If you were to describe Delray Beach in a phrase, perhaps the most apt one would be: “a slice of beachside paradise.”
Unlike its higher profile (and more crowded) neighbors like West Palm Beach or Boca Raton, Delray Beach feels less like a major oceanfront city and more like a secluded getaway. It is, after all, dubbed as “the village by the sea.”
And while Delray Beach is known for its small-town vibe and laid-back lifestyle, it has everything you could ever need in a city: a variety of unique shops, a wealth of fascinating attractions, a vibrant art scene, and a family-centric environment. Is it any wonder why the Travel Channel named Delray Beach the “Most Fun Small Town in America” in 2012?
Of course, this is just a preview of what it’s like to call Delray Beach home. To give you an insider’s look into this premier oceanfront community, we prepared this guide for you:
One of the best reasons to move to Delray Beach is its excellent schools. The city’s public schools are run by the School District of Palm Beach County (SDPBC), an A-rated district that runs 180 schools across over 40 municipalities. SDPBC has an impressive 94.4% graduation rate and boasts over 300 award-winning initiatives under the Career Academies program. Niche.com praised SDPBC’s academics, clubs/activities, diversity, and college preparedness, calling it the #1 school district in the Miami area. Atlantic Community High School, for instance, is one of the rare public schools that offer an International Baccalaureate program.
If you’d rather send your kids to private schools, however, the city is also home to many elite academies. There’s American Heritage Schools, the county’s #1 private school, which has an impressive 89% passing rate on AP exams. Unity School, meanwhile, offers a 21st century-ready curriculum that on average is one grade level ahead of the standard offering.
Easy, breezy transportation
With so many wonderful attractions to explore in Delray Beach, crafting your itinerary can be challenging. What’s not challenging, however, is getting to your chosen destinations. This is made possible by the city’s excellent transportation infrastructure. Delray Beach’s strategic location places it at the center of an integrated matrix of highways which include U.S. Route 1, Interstate 95, U.S. Highway 441, and the Florida Turnpike. The city is also served by the Tri-Rail commuter trail system, which links it to key locations such as Miami Airport, Boca Raton, and West Palm Beach, among others. Palm Tran, on the other hand, operates a fleet of buses that make traveling in and around the city easy and affordable. For a more leisurely trip around Delray Beach, hitch a free ride on Freebee electric cars or rent a golf cart through Exhilaride.
Savor the flavors
Atlantic Avenue doesn’t just offer an amazing view of the ocean, it’s also the go-to place for discerning foodies. This avenue is lined with an eclectic mix of restaurants that are sure to satisfy whatever food cravings you may have. For a bite of comfort head over to Brulé Bistro, a chic place that serves elevated brunch fare. If you’re in the mood for authentic Mexican food, book a table at El Camino, which is famous for its carefully crafted tacos and extensive tequila selection. Love craft beer? Then a trip to Saltwater Brewery, the city’s first microbrewery, is an absolute must.
The affluent residents of Delray Beach have expensive tastes, which are catered to by the city’s upscale shopping centers. Whether you’re interested in buying fine furnishings, couture clothing, or swanky skincare supplies, you’ll find everything you need here. Delray Marketplace, for instance, is an open-air mall that has 258,000 square feet of commercial space that’s occupied by a wide variety of merchants. Delray Beach also hosts many specialty stores that carry one-of-a-kind and handcrafted items. Those looking for dazzling jewelry pieces should check out Unique Boutique, where each piece is made by gifted artisans. If it’s fashion-forward handmade bags you’re after, there’s no better place to find them than at Furst Handbags.
The lap of leisure
When you move to Delray Beach, you get access to two miles of pristine beach that’s among the best in the country. And if you have an oceanfront property, you can enjoy swimming, snorkeling, boating, fishing, and surfing whenever you feel like it. Outdoor venues also give residents a place where they can socialize while soaking up South Florida’s marvelous weather. Veterans Park, for instance, features a renovated playground, picnic tables, barbecue grills, and a recreation center. Avid golfers will surely love Delray Beach Golf Club’s Donald Ross-designed course, which has been cited by Golf Magazine as one of the best value courses in the country.
A world of wonders
Delray Beach is a fascinating place that attracts fascinating people. So it’s little wonder why the area has become home to fascinating attractions as well. To soothe your mind and spirit, relish the zen beauty of Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens, which features six different gardens inspired by various epochs. For some old-fashioned fun, drop by Silverball Museum, which houses a treasure trove of playable vintage pinball machines and arcade games. And to get your creative juices flowing, head over to Pineapple Grove Arts District, where you can find stunning outdoor artworks as well as well-curated art galleries.
Close to nature
Visiting Delray Beach’s wonderful shoreline isn’t the only way you can reconnect with nature. Many residents also get access to several nature parks, which are thankfully just a short drive away from the city center. Escape the urban bustle by visiting Wakodahatchee Wetlands, a 50-acre man-made wetland that’s home to over 178 bird species, as well as alligators, frogs, and marsh rabbits. Lake Ida West Park, meanwhile, lets both you and your pooch explore the trails and biking paths that overlook the serene lakefront. If you drive just outside of Delray Beach, you’ll find yourself at Green Cay Wetlands near Boynton Beach, where you can stroll along a scenic boardwalk that takes you through the wetlands’ unique ecosystems.