25 Fun Facts About West Palm Beach
view across intracoastal with marina yachts and sailboats and downtown skyline west palm beach

Welcome to West Palm Beach, a vibrant and beautiful city located in South Florida. From stunning beaches and exhilarating water sports, to cultural landmarks and delicious food, this city has something for everyone. In this blog post, we will be sharing 25 fun facts about West Palm Beach that you may not have known before! Whether you are a local looking to learn more about your hometown or a traveler planning to visit soon, these interesting tidbits will make you fall in love with this charming city even more. So sit back, relax, and prepare to be amazed by these fascinating facts about West Palm Beach!


1) West Palm Beach was formed to house Henry Flagler’s hotel employees.

In 1893, a town was born with a purpose. West Palm Beach was a residential community put together by one of the most successful entrepreneurs in Florida history, Henry Flagler. His vision was to provide a place for the employees working in his two grand hotels on Palm Beach. It was a self-contained community with a small downtown grid that offered everything residents needed without leaving the town. Today, West Palm Beach is a city that maintains its reputation as a thriving and vibrant metropolis without which Palm Beach couldn’t succeed.

2) West Palm Beach is home to quite a few famous people.

West Palm Beach is one of the most sought-after celebrity hotspots in the country. It’s no surprise that this city has been the chosen home of some of the biggest music icons, Hollywood actors, and even sports stars. From the dulcet melodies of Tori Amos to the tropical tunes of Jimmy Buffet, West Palm Beach is home to some of the most celebrated musicians in the business. The list doesn’t stop there, as the A-list of celebrities also includes big-screen legends such as Glenn Close, Tommy Lee Jones, and Burt Reynolds. The city even got the honor of being the go-to destination for some of the most successful athletes in the world, including basketball legend Michael Jordan and tennis sisters Venus and Serena Williams. With its perfect blend of beach culture, elegant lifestyles, and picture-perfect landscapes, West Palm Beach is a true gem for all those who call it home.

3) Palm Beach County leads the nation in the production of sugar.

Palm Beach County is a land of sweet success, as it holds the top spot for sugar production in the country. Boasting 18% of the nation’s sugar yield, this South Florida county’s dedication to perfecting the art of sugar cane cultivation is unmatched. It’s hard to miss the sprawling fields of sugar cane that cover about 400,000 acres of the county’s overall landmass, and for good reason. The county’s commitment to excellence in sugar production has been a longstanding tradition, powered by innovative techniques and an unrivaled passion for perfecting the process.

daytime exterior with blue sky and green grass of henry morrison flagler museum palm beach

4) Palm Beach was a pivotal naval location during World War II.

During World War II, the South Florida coast was a critical battleground. And nowhere was more vulnerable than Palm Beach. The white-sand beaches and clear waters, once a prime tourist destination, became a deadly no-man’s land as German U-boats prowled offshore. Over the course of the war, dozens of merchant ships and oil tankers fell victim to the enemy’s merciless attacks. Life for the residents of Palm Beach was turned upside down. Every night, black out conditions were enforced in an effort to minimize visibility to the enemy. But even then, the threat remained ever-present, a testament to the courage and determination of those who lived through one of the darkest periods in American history.

5) Palm Beach’s Historic Kapok Tree is at least 130 years old.

As you stroll along the Lake Trail at Palm Beach, your attention is drawn to a majestic sight – the Historic Kapok Tree. Standing tall and proud, its roots appear almost as if they’re hugging the earth beneath it, boasting an impressive trunk circumference of over 30 feet. You can’t help but feel a sense of wonder and admiration as you gaze up at its towering height of over 60 feet. Imagine the stories that this tree could tell about the hotel guests and locals who have passed by it over the years. Legend has it that the head gardener for Flagler’s Royal Poinciana Hotel planted it in the 1890s. Whether or not it’s true, the Historic Kapok Tree is a living landmark and a reminder of the rich history of the area.

6) West Palm Beach’s population has grown steadily throughout its history.

Over a century has passed since the humble beginnings of West Palm Beach in 1895. With just over a thousand residents at the time, it’s hard to imagine the bustling city it has become today. Fast forward to the present, and the population has increased dramatically to over 122,000 people, with a steady growth rate of 1.42% per year. This expansion is a testament to the city’s charm and appeal, drawing people in from all over. Whether you’re a long-time resident or a newcomer, West Palm Beach offers something for everyone, making it a truly special place to call home.

