Growing Up in Paradise

The town I grew up in is not a place that I thought anyone would ever want to visit, mostly because when you grow up somewhere, you don’t think it’s very special. You are used to all the sites and your routine. At least thats how I felt, so it surprised me when I was on a plane home from a trip to Brazil and I was sitting next to a woman and she told me that she honeymooned in my home town. All I could really think was “Why? Theres nothing to do there.” but I didn’t say that because I didn’t want to be rude. I was polite and commented on how nice our beaches are and let her take it away but I was genuinely curious about why she liked it so much. She told me that it was beautiful not just because of the beaches but that the entire town was so cute and quite. She felt like she really got away.

Now I’ve always said that there are only four things to do in Boca Raton Florida;  you can go to the beach, the mall, bowling, or to the movies. Of course I was in high school so the only activities that I ever participated in were going to the beach, the mall, bowling and the movies with my friends so of course I would say that. I spoke with this woman on the plane when I was in high school so in my adolescent mind I thought she was crazy for thinking it was such a nice place to honeymoon. I didn’t realize what an amazing place my home town was until I had graduated high school and was spending my last summer at home before going to college. I spent that summer doing all the things I never had time to do while I was in school.

Boca Raton, Florida

Population: 89,407

For Boca residents, we think of our city as split into two general areas. There is Boca and West Boca. West Boca is more residential while Boca is more touristy. I grew up in Boca, I was pretty much in the center of everything so I was 15 min from the beach (by car) and 20-30 min from the part of West Boca that becomes the Everglades (haha boca jokes).

Boca Raton is what some people call the Beverly Hills of Florida, it is a very luxurious place. The Town Center Mall is filled with top brands and designers and is sure to fulfill your inner shopaholic needs! Not to mention Mizner Park which is a beautiful out door plaza which hosts many high-end dining establishments, boutiques and shops. One of my favorite place to eat at Mizner is The Yard House, it is a restaurant that I go to with my old friends who I meet up with when I am in town (it’s kind of a tradition). Their food is very good and they have a very large variety of beers to choose from. Mizner also holds a great concert series in their amphitheater. A local radio station, 97.9 WRMF, holds a very popular concert there during Christmas time called No Snow Ball. When I used to go to it, it was free, but now I think you pay about 20 dollars to get in and it is a great concert to go to. My first time there, I saw Michael Franti, Sarah Bareiles, and Christina Perri perform. These are famous people (who I can say I saw in concert and paid nothing for it)! It was pretty cool. They usually have a really good lineup every year. Mizner is also a very nice place to just walk around the surrounding area, full of smaller plazas that are very cute to walk by, it is also about a 10 minute walk from the beach! The architecture in Boca is very mediterranean. We have that fancy beach town thing going on.

The beach in boca is really beautiful, there are a lot of coral reefs around to snorkel. If you get a perfect day the water will be perfectly still and clear and you will be able to see your feet through the water, it’s amazing. My last summer before college, I got every day like that and it was the best! Most beaches in Boca require a fee to get into the parks but there is street parking that is free. If you are going to spend the day at the beach paying to get into the park is worth it because you get to park closer and there are picnic areas with grills so you can bring food to make and go over to the beach side. My family has done many of those before and it is always a great time! One of my favorite restaurants that is located near the Boca by the intercostal is called Two Georges at The Cove (technically this is Deerfield Beach but its really really close to Boca). Most locals call it The Cove, it is a very charming sea food restaurant on the intercostal. You can drive there or you can take your boat to get there, thats right, people boat to this restaurant. Its on the water so it works out that way! The food and the drinks are great and the view is beautiful as well! I 100% recommend this place, especially if you’re like me and like to eat locally when you travel. The prices are reasonable and not crazy, definitely worth it for the food quality.  On Ocean Blvd near the beach you will find Gumbo Limbo Park, which is a nature center where you can learn about the natural habitats around Boca. Its is a great place to visit and bring kids. You can see animals such as turtles and walk on the nature path, where if you’re lucky you will see some wild animals (I saw a baby skunk last time I went, it was so tiny and cute). It is very fun for families! Speaking of families, if you have children a great place to take them is Sugar Sand Park (so many childhood memories here). Sugar Sand is designed for kids but I am an adult and still really like it. It has a science exploratory area where you can do cool activities that show you how science works. It also has the coolest play ground ever and if I was still five feet tall I would definitely be all over it but I don’t think I would fit anymore. It is like a huge maze, secret passage way play ground that is super fun for kids and the parents who go in there with them so they don’t get lost. They have picnic areas there too so if your family wants to pack a lunch it is an awesome way to spend the day with your kids. Any child who experiences the playground of awesomeness is sure to have an amazing day!

Bowling is a fun activity to participate in as well, Strikes Bowling Alley is the place to be if you want to go bowling. On the weekends at night they put music on and turn on the cool lights and its really fun! This is also a great family activity. They also have an arcade and a billiards room.

The Cinimark in Boca is also really nice, it is quite beautiful and fancy for a movie theater. There is a restaurant on the second floor of the Cinimark call Bogarts where you can have a elegant dinning and movie experience. You can have drinks and your dinner while you watch the show. For this you need to purchase primer movie tickets, not the regular kind. This is a great date night idea, I have never done it because when I lived in boca I was too young to get in, you have to be 21 to dine in the primer area of the theater but fear not parents there is a day care in the theater. You can drop your kids off there and go see that R rated movie that would give them nightmares while you eat a delicious dinner and sip your wine!

Boca is also 30 minutes from West Palm Beach Fl and is an hour away from Miami Fl. It is ideally located where you can visit these big cities and come back to the cute and quite town to spend the rest of you time in.

Boca Raton is my home town and I would recommend visiting it to anyone because there really is a lot to see and a lot of amazing experiences waiting to be had!

If there are any questions or suggestions please feel free to comment in the comments section!




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