Boca Raton has many parks along the beach and throughout it's 29 square miles for walking, skating, hiking and running. There are plenty of opportunities to get on the water too. Boating is probably the number one reason for living here or vacationing. You can rent boats for pleasure or fishing, rent jet skis or just stay the beach for swimming and snorkeling.
Above: The South Inlet from our balcony at the Boca Raton Bridge Hotel. This picture is looking south down A1A also known as Ocean Boulevard. Florida's State Road A1A is the main road through most oceanfront towns and is designated a scenic and historic coastal highway. The almost 329 mile highway goes from Fernandina Beach in north Florida all the way to Key West. A1A stands for Atlantic 1 Alternate.
Labeled as Boca Raton's only waterfront boutique hotel, the Bridge Hotel sits on the Intracoastal Waterway with spectacular views all the way to the Atlantic Ocean. We ate dinner one night at Watercolors which is their casual restaurant. It's open for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day of the week. However, it is outdoor dining only. Meaning that in the heat of the summer you will still be a little uncomfortable while dining even with the constant blowing of the fans and the ocean breeze. The outdoor bar is part of the dining at Watercolors and overlooks the pool and Intracoastal. It's entertaining to watch boats pass by and to see the fish swimming around. Carmen's at the Top of the Bridge is their classier restaurant and only open on weekends.
Above: The Boca Raton Bridge Hotel is the one on the right, just above the A1A causeway. This inlet goes from the Atlantic Ocean to Lake Boca Raton which is just a fat body of water along the Intracoastal Waterway.
The Gumbo Limbo Nature Center is open to the public and educates on Florida's environment like it's beaches, sea turtles, animals and native plant species. Along five miles of Boca Raton beaches the nature center monitors more than 500 sea turtle nests yearly as well as rescues and releases 6,000 plus sea turtle hatchlings from May through October every year. The nature center has a quarter mile boardwalk through its 20 acres where you can see what wild Florida was like before development. Another great beach to visit is Ormond Beach in Central Florida about one hour east from Orlando.
Above: Picture of shopping district called Mizner Park. A unique area to spend a few hours. There is a variety of restaurants, a couple of nightclubs, all kinds of things to shop for, apartments overlooking the beautiful palm tree lined streets and the Boca Raton Museum of Art and Sculpture Garden.
I feel like I'm always talking about food, but we have to eat, right? And when we are in South Florida that means lots of authentic restaurants to choose from. We ate at Havana Hideout in Lake Worth just a quick few miles northwest from Boca. We have eaten at this Cuban restaurant before because it was featured on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives on the Food Network. Everything they have is good, we love this place. We ate Pei Wei for dinner one night. Do I need to tell you how good this place is? I didn't think so. Lunch at Umberto's Italian restaurant, see below. A seafood dinner at the Bridge Hotel, where we stayed. And on our last day we ate breakfast at Cote France, a yummy French bakery. And before heading home we ate lunch at Curries and More near Mizner Park. That is what I call eating around the world in three days.
Above: Umberto's of Long Island in Fort Lauderdale. As you can tell from the picture we were the first customers of the day for lunch.
From the Bridge Hotel in Boca Raton we drove south on A1A one morning and ended up in Fort Lauderdale for lunch. We were hungry, stopped here and got lucky. Umberto's is a can't miss restaurant if you are in the area. It is beautifully decorated on the inside however not at all impressive from the street. They have great authentic Italian food, not at all heavy or to Americanized. It came with some very garlicky bread knots, loving it. The lunch prices were very reasonable for being located in South Florida. I think we paid less than $20 with tip. Originally from Naples Italy then to Long Island to four locations in South FL.
Above: On the way to Boca Raton we stopped at Mounts Botanical Gardens in West Palm Beach. It is the largest and oldest botanical garden in the county with 14 acres.
Mounts Botanical Gardens has more than 2,000 species of Florida native plants, plants from around the world, exotic fruit trees, and of course palm trees. They have vegetable, herb and butterfly gardens too. The botanical garden is adjacent to the international airport which means that a plane is taking off about every five minutes or so. And your quiet garden experience can quickly turn from a birds chirping to whoa nelly that's a big plane and look how close it is.
Above: Picture taken during sunrise. The left side of the jetty is the inlet that leads to the Intracoastal Waterway. This short jetty also allows someone to get into deeper water when fishing offshore.
From Boca to Key West, south Florida is unique to the U.S. From the tropical
flora to the Key Deer in Key West. The many ethnic restaurants to experience
to the warm waters off Florida's coast. You don't need to rent a boat
taking you three miles out to sea to enjoy what lives under the ocean.
Snorkeling from any of the beaches will afford you any variety of starfish,
sand dollars, coral, and colorful fish. The water temperature in Boca
Raton is about 84 degrees during the summer which is more relaxing and
comfortable than southern California's
water temperatures any day of the year. Clearly our time in Palm Beach
County was filled with tropical greenery and the warm blue waters of the
Atlantic in Boca Raton.