Palm Beach vs West Palm Beach for Vacation [2023] :An Honest Comparison to Help You Choose!

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So you’re thinking about a vacation to Florida and you’ve heard of the famous Palm Beach area.

But did you know Palm Beach and West Palm Beach are 2 completely separate towns with unique vibes?

Located about an hour’s drive north of Miami, the 2 towns are separated by the Intracoastal Waterway and connected by 3 bridges.

Here is a comparison of the two in order to help you plan the vacation that best suits your needs and budget.

Palm Beach Vs West Palm Beach 🏖

Is West Palm Beach the same as Palm Beach?

While often used interchangeably, West Palm Beach and Palm Beach are not the same places. Technically, they are neighboring cities located in South Florida. West Palm Beach is an up-and-coming city, drawing in millennial and tech entrepreneurs with its low cost of living and plenty of business opportunities.

Meanwhile, Palm Beach is a major resort town with high-end restaurants and luxurious shopping centers. Though both offer beautiful beaches and plenty of activities to do, each offers its own unique take on what it means to experience the wonderful life that Florida has to offer.

Which is more expensive Palm Beach or West Palm Beach?

When it comes to exploring Florida’s gulf coast, there’s a lot to consider – including prices. It may seem strange that two cities as close together as West Palm Beach and Palm Beach can have such vastly different price tags, but that’s precisely the case.

In Palm Beach, simply packing for your trip will usually be more expensive, with rental car costs higher than most other places in the area and hotels offering much fewer discounts than those over in West Palm Beach.

On top of that, you’re likely to find many of the restaurants and museums in Palm Beach have higher entry fees or require more exclusive reservations. For a pocket-friendly experience along Florida’s exciting coastline, West Palm Beach is definitely the way to go.

Palm Beach vs West Palm Beach: Beaches 🌊

John D. MacArthur Beach state Park, Image credit: Image by RicoRico On Wikimedia Commons

Although the main attraction in West Palm Beach is the Intracoastal Waterway, there is a nice beach in north West Palm Beach called John D. Macarthur Beach State Park.

A little less crowded and not so touristy. With walking trails and swimming when the water is calm, a day at this beach is a pleasant experience.

Many people live on the Intracoastal Waterway and have boats docked.

West Palm Beach is home to the beloved manatee. In fact, many residents will put a freshwater hose from their docks to attract these playful sea cows.

You have to drive through West Palm Beach to get to Palm Beach and cross one of the bridges on the Intracoastal Waterway to get to Palm Beach.

The beaches at Palm Beach are some of the most beautiful in all of Florida. With pristine, soft white sand, palm trees and gorgeous water, the beaches on Palm Beach are amazing.

There are also some great snorkeling and scuba diving spots off of Palm Beach.

Winner: Palm Beach, Palm Beach is hands down the winner in this category.

Palm Beach vs West Palm Beach: Vibes 🤗

Palm Beach

Palm Beach vibes

Palm Beach is like a scene out of that old TV show Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.

There are said to be over 30 billionaires in Palm Beach!

The population of Palm Beach is less than 10,000 permanent residents and is full of mansions, sports cars, yachts, fancy restaurants and luxury shops.

The overall vibe is one of high society and class.

West Palm Beach

West Palm Beach vibes

West Palm Beach is an urban area with more than 100,000 permanent residents. This bustling place is busy, yet a nice place to start a family and build a career with a strong job market.

The overall vibe is dynamic, but way more down to earth than Palm Beach.

Winner: West Palm Beach. Both cities have similar tropical vacation vibes with nice weather and palm trees.

If you are filthy rich and enjoy a luxurious lifestyle, then Palm Beach has the vibe for you. If you are like most people and have to work for a living then West Palm Beach is more suited for you.

Palm Beach vs West Palm Beach: Nightlife 🌃

Palm Beach

With its luxurious vibe, the nightlife in Palm Beach is fancy. There are a ton of country and social clubs and decadent restaurants.

Some of the nightclubs include the Garden Club of Palm Beach and Club-Colette. Other bars include Cucina Dell’Arte, HMF and a jazz club called The Royal Room.

If you plan to go out dining and drinking in Palm Beach, be sure to check the dress code of the establishment. Many places require a coat and tie.

West Palm Beach

If you are looking for a fun nightlife scene, West Palm Beach has it!

There are cigar lounges, kava bars, dance clubs, tiki bars, nightclubs, live music venues and just about every kind of entertainment at night that you’d expect to find in a larger city.

Be sure to check out Respectable Street, Roxy’s Pub and Camelot, as well as BanKo Cantina, The Loft Nightclub and The Improv Comedy Club and Dinner Theater.

Winner: West Palm Beach

If you can afford the posh social club scene, then Palm Beach may be your spot for nightlife, but West Palm Beach has a lot more diverse and affordable spots to dine and drink between the two.

Palm Beach vs West Palm Beach: Things To Do 🏄🏼‍♂️

In addition to the spectacular beaches, there are many things to do in Palm Beach.

First of all, shopping!

Worth Avenue in Palm Beach is one of the most luxurious shopping streets in the US.

With stores like Gucci, Channel, Saks and Tiffany, you better bring your pocketbook if you plan to shop, although it is also fun to look.

Flagler Museum, Palm Beach
Flagler Museum, Palm Beach

Palm Beach also has the famous Flagler Museum, also known as Whitehall. It is a National Historic Landmark and has guided tours, rotating exhibits and the home to many Palm Beach galas and balls.

In West Palm Beach, the area known as The Square is a fabulous place for dining, shopping, and entertainment within the city.

With European style architecture, a visit to The Square is a must see attraction in West Palm Beach.

For art and culture, visit the Norton Museum of Art of the Antique Row Art and Design District. Here you will find plenty of art galleries and specialty boutiques.

Winner: Draw

There are plenty of things to do on the land and sea in both places, so it really depends on what your preferences are for fun.

Palm Beach vs West Palm Beach: Accommodation Options 🏨

Given the level of exclusivity and wealth in Palm Beach, you are going to pay a pretty penny to stay.

In fact, you’d be hard pressed to find an available hotel room for less than $200 in Palm Beach.

If you are wanting a luxurious accommodation with award winning golf courses, suites and spas, Palm Beach has plenty.

There is the famous Breakers Hotel which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is the last grand hotel in the US that is still family owned.

West Palm Beach on the other hand, has a plethora of accommodations for all budgets.

You can stay in one of the big chain hotels such as Red Roof Inn or Economy Inn for less than $100 a night or spring for The Hilton or The Marriott for a few hundred dollars a night.

West Palm Beach also has many boutique hotels such as Grandview Gardens perfect for couples on a honeymoon.

Winner: West Palm Beach

Unless you are uber rich or maybe your company is paying for your accommodation, West Palm Beach has more diversity in accommodation options.

The Verdict ✌️

This really depends on your budget and the vacation vibe you are looking for. The beaches in Palm Beach are stunning, but the versatility and affordability of West Palm Beach is more suited for the average vacation.

Located only a 5-minute drive from each other, why not visit both and decide for yourself?

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About the author
James Williams
James has been travel lover since childhood. Reading and traveling have been spiritual experiences for him. Learning about new places, cultures, and ways of life and sharing his own experiences and learnings has always been his passion.

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