Susan Barnes

Correspondent

  • Tampa, Florida, USA

Susan Barnes is a Forbes Travel Guide correspondent who lives in Tampa. Her father was in the Army, so she moved around a lot in her formative years. Barnes has a passion for discovering and exploring new places and cultures and sharing stories with readers. Her work has appeared in GirlsGetaway.com, NewYorkPost.com, CheapoAir.com, AARP.org and a number of print outlets. You can always find Barnes on the hunt for her next travel assignment.

  • On July 16, 2013
    Susan Barnes answered the question: Susan Barnes

    What should I pack for a trip to Palm Beach?

    When packing your bags for a trip Palm Beach, beach gear is a must. Be sure to tote along swimsuits, sunglasses and especially some sunblock — the bright Florida sun can get you any time of year.

    If you’re visiting in the summer, throw in a few pairs of your favorite shorts and tank tops, and your walking shoes and sandals. You’ll also want to bring a few resort-casual outfits for nice dinners out. Bring a light sweater, too — restaurants tend to keep the air-conditioning turned up, and you’ll feel it if you chill easily. An umbrella is another good idea; summer storms pop up in the afternoon and can leave you soggy.

    During the spring, fall and winter, long pants and capris will get you through the day, and a light sweater or jacket will keep you warm during the cool evenings. As always, it’s always a good idea to check the weather just prior to your trip.
  • On July 16, 2013
    Susan Barnes answered the question: Susan Barnes

    What is the best way to see Palm Beach in two days?

    If you have two days to spend in Palm Beach, you may choose to spend one of the days baking on the beach. But if you want to do more than work on your tan, you’ll have a number of options.

    Start your first morning strolling along Worth Avenue in the heart of Palm Beach, just steps from the sand. The strip of upscale shops is Florida’s answer to Rodeo Drive. Among the 250 boutiques on the strip, you’ll find Chanel, Tiffany & Co., Jimmy Choo, Hermès, Armani, Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels.

    After lunch at one of the cafés on Worth Avenue, head to the Norton Museum of Art, the largest museum in Florida. There, you’ll see works from 19th- and 20th-century masters like Gauguin, Matisse, Miró, Monet, Picasso, Hopper and Pollock. The museum also carries an impressive collection of Chinese art, contemporary art and photography. Afterward, relax at a waterfront restaurant, watch the sunset and reminisce about your day.

    The next morning, visit Spanish River Park in nearby Boca Raton. The 95-acre park — which has 850 feet of ocean frontage — is a fun place to spend the day. Climb up the 40-foot observation tower for an aerial view, or hit the fitness trails for a quick workout.

    After lunch — choose an on-the-water spot for the best views — check out the South Florida Science Museum in West Palm Beach. Test your mind with some brainteasers, touch a 232-pound meteorite from space, view Egyptian artifacts or safely experience the force of a tornado. The hands-on, interactive exhibits and laser and star show will keep you busy for hours.

    When the sun’s about to set, make your way back to the beach and take a walk. The gorgeous beach is the city’s best asset, so don’t leave Palm Beach without sinking your feet into the sand.
  • On July 16, 2013
    Susan Barnes answered the question: Susan Barnes

    What is the best way to see Palm Beach in one day?

    If you have one day to spend in Palm Beach, you may just want to stay on the beach and soak up the sun’s rays or play in the Atlantic. But if you want to explore the area, you can get a good feel of all that Palm Beach has to offer in one day.

    Start your morning strolling along Worth Avenue, considered the Rodeo Drive of Florida. Window-shop among 250 boutiques, including Chanel, Chanel, Tiffany & Co., Jimmy Choo, Hermès, Armani, Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels.

    After lunch at one of the cafés on Worth Avenue, visit the Norton Museum of Art, the largest museum in the state. There, you’ll see works from 19th- and 20th-century masters like Gauguin, Matisse, Miró, Monet, Picasso, Hopper and Pollock. The museum also carries an impressive collection of Chinese art, contemporary art and photography.

    At the end of the day, toast the sunset at a waterfront restaurant and make plans for your return visit to Palm Beach — you’ll realize one day just isn’t enough.
  • On July 16, 2013
    Susan Barnes answered the question: Susan Barnes

    What’s the best time to visit Palm Beach?

    Any time is the right time to visit Palm Beach. Traditionally, spring is a beautiful season there — warm, without being as humid as the summer months. That beckoning warm weather and sunny skies oftentimes make for the perfect retreat from the lingering northern winter months. On the other hand, Floridians typically flood Palm Beach in the summer to lounge by the beach or pool and soak up the sun.

    Of course, for many, the beach is a fall and winter destination — holidays are always popular — and you’ll find tourists enjoying the balmy days then, too. The cooler weather is the perfect time to get outside and enjoy one of the myriad events held in the Palm Beach area, including Art Palm Beach, ArtiGras Fine Art Festival, the South Florida Fair, tennis championships and golf tournaments, not to mention spring training as that time of year approaches. Whatever time of year you choose to take a trip, Palm Beach will be ready with great weather.
  • On July 16, 2013
    Susan Barnes answered the question: Susan Barnes

    What are the five best free things to do in Palm Beach?

    If your wallet starts to feel the pinch, there are plenty of things to do in Palm Beach that won’t make it hurt even more. Here are our picks for the five best free things to do in town:

    1. Hit the beach. Obviously, Palm Beach’s premier attraction is its miles of beaches. Throw down a towel or pull up a lounge chair and soak in the rays, or grab your boogie board and ride the Atlantic waves. Locals say that Jupiter Beach is best, but another popular pick is Delray Beach, due to its proximity to the downtown Atlantic Avenue strip. Whichever you choose, a day at the beach is always a fun — and wallet-friendly — day.

