Delray Beach, named “Best Fun Small Town in America” by Rand McNally and USA Today, is located on the southeast coast of Florida in Palm Beach County Florida, in the middle of Florida’s Gold Coast. The Intracoastal Waterway system of canals lies between Downtown Delray Beach and the Atlantic Ocean. It is north of Boca Raton and south of Boynton Beach. Highland Beach is just south of Delray Beach.
The area is known for its white sandy beaches and water recreation including yacht cruising and snorkeling at the Delray Wreck. East Atlantic Avenue (or “The Avenue”) has been recently redeveloped and is flush with art galleries, retail stores, and restaurants. Artists Alley is also nearby as well as Pineapple Grove. There are a number of events in Delray Beach including the Delray Affair, Garlic Fest, and the Delray Beach Wine and Seafood Festival.
Housing options in Delray Beach are varied and range from eco-friendly condominiums, historic homes, new homes, water and beach front living. Downtown Delray Beach, near Atlantic, is one of the most desired areas of town. This is a popular destination for second home buyers desiring a vacation home that is exciting, cultural, and full of recreational opportunities. Prices range from the mid $300s and up.
Boynton Beach, north of Delray Beach, is also in Palm Beach County Florida, in the Miami Metropolitan Statistical Area. It extends from the ocean east to the Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge. There are a number of unique neighborhoods as well as rural and developed areas in Boynton Beach.
Boynton Beach Oceanfront Park was voted best family beach in Palm Beach County by the Palm Beach Post in 2001. In addition to the Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge, the Green Cay Wetlands is also a tourist draw. The downtown area is currently undergoing a strong redevelopment effort including building a new marina. The Christmas Boat Parade is also a popular event amongst boat enthusiasts.
In terms of housing, Boynton Beach includes second home properties, rental homes and upscale destination properties on the Intracoastal Waterway, condominiums, single family properties, estates and historic Florida neighborhoods. Pricing in this area begins as low as $200,000’s.
Boca Raton is south of Delray Beach, located in Palm Beach County, Florida, is also in the Miami Metropolitan Statistical Area. This is a large area extending from the Intracoastal Waterway inland to the Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge.
Boca Raton is known for its beaches, golf courses (according to GolfNow.com, there are 34 of them!), and culture by way of art museums, eateries, and specialty shops. There are a number of shopping centers including Mizner Park. Boca Raton Museum of Art, amphitheater, Town Center at Boca Raton. The Festival of the Arts BOCA is another tourist draw. Florida Atlantic University is located in Boca Raton as is Palm Beach State College. There are also a number of private universities: Lynn University, Digital Media Arts College, and Everglades University. There is a small airport that serves the area. Sun Life Stadium, American Airlines Arena, BB&T Center and Marlins Park host major sporting events. Let’s not forget the South Florida Science Museum!
Boca Raton boasts new home communities (for a variety of price ranges), waterfront homes along the canal, oceanfront, or one of the area’s many lakes or golf courses, or even very affordable older condos or homes.
Highland Beach is a thin strip of land sandwiched between Boca Raton and the Intracoastal Waterway on the west and the Atlantic Ocean on the east. It is only 1.1 square miles. There are about 4000 year-round residents and 4500 second homeowners (who reside there during the winter months).
Condos are available in Highland Beach starting at about $260,000 and there are estates available for over $10 million.
Village of Wellington is located in the western-most part of The Palm Beaches. It borders the Everglades and the Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge. There are a number of lakes with creeks running through Wellington, so there are many opportunities for waterfront living.
Money Magazine named affluent Wellington one of the “Top 100 Places to Live” in 2010. Equestrian and Polo destination, recognized as the winter equestrian capital of the world and host to the Winter Equestrian Festival and 40 weeks of equestrian events per year. If you are looking for events that include methods of transportation other than horses, consider the annual Top Gun model aircraft show or visit the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts or the Mall at Wellington Green and Old Wellington Mall.
Within the Wellington area, there are areas with very large lots on planned communities with smaller lots. Condos, of course, are also available as are estates with private airplane hangars. Bill Gates just purchased an $8.7 million estate in Wellington according to the Washington Post. Stick built, but older, homes on lots begin at $125,000 whereas there are sprawling estates well over $10 million available as well.
West Palm Beach
West Palm Beach is a large area stretching from the inlet just behind the island of Palm Beach inland for several miles. The Palm Beach International Airport is just south of West Palm Beach.
The city is emphasizing neighborhood development and revitalization in several older neighborhoods such as Northwood Village, Old Northwood, Flamingo Park, and El Cid. The city is also home to several historic neighborhoods such as the Bel Air Historic District (a former pineapple plantation developed for homes between 1925-1935), Central Park, El Cid (known for Mediterranean revival and mission style architecture), Flamingo Park (also originally a pineapple plantation on a coastal ridge with some homes having ocean views from their Spanish style home – some mission, some Mediterranean), Grandview Heights (full of early craftsman bungalows and modest Mediterranean style homes), Mango Promenade, Northboro Park (historic mission and Mediterranean custom homes for upper class professionals), Northwest (some bungalow and craftsman style homes), Old Northwood Historic District, Northwood Hills, Prospect Park, and West Northwood.
West Palm Beach sits on the oceanfront with palm-lined streets and specialty small retail establishments. There are two distinct retail and entertainment districts – CityPlace and Clematis Street. The Norton Museum of Art and Raymond F. Kravis Center for the Performing Arts are both located in West Palm Beach. If you are looking for events, ArtiGras takes place in February, the Palm Beach Holiday Boat Parade is in December, and the TurtleFest is in March.
Small fixer-uppers can be found for under $100,000 in West Palm Beach. Large condo buildings are available in the more urban area while homes on larger lots can be found in the more western part of town. Estates and luxury homes on the waterfront can be found for upwards of $5 million with many options in-between.