DETAILS: Palm Beach on a Budget
GETTING THERE: A number of airlines offer service between the Washington area and West Palm Beach; if you find a cheaper flight to Fort Lauderdale, consider driving 50 minutes north to Palm Beach. Fares on Southwest, which offers nonstop flights from BWI and connecting flights from Dulles to West Palm Beach, often dip well below $200 if you catch a sale.
WHERE TO STAY: Consider staying just off the island in West Palm Beach, where room rates are markedly cheaper, especially during the peak season (generally Christmas to the end of April). During low season, hotels on Palm Beach drop their prices by at least half.
I stayed at Grandview Gardens (1608 Lake Ave., 561-833-9023, http:/
The Bradley Park Hotel (280 Sunset Ave., Palm Beach, 561-832-7050, http:/
The Palm Beach Historic Inn (365 S. County Rd., Palm Beach, 561-832-4009, http:/
WHERE TO EAT: Palm Beach is full of extravagant dining options, but here are some relatively inexpensive choices.
*Testa's (221 Royal Poinciana Way) is a prime spot for eggs Benedict brunches (from $7.50) and casual lunches (most sandwiches are less than $10).
* Like a mini Whole Foods, Market Salamander (155 N. County Rd.) is a good spot to snag a takeaway lunch. Most sandwiches are about $9.
* There's no shortage of silicone at Ta-boo (221 Worth Ave.), a celebrity-spotting mecca. And if you stick with one of the large dinner salads (from $15.50) or a selection of appetizers, the prices are downright affordable. Bonus: Few of the by-the-glass wines surpass $8.
* Cucina dell'arte (257 Royal Poinciana Way), an Italian restaurant with a breezy street-front patio (gourmet pizzas average about $17, pasta dishes from $19), morphs into one of the island's most freewheeling and unpretentious bar scenes after 10 p.m.
BUDGET ACTIVITIES: Staying at the Breakers (1 S. County Rd., 561-655-6611, http:/
The Henry Morrison Flagler Museum (1 Whitehall Way, 561-655-2833, http:/
Mid-Town Beach (400 S. Ocean Blvd.), just north of Worth Avenue, is as beautiful as urban Florida beaches get. Beach access is free, and metered parking is $2 per hour. There are lifeguards year-round.
INFO: The Palm Beach County Convention and Visitors Bureau (800-833-5733, http:/