Palm Beach is the most expensive city in Florida.
It’s a rather small town on the southeastern side of the state, right on the Atlantic Ocean north of Fort Lauderdale and Miami.
With only about 9,250 residents, most of the people in town are there to visit.
Whether you live there or came for the week, you will notice the high price tag that comes with the area.
What makes Palm Beach so expensive?
We cover ten reasons why Palm Beach is so expensive.
Why Is Palm Beach So Expensive? (Top 10 Reasons)
1. Sunny Weather
Palm Beach enjoys what many people consider near-perfect weather.
Residents enjoy warm weather year-round, with temperatures rarely falling below 70 degrees in the winter months.
You’ll never need to trudge out in the freezing cold in a winter jacket and gloves to shovel your car out of the snow again (until you visit family in a more northern part of the country).
The weather promotes outdoor activities, whether you want to bike on a trail next to the beach, golf, or walk around town and go shopping.
Whatever you do, stay hydrated and stay aware of the signs of heatstroke to protect yourself on especially hot days.
If you ever get too hot, you’ll also have the opportunity to take a dip in the ocean at many of the nearby beaches to help keep yourself cool.
Even though the summers can get arguably uncomfortably hot and humid, the moisture in the air leads to refreshing rainfalls.
Palm Beach gets significantly more rain than the rest of the country on average, but a light drizzle tends to feel better under the Florida sun—unless the rain starts coming down too hard.
Hurricanes In Palm Beach
Not everything is sunny in Palm Beach.
Unfortunately, the warm waters of Palm Beach can lead to hurricanes – tropical storms that come with heavy rains and extremely high winds.
Since 2000, there have been a few noteworthy hurricanes in the area:
- 2004: Hurricanes Frances and Jeanne
- 2005: Hurricane Wilma
- 2017: Hurricane Irma
While most people in the area learn how to properly handle a hurricane in order to keep themselves and their homes safe, hurricanes inevitably cause a lot of damage to the area when they arrive.
One of the main reasons people move to Palm Beach is that it’s one of the greatest beach destinations in the United States.
The beaches shine under the sun with their clean white sand, crystal blue waters, and breathtaking sunsets that generally exceed the beauty of most other beach towns in the United States.
You’ll also notice the colorful architecture, lighthouses, and palm trees in the background to add to the picturesque backdrop.
Another great aspect of Palm Beach is that there are so many beaches.
You won’t be stuck with one main beach littered with tourists.
You’ll have numerous beaches to choose from.
Some of the top beaches in Palm Beach include Palm Beach, Delray Beach, Carlin Park, Ocean Reef Park, and Juno Park.
It’s important to remember that this list is far from all-inclusive.
You will find more magical beaches in the area.
You just have to explore and find them.
Enjoying Palm Beach Beaches
If you want your day at the beach to feel like a metaphorical “day at the beach,” you will want to go into your day prepared.
Start by researching the beach you plan to visit before you go.
A little investigation will teach you things about parking, crowds, and amenities that can help you plan your day.
If you have children with you, look for beaches that have lifeguards on-site at all times.
Bring plenty of water and sunscreen with you.
Remember to reapply sunscreen every couple of hours as it wears off over time.
Always treat the beach with respect.
Carry your own garbage in an eco-conscious bag until you find a proper place to dispose of it.
Do not litter on the beach!
Sure, you’ll get a hefty fine if you get caught (Palm Beach takes littering seriously), but more importantly, you’ll be damaging a part of what makes your vacation spot or new home so special.
Sharks In Palm Beach
Shark attacks are extremely rare.
It is a possibility (there was a shark bite as recently as two years ago), but avoiding the beauty of the ocean for something so unlikely may prevent you from fully enjoying the water.
In the case a threatening shark does make its way near the shore, which rarely happens, the crowds of people will notify the lifeguard immediately.
All you have to do is stay out of the water until it’s deemed safe again.
Luckily, you’ll have other beaches to go to if you absolutely need to get into the ocean water, or you can always go to a pool.
Do not go swimming in the dark by yourself as you won’t have proper visibility in the water.
You also want to avoid kicking your feet in the water, especially off of fishing boats, as they use bait specifically designed to attract the attention of fish (and possibly sharks).
Finally, don’t wear reflective clothing that may also attract sharks.
3. Real Estate
Private beachfront property in Palm Beach with a view of the sunset over the peaceful water is literally the definition of paradise to many people.
You can’t expect to buy a house in paradise for cheap.
