Friday, August 19, 2022
By Danielle Peck − On Monday, February 7, 2022, 11:17:04 In Lifestyle
Here are the 13 best things to check out in Boca Raton
Mizner Park in Boca

Florida is home to dozens of gorgeous cities, each offering a different slice of life in the Sunshine State. Boca Raton is no different, offering its spin on stunning beaches and fun in the sun. Spanish for "Mouse's Mouth," Boca Raton's offerings are anything but small. With so many restaurants, shopping locations, tourist spots, beaches, and countless other places to go, Boca Raton's offerings are endless.

We'll list 13 of our favorite things to do in this post while in Boca Raton. Whether you're moving to Boca Raton or just visiting, this article will be a guide you won't want to miss. 

First, What Makes Boca Raton Unique?

Boca Raton is a city beloved by both natives and tourists, and it's easy to see why. Legendary Florida architect, Addison Mizner, designed the city with a Mediterranean Revival style in mind. A century later, Boca Raton still goes by Mizner's design, giving this city a distinct look that you can't find in most other Florida towns.

Boca Raton is also known for being an upscale town. One can find pricier shopping districts and eateries, which are well-maintained. While there are activities and homes in Boca Raton that can fit lower budgets, this city is one where you'll want to have some extra money to enjoy.

Boca Raton's offerings are for the entire family. Adults can find bars, nightclubs, and shopping districts geared for them. Children and families will love the unique science center and beach areas the town offers. Here are our favorites in no particular order.

Red Reef Isn’t An Ordinary Beach

If you’re looking for a beach, try Boca Raton’s 67-acre beach getaway, Red Reef Park. Red Reef offers a breathtaking view of the Intracoastal Waterway and the vast Atlantic Ocean.

Besides your average beach activities such as swimming, suntanning, and even fishing, Red Reef Park offers snorkeling. In addition, you can snorkel and swim in the reef area to enjoy a hands-on experience with the beauty of nature.

If you’re a golfer, Red Reef Park offers its own golf course, which you won’t want to miss. But, of course, Red Reef Park provides a more prominent attraction at its north end: the Gumbo Limbo Nature Center.

For almost four decades, Gumbo Limbo Nature Center has been Boca Raton's exemplary conservation for both land and sea, consisting of 20 acres of natural flora and fauna.

One could get lost in its many trails, including the iconic Boardwalk Trail, which takes you to the center of Florida's natural wildlife. Expect to see mammals, birds, flowers, and picture-perfect moments every time you look around. You can also enter their butterfly garden if you want to experience a colorful cavalcade of butterflies of all types.

Is weather not ideal for being outdoors? Then visit their aquariums. You can experience the aquatic life living inside Boca Raton's beautiful beaches firsthand and see the animal that rules both land and sea, the sea turtle. For families, or kids at heart, you'll love Gumbo Limbo's aquarium feedings, turtle walks, and watching the staff release hatchlings to the wild. Speaking of which, Florida Atlantic University's Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Facility is a part you won't want to miss. There, you can view a laboratory and watch researchers discover new things in real-time.

With that said, parking can be expensive, going for $18 on weekends. So if you want cheaper parking than what the beach has to offer, it may be worth it to park somewhere a bit further away. The walk is worth it.

Want Something Smaller? Try South Inlet Park

If Red Reef Park seems a little filled, head a half-mile to South Inlet Park. This beach allows for sunny fun with fishing, picnicking, and a playground exclusively for children. It's also home to some beautiful nature displays, including iguanas and a breathtaking view on its elevated boardwalk.

This area allows snorkelers, and it has a gorgeous artificial reef where marine life can gather. Expect to see eels, turtles, barracuda, and other surprises. But, of course, if you want to relax, South Inlet Park offers various ways to do so. You can get some rays, enjoy the shade of a palm tree, or wade in its crystal-clear waters. It makes us want to get a home in Boca Raton right by the beach.

Have Children? You Won’t Want to Miss Sugar Sand Park!

At Boca Raton, there's something for everyone, including your children. Sugar Sand Park is unrivaled when it comes to a place your kid won't want to leave. Whether it's for a special occasion such as a birthday or just because, Sugar Sand Park is an experience your child won't want to miss, with 132 acres of learning and neverending fun.

Sugar Sand Park is known for its gigantic outdoor playground, with jungle gyms that look almost like small towns. Next to the jungle gyms are massive sprinklers, letting your kid cool down after a day of play. If you want to relax, Sugar Sand Park has several nature trails, too. You can even grill your own food in designated areas.

