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Being largely seasonal, downtown streets in Palm Beach sometimes have no traffic or people during the summer.Photo: Marc Averette
The Lake Trail along the Lake Worth Lagoon

The Town of Palm Beach (called Palm Beach Island or the Island of Palm Beach to differentiate between the town and the county) is an affluent incorporated town in Palm Beach Countymarker, Floridamarker, United Statesmarker. The Intracoastal Waterway separates it from the neighboring cities of West Palm Beachmarker and Lake Worthmarker. As of 2000, Palm Beach had a year-round population of 10,468, with an estimated seasonal population of 30,000. As of 2004, the year-round population recorded by the U.S. Census Bureau is 9,860.


Palm Beach was established as a resort by Henry Morrison Flagler, a founder of Standard Oil, who made the Atlantic coast barrier island accessible via his Florida East Coast Railway. The nucleus of the community was established by Flagler's two luxury resort hotels, the Royal Poinciana Hotel and The Breakers Hotelmarker. West Palm Beachmarker was built across Lake Worth as a service town, and has become a major city in its own right.

Flagler's houselots were bought by the beneficiaries of the Gilded Age, and in 1902 Flagler himself built a Beaux-Arts mansion, Whitehallmarker, designed by the New York-based firm Carrère and Hastings and helped establish the Palm Beach winter "season" by constant entertaining. The town was incorporated on April 17, 1911.


Palm Beach is the easternmost town in Florida, located on a long barrier island.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 27.0 km2 (10.4 mi2). 10.2 km2 (3.9 mi2) of it is land and 16.9 km2 (6.5 mi2) of it is water. The total area is 62.45% water.


Palm Beach, and rest of southern Florida has true tropical climate, and with mean temperatures any month never below 64.4°F (18°C).

The summer and wet period of May through October are hot, humid and wet with average high temperatures of 86 - 90°F (30 - 32°C) and lows of 70 - 75°F (21 - 24°C). During this period, more than half of the summer days bring occasional afternoon thunderstorms and seabreezes that somewhat cools the rest of the day.

The winter and dryer period of November through April are warm and mostly dry with average high temperatures of 75 - 82°F (24 - 27°C) and lows of 57 - 66°F (14 - 19°C). However, the city experiences occasional cold fronts during this period, bringing high temperatures of 50s and 60s (10 - 16°C) and lows of 40s and 50s (4 - 10°C) lasting only for few days.

The annual average precipitation is 61 in (1560 mm), most of which occurs during the summer and wet period of May through October. However, rainfall can occur in any month, primarily as short-lived heavy afternoon thunderstorms. Palm Beach has an average of 133 wet days and 234 sunshine days annually. Hurricane season is officially from June 1 through November 30, with the peak months being August, September and October. The city has received direct or near direct hits from hurricanes in 1928, 1947, 1949, 1964, 1965, 1979, 1992, 1999, 2004, and 2005.

Monthly Normal and Record High and Low Temperatures
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Rec High °F 89 90 94 99 96 98 101 98 97 95 91 90
Norm High °F 75.1 76.3 79.2 82.1 85.9 88.5 90.1 90.1 88.7 85 80.4 76.4
Norm Low °F 57.3 58.2 61.9 65.4 70.5 73.8 75 75.4 74.7 71.2 65.8 60.1
Rec Low °F 27 32 30 43 51 61 66 65 66 46 36 28
Precip (in) 3.75 2.55 3.68 3.57 5.39 7.58 5.97 6.65 8.1 5.46 5.55 3.14


As of the 2000 census, over half the population (52.6%) are 65 years of age or older, with a median age of 67 years. 9.4% are under the age of 18, 1.5% are from 18 to 24, 11.5% are from 25 to 44, and 25.0% from 45 to 64. For every 100 females there are 79.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 77.0 males.

The per capita income for the town is $109,219. Males have a median income of $71,685 versus $42,875 for females. 5.3% of the population and 2.4% of families are below the poverty line. 4.6% of those under the age of 18 and 2.9% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.

