Palm Beaches’ Top 5 Photo Locations
By Bob Gibson
1. Palm Beach Lake Trail—Five and a half miles of lake views, Coconut Palms, meticulously landscaped mansions with gardens bursting with color and sleek ocean going yachts are visual treats along the meandering pedestrian and bicycle trail. Photo stops include the The Society of Four Arts sculpture garden, the Henry Morrison Flagler Museum, the giant Kapok behind “Sea Gull Cottage” an example of the earliest homes on Palm Beach, the Palm Beach Inlet dock, and the old Bethesda by the Sea Church. Also the best place to photograph Downtown West Palm Beach fireworks displays. Best of all, its free.
2. Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse and Museum—Climb the 105 steps to the top of a beautifully restored lighthouse, that has survived countless hurricanes. Panoramas of the ocean inlet, the Intracoastal Waterway and Loxahatchee River are the photographer’s reward.
The surrounding hilltop enjoys the highest elevation in the County and was once the center of a 5,000 year-old civilization. Today it includes an observation deck beneath a massive Ficus Altissima tree, a turn of the century Florida pioneer home, a restored light keeper’s residence with displays for kids, a museum and gift shop. A bonus for wildlife photographers: is the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse Outstanding Natural Area with walking trails though Florida scrubland and palm groves.
Best time for photos: The monthly “moonlight tours”. Only drawback: no tripods or camera bags allowed on the Lighthouse Tour. Adult admission is $12.
3. Coral Cove Beach Park and Blowing Rocks Preserve.
Both areas, located one-half mile apart have dramatic rocky shorelines that make for great “crashing wave” and “long exposure” photos. However, Blowing Rocks Preserve is not open for “sunrise” photos—a shame because it is the most dramatic of the two locations.
A bonus of Blowing Rocks Preserve is the best beachcombing in Palm Beaches. Admission is free to Coral Cove. Blowing Rocks has a small donation box.
4. Riverbend Park, Jupiter—Hard shell packed, bicycle and pedestrian trails weave throughout the 680 acre nature preserve. The terrain is varied from grassy marshes to open lakes to densely forested Cypress Groves.
White tail deer, Barred owls, Sandhill Cranes. Osprey, Hawks, Egret, Herons and Ibis reward the early morning wildlife photographer. Best time is winter and spring where the populations of these animals increase dramatically, and migratory birds such as Roseate Spoonbills and Wood Stork join the flocks feeding
along the shallows. I rank Riverbend above Everglades National Park for bird photography. Why? Because many of the enviroments found in the Everglades are “compacted” into a small area that a photographer can easily roam—and find shooting vantages without the limitations of boardwalks and designated “photo areas”.
5. A-Tie: Clematis Street / West Palm Beach Waterfront and the Juno Beach Fishing Pier.
Clematis Street is photo central for colorful building murals, yacht-filled waterscapes and a large outdoor fountain. Year round concerts, green markets and street fairs draw photographers to downtown West Palm Beach in all seasons. A “must see” for all camera enthusiasts is the Palm Beach Photographic Center, Gallery and Pro Shop.
The Juno Beach Fishing Pier—makes a great foreground for sunrise photography and background for fishing and surfing captures. The beach is wide and sandy, the lifegaurds are friendly and the cost to walk out on the pier is only a few dollars per person.