Lake Trail in Town of Palm Beach is one of the best paved bike trails in South Florida
I don’t know how the millionaires in Palm Beach ever permitted it, but instead of having their magnificent properties extend out to their private docks on the Intracoastal, for six miles, there is a lovely paved bike path that interrupts their backyards.
Lucky for us.
The Lake Trail in Palm Beach provides traffic-free bicycling ideal for families with postcard-like scenery, a few historic buildings and glimpses into those exclusive backyards and their mansions.
Town of Palm Beach is the barrier island east of West Palm Beach inhabited by the very rich and famous. (This is where the Kennedy family had its compound.) Here the Intracoastal Waterway is a wide expanse called Lake Worth.
Many sections of the Lake Trail will be closed from June to November 2014 during a sewer project. Please consult map at the bottom of this article for details.
The Lake Trail has a few interruptions (around the Sailfish Club, for example, where we saw a flotilla of children learning to sail.) But it is easy to follow and the few times you end up on the street, it is in residential areas of Palm Beach with little traffic.
We like to park on the street near the Henry Morrison Flagler Museum. (It’s a must-see house museum that tells the fascinating history of the railroad and real estate magnate who built the Palm Beach mansion as a wedding present.) Don’t park in the museum lot — security guards will shoo you away. Instead, use the spaces on Whitehall Way adjacent to the museum lot. If you park here and head north, you need to cross Royal Poinciana Way and pick up the bike trail at the water’s edge on the other side of the small park at that intersection. An alternative spot is to find street parking north of Royal Poinciana Way. There are street spaces on Sunset Avenue.
At the north end of the paved trail, if you want to continue cycling on residential streets, it is only a few blocks to a public dock at the top of the island of Palm Beach. There, you feel a brisk ocean breeze and view the Port of Palm Beach inlet and, across the water, Peanut Island. (Peanut Island is the subject of this post; it’s a great kayaking, snorkeling and historical destination.) The dock, with drinking fountains and benches, is a great stop.
From the museum, you can take Lake Trail south for about two miles and north about four miles north. You always have water views on the west, including passing yachts and the skyline of West Palm Beach. To the east, you peak through and over the ficus hedges to see the mansions of Palm Beach.
The paved bike trail is landscaped with many trees, some quite old and picturesque. Historical markers show you the original church in Palm Beach (now a home) and the oldest house.
Tips on taking the Lake Trail in Palm Beach:
- Visitors without bikes can can rent them from the Palm Beach Bicycle Trail Shop, along with tandems, baby joggers and other wheeled things.
- The bike shop offers a great map of the Lake Trail and and other biking routes on Palm Beach island.
- The trail is most shaded in the morning.
- If you bike north, to vary your return, consider biking over to the Atlantic and continuing along North Ocean Boulevard for awhile. There isn’t much traffic at the northern tip of the island and there are some great ocean views.
- We like to stop for lunch at the outdoor courtyard at Pizza AL Fresco. It’s located at 14 Via Mizner, which is a historic section off Worth Avenue that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
- Another classic Palm Beach spot for breakfast or lunch or a milk shake: Green’s Pharmacy, 151 N County Road, an old-school lunch counter inside a drug store that is famous because various Kennedys had lunch here after attending the Catholic church across the street.
Lake Trail closure, June - November 2014
Big chunks of the Lake Trail will be closed to bicyclists and pedestrians due to sewer work in the summer of 2014. Off season, Palm Beach has little traffic, however, and it’s still a great place to explore by bike.
You can ride the open sections of the trail and augment that with city streets, especially in the northern, residential part of the island.
For information about the project, call Chase Rogers of the Hinterland Group at 561-640-3503.
Here’s a map showing the open sections of Lake Trail:
Other things to do in Palm Beach County:
- Another good family bike destination: Riverbend Park.
- You’re not far from MacArthur Beach State Park, a wonderful place to walk, swim, snorkel or kayak.
- Peanut Island, for snorkeling, picnics and to visit the historic John F. Kennedy bunker.
- Paddle the Loxahatchee River, a federally designated wild and scenic river.
- Nearby there are two boardwalks known for excellent bird watching.
- Howley’s is an authentic 1950s diner.