The average price of a home in Palm Beach is about $1.25 million.
Remember, that’s the average price of a home.
You will run into properties worth well over $100 million.
You can even buy an island for over $200 million.
Considerations When Buying Real Estate In Palm Beach
Palm Beach’s climate forces homeowners to consider unique problems regarding their homes thanks to the humidity and hurricanes we mentioned earlier.
You will need to properly plan for additional moisture, which can lead to mold, water damage, and other damage to your home.
Finally, you’ll also need to plan to protect your home in the case of a hurricane.
To protect your home, you should have hurricane windows and use sturdy building materials in the construction of your home.
You’ll also want good insurance.
Naturally, the beautiful beaches that caught your attention draw other people to the area as well.
While tourism may seem like a disadvantage at first, it brings excitement to the area.
Plus, you’ll always have family and friends who want to come to visit you.
One of the great things for Palm Beach tourists (and residents) is that they can travel to numerous other nearby Florida cities without much trouble.
Anyone who’s driven through Florida will tell you that the state seems to go on forever when driving from one end to the other.
However, Palm Beach’s location makes day trips much more manageable.
See the distance from Palm Beach to other major cities in the state to get a sense of the distance:
- Palm Springs: 7.4 miles
- Lake Worth: 10.1 miles
- Hialeah: 68.4 miles
- Miami: 70 miles
- Orlando: 170.3 miles
- Tampa: 206.1 miles
- St. Petersburg: 203.4 miles
- Jacksonville: 284.1 miles
With Miami only about 1.5 hours away, you can meet friends and family in Miami for a night out or enjoy Miami for the day.
While not ideal, some people even commute to Miami for work.
While more like three hours away, you can even spend a long day at one of Orlando’s many theme parks without too much trouble.
5. LGBTQ+ Community
West Palm Beach is known for being especially friendly to the LGBTQ+ community.
In a state like Florida that offers a wide range of political philosophies, some people may not expect to find this community in one of the most luxurious cities in the state.
West Palm Beach has one of the largest annual pride parades in Florida (considering its size compared to larger cities).
6. Retirement Community
Just like the LGBTQ+ community enjoys the safety of a comfortable environment with other relatable people, so does everyone else, including retirees.
A lot of people work hard their whole lives to finally live on the beach.
When they retire, they finally get to take their nest egg and make that dream come true.
There’s a relatively large retirement community in the area.
However, it doesn’t feel like a retirement community you’ll find in an upscale suburb.
Everyone lives independently in their own homes.
However, the age in certain areas is higher in some places compared to others.
It’s a great place for people who don’t need help but still want to surround themselves with people who understand them compared to the teenagers on spring break.
7. Plenty To Do
You’ll never get bored in Palm Beach.
Many people don’t need more than the beautiful scenery, but if you do get restless, you can find people to meet and things to do during the day and at night, whether you have young children or your friends with you.
Many people rave about the shopping in Palm Beach.
Start your Palm Beach shopping experience by heading downtown on the popular Clematis Street.
As you walk down the street, you’ll find numerous different boutiques to enjoy and restaurants to stop at when you need some fuel to energize your shopping spree.
After shopping, you will want to stay (especially on Thursday night).
Every Thursday night, the shopping district turns into the best party in town from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. with live music, drink specials, and seemingly half the town coming together in one place for a fun yet sophisticated atmosphere.
For another great shopping strip, check out Worth Avenue.
Palm Beach Outlets and The Square are two other popular shopping centers in the area if you want to experience some of your other options.
If you prefer something old over something new, stroll down Antique Row instead.
Art And Science
Northwood Village tends to be Palm Beach’s bohemian neighborhood.
You’ll find plenty of art supply stores, cafes, and art galleries as well as regular art events throughout the year.
For a more formal art-viewing experience, visit the Norton Museum of Art which focuses on classical art.
If you and your family tend to see the art in the natural environment as opposed to paintings and sculptures, dive into the beaches and the sky at Cox Science Center and Aquarium.
You can spend an entire day marveling at the wildlife in the largest aquarium in South Florida, which takes you through the different unique ecosystems in the area, including the freshwater Everglades, the reef, and the deep ocean.
After the aquarium, you can play mini-golf and get some lunch before seeing a great show at the planetarium.
Sports And Outdoor Activities
Naturally, the area offers plenty of opportunities to enjoy the outdoors.
First and foremost, you’ll notice a lot of golf courses.