7) Palm Beach International Airport is a frequent flyer favorite.

Palm Beach International Airport may not be the largest or busiest airport in the U.S., but it certainly has made its mark with ticket buyers. The airport’s consistent ranking within the top ten airports in the country speaks volumes for the level of convenience and comfort that the airport provides. Passengers appreciate the ease of access to transportation, the impressive dining options, and the abundance of retail stores. The airport’s dedication to customer service is evident in the welcoming environment and the attentive staff that strives to make every passenger’s experience a memorable one. Perhaps the allure of the sunny West Palm Beach destination adds a touch of excitement to the arrival and departure experience as well.

nicely dressed couple looking at jewelry in shop window at worth avenue palm beach

8) Worth Avenue’s upscale shops include world-class brands.

Nestled in the heart of Palm Beach you’ll find one of the world’s most luxurious shopping destinations on Worth Avenue. This upscale district boasts over 200 retailers, featuring internationally-renowned brands like Cartier, Hermés, and Tiffany & Co. From high-end fashion to stunning jewelry, you’ll find everything you need to make a statement. Whether you’re in the mood to splurge on a designer handbag or add some sparkle to your collection, Worth Avenue has it all. With its charming European architecture and lush tropical foliage, this shopping mecca is a feast for the eyes and the perfect destination for a day of indulgence.

9) Actual snow fell on West Palm Beach in 1977.

The sunny beaches and palm trees of Palm Beach County may seem like an unlikely place for snow, but it did happen once. In 1977, the county experienced its first – and last – recorded snowfall. Floridians woke up to a winter wonderland as snow covered their beaches and lawns. Many locals made the most of it and built snowmen and had snowball fights. However, the snow didn’t last long as the warmth of the Florida sun quickly melted it away, leaving behind only memories of this rare occurrence. Even though this freak weather event is a distant memory for Palm Beach County, locals can still appreciate the beauty of the winter season without the inconvenience of shoveling snow.

10) West Palm Beach scuba divers have a special technique known as ‘drift diving’.

If you’re an avid scuba diver in West Palm Beach, you may have already heard of the amazing technique known as ‘drift diving’. This method involves grouping divers in sets of six to twelve, dropped off by the dive boat on one of the two main reef tracts that line the shore. Once in the water, the Gulf Stream current takes the divers along the reef, allowing them to admire the stunning underwater scenery without having to fight against the current. To ensure that everyone stays together and on track, each group is assigned a tethered float that marks their exact location as they drift. It’s an exhilarating and efficient way to explore the beauty of the reef!

11) The Okeechobee Hurricane of 1928 remains the deadliest disaster in Florida’s history to date.

The Okeechobee Hurricane of 1928 was a catastrophic event that left a trail of destruction in its wake. As one of the worst hurricanes to ever hit Florida, it made landfall near West Palm Beach in the early hours of September 17th. With winds reaching up to 145 mph, the storm unleashed its fury on the unsuspecting area. Tragically, the hurricane resulted in at least 2,500 fatalities in the state, leaving families and communities devastated. Among the many casualties was Flagler’s Florida East Coast Railroad, which was completely destroyed by the powerful storm and was never rebuilt.

bmx bike racers rounding half pipe curve on track with event tents in background at okeeheelee park west palm beach

12) West Palm Beach hosts an annual music festival called SunFest.

Every year in May, the city of West Palm Beach comes alive with the sound of music and the sight of art. For over 40 years, SunFest has been the go-to destination for music and art lovers from all over the country. This annual festival is not only the largest music and arts event in the state of Florida, but it’s also held in one of the most iconic locations – Downtown West Palm Beach along Florida’s Intracoastal Waterway. Boasting over 275,000 attendees per year, SunFest showcases a wide array of musical genres for everyone to enjoy. It’s a festival that’s not to be missed!

13) Palm Beach Gardens was nearly the site of Walt Disney World.

Walt Disney is synonymous with magical and enchanting worlds full of adventure and fun. And while most of us associate the Disney World theme park with its well-known location in Orlando, what many people don’t know is that Disney World was nearly built in Palm Beach Gardens. In fact, Walt himself made a handshake deal to build the park on 320 acres of land in the newly minted city, thanks to a meeting with insurance billionaire and landowner John D. McArthur. But Walt’s own brother, Roy, put a stop to the project by insisting on more land for the deal. What could have been a Disney World along the beach never came to fruition, but the legend and stories surrounding the missed opportunity continue to fascinate Disney and Florida enthusiasts to this day.

