Food, Culture, Beaches and Golf: The Palm Beaches Packs a Punch

Hamming it up at The Palm Beaches tourism event in Toronto on 13JUN, 2023.

Many destinations are just beginning to get back to pre-pandemic visitor levels. The Palm Beaches left its 2019 numbers in the dust some time ago.

Tourism representatives from The Palm Beaches touched down in Toronto on 13JUN for a cocktail meet and greet with advisors, industry officials and the media.

Some 2.8 million visitors went to The Palm Beaches during Q1 of 2023, up 8.5 per cent from last year, said Erick Garnica, Associate Vice President Global Leisure Sales. Canadian numbers were even more dramatic, with 153,000 first quarter visits; up 28 per cent from last year and up 16 per cent from 2019 levels.

Canada is The Palm Beaches’ number one international market in both visitation and spending.

“It’s a very unique, very diverse” destination, Garnica told Open Jaw, with a strong culinary scene, world-class golf, fabulous shopping and fine museums.

The Palm Beaches also features 76 km of coastline, 27 beach parks and 20 craft breweries. Come Christmas time, you can undoubtedly find a shop somewhere on Worth Avenue that also sells a partridge in a pear tree.

For Canadians and others seeking to stretch their dollar, a visit during the summer is a great way to save, with discounted hotels and attractions, including golf. There are great dining deals during Bon Appetit Boca (JUL), Flavor Palm Beach (September), and Downtown Delray Beach Restaurant Month (also SEP), and significant hotel savings through AUG, including buy-one-get-one offers and value-added incentives such as spa credits.

The South Florida PGA Golf Pass (now in its 29th year) – offers discounts valid 01MAY through 31OCT at courses throughout South Florida, including 20 courses in The Palm Beaches. The pass is available for USD $55 and includes discounted play at Private, Semi-Private and Public Courses, including PGA National Resort Courses (The Match, The Palmer and Champion).

L to R: Erick Garnica, The Palm Beaches; Christine James, Travel Leaders Network; Rosalyn Hunter, VoX International; Paul Larcher, VoX International.


The Palm Beaches offers trusted brand hotels and budget-friendly options year-round, alongside signature luxury hotels and resorts. The Four Seasons Palm Beach underwent a recent $45 million renovation. The history, design-forward Colony Hotel, a Palm Beach classic, recently re-opened after undergoing a full guest room and suite re-redesign. Following renovations, The Boca Raton Tower features 224 spacious suites, breathtaking vistas and activities for the whole family.

The Breakers in Palm Beach is the granddaddy of them all, a sumptuous, Italian-influenced seaside beauty that dates back nearly 100 years in its current iteration. There are 538 rooms and 10 restaurants, as well as four oceanfront pools and a private beach. They finished redoing 84 rooms last summer. They spend $25 million every year on renovations.

I stayed at the Hilton Canopy in West Palm Beach in FEB and loved the design, as well as the rooftop pool. The Hilton West Palm Beach has a huge swimming pool that’s great for families.

The PGA National Resort in Palm Beach Gardens has announced a unique partnership with the brand Serena & Lily, providers of design-driven luxury furniture, bedding, and home accessories. The renowned interior design company has decorated and furnished 21 two-bedroom cottages as part of the resort’s $100 million transformation, which debuted in FEB 2022.

AKA West Palm is a 215-room hotel residence catering to short or long-term guests that opened last DEC in the bustling downtown area of West Palm Beach, which is filled with lively restaurants, bars and sidewalk cafes.

Audrey Tanguay Beaudette, Manager- Sales & Tourism Partnerships, Air Canada, and Tim Liu, Managing Director, Sales Planning & Effectiveness, Air Canada


There’s no shortage of things to see and do in the Palm Beaches. Here are a few highlights.

The Loggerhead Marine Life Center in Juno Beach is situated on one of the world’s most densely nested sea turtle beaches. The expanded center features an on-site hospital, a research laboratory, educational exhibits and aquariums.

The shopping in Palm Beach is legendary, with high-end shops clustered around Worth Avenue. You’ll also find great antique shops in West Palm Beach, with some 40 shops that make up Antique Row.

In Delray Beach, the Arts Garage features cutting edge art work and live entertainment in the heart of Delray Beach. The Delray Center for the Arts at Old School Square features a theatre complex, art school and museum, partly housed in a beautiful old school built in 1925.

In West Palm Beach, Grandview Market is a lively spot in the new Warehouse District, with a variety of mom and pop places offering everything from pizza to tacos, as well as beer and wine. There’s a nice, large patio for covered, outdoor dining.

Morikami Gardens is a fabulous spot in Delray Beach. The gardens are beautiful, with large ponds and tiny, gnarly bonsai trees and towering palms and rustling groves of bamboo.

In Jupiter Beach, Blue Line Surf and Paddle Co. offers great paddleboard experiences on the quiet Loxahatchee River. There’s also a cool lighthouse to explore that dates back to 1853. Jupiter’s Riverbend Park offers great cycling.

The Norton Museum of Art is a gorgeous facility in West Palm Beach that’s divided into sections focused on American, European, Chinese and contemporary art, as well as photography. It was designed by renowned architect Norman Foster.

In Palm Beach, The Flagler Museum has countless art treasures and beautiful, Gilded Age rooms you can check out. Outside is one of the largest coconut groves in Florida.


The Palm Beaches are an easy flight for many Canadians, with seasonal direct lift from YUL and YYZ direct into PBI, usually OCT-APR. Tourism officials say they’ve heard there will be added flights this year out of YUL.

There are, of course, dozens of ways to fly into MIA, FLL or MCO. There’s also direct train access from Miami, Fort Lauderdale and MCO to downtown West Palm Beach on the new Brightline train, which also stops in Aventura and Boca Raton. I did a roundtrip from Miami-West Palm earlier this year, and it was fantastic.

Jim Byers

Jim Byers is a freelance travel writer based in Toronto. He was formerly travel editor at the Toronto Star and now writes for a variety of publications in Canada and around the world. He's also a regular guest on CBC, CTV News, Global News and other television and radio networks.

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