For generations, Palm Beach has been the traditional winter home of American aristocracy: the Kennedys, Rockefellers and others, have all fled northern climes for this slice of paradise. Beyond the upscale resorts that cater to such a crowd, Palm Beach holds some surprises, including the renowned Norton Museum of Art, some stellar restaurants, top-notch birding, and the sparkling Intracoastal Waterway.

Beaches in Palm Beach

Public beaches are a rare commodity in Palm Beach, with many of the best cordoned off around private oceanfront estates. Midtown Beach is a notable exception, a golden island of undeveloped strand in a sea of glitz and glamour. Swim in the surf, build sandcastles and work on your tan beneath the eye of a watchful lifeguard. Groomed beach sand, picnic facilities and outdoor recreation dominate at Phipps Ocean Park, another public beach especially popular with families.

Things to Do in Palm Beach

Wherever there is an abundance of sun, sand and sightseers, there is golf, and Palm Beach is no exception. Many of the most meticulously manicured and challenging courses are privately owned, but hotel staffs help visitors find available greens. Downtown, the Norton Museum of Art displays works by the world's most recognizable names: O'Keeffe, Pollock, Monet, Renoir and Picasso. Nearby, City Place lures Palm Beachers with department store shopping. Look for strappy sandals, gauzy sundresses and sexy beachwear.

Eating and Drinking in Palm Beach

Leave the Bermuda shorts behind in favor of crisply ironed linen for swanky, oceanfront dining in Palm Beach. Overlook the surf dining on platters of freshly caught seafood, from Florida lobster to snapper, at beachside dining rooms. Southern barbecue reminds visitors that Florida is part of the South.

Nightlife in Palm Beach

Artists' lofts, sidewalk cafes, bars, restaurants and galleries dot Clematis Street, the pumping heart of Palm Beach nightlife. On weekends, locals and American visitors mingle with stylish Europeans and disheveled artists sipping tropical cocktails at sidewalk tables or dancing to electronic mixes at youthful bars. On Thursdays, 20- and 30-somethings gather for live rock, blues, reggae and an art show for "Clematis by Night." The moneyed set in Palm Beach is most likely found sipping high-end ports and brandies at oceanfront hotel bars.