life was like in South Florida before 1940. The site includes a school, a blacksmith shop, a farm, several houses, and a general store. Yesteryear Village hosts many summer programs and accommodates field trips and large groups. On Thursdays in June, visitors
are invited to step back in time with special presenters, demonstrations, and hands-on activities. Then, on Fridays in July, city kids can experience the farm with animal interactions and more. southfloridafair.com/p/yesteryearvillage, 561.795.3110

While out west in Palm Beach County, continue on to Lion Country Safari, a drive-through safari and adventure park where you can feed giraffes and play around in the Safari Splash Sprayground. The Village of Wellington is also nearby, and its amphitheater is the site of community events such as free concerts and family movies. Wellington’s Scott’s Place Playground is barrier-free and an ideal spot for children of all abilities to play. Christen Thompson, a mom of two and the co-owner of @palmbeachmomcollective, also suggests the Mall at Wellington Green, which has the always popular Build-A-Bear.

Angela Cruz
@angelacruztube
“A safe bet for any and all ages is Royal Palm Beach Commons Park, about 4 miles away from Yesteryear Village. With two age-appropriate playscapes and lively events, this is our family’s go-to place for playdates with toddler friends and fellow parents.”

Cristyle Egitto
@eatpalmbeach
“Let the kids run around Dreher Park before heading into the Palm Beach Zoo or science center. Enjoy lunch or a baked-good treat at Aioli on the Dixie Corridor then take a walk along Antique Row to visit the shops and find a few treasures.”

Delray Beach Art Trail

Photography by Rachel Mayo

The City of Delray Beach is regarded as one of the most creative and visually stimulating in The Palm Beaches. Explore it all and get the kids moving by tackling the Delray Beach Art Trail. Coordinated by the Delray Beach Downtown Development Authority, the art trail connects more than 150 installations, murals, galleries, studios, and cultural centers, so it’s a great way to expose budding Picassos to the vibrant art in their own backyard. Take a self-guided tour and scan QR codes by each artwork to learn more about them. Mark your calendars for the last First Friday Art Walk of the season (slated for May 6) and visit the trail’s website for more details on a new scavenger hunt adventure. delrayarttrail.com

The Delray Beach Art Trail traverses the city’s bustling downtown, so you’re never far from something to do or an excellent place to eat. Our moms love
the new Delray Beach Market, which has a bevy of culinary options and frequently offers family-centric events. You’re also right near the city’s waterfront and a public beach, so grab a bite from the market or one of Atlantic Avenue’s other amazing restaurants before hitting the sand. Finally, be sure to make some time to peruse the Spady Cultural Heritage Museum, which shares local Black history and culture through captivating exhibitions and programming.

Michelle Olson-Rogers
@modernbocamom
“Head to The Girls, which is a little farther west in Delray. What started out primarily as a strawberry U-pick has morphed into a fun family destination with lush gardens and beautiful grounds that feature swans, exotic birds, a petting zoo, and more. We especially love feeding the goats.”

Angela Cruz
@angelacruztube
“You’ll find a unique experience at Silverball Retro Arcade. It’s rare to find a museum that allows you to touch the artifacts on display, but at Silverball, it’s par for the course. While you play with working classic pinball machines, you can enjoy drinks and food from the bar as you revel in nostalgia.”

Cristyle Egitto
@eatpalmbeach
“Don’t miss the welcoming entry dancing pineapple mural and gateway of Pineapple Grove. Walk Atlantic Avenue, choose from a selection of food and beverage options at Delray Beach Market, and pop into Nomad Surf Shop.”

