Palm Beach Lake Trail is one of the best paved bike trails in South Florida
This is one of the most scenic bike path in South Florida. This paved, traffic-free trail hugs the shore of Lake Worth, with views of statuesque royal palms lining the waterway as sailboats and yachts glide by.
Biking here, on a barrier island that has been the home of presidents (Kennedy and Trump), the famous and the merely rich, you feel you are experiencing an exclusive place not many get to enjoy.
I can’t believe the residents of Palm Beach ever permitted the Palm Beach Lake Trail: Why don’t their magnificent properties extend out to their private docks on the Intracoastal?
Lucky for us, they don’t, and for six miles, there is a lovely bike path that interrupts their backyards and gives us a glimpse of Palm Beach perfection.
The Lake Trail has a few interruptions (it leaves the water to go 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.
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. You pedal past Henry Flagler’s impressive estate, Whitehall, now a house museum very worth touring.
When we biked the trail early on an August weekday, we passed people jogging, walking dogs and doing the never-ending trimming and mowing these places require.
Where to park and pedal on the Lake Trail
It’s not hard to find metered parking spaces. We like to park on the street near the Flagler Museum. (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.) An alternative is to find street parking north of Royal Poinciana Way. There are street spaces on Sunset Avenue. When we brought others who needed to rent bikes at the Palm Beach Bicycle Trail Shop, we all parked in a large free lot at the bike shop.
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 northern tip 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, where we saw a family throwing bread into the water, attracting a large crowd of colorful seargent major fish for us to enjoy.
Leaving the northern tip of the island, an alternative ultra-scenic way to return is to bike south along North Ocean Boulevard, where you’ll have the beach and the Atlantic Ocean to admire for about two miles. We cut back west to the Lake Trail after Palm Beach Country Club, where traffic picks up as Ocean Boulevard becomes North County Road.
From the Flagler museum, you can take Lake Trail south for about two miles and north about four miles north.
When you venture off the Lake Trail, there are lots of interesting places to explore in Palm Beach, all of which can be reached by bike. Here’s a Florida Rambler guide to visiting Palm Beach.
Tips on taking the Palm Beach Lake Trail
- The Palm Beach Lake Trail provides traffic-free bicycling ideal for families. There are very few streets to cross.
- When you get to Royal Poinciana Way and the Flagler Memorial Bridge, note that you do not need to cross this busy street; the paved bike path goes under the bridge along the water.
- The entire trail from one end to the other is about a 12-mile round trip.
- Visitors without bikes can rent them from the Palm Beach Bicycle Trail Shop, along with tandems, baby joggers and other wheeled things. You can’t beat the shop’s location right on the trail and it has free parking, but it is pricey. In February, 2023, two people renting bikes and helmets for a 90-minute ride cost $80. (It’s $35 for a 90 minute rental; $50 for a half day.) This is a second bike shop, also convenient to the trail, Top Cycle Palm Beach, which has some rentals but is not open on Sundays.
- On hot days, I recommend getting out early because the trail is quite shaded in the morning.
- 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. The Worth Avenue area is toward the southern end of the bike trail and only a few blocks east of it. Along Worth Avenue, we recommend strolling the “vias” (picturesque courtyards) off the main stretch of Worth Avenue and visiting the free hidden garden of native plants, Pan’s Garden.
- 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. (More in our guide here.)
Other things to do in Palm Beach County
- West Palm Beach: Old city, modern vibe with awesome variety of things to do
- 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 and picnics, is right across the water. You must take a ferry or other type of boat to reach the island.
- Paddle the Loxahatchee River, a federally designated wild and scenic river.
- Nearby there are two boardwalks known for excellent bird watching.
- Hiking and bike trails at Grassy Waters Preserve, West Palm Beach
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The author, Bonnie Gross, travels with her husband David Blasco, discovering off-the-beaten path places to hike, kayak, bike, swim and explore. Florida Rambler was founded in 2010 by Bonnie and fellow journalist Bob Rountree, two long-time Florida residents who have spent decades exploring the Florida outdoors. Their articles have been published in the Sun Sentinel, the Miami Herald, the Orlando Sentinel, The Guardian and Visit Florida.