Florida is one of my favorite places to visit. We have been to Florida countless times over the years. It’s such a fantastic getaway for someone like me who lives in the Midwest. I always wanted to be a beach bum, and being in Florida makes it a reality — at least for a few weeks!
Today Boca Raton is known as a playground for some of the very rich and famous. Full of mansions and manicured lawns, Boca is a beautiful city that lives up to its reputation for being pricey. But don’t let that scare you. There’s plenty to do in Boca Raton no matter your budget.
Things To Do In Boca Raton
Snorkel At Red Reef Park
Red Reef Park is a hidden gem in Boca Raton. Located right on the Atlantic Ocean at 1500 North Ocean, it’s well worth your time to check out this park. Bring all your beach gear and settle in for a great day of sun and fun. Red Reef Park offers everything from swimming to fishing to snorkeling. In fact, if you’re into snorkeling, Red Reef is the best place in Boca Raton to do it.
Visit South Inlet Park
I discovered South Inlet Park on my morning walk along Ocean Boulevard. This little park actually feels like your own private beach. There’s a small boardwalk that leads you through a foliage area straight out to the white sandy beach. We liked walking out to the end of the jetty and taking in the view. It’s really a pretty scene with the waves crashing into the rocks — definitely worthy of a few photos if you’re a camera bug like I am. After taking in the view from the jetty, continue your walk on the beach or head back to the grassy area, grab a bench, and watch for boats entering from nearby Lake Boca.
For a fun day on the water, why not try deep-sea fishing? One of our most memorable experiences in South Florida was our deep-sea fishing trip. We booked a private daylong fishing charter for six and had a great time. We were blown away by the variety of fish in the Atlantic.
Catch A Game At Florida Atlantic University
FAU is a Division 1 college in Boca Raton that’s home to the FAU Owls. They have a beautiful campus with all kinds of sports going on. You can catch a baseball game, a soccer game, beach volleyball, softball, basketball, and even football. And, they just recently revamped their football stadium, so it’s all new and beautiful.
Boca Raton Museum Of Art
A nice way to spend an afternoon in Boca Raton is at the Boca Raton Museum of Art at Mizner. The museum offers its regular collection of various types of art including painting, sculpture, and photography, and they offer new exhibits all the time. They also have a cool outdoor sculpture garden that you can take a relaxing walk through.
Try Stand-Up Paddleboarding
If you’ve never tried stand-up paddleboarding, it’s a fun way to spend time on the water and get some exercise. It’s similar to surfing but typically a lot gentler as you use a paddle to propel yourself through the water. It’s a great way to see the shoreline and explore the mangroves.
Editor’s Note: See our picks for the best paddle boards in 2021 here.
Best Restaurants In Boca Raton
Since Boca Raton is a coastal city, there’s a lot of wonderful fresh fish to be had. Some of the best places we’ve found in Boca are the small, locally owned spots.
Flakowitz Bagel Inn
Flakowitz Bagel Inn is my favorite place to have breakfast in Boca Raton. When we were in Boca on this most recent trip we went twice and got take-out bagels one time as well. It’s that good.
Flakowitz has the feel of an New York City deli, complete with the Whitefish and the Nova platter. We didn’t get the fish, but we did sample a whole lot of other things for brunch. The omelets are huge and are a deal considering they come with a side and a bagel or toast for less than $15.
Of course, we got our omelets with the bagels because why wouldn’t you get a bagel at a bagel place! The everything bagel was scrumptious, as usual. I’m also a fan of their huge World’s Best Egg Sandwich that’s served on a bagel and is less than $7!
Editor’s Note: Flakowitz Bagel Inn is so good that it made SJ’s list of her favorite places in the U.S. to enjoy a cup of coffee!
M.E.A.T. Eatery And Taproom
We wanted to try something that was local, casual, and tasty. M.E.A.T. Eatery and Taproom totally fit the bill. We found it thanks to a Google search. We had just finished watching a ball game at Florida Atlantic University and wanted to go somewhere nearby.