But that's just a part of it. Sugar Sand Park is home to several science-themed attractions. The Children's Science Explorium educates your kids, and perhaps yourself while offering interactive exhibits. For example, kids can learn how to build their own car or experience an air cannon. The playground itself provides several ways to learn as well. For example, children can race different fake animals and see how fast they go. For example, your kids can compete with a cheetah, a humbling experience.

The Children’s Science Explorium also changes depending on the year. During spring and fall, the exhibits can change, meaning that it’s a location you may want to take your kids again and again. Of course, if everyone wants to sit down, there's the Willow Theatre as well, which offers music and culture performances often.

So, how much for all of this? It's free! Yes, the park, the Explorium, and most other parts of Sugar Sand Park are free or offer a suggested donation. However, their old-fashioned carousel does cost a dollar to enter, and their gymnasium, the Field House, does offer a fee, with a discount for Boca Raton residents. However, if you have nothing in your pocket literally, you can entertain your children, and yourself, for hours.

Need More Nature? Go to Daggerwing!

The Ruddy Daggerwing is a butterfly with a gorgeous, striking wingspan, and the Daggerwing Nature Center is worthy of that name. Like the Gumbo Limbo Nature Center, the Ruddy Daggerwing has an impressive boardwalk that immerses you in nature. You may see an alligator from a safe distance, see the gorgeous osprey expand its wings, or watch some turtles relax. As you may expect, there’s also a butterfly exhibit, letting you experience those majestic creatures close-up.

Daggerwing Nature Center also has over 3,000 square feet of learning. Their exhibit hall has interactive exhibits, classes, and live animals that you and your children can learn more about. With that said, while the trails are open seven days a week, the exhibits are only open Wednesday to Saturday, with Wednesday through Thursday being only in the afternoon. It may be worth it to call them beforehand to see their hours if you want to see the exhibits.

There are some beautiful homes as well in Boca Raton that sit near Daggerwing. These properties offer convenience and closeness to this beautiful nature center.

Take a Dip in Spanish River Park

We’re not done yet with the many beaches you can visit in Boca Raton. Once the lagoon of Boca Raton, Spanish River Park has evolved into a gorgeous, pristine location where tourists and residents can explore.

Spanish River Park isn't as expansive as the other parks so far, but it's still a gem, offering everything a beachgoer needs. Snorkeling, swimming, kayaking, and it's pet-friendly depending on the times. It even has its own dog park, which is an excellent place for your pooch to meet other eager dogs.

Mizner Park is the Upscale Shopping District, With a Cool Art Museum

In downtown Boca Raton, you can find Mizner Park, a shopping and dining district that symbolizes everything people love about Boca Raton. The Mizner style of architecture shines here, from its iconic triple-layered central fountain to its colorful lights that shine once the sun goes down.

Its shopping center boasts over 40 stores, each offering something different. Of course, you can find upscale jewelry stores, but you may also be able to find something if you have a lower budget. Even if you're not much of a shopaholic, it's still worth visiting for the mere aesthetic of it.

If you want a bite to eat, Mizner Park has a sampling platter of some of the best in cuisine. For example, they have Max's Grille, which offers gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan, and other healthy options. If you're a night owl, there's Calaveras Cantina, which is open until midnight. If you want a pick-me-up, they have a Starbucks as well. Finally, try It'Sugar, a candy store with a lot to offer for kids and adults with sweet tooths.

Mizner Park also has local market events if you're feeling something a little more local. Their Artisan Market happens on Friday nights, and their Farmer’s Marker happens Sunday afternoons. Be sure to check beforehand, as this is subject to change.

Another sight to look for is the Mizner Park Amphitheater. As the name implies, it's a large outdoor venue where you can find concerts, festivals, and other events. Always keep a calendar handy, as you never know what will show up next. If you have a home in Boca Raton, you’ll never run out of events to attend when you’re here.

Speaking of artistic events, one of the most iconic locations in Mizner Park is the Boca Raton Museum of Art. While every city has a museum worth visiting at least once, Boca Raton’s museum is worth visiting multiple times.

Like most outstanding museums, there's always something new to do there, with a rotating list of exhibits and events that are always happening. One of their most unique attractions is their sculpture garden, which has several art pieces that adults and children will appreciate. Expect to see teacups a giant would use, amusing animal sculptures, and other surprises. This museum displays the most significant artworks from local artists, both old and new.

