Not even an hour north of Miami, coastal Deerfield Beach is an award-winning “Blue Wave” beach because of its excellent water quality and beach conditions, safety, habitat conservation policies, and more. It’s also a laidback vacay for those wanting a quiet weekend getaway that includes eating, drinking, shopping, swimming, fishing, camping, and even cable skiing (a cross between skiing, surfing, and wakeboarding).
Tour the Mediterranean-Style Butler House
Built in 1923 and listed in the National Register of Historic Places since 1995, the Mediterranean Revival-style Butler house once belonged to civic leaders and Deerfield Beach pioneers, James D. and Alice Butler. Prominent figures in the local landscape, the Butlers—who came to Deerfield Beach from Texas in 1910—willed their home to the Deerfield Beach Historical Society in 1977. Fully restored since then, the home now operates as a museum and is open for tours from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays.
Learn About Wild Cats Native to the City
From nature trails to zoos and even the boardwalk, there’s a lot to do outdoors in Deerfield Beach when the weather is mild. If you’re an animal lover, pay a visit to the Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge. Located in Immokalee, this refuge helps to preserve the natural habitat of wild cats native to the area, which should help stabilize and grow the population. Besides the Everglades, this is one of the largest protected areas in the state of Florida.
Try Your Hand at Watersports
Ski Rixen in Deerfield Beach is one of the first boatless water skiing parks of its kind in the country and has been operating in the U.S. for over 30 years. Here, you can try your hand at water skiing, while being propelled by powered cables instead of a boat. Try wakeboarding, kneeboarding, and even waveless surfing at the Ski Rixen facility located inside Quiet Waters Park. Lessons are also an option. No matter your age or experience level, there’s something for everyone here.
Hit Up Some Restaurants on the Boardwalk
If you like seafood, you’re in luck because there’s lots of it in Deerfield Beach. Catch the sunset at JB’s on the Beach with a seafood-focused menu, live music, and ocean views. Another great seafood joint nearby is Oceans 234, where you can also catch the sunset while indulging in surf and turf dishes along with offerings from the raw bar. At The Whale’s Rib, you’ll get an old Floridian feel and freshly-caught fish. “Whale” fries are a favorite here along with dolphin (mahi mahi) fingers and the dolphin wrap.
If seafood isn’t of interest, try Baja Cafe, where authentic Mexican dishes are a must, as well as cocktail using one of 300 tequilas on the menu. A little on the pricier side, EVO Italian was inspired by the owner’s Sicilian mother’s and grandparents’ Italian homestyle cooking and family recipes that have been passed down from generation to generation.
Head to West Palm Beach
Just 30 minutes away from Deerfield Beach, West Palm Beach has loads of activities for couples, friends, and families. There are bars, art galleries, and restaurants within walking distance of the Brightline, which is a fast train that stops in Fort Lauderdale and Miami and will eventually head north all the way to Orlando.
Catch the West Palm Beach Green Market if you’re in the area between October and April; you’ll find tons of fresh fruits, veggies, and baked goods as well as coffee and smoothies. Then there’s the Palm Beach Zoo & Conservation Society. With over 600 animals from around the world, the Palm Beach Zoo is home to mammals, fish, reptiles, birds and is a great place to spend the day walking and learning. The PB Zoo also has lots of seating areas for when you need a break, a Nature Play Pavillion and Fountain, a Safari Train, a cafe in case you get hungry and, of course, a gift shop.
Become One With Nature
Are you a fan of flowers? Visit the Deerfield Beach Arboretum, which is dedicated to preserving Florida’s natural environments, plants and animal species. Here, you’ll find hundreds of types of plants, trees and flowers, most native to Florida.
Stroller and wheelchair friendly, the Deerfield Beach Boardwalk is a great place to get your steps in. It’s family-friendly with easily accessible parking and is close to local shops, restaurants and more. If you’re a lover of parks, another great one—covering around 1,000 acres—is the Burt Aaronson South County Regional Park. This park is home to a golf course, a waterpark, a racquetball court, and tennis courts. Check the park’s website for programming; it’s known to host events and live music throughout the year.
Take a Stroll Through Science Museums
If it rains (which is likely in South Florida), you can head to the nearby Museum of Discovery and Science in Fort Lauderdale or to the South Florida Science Center and Aquarium in West Palm Beach. You (and the kiddos) will be entertained for hours until the storm passes and you can get back outdoors.
Visit the Bonnet House and Learn Its Century-Old History
The Bonnet House Museum and Gardens in nearby Fort Lauderdale was acquired as a wedding gift by Frederic Clay Bartlett and Helen Louise Birch in 1919. Tour the plantation-style home that includes a main house, art studio, music studio, and guest house. Take a tour (they take place hourly) or grab a bite to eat at the Little Cafe. Keep your eyes open for manatees in the Boathouse Canal and check the estate’s events calendar before visiting; if you get lucky, your visit will coincide with something fun like birding classes, calligraphy and watercolor workshops, orchid care classes, basket weaving lessons, concerts under the stars, or a holiday event.