Wall Street Journal - Travel
OFF THE BEATEN TRACK
MARCH 2, 2009, 10:07 P.M. ET
Lake Worth, Fla.
Editor Jennifer Merritt visits a family-friendly enclave in South Florida.
What to do: Nestled just south of posh Palm Beach is lesser-known and down-to-earth Lake Worth. The enclave sits on both sides of the intercoastal waterway and features great outdoor spaces. A large public beach faces the Atlantic surf; those who shun salt water can take a dip in the town's municipal swimming pool (561-586-1773). The municipal pier, badly damaged by a series of hurricanes earlier this decade, is repaired and scheduled to reopen for fishing and strolling this spring. Next, walk along the tree-and-bench-lined path in R.G. Kreusler Park, which has become a popular stop for bicyclists who start their ride up to 20 miles north of Lake Worth. The revitalized downtown is home to antiques shops, sidewalk cafes and cultural offerings. The Lake Worth Playhouse (713 Lake Ave., lakeworthplayhouse.org; 561-586-6410, tickets start at $25) plays host to five official shows each season, plus a jazz-concert series and a children's theater series. Next to the playhouse is a theater that shows independent films (admission, $8; 561-296-9382). The city itself is a setting for the arts. It's most popular event is the Street Painting Festival (usually held the last weekend of February). If you're adventurous, drive about 14 miles northwest to Lion Country Safari (200 Lion Country Safari Rd., W. Palm Beach; 561-793-1084), where you can take a drive-through, radio-guided safari of animals.
A Look Around Lake Worth
Where to eat: At the beach, it's impossible to match John G's, a beachside staple since 1973 (10 S. Ocean Blvd., johngs.com; 561-585-9860). Set in the old municipal casino building, the restaurant, open from 7 a.m. until 3 p.m., is famous for its breakfasts. Be prepared to wait upwards of 45 minutes, and bring cash -- the restaurant doesn't accept credit cards. Bennie's on the Beach (561-582-9001) offers a quick burger or bathing-suited brunch on the pier. For fancier fare, there's L'Anjou (717 Lake Ave.; 561-582-7666) and it's French cuisine. Dave's Last Resort (632 Lake Ave.; 561- 588-5208) is a family-friendly sports bar with surprisingly good food.
Where to stay: There is one hotel on the beach side, Marriott's Fairfield Inn & Suites, situated across the street from the public park and beach. The rooms are spacious; a deck and pool abut the waterway, and each stay comes with a bountiful free breakfast (rates range from about $129 to $299 a night, 2870 S. Ocean Blvd; 561-582-2585).
Sabal Palm House
Lake Worth, FL 33460
Innkeepers: Colleen and John Rinaldi