Last updated on May 4th, 2021 at 11:03 am
Palm Beach Lake Trail is one of the best paved bike trails in South Florida
This could be 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 (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.
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.
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, including tips on some great off-season deals on hotels.
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.
- The bike shop offers a great map of the Lake Trail and and other biking routes on Palm Beach island. The entire island is quite easy to bike.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- Paddle the Loxahatchee River, a federally designated wild and scenic river.
- Nearby there are two boardwalks known for excellent bird watching.
From the Editor:
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