Finding the gems in a large metropolitan area are tough... even when you live there for years! Because we want your stay to be as hassle-free as possible, we've compiled a list of favorites and places that you might find interesting and useful.

AREA INFORMATION

Catamarans on Delray Beach

Check the Downtown Delray Current Events schedule for an updated list of local festivals and events.

By far, Delray Beach is our favorite beach in South Florida. The beaches are clean, beautiful and not crowded. Parallel parking on A1A is metered, so bring your quarters! Don't forget, evenings are a great time for the beach too; pickup sushi or subs, and relax!

The Delray Beach Library is the closest and nicest; a great place to relax & catch up on your reading.

NATURE & WILDLIFE

You can walk to Caloosa Park from the house through the neighborhood! Great for your daily jogging or exercise loop. Racquetball, tennis, roller hockey, playground, basketball, soccer and baseball fields.

Gumbo Limbo Nature Center offers Sea Turtle and Hatchling Tours. Live Marine Life saltwater tanks with Sea Turtles, Sharks, Fish & Rays. Boca Raton $3 per person.

Green Cay Nature Center is a really neat place to see the "real" Florida. 100 acres of constructed wetlands offers Birding, Photography, and Peaceful Strolls on the Elevated Boardwalk, complete with Interpretive Signs & Nature Center with Live Exhibits, Turtle Pond, Frog Terrarium, Alligator Hole. Boynton Beach FREE!

Tri-Colored Heron

Wakodahatchee Wetlands is a smaller constructed wetlands, but none the less wildlife. 3/4 mile boardwalk winds through the ponds, excellent birding, photography and relaxing strolls. Turtles, frogs, alligators, and birds galore. Delray Beach FREE!

Peanut Island, located in the Intracoastal near the Lake Worth Inlet, has swimming, fishing, a snorkeling lagoon, camping, and boating. Water-taxis are available for foot traffic for around $10 RT. Boats can launch from Phil Foster Park, under the bridge.

Lake Ida Park is a nice park right around the corner from the house, great for a picnic lunch, fishing, jet skiing or a relaxing walk by the lake. Dog park, too.

Jonathan Dickinson State Park is a great place to explore the beautiful Loxahatchee River, Florida's first nationally designated "Wild & Scenic River." Ten miles of this blackwater stream winds through the park, from a cypress and hickory forest at the headwaters to a mangrove wilderness. Ranger-guided tours of the 1930s pioneer homestead of Trapper Nelson are available year-round. Rent canoes & kayaks at the park. Located south of Stuart, about a 45 minute drive north.

Arther Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge is the place for REAL Everglades non-motorized boating! Meaning if you're not comfortable in alligator territory, then this trip isn't for you. If you have no fear, then there is a long canoe & kayak loop through the wetlands to explore. Pack a lunch and stop at the floating chickee about halfway for a break. For non-boaters, there is a Cypress swamp boardwalk stroll, great birding and alligator spotting from the land. 10 miles west of Boynton Beach

MUSEUMS & GARDENS

Boca Raton Museum of Art is one of South Florida's finest cultural attractions, presenting ever-changing exhibitions; a permanent collection including works by Degas, Arman, Matisse, Modigliani, Picasso, Louise Nevelson and Andy Warhol; an outstanding photography collection; and important collections of Pre-Columbian and African art.

The Morikami Museum & Japanese Gardens is a center for Japanese arts and culture, with rotating exhibitions in its galleries, tea ceremonies performed monthly in its Seishin-an tea house, an educational outreach program. The gardens are ranked 8th among more than 300 Japanese Gardens outside Japan by the Journal of Japanese Gardening. One of a kind.

Vizcaya Museum and Gardens

Visit the Flagler Museum in Palm Beach to learn about Florida from the beginning, when Henry Flagler's railroads and luxury hotels established tourism and agriculture as the mainstays of Florida's economy. Discover the Gilded Age, the most fascinating period in American history.