14) Okeeheelee Park hosts a famous BMX bike race track.

West Palm Beach’s Okeeheelee Park has a true landmark for fans of BMX bike racing. The park boasts one of America’s most famous BMX tracks, measuring an amazing 1450 feet in length, one that has been rated third among 300+ tracks in the United States. This iconic destination has the distinction of being the first track in Florida to install a chip timing system. It’s no surprise that they’ve been ranked number one of the 15 Florida BMX tracks for the past decade and number one among 100 Eastern U.S. BMX tracks for the last six years. The BMX track at Okeeheelee Park is a great location for bike lovers and spectators of tournament bike racing.

15) Some famous Hollywood blockbusters were filmed in Palm Beach County.

Palm Beach County is home to some of the most iconic scenes of famous films like Caddyshack, Donnie Brasco and Smokey and the Bandit II. If you’re a movie buff, taking a trip to Palm Beach County will open up a whole new world of cinema history. You can explore the very locations where your favorite film scenes were shot and relive those fantastic moments. Whether it’s Al Pacino’s riveting performance in Donnie Brasco or Burt Reynolds’ fast-paced car chases in Smokey and the Bandit II, Palm Beach County offers a truly immersive experience for film lovers. So grab some popcorn, sit back and enjoy a cinematic journey through Palm Beach County!

purple lighted concert stage with band performing music at clematis by night west palm beach

16) Worth Avenue once hosted a gator-themed attraction.

Although it may be hard to believe, Worth Avenue, the glamorous and high-end shopping district in Palm Beach, was not always a hub for luxury couture and high fashion. In fact, at one point in time, it hosted a wild and unusual sideshow attraction run by the memorable Warren Frazee, better known as “Alligator Joe”. With his bushy mustache, wide-brimmed hat, and a talent for staging midday wrestling matches with his farm’s largest alligators, Joe was a true showman. Visitors to his sprawling farm, located along the Intracoastal Waterway at the end of Worth Avenue, would eagerly pay a quarter each for the chance to see him in action. What a difference from the lavish designer boutiques and fancy jewelry stores that Worth Ave is known for today! But it’s a reminder that every place has its own unique history and story to tell.

17) Palm Beach County is one of the largest counties in Florida.

Palm Beach County in South Florida is known for its beautiful beaches, warm weather, and vibrant culture. The county boasts a consistently growing population, which has undoubtedly contributed to its ranking as the third most populous county in the state. With a population surpassing 1.5 million, Palm Beach County is home to a diverse mix of industries and lifestyles. And as the second-largest county in terms of land area, residents have access to an array of outdoor activities that they can enjoy in serene natural settings. It is not hard to see why Palm Beach County continues to attract new residents and is a popular tourist destination year after year.

18) Clematis By Night has been going for nearly 30 years.

Since 1995, Clematis By Night has been a highlight of the Downtown West Palm Beach community. With its picturesque waterfront location and incredible live music, this free event has kept locals coming back year after year. Whether you’re looking for a fun night out or want to catch up with friends, Clematis By Night has something for everyone. It’s no wonder that people from all over the area flock to this event every Thursday from 6-9pm. Join the fun and experience a piece of West Palm Beach history for yourself.

19) The Palm Beaches earned its name owing to the wreck of a ship.

In 1878, the shores of Florida received an unexpected visitor in the form of a Spanish ship, The Providencia. Little did anyone know that this chance encounter would drastically alter the landscape of the region. Laden with a cargo that included a whopping 20,000 Trinidadian coconuts, The Providencia ran aground on what was then referred to as the Lake Worth Country. The ship’s crew gifted its cargo including the coconuts to the pioneers living in the area. These early residents sold as many as possible, and then decided to plant the remainder. A wise decision it turned out to be, as today the area is teeming with coconut palms, a species that was not native to Florida. It’s thanks to this chance event that the Palm Beaches got its distinctive name.

exhibit gallery with sculpted modern figures and patrons norton museum of art west palm beach

20) The Norton Museum of Art is Florida’s largest art museum.

The Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach houses an impressive array of significant pieces. With over 8,200 works in five curatorial departments, the museum has established itself as a top destination for art enthusiasts. Thanks to the endowment created by Ralph Hubbard Norton and his wife Elizabeth Calhoun Norton, many distinguished additions have been made to this collection over the years, including some of the most recognized masterpieces of all time. Works such as Stuart Davis’s New York Mural (1964) and Jackson Pollock’s Night Mist (1971) are just two examples of the museum’s commitment to showcasing artwork of the highest caliber. Whether you’re a seasoned art enthusiast or someone simply looking to be inspired, the Norton Museum of Art is a must-visit destination that is sure to take your breath away.

21) The Sandi Tree is 35 feet tall and weighs 700 tons.

The Sandi Tree is truly a magnificent sight to behold. This massive sand sculpture, a true feat of engineering and creativity, finds its way downtown every Christmas. Decorated with twinkling lights, it stands as the centerpiece of the Centennial Square Fountain during December, adding a festive touch to the holiday season. At night, visitors are treated to a dazzling laser light show that perfectly complements the tree’s bright and cheerful aura. Whether you’re young or old, there’s no denying the joy and wonder that the Sandi Tree can bring to your holiday season in Downtown West Palm Beach.

22) West Palm Beach is a popular spring training location for pro sports teams.

Baseball season is just around the corner, and fans are gearing up for a season of cheering on their favorite teams. The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches is a new facility that opened just a few years ago and is a training venue for not just one, but two pro baseball teams: the Houston Astros and the Washington Nationals. With gorgeous weather and top-notch facilities, it’s easy to see why West Palm Beach is a favorite destination for both players and fans alike.

23) The Worth Avenue Clock Tower is actually a memorial.

The iconic Worth Avenue Clock Tower’s unique design and beautiful architecture will leave anyone mesmerized, while its location at the intersection of Worth Avenue and South Ocean Boulevard is a popular gathering spot for tourists and locals alike. The clock tower stands as a timeless monument to the Palm Beach Pier, which was weathered down by hurricanes and eventually demolished in 1969. This stately landmark provides a glimpse into Palm Beach’s rich history and serves as a reminder of the area’s once-thriving water-based entertainment culture. The Worth Avenue Clock Tower stands proud and tall, representing a bygone era, yet drawing appreciation from all who admire it.

view of end of worth avenue with centered clock tower blue sky sunrise and palm trees

24) West Palm Beach hosts tournaments for tennis, polo and croquet.

West Palm Beach is a true haven for sports enthusiasts of all kinds. This sunny destination boasts not only mainstream sporting events, but also tournaments in the fields of tennis, polo, and croquet. Tennis fans flock to the area for events such as the Delray Beach Open and the Palm Beach Gardens Tournament, where they can watch the world’s best players compete for glory. Those with a passion for polo won’t want to miss the US Polo Open Championship, an exhilarating event that attracts thousands of spectators. And if croquet is more your game, the Stingray Golf Croquet Tournament is sure to thrill. No matter what your favorite pastime may be, West Palm Beach is the perfect destination for an sporting getaway.

25) Flagler’s Royal Poinciana Hotel was the largest hotel in the world at the time of its opening.

In the late 1800s, the world was buzzing over the latest architectural feat – the Royal Poinciana Hotel. This mammoth structure stood proudly in Palm Beach, and was renowned as the largest hotel in the world at the time of its opening. Designed and built by Henry M. Flagler, the Royal Poinciana was a symbol of wealth and status, costing over $1 million to construct. Guests were in awe of its sheer grandeur, boasting rooms that could accommodate 2,000 people and a dining room that seated an incredible 1,600 patrons. While it may be hard to imagine such an imposing structure made entirely out of wood, the Royal Poinciana was indeed one of the largest wooden buildings of the late 19th century. Though it was demolished in 1936, its legacy as a pioneer in hospitality and luxury living impacted the evolution of hotel design for years to come.


West Palm Beach has so much more to offer than meets the eye. From its rich history and diverse culture to its beautiful weather and iconic sights, there is something for everyone in this amazing destination. Whether you’re a history buff, a foodie, or an outdoor enthusiast, West Palm Beach has plenty of activities and events to keep you entertained. So why not start planning your next vacation to this hidden gem in South Florida? Check out our West Palm Beach Vacation Guide for even more fun facts, tips, and recommendations to make the most out of your trip. We hope to see you there soon!