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Palm Beach or Ft. Lauderdale as Miami day trips -- suggestions wanted

Palm Beach or Ft. Lauderdale as Miami day trips -- suggestions wanted

Old Apr 1st, 2011, 07:00 AM
  #1  
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Palm Beach or Ft. Lauderdale as Miami day trips -- suggestions wanted

Am exploring the possibility of one or more day trips via commuter rail from Miami. The two of most interest are Ft. Lauderdale or a combo of Palm Beach/West Palm Beach and Boca Raton. All three cities have art museums, and both days have historic house/garden tours, all of which are of high interest. Here are the two itineraries I've come up with so far:

Day trip, Ft. Lauderdale

6:53 AM Airport Flyer Bus to Airport – change to commuter rail 7:40 or 8:20 AM – go to Ft. Lauderdale station
10:00 AM – Bonnet House
12:00 PM – Old Ft. Lauderdale Village and Museum
3:00 PM – Stranahan House (tours at 1, 2, and 3 only)
4:15 PM – Ft. Lauderdale Museum of Art
6:00 PM – International Swimming Hall of Fame
Go to Ft. Lauderdale commuter rail station, 7:50, 8:45, or 9:45 PM train – arrive Airport Station, take Airport Flyer bus to South Beach

Day trip, Palm Beach area (Wednesday)

6:23 or 6:53 AM Airport Flyer Bus to Airport – change to commuter rail 7:00 or 7:40 AM departure – go to West Palm Beach station
9:00 AM – The Breakers
9:30 AM – Bethesda-by-the-Sea Church
10:00 AM – Flagler Museum (tour 11 AM)
Green’s Pharmacy lunch? 151 N. County Rd.
1:00 PM – Norton Museum of Art
On the half hour from 3:00 PM onward: Commuter rail – go to Boca Raton Station – change to bus #94
4:30 PM – Boca Raton Museum of Art (open till 9 PM)
Bus #94 to commuter rail (every 20 mins. till 9 PM – go to Boca Raton commuter rail station, catch 7:22, 8:17, or 9:17 PM train – arrive Airport Station, take Airport Flyer bus to South Beach

Am planning to be on foot except for the Boca Raton part (there is a bus that runs from the train station close by the art museum), and no, I don't mind walking a good bit. There appears to be a trolley in Ft. Lauderdale which might come in handy.

Two things are asked:

--if I am forced to choose only one of these, which would it be given my interests? Am leaning towards the Palm Beach option, but would be interested in hearing thoughts either way.

--whether there are any major attractions I've left out. Again, note well that I will not have a car, so West Palm Beach options like the zoo and Lion Country Safari are out. And no, I'm not concerned about the question of whether to use commuter rail or the Airport Flyer Bus -- in the event these prove impossible, I'm not going at all.

Many thanks.
bachslunch is offline  
Old Apr 1st, 2011, 10:21 AM
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I can't really tell you which is easier/better by public transport b/c I've never done any of this that way. I can tell you the Norton Museum and the Flagler Museum are both very good (although Norton may depend on what's showing at the time) but I have no idea how you'd get from one to the other except by taxi and taxis don't cruise there. There should be taxis at the West Palm train station to take you wherever you want to go and there should be taxis at the Breakers to take you to Flagler. I think adding the Boca stop to the Palm/West Palm day is a lot of trouble for not much reward.
mclaurie is offline  
Old Apr 1st, 2011, 11:57 AM
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mclaurie, thanks for the feedback.

It looks like there's limited city bus service that links the train station to the Breakers area, and walking looks pretty reasonable after that until perhaps going from the Art Museum back to the train station.

Glad to hear the Norton and Flagler are excellent -- that's been my impression from what I've been able to find.

Is it safe to assume the Boca Raton Art Museum isn't much worth seeing? I'm seeing mixed thoughts on it.

Is it also safe to assume the Palm Beach option is preferable to Ft. Lauderdale if only one can be chosen?
bachslunch is offline  
Old Apr 1st, 2011, 12:38 PM
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You didn't say when you trip was scheduled, but the Ft. Lauderdale Museum currently has a well-received Vatican Treasures exhibit.
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Old Apr 2nd, 2011, 12:37 PM
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I've not been to the Ft. Lauderdale places you list so can't make a judgment on those. I have been to everything you list on the Palm Beach option except the church. I would NOT count on a bus from the train station to the Breakers. Take a taxi. The area immediately around the train station is a little iffy and it's obviously too far to walk. You're also going to need a taxi to the Norton museum and from the Norton back to the train. I'd get a business card from the taxi driver at the train station.