Fairchild Botanical Gardens is a must see for anyone interested in Tropical Gardens. My favorite! Tropical flower garden, spiny forest of Madagascar, rainforest, vine pergola, Victoria amazonica pool, butterfly garden, palmetum, tropical fruit pavilion, conservatory, Bailey Palm Glade, Jewels of the Caribbean, and the Keys Coastal Habitat just to name a few highlights. Walking tours, tram tours or stroll at your leisure. It's a little over an hour drive south to Coral Gables, but well worth it. Make a day of it and have lunch at their relaxing, outdoor Garden Cafe.

South Florida Science Museum and Planetarium has 60-degree, full dome presentations, making it one of the most technologically-advanced planetariums in the country. The museum has interactive science exhibits, natural history exhibits and laser light shows. West Palm Beach

The beautiful Vizcaya Museum & Gardens features an Italian Renaissance-style villa and formal gardens built in 1916 as the winter residence of industrialist James Deering. Spectacular views of Biscayne Bay. An hour drive down to Coral Gables. Make a day out of it and stop by Coconut Grove for lunch or dinner.

Museum of Science & Discovery is great for kids! They also have some interesting films on IMAX. Fort Lauderdale

ENTERTAINMENT

Palm Beach Zoo... Loads of fun! Who doesn't like the zoo?

For movies, there is a new theater right down the street Cinemark Boynton Beach 14 at Boynton Beach Mall. For valet service, and VIP seating with food/wine service, go to the Cinemark Boca Raton with VIP Seating & Valet, a 10 minute drive south.

For family fun, Boomers has Mini Golf, Bowling, Bumper Boats, Game room, Go Karts, Laser Tag, Rock Wall, Kiddie Playland. 10 minutes south in Boca Raton.

Always a classic, the Boynton Beach Lanes Bowling Alley is right around the corner.

The Hard Rock Seminole Casino is where it's at for gambling and nightlife. There's also lots of restaurants, shopping, entertainment and bars. About 30 minutes south.

Whether you're looking for restaurants, movies or entertainment, there's always something going on at these places: Atlantic Avenue in Downtown Delray, Mizner Park in Boca Raton (check out the concert schedule for the amphitheater) and City Place in West Palm Beach.

RESTAURANTS

Dining on Atlantic Avenue

The Sundy House Restaurant is a must do! Dine in lush, tropical gardens complete with koi ponds. Check out their Sunday Brunch.

Boston's on the Beach is a great place for fruity drinks beach side. Casual dining, New England Style Seafood & Fresh Local Catch. Live music regularly.

They call it "Sushi nightlife." Kyoto Sushi is a hip sushi joint in downtown Delray, the place to go for sushi & cocktails in a lounge atmosphere.

If you're looking for a Florida-style experience, the Banana Boat and Two Georges offer Waterfront Dining on the Intracoastal. Banana Boat is the more casual of the two, with live music frequently. Both have boat slips and outdoor dining.

For a nice dinner on the town, nothing beats 32 East on Atlantic Avenue. With a bistro ambience and extensive wine list, it's fine dining in a comfortable setting.

Sazio's is a great little place on Atlantic Avenue for New York style pizza at reasonable prices.

If you make the trip down to Lincoln Road Mall in Miami Beach, Spris is an all-time favorite for Neapolitan pizza. Check out their BEAT THE CLOCK special! The Van Dyke Cafe Upstairs is a great place to grab a bottle of wine and listen to some jazz.

SPORTS

DIVING: This website has great information on nearby dive sites in Boynton Beach and also West Palm Beach

TENNIS: The City of Boynton Beach Tennis Center is within walking distance right across the street. And the Delray Beach Tennis Center, home of the International Tennis Championships, is a 5 minute drive from the house.

GOLF: You are in Golfer's Paradise. There's the Delray Beach municipal courses, Breakers in Palm Beach, the PGA Resort in Palm Beach Gardens, the famous Doral in Miami, and about a million more to choose from.

SHOPPING

The Boynton Beach Mall is good for a quick trip to Macy's and other main stores.

The Town Center at Boca Raton is great, upscale regional mall. They have all the nice stores.

Worth Avenue in Palm Beach is the ultimate in Luxury & High-end Shopping.

Sawgrass Mills Mall is the bargain shoppers mecca. Ultimate in outlet shopping, check out their new luxury and high end additions. Wear comfortable walking shoes cause you are in for a trip! (Men & husbands beware).