The racial makeup of the town is 96% White (93.8% were non-Hispanic White), 2.57% Black or African American, 0.53% Asian, 0.04% Native American, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.21% from other races, and 0.63% from two or more races. 2.56% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

The 10,468 people in the town are organized into 5,789 households and 3,021 families. The population density is 1,031.1/km2 (2,669.2/mi2). There are 9,948 housing units at an average density of 979.8/km2 (2,536.6/mi2). 7.7% of the households have children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.1% are married couples living together, 3.3% have a female householder with no husband present, and 47.8% are non-families. 42.6% of all households are made up of individuals and 27.6% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 1.81 and the average family size is 2.38.

Many of Palm Beach's residents are affluent, with a median household income of $124,562 and a median family income of $137,867. The town's affluence and its "abundance of pleasures" and "strong community-oriented sensibility" were cited when it was selected in June 2003 as America'smarker "Best Place to Live" by Robb Report magazine.

As of 2000, English was the first language of 87.81% of all residents, while French comprised 4.48%, Spanish consisted of 3.65%, German made up 2.16%, Italian speakers made up 0.45%, Yiddish made up 0.36%, Russian was at 0.30% (even though those of Russianmarker ancestry made up 10.30% of the population), Arabic and Swedish at 0.25%, and Polish was the mother tongue of 0.24% of the population.

As of 2000, Palm Beach had the 40th highest percentage of Russianmarker residents in the U.S., with 10.30% of the populace (tied with Pomona, NYmarker and the township of Lower Merion, PAmarker). It also had the 26th highest percentage of Austrianmarker residents in the US, at 2.10% of the town's population (which tied with 19 other US areas).


The city is served by Palm Beach International Airportmarker and Amtrak, as well as Tri-Rail-– all located in West Palm Beach and connecting Palm Beach to Miamimarker.Public transportation is available through Palm Tran, which was offering several routes within the town of Palm Beach until May 10, 2008 and connected with the rest of the county.

The northern portion of Palm Beach is served by the Route 41 bus which travels from the northern most portion of Palm Beach at the inlet and then down to Royal Palm Way, across the Royal Park Bridge into West Palm Beach and up to the government center, and then follows the same route in reverse. This island of Palm Beach was served by the Route 42 Palm Tran bus from Lantanamarker in the south going along State Road A1A up to Royal Poncianna Way where it crosses over the Flagler Memorial Bridge into West Palm Beach to the government center and then back again for the southbound trip. Route 42 ended on May 10. 2008 due to low ridership.

Private vehicles and taxis are the predominant means of transport in Palm Beach. Bicycles are a popular transport on the island, although most areas have no bicycle trails, so safe and comfortable travel is not always assured. The Lake Trail, exclusively for pedestrian and bike traffic, extends from Royal Palm Way (State Road 704) in the south up to the north end of the island. The trail follows the edge of the Lake Worth Lagoon (part of the intercoastal waterway) except for a section between the Flagler Museummarker and the Biltmore Condominiums, where the trail follows the streets. Another break occurs to pass around the Sailfish Yacht Club in the north end of the island.

Traveling by bike along the ocean can be hazardous. Only a short section in the downtown area has sidewalks. The roads along the ocean are narrow and have small or no shoulders, making biking a potentially dangerous activity in those areas.

In the southern end of the island, south of Sloan's Curve, through South Palm Beachmarker to East Ocean Avenue (linking to Lantana) is a two-mile long, relatively wide pedestrian path that is popular with walkers, runners, and bikers alike.

Points of interest

Notable residents — past and present


  2. Köppen Classification Map
  3. Normal Daily Mean Temperatures of Select Cities
  5. [1]
  6. [2]
  9. Martin, Douglas. "Joseph Gurwin, Textile Manufacturer and Philanthropist, Dies at 89", The New York Times, September 26, 2009. Accessed September 29, 2009.

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