Gumbo Limbo Nature Center

Photography by Rachel Mayo

Learn about South Florida’s marine wildlife and coastal ecosystems at Gumbo Limbo Nature Center in Boca Raton. Nestled across 20 acres on a protected barrier island, Gumbo Limbo has aquariums, a boardwalk, a butterfly garden, and a sea turtle rehabilitation facility. At the nature center, kids of all ages can discover the natural world around them. In the late summer, Gumbo Limbo hosts sea turtle hatchling releases that give participants an experiential lesson in the life cycles of these unique creatures. Heads up: These evening events are popular and sell out fast, so be sure to secure your tickets in advance. gumbolimbo.org, 561.544.8605

Most of our moms—including Monique Boothe, a mom of two and the blogger behind @momlifeandmonique—suggest pairing your visit to Gumbo Limbo with a stop at a local park. Olson-Rogers says Spanish River Park is one of the best. “Boca has really been embracing the arts lately and invested in beautifying the beach tunnels that run under A1A at Spanish River with original murals by local artists,” she says. “It’s a remarkable sight to see as you walk through these tunnels to the ocean. Spanish River also has a wonderful playground for the kids and plenty of picnic areas with charcoal grills.”

Michelle Olson-Rogers
@modernbocamom
“Head to southeast Boca to visit the town’s signature pink plaza, Mizner Park. With shops, restaurants, IPIC Theaters, and the Boca Raton Museum of Art, there’s no lack of dining and entertainment options for your family. Mizner Park also has free lawn games like giant chess and mini golf to play and even one of those big Adirondack chairs to take photos in.”

Angela Cruz
@angelacruztube
“Just under 5 miles away from Gumbo Limbo Nature Center is Sugar Sand Park. This spectacular destination is enough to keep your children entertained for hours! There’s a huge park with a massive playground featuring engaging activities and even a splash pad in the middle. There’s a free science center on-site perfect for ages 5-12 called the Children’s Science Explorium.”

Monique Boothe
@momlifeandmonique
“We love to stop by Red Reef Park. The beach is beautiful. My boys love it!”

Meet Our Photographer

Based in West Palm Beach, Rachel Mayo is a mother of two who specializes in family and lifestyle photography. “My family and I enjoy doing just about anything that involves water, from fishing, going to the beach, or searching for manatees in the winter season,” says Mayo. “We also have fun exploring museums and any place that teaches us about our environment and the world.” @rachelinthelight

Additional Suggestions from the Moms

Palm Beach Zoo

Christen Thompson, @palmbeachmomcollective

For a cool diner vibe, Howley’s was established in 1950. Their menu offers classic diner fare, and this would be a great stop for brunch before visiting the zoo or science museum, or lunch afterwards.”

Angela Cruz, @angelacruztube
“I am obsessed with The Square West Palm Beach so much, I’m there practically every weekend. My toddler loves the Wishing Tree and the interactive fountain area, and I love the ambiance—it feels so upscale, modern, and European, and is less than 4 miles from the Cox Science Center and Palm Beach Zoo & Conservation Society. I take all my visitors there for dining and shopping, and there’s always some fun activity happening.”

Yesteryear Village

Christen Thompson, @palmbeachmomcollective

“For a quick, classic lunch, Habit Burger Grill serves char burgers, patty melts, salads, and creamy milkshakes. Another great lunch option after visiting Yesteryear Village is Bolay, where you can build your own bowl from a variety of fresh ingredients like roasted veggies, proteins, and greens.”

Gumbo Limbo Nature Center

Christen Thompson, @palmbeachmomcollective

“For a delicious lunch or dinner, try Louie Bossi’s for classic Italian fare like pasta, bread, and gelato that are made in-house, as well as daily happy hour and Saturday and Sunday brunch.”

Michelle Olson-Rogers, @modernbocamom

“Located in central Boca Raton, Patch Reef Park features tennis courts and a fitness trail for the whole family. However, the Pirate Playground is the real draw, in my opinion. In addition to the cool pirate theme, it has soft ground cover just like Spanish River Park and a splash pad for children to easily find relief from the hot South Florida sun.”

Cristyle Egitto, @eatpalmbeach

“Enjoy a healthy meal on the go with an acai bowl stacked with fresh fruit from Playa Bowls or fresh ahi tuna over sushi rice from Poke Joe on your way to or from Gumbo Limbo Nature Center. Walk the beach at the nearby Red Reef Park or take the kids for a run around the playgrounds at Hughes, Lake Wyman, or Rutherford Park.”