I’m glad we did a search online because I honestly don’t think I would’ve given it a second glance just from driving by. But, thanks to Google, we did stop and we had one of the best meals of our trip.
This place specializes in burgers which doesn’t sound all that interesting, but trust me, it is. They’ve won numerous awards for their take on burgers and wings and have consistently been a top-rated Florida restaurant. If you like fresh, homemade, creative, casual food, you’ll like M.E.A.T. Taproom and Eatery.
Where To Shop In Boca Raton
Shopping At Mizner Park
Check out Mizner Park in Boca. It’s part shopping mall and part event center. The stores and restaurants are all on one level with outside access, so it’s not your typical big-box shopping mall. We spent an afternoon window shopping and ended up at my favorite store at Mizner, Sugarboo and Co.
I’m kind of a makeup and skincare junkie, so I love looking around Bluemercury to see the latest trends and deals.
Mizner also has a movie theater on site where you can catch a new release. And, they have an outdoor amphitheater that hosts various shows. All in all, there’s a lot going on at Mizner Park.
Town Center Mall
Town Center Mall is a sprawling, luxurious shopping mall in the heart of Boca Raton. This upscale mall has all the designer stores you think of when you think “ritzy.” We spent a day shopping here and went in and out of all the big names including Gucci, Coach, Louis Vuitton, Cartier, Tiffany and Co, Versace, Lilly Pulitzer, Cole Haan, and Kate Spade, and that’s just to name a few!
There are so many high-end stores here that you’d need a couple of days to shop them all. Even though we didn’t hit all the stores, we did have a blast looking around and checking out the prices!
In addition to all the designer stores, Town Center Mall also has a wide range of places to eat, from casual to upscale. Some of the sit-down restaurants include California Pizza Kitchen, Joseph’s Classic Market, Bazille at Nordstrom, and my favorite, Mariposa at Neiman Marcus. They also have casual places like Chick-Fil-A and yummy Haagen Dazs for dessert.
Best Hotels In Boca Raton
Boca Beach Club
If money is no object, then you could look into booking a stay at Boca Beach Club. The Boca Beach Club is part of the Waldorf-Astoria Resort and is beyond indulgent. You’ll be pampered every step of the way at this oceanfront resort that’s set on a private peninsula in Boca Raton. Inside, you’ll have views of the ocean from your room and can lounge anywhere you’d like on the private beach.
While staying here, you’ll be able to take advantage of all kinds of outdoor activities, including experiencing seven different swimming pools, two championship golf courses, and a tennis center with over 30 courts. Plus, they offer more than 11 different restaurants and lounges for you to dine, along with a sushi bar. I think they’ve thought of everything here!
Hyatt Place Boca Raton
I’ve stayed at the Hyatt Place Boca Raton numerous times. It’s pretty much my go-to because I love the location. It’s adjacent to Mizner Park, so you can eat and shop without driving. Last time we were there we didn’t even rent a car. We walked over to Mizner Park for dinner and drinks a few times which was super convenient. Another option for dining nearby is Louie Bossi’s. It’s actually adjacent to the Hyatt, so you can literally walk right next door and grab dinner or a glass of wine.
Hyatt Place Boca also has a nice pool on one of the upper floors that we lounged around almost every day. As far as the hotel itself, the rooms are typical but do include a sofa bed that is super handy if you have three people sharing the space (or are traveling with children). I think Hyatt Place Boca Raton is a really good value and the location is stellar.
Renaissance Boca Raton
The Renaissance Boca Raton Hotel is a Marriott property and offers a lot of amenities at a good price point. My favorite thing about this hotel is the outdoor pool and pool bar. I love a pool bar!
It’s so nice to be able to lounge at the pool and have a drink. Even if you want an iced tea or a Coke, it’s so convenient to be able to walk over to the bar and order it without having to go inside the hotel. And, the pool bar also has a small food menu as well, so they have you covered if you have the munchies!
For more where-to-stay-in-Boca inspiration, consider these 10 Stunning Oceanfront Vacation Rentals In The Boca Raton And Delray Beach Areas.