Of course, if you're looking for a more traditional art museum with historical, worldwide art pieces, then the museum has you covered as well. From Picasso to Warhol, the upstairs area has a permanent gallery with some of the most well-known names in art history. You can also find historical African art pieces from before Columbus visited America.

Meanwhile, the downstairs area has contemporary pieces, including mind-blowing photography and glass pieces. If you want a better explanation of each art piece, there's also a tour guide you can follow.

If you have children, the museum has activities that can keep them busy, including sketchbooks, treasure hunts, and other surprises waiting for them.

Hillsboro Inlet Lighthouse is Your Beacon to Fun

Perhaps this entry is cheating slightly, as Hillsboro Inlet Lighthouse is not directly in Boca Raton. Instead, you can find it between the Boca Raton and Ft. Lauderdale area. From Mizner Park, it's about a 16-minute drive, give or take, depending on traffic.

However, this lighthouse is still worth visiting. It has a rich history, constructed of pure iron and even withstanding a hurricane. But, of course, we don't want to spoil too much of its history, as you can discover more if you visit the lighthouse yourself.

One way the lighthouse tells history is through its many memorials. You can find the Barefoot Mailman Statue, which walked 40 miles barefoot to deliver letters. You can see monuments for all those who kept the lighthouse on until its automation in the 1970s. It even has its museum located nearby.

There are many events you can visit as well, including Lighthouse Day in April and monthly tours. So always be on the lookout for the latest happenings at this lighthouse, as it's more than worth it.

Enjoy a Day at Coconut Cove Waterpark

We've talked about beaches a lot in this article, which is fantastic and all. However, there are times when you may want something a bit more thrilling. Ocean waves are great, but they can't beat the excitement of a water slide. That's where Coconut Cove Waterpark comes in.

Coconut Cove has many water slides, some of them going up to four stories. Slide enthusiasts should enjoy what it has to offer, as they go from child-friendly slides to hardcore. If you don't care for slides, visit the lazy river, which is nearly 1,000 square feet of relaxing tube fun.

Despite Florida being warm and sunny all year round, Coconut Cove is a park that is only open seasonally. If you think you can go in January to avoid the crowds, think again. However, if you’re a resident of Boca Raton, you can purchase season passes to enjoy it as much as possible.

There’s also some great properties near Coconut Cover that are worth looking at.

Learn More About Sports History At Sports Immortals Museum

If you're a sports lover, you probably enjoy hearing about its history and love looking at memorabilia. No matter the team, looking at American sports history is quite enjoyable. As the name suggests, the Sports Immortals Museum immortalizes sports history, claiming to be one of the biggest sports memorabilia museums in the world.

It's easy to believe that, too. You'll find floors upon floors of sports items, including cards, boxing robes, golf clubs used by the greats, and many other pieces of history. One of the reasons why this museum is so robust is because from the mind of Joel Platt, a sports superfan. He began collecting when he was young and never stopped. So if you think this is a museum where you'll finish in an hour, think again.

Not only that, but some items are for sale. If you have the money, you may have the temptation to purchase a piece of sports history for yourself. We say to go for it.

Learn More at the Boca Raton History Museum

The Boca Raton History Museum is an excellent place to visit regardless of who you are. Whether you're someone who is moving to Boca Raton, or just a visitor, you can learn more about the city's history. Even long-time residents may learn a thing or two when they visit it.

You can find this in downtown Boca Raton, with its gold dome being a clear indicator. The building was once was the Town Hall, with the newer Town Hall being in a more contemporary location. There, you can find many exhibits that detail the town's rich history and even take guided tours. Call and see when those tours are available, as we recommend them.

Haven’t Had Enough Butterflies? Check Out Butterfly World!

Here's another attraction that isn't necessarily in Boca Raton but is a short drive of around 20 minutes. Throughout this article, several parks have served as butterfly sanctuaries, but we believe this one has them all beat.

Butterfly World is perhaps the largest butterfly park in the entire world, boasting over 20,000 species. Think again if you thought you knew all there is to know about butterflies. You'll meet many unique species with names we don't dare try to pronounce, all with their own beauty. It's an aesthetically pleasing garden with gorgeous fauna, waterfalls, classical music, and other surprises.

This park doesn't just have butterflies, either. It has many species of birds, some of which you can feed. From macaws to lorikeets, you won't be able to move a foot without seeing something new. Its misty tunnel, Tropical Rainforest Aviary, takes you right in the middle of a jungle, and it's worth venturing down.