I'm saying forget the Boca museum mostly because the trouble you'd go through to get there is not worth what you will find when you get there. It's a small museum and unless there's something there you're dying to see, it's not worth the trouble. I also don't think you'll have the time. Why not just enjoy being in Palm Beach? If you've never been there, it's quite something to behold and there's a lovely walk you can take from the Flagler Museum along the intracoastal. Walking Worth Ave. in town is also quite something.
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Old Apr 2nd, 2011, 01:28 PM
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I would go with Marie Claire, the Norton is a nice Museum although a lot depends in order to compare the Museum in FL and the Norton what is on on both museums at the time of your visit. Special exibits migh incline the balance one way or the other.
Having said this, Florida,s cities are not like NY or any other regular city, the whole structure is to drive. Buses are not that reliable in the sense they take e
long time coming and going and getting wherever you choose to go. I would
go with Marie Claire that taxis seem the only reasonalbe option. Walking is not
easy, in some areas there no sidewalks instead beautiful green areas. Simply the culture is not walking the culture is driving.
Fort Lauderdale has one plus in your case besides being closer to Miami,that is the public Water ,It goes allohat I did with two tourist friends, two ladys from
Barcelona, and they loved it.
WE drove to FL , left the car in the free parking of the Mall there,Gallery Mall in East Sunrise blvd. From there , a short walk to the one a stop of the Water
Taxi ( check in the internet) , actually the stop has to accessed through the lobby of a hotel. After sailing for one hour or so we tool off, I believe it was one stop or two after Las Olas stop , right there in a garden there is a very
nice, inexpensive restaurant, where we had lunch a la Floridian, lots of shrimps and salads. Then too hk the boat back, did a little shopping in the Mall,
Graziella5b is offline  
Old Apr 2nd, 2011, 01:37 PM
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sorry this computer is not working properly, the plus in Fort lauderdale is the
Water Taxi, they have a web site , please check it.I meant to say we got off the water taxi and had lunch in a very nice place which was inexpensive too.
THEN we took a water taxi back , had coffee at the Mall and did some shopping
also sales tax is less in Broward County, that is Fort Lauderdale than in Miami.
again walking is not easy also consider the sun. Usually it is strong. good luck.
If you choose Palm Beach do not miss Worth Street and its tiny alleys, The City
although new is also nice, this is across the new Convention Center, where there
nice art exhibits take place. Both cities have good theaters.
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Old Apr 2nd, 2011, 04:25 PM
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A cab from the west palm tri-rail station to palm beach is about $15. my advice would be to do that, go to the bicyle rental shop on sunset and rent a bike for the day. take the bike to the Breakers, Flagler, Norton, Worth Avenue. Return bike, cab back to train station. You are underestimating the walkability (not bad if it's cool, but brutally exhausting when it's hot which it will be from now to November.) The train station is not a pleasant area. Alternately, rent a car for the day drive to west palm. The train station is 5 miles from Palm Beach, The Norton is 4 miles from the Flagler, Worth Avenue is 2 miles from the Breakers....
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Old Apr 3rd, 2011, 03:15 PM
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Thanks all for the feedback. In fact, I was able to re-work the Palm Beach trip to take advantage of public transportation and some walking (walking 2 miles is no biggie for me, even in the heat).

If I go to Palm/West Palm, have discovered that the #1 bus runs regularly from the train station right past the Norton Museum. Mapquest shows that a walk from the Norton to the Flagler is 1.59 miles via S. Flagler Dr., the ensuing bridge, and Cocoanut Row. This also allows for stop-ins pretty much along the way at the Society of the Four Arts as well as the Bethesda-by-the-Sea church and gardens, which I had hoped to see. Assuming I can cut across the golf course, it's about a third of a mile to the Breakers, about .75 miles if I can't. The #41 bus runs infrequently, but does have three passes by the Breakers driveway on South County Road in the afternoon, and this bus goes directly to the train station. So I can make this work without taxis, cars, and bikes if I reverse the itinerary. Chances are I'll have to drop the side jaunt to Boca Raton, though -- but it sounds like I'm not missing much.