If you picture retirement (or your weekends) on the golf course, this could be the place for you.
If you aren’t necessarily a golf person, you can always enjoy the other numerous outdoor activities, such as the beautiful Mounts Botanical Gardens or Palm Beach Zoo.
You’ll find other parks and hiking trails to enjoy, too.
You can also take in a baseball game at The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches.
Though the city doesn’t have a major league team of its own, the Ballpark is the Spring Training home to both the Washington Nationals and the Houston Astros, so you can catch some MLB stars getting ready for the coming season in much of February and almost all of March (most years, but that’s another story).
Finally, you’ll regret it if you don’t take advantage of some of the water sports, such as scuba diving around the reef to explore underwater caves and shipwrecks.
If you prefer, you can attempt to stay above water and try surfing.
You can even go parasailing or rent a jet ski for the day (if you don’t own one).
Do you want to be on a boat?
Palm Beach is one of the best cities in Florida for boat owners as the waters are usually clear and beautiful.
Plus, you’re close to the Bahamas if you feel like venturing out.
If you don’t already own a boat, be sure that you consider it carefully before you take the plunge.
It’s a serious way of life that requires a lot of money and effort. However, it’s worth it.
8. Environmental Efforts
Florida won’t maintain its appeal if the beaches disappear and become landfills covered with plastic bags, soda cans, and cigarette butts.
One of the main reasons that Palm Beach costs so much is the cost of the extensive environmental efforts designed to keep the area pristine.
A major environmental concern in Palm Beach is the erosion of the beaches.
Wind, waves, and tides erode the beaches sometimes gradually and sometimes much more quickly.
In an effort to prevent the problem, the city replenishes the sand and creates dunes.
Of course, these efforts require money.
Funds come from federal and state appropriations as well as a “bed tax” charged by hotels to tourists.
Inevitably, the residents pay in taxes, too.
Other environmental problems involve litter on the beaches, pollution, the threat to wildlife, water quality, and high demand for natural resources.
There’s a reason that people from all walks of life, including more vulnerable populations, feel comfortable in Palm Beach: it’s a very safe place to live.
Yes, you may still encounter crime from time to time.
It usually takes place during spring break when rowdy young tourists come to town.
There’s also a significant amount of property crime since the high income in the area does make it a bit of a target.
Typically, residents can feel safe enjoying themselves in public downtown, even at night.
With that being said, you should still be mindful of taking care of yourself.
Don’t venture off too far away from the main hot spots (if you head west and reach Tamarind Ave., you should return to where you were).
You also shouldn’t carry too much cash on you or walk alone.
It’s also wise to have a good security system and an insurance policy that covers theft.
There’s a certain culture in Palm Beach that you’ll instantly notice as you walk the streets that you may struggle to pinpoint.
It’s a high-end beach vibe that includes colorful sundresses, golf shorts, and fun hats.
It’s about mixing style and comfort, and the style looks like money.
It’s the type of clothing people wear when they have so much money, they don’t need to wear fancy clothing.
Picture Pablo Picasso’s or Earnest Hemingway’s high-class style in the later years of their lives.
You also probably won’t be surprised to learn that Jimmy Buffet lived in Palm Beach for a time during his adolescence.
These celeb examples help depict the relaxation of the area.
The style and culture of Palm Beach began with the architecture, though.
The people followed suit.
Instead of boring buildings, you’ll find pastel colors and Spanish architecture, no doubt part of the Cuban influence of South Florida.
Palm Beach is a place to curl up with a book and glass of wine at a muted pink cafe on the beach at sunset while people freely and happily whisper with friends around you.
It’ll take your breath away and simultaneously take your mind away from the struggles in the world and remind you of the beauty.
Now that’s priceless.
Palm Beach offers beautiful beaches in a high-end environment that resembles the carefree lifestyle of beach living but with a tad more elegance than most other beach towns.
The houses cost a lot because of the invaluable scenery that includes blue skies, crystal water, white beaches, and lush palm trees under the famous Florida sunsets.
You’ll find people from all walks of life enjoying the sunny lifestyle happily next to each other because who can fight or hate other people in such an environment?
If you’re lucky enough and worked hard enough to visit Palm Beach or live in a house in Palm Beach, don’t think about the cost.
Enjoy the indescribable sights and the smell of the ocean water as the light breeze hits you in the face, and enjoy it while you can because the sunsets go away quicker than you can imagine.
Your credit card bill, financial planner, and 401(k) account will be there later.