Like most great conservation parks, Butterfly World is built with a purpose. Ronald Boender, the founder of Butterfly World, is a nature lover trying to find ways to protect the endangered and give butterflies a safe home away from danger.

This activism does not come cheap, as it costs about $32 for an adult and $22 for a child. However, there are discounts available. To truly get your money’s worth, be sure that you go when it’s sunny, as some areas may be closed due to inclement weather.

Visit the Wakodahatchee Wetlands

About 20 minutes from the Mizner Park area, there are the Wakodahatchee Wetlands. This gorgeous area has over 50 acres of wetlands, with a nearly mile-long boardwalk that greets you with wildlife. Expect to find many species of animals, including almost 200 bird species. Unfortunately, the boardwalk is not pet-friendly, but with so many animals to distract your dog, that may be a good thing.

This area is so beautiful that it's hard to believe that it was once just 50 acres of unused utility land. That's right. Before 1996, this area did not exist. Yet, it keeps to its utility roots by treating wastewater and pumping it back into the land, which is awe-inspiring.

Get Lost in the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens

Finally, about 17 minutes from Mizner Park is the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens. This 16-acre area puts you right in the middle of Japan with its many sights to behold. You can look at koi swimming, enjoy the art of the bonsai tree, visit a bamboo forest, and walk across many islands. 

Of course, this is only the Japanese Gardens area. The museum itself, titled Yamato-Kan, is well worth visiting. It sports some unique exhibits and gives you a piece of Japanese history and culture. You can even have some tea in its traditional teahouse. While the weather certainly feels like Florida, this gorgeous area is enough to make you feel like you’ve been transported internationally, at least for an hour.

What About the Lodging?

If you’re visiting Boca Raton, you may wonder where you can stay. Luckily, Boca Raton has many places to lay your head.

If you have a lower budget and don't want to blow your money on a hotel, you can visit the Ocean Lodge, offering rooms at affordable prices. Despite its economy-rate rooms, it has many amenities, including a heated pool, complimentary breakfast, extended stay options, and easy access to the beach. And you can bring your pets as well. If you want to be more adventurous, you can also try some Airbnbs, giving you the taste of being a resident without living there.

If you want the balance between affordability and luxury, there are several mid-range hotels you can try. Boca Raton has a Hampton by Hilton, which offers a swimming pool in the trademark Boca-Raton Mediterranean-style. It has several amenities worth checking out, including a massage service. In addition, it’s right by the Lifetime Athletic Plaza, allowing you to play a game of golf.

Another great option is the Wyndham Boca Raton. The rooms themselves are pretty spacious, so if you're traveling with a family, you won't be cramped. It comes with two restaurants, including the award-winning steakhouse RED, and a healthier option called Farmer's Table. It offers all the amenities you'll ever need, including yoga classes.

For the downtown experience, visit Hyatt Place at Boca Raton/Downtown. While it does not have too many unique amenities, it provides all the basics and is located conveniently downtown. If you're looking for the beach, it's only a mile away.

What about the luxurious hotels? Boca Raton has plenty to choose from as a town ripe for resorts. Boca Raton Mariott at Boca Center has recently been renovated, and kids stay for free. You can stay in some incredible suites with some gorgeous marble bathrooms and bedding that will make you feel like you're royalty.

For something a little more luxurious, check out The Boca Raton. This resort has its own beach with many unique amenities, including a game room, sauna, golfing, water sports, and much more. This property will make you feel luxurious, but it’s still not as ritzy as our final place to stay.

For true luxury, try the Boca Beach Club. This recently-renovated club, which does connect to the Boca Raton Resort, has some great rooms, and it's right on the beach as well. When you open the sliding doors leading to the balcony, you'll feel like you truly live in the heart of Boca Raton. The rooms are spacious, and there are amenities that anyone of any age will love. It's pricey but worth it if you have some money to burn.

What About Homes?

Before we go, let's discuss real estate in Boca Raton. Boca is such a gorgeous city that you may want to move there. Whether retiring or having a fresh start, there are many houses, apartments, and condos available, with some being more affordable than you may think. Of course, if you have a bigger budget, you can purchase a home that will give you a breathtaking view of the beach.

If you’re interested in learning about the ever-changing housing market, please reach out to us. We can help you find the home of your dreams if you want to make Boca Raton your home.


Boca Raton is an incredible area, with many places to shop, dine, explore, and relax. Think of this article as a best-of guide, as the city has even more to offer. When you visit here, you won't ever hear anyone say that they are bored. So come see why people love what this city has to offer.

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