Bus service looks manageable in Ft. Lauderdale. The #9 and #81 buses go from the train station to downtown. Several attractions are close by each other in this area, and the Bonnet House and Swimming HoF are on the #11 bus route. All seem to run with frequency. Also found that the Swimming HoF is only open now from 9 am to 5 pm, so that would have to be first if it's included.

No thoughts on whether to drop either West Palm/Palm Beach or Ft. Lauderdale if I only have time to see just one? Maybe there really isn't much difference in the quality of attractions here. Maybe this will help -- which art museum's permanent collection is better between the Norton Museum and Ft. Lauderdale Art Museum?
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Old Apr 3rd, 2011, 09:23 PM
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I wish to clarify for what it is worth that the WATER Taxi in Fort Lauderdale
is a wonderful option for combined transportation and sightseeing I believe you hop in and out
from the WT paying one ticket fare.
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Old Apr 4th, 2011, 07:07 AM
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I haven't been to the Ft. Lauderdale museum so can't compare the quality of the collections but I will point out that a lot of the permanent collection of the Norton is not on display all the time depending on space, special exhibits and loans. My experience there has been most of the available space in the museum is usually taken up by the special exhibits with a bit of the permanent collection thrown in.

You haven't told us when you're visiting but I suggest you look carefully at both websites and figure out what's of interest TO YOU at the time you intend visiting and/or contact the museums directly to see how much of their permanent holdings might be on display.

You also seem to be pretty stubborn about doing things your way despite asking for advice here. I will repeat fwiw, the area around the train station in W Palm is not great and I don't care what a printed bus schedule might say, I wouldn't depend on buses arriving on time, especially in off season. If the Ft. Lauderdale places are accessible by the water taxi, it might make for a more enjoyable day.
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Old Apr 4th, 2011, 10:15 AM
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Have done some further research elsewhere, and it looks like the issue for visiting West Palm Beach (with some possible spillover into the part of immediately neighboring Palm Beach I'd be walking) revolves around extremely significant crime problems instead of either public transportation reliability or general pedestrian friendliness.

I've seen a report of at least one robbery at the West Palm Beach train station during daylight hours, plus the idea that the Mangonia station at the end of the line is even worse. And if what I'm seeing is correct, the safety issue holds true for this whole stretch of WPB, including not just the train station but the Norton Museum area, downtown, and pretty much anyplace north of there.

In short, it looks as if it would likely not be safe to walk anywhere in this region or take public transportation through it. Essentially, it's a car/taxi or forget it here. Given this, it looks like I'm very likely to give West Palm and Palm Beach a pass.

Will research Ft. Lauderdale for safety elsewhere as well. If anyone is aware of safety issues in the area of that city I'm interested in visiting, please fell free to let me know.
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Old Apr 6th, 2011, 05:49 AM
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I agree with mclaurie , some areas are not walkable, Florida as I mentioned before unfortunatelly because I also love to walk is a city whose main modus of trasportation is by car.
It is not only the heat, the sun, the possible crimes, simply it is not walking friendly often there are no sidewalks like you would encounter in other cities. I am talking of beautiful places with amazing vegetation, well kept, and manicured but somehow the sidewalks were not in their minds. Amazing...? I think so.
We have to analize the absolutely absurd "ways of life" that Florida has gone through for instance decades ago buldings at the sea shore had few windows facing the water, I suppose because of fear of hurricanes, many restaurants were dark with no windows, they had ac but
they did not dare to put tables outdoors. THis has changed dramatically a "pioneer" was South Beach where side walks cafes, sidewalks, and people walking became a new way of life soon to be loved and emulate
I am sure you will find a way to enjoy your stay in Florida , Palm Beach or FT Lauderdale are beautiful places, FT has a few museums, and lively areas and a lovely walking Rambla by the Ocean , tons of canals..... Palm Beach besides the Museums and Landmarks you mentioned has THE CITY a nice walkable area, and Worth Street is a charming street with little alleys.
good luck do not give up, you will find a way.
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Old May 12th, 2011, 11:05 AM
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I've lived in FLL for years. Yes there are buses...but not regularly. Maybe once an hour. You could cab it as FL is pretty small and you can call a cab from your cell. It's not like NYC where cabs are abundant. You have a LOT of activities and no down time. Also from old Fort Lauderdale you will pass the museum on your way to the Stranahan house, so switch those if possible. I think you should relax at a cafe on Las Olas or on the beach. There is a free trolley but I don't have the name or info. Maybe google it.
virginiaomatic is offline  
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