    2. Take a hike. Walk along the 2.5 miles of trails through 90 acres of pine flatwoods and wetlands at Okeeheelee Nature Center in West Palm Beach, just off of the Florida Turnpike and west of the Atlantic Ocean. You’ll also have the chance to visit hands-on exhibits and get up close and personal with live animals, such as birds of prey and snakes, or go on an owl prowl after the sun sets. Admission to the center is free; there may be a charge for special programs. Though be forewarned that the Nature Center’s exhibits are closed Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays.

    3. Soak up local history. Learn about the history of Palm Beach and its surrounding areas at the Richard and Pat Johnson Palm Beach County Museum. Housed in a 1916 courthouse in downtown West Palm Beach, the museum features two permanent exhibits — The People Gallery and The Place Gallery. In the former, learn about those who established the area and helped develop it into what it is today, including pre-Columbian inhabitants, Seminole Indians, early pioneers, educators, influential leaders and more — all through video displays, kiosks and exhibits. The Place Gallery is filled with models and photographs of the area’s natural environment, and the animals and ecology that make it unique.

    4. See some art. The largest museum in Florida, the Norton Museum of Art, offers free admission select Saturdays. The museum is internationally known for its 19th- and 20th-century Chinese, European and American works of art. It also boasts a good selection of Contemporary art and photography.

    5. Go biking. It’s not free, but almost. For just $5, join in the full moon bike rides at Riverbend State Park, and finish up with s’mores alongside a bonfire. It’s a nice way to see the city after dark. Check with the park for dates and times.
  • On July 16, 2013
    Susan Barnes answered the question: Susan Barnes

    What are the five best things to do with kids in Palm Beach?

    There’s plenty to do in Palm Beach that will appeal to you and your kids. Of course, you can spend all of your days frolicking on the beach. But if you want a reprieve from the sun, here are our top picks:

    1. Play at the park. Spanish River Park’s 95 acres — with 1,850 feet of ocean frontage — offer a fun place to spend the day with the kiddies. Climb the 40-foot observation tower for an aerial view, or stay on the ground and take a stroll along the trails.

    2. Check out the zoo. Go international without leaving the country when you visit the 1,500 animals from North, Central and South America, Asia and Australia at the Palm Beach Zoo. Be sure to see the adorable tiger cubs.

    3. Splish-splash around. You and your kids will make a splash at Rapids Water Park. Zoom down one of the park’s 16 water slides, or if you want to go low-key, float along the lazy river.

    4. Spot a turtle’s nest. From May through October, you may come across a turtle nest along Palm Beach’s sandy shores. A quarter of the state’s sea turtle nesting happens there. If you’re lucky, you’ll catch a female slowly trudging her way from the water to continue the circle of life. Learn more about these amazing animals at the Loggerhead Marine Life Center.

    5. Get your hands on science. If science is more your thing, visit the nearby South Florida Science Museum. Its hands-on, interactive exhibits and laser and star show will delight you, not to mention your kids. Touch a 232-pound meteorite and see the only adult female mastodon in the state.
  • On July 16, 2013
    Susan Barnes answered the question: Susan Barnes

    What are the five best romantic restaurants in Palm Beach?

    You can find romance at nearly any restaurant in Palm Beach — after all, it is a beach city. However, if you’re looking for tried-and-true romantic spots, be sure to make reservations at one of the following restaurants for an evening to remember:

    1. The Restaurant. When the sun sets, the Four-Star Restaurant at the Four Seasons Resort Palm Beach becomes a romantic dinner destination. All of the tables in the dining room have a view of the ocean. Spend the evening whispering sweet nothings over a delectable American meal and candlelight.

    2. The Ritz-Carlton, Palm Beach. For an intimate dining experience, reserve a cabana and have a table set for two at the Ritz-Carlton, Palm Beach. When dinner is served, you’ll be left alone to enjoy each other’s company with stars twinkling overhead and the crashing waves of the Atlantic Ocean providing the soundtrack.

    3. Top of the Point. The stunning views add a dramatic backdrop to the warm décor and decadent cuisine at Top of the Point at the Breakers. Add that to your dining companion and unobtrusive, impeccable service, and romance is sure to bloom.

    4. Renato’s. An elegant, fine dining experience is what’s in store when you make reservations at Renato’s on Worth Avenue in the heart of Palm Beach. European cuisine and attentive service make this a popular choice to celebrate an anniversary or other special occasion.

    5. The Courtyard. If you’d like to dine alfresco, do breakfast or lunch in the Courtyard at the Chesterfield Hotel. The flower-filled space will set the mood for romance under the sun.
  • On July 16, 2013
    Susan Barnes answered the question: Susan Barnes

    Which five Palm Beach restaurants are best for brunch?

    When you crave a delicious brunch, it can be hard to navigate through all the pancake-laden options in Palm Beach. Here’s our list of the five Palm Beach restaurants that offer a fabulous brunch:

    1. Temple Orange. At the Ritz-Carlton, Palm Beach restaurant’s “Freshly Squeezed” Sunday Brunch, you’ll find staples such as meat-carving and omelet stations. But you will want to head straight for the pancake cart, which rolls around with indulgent toppings like chocolate chips, bananas, nuts, berry compote and warm sugar cane syrup. Or, eat like a local and fill up on shrimp and chilled seasonal seafood. Round out your meal with family-style pastries and desserts.

    2. Ocean Bistro. Stop by the Ocean Bistro at the Four Seasons Resort Palm Beach and order tweaked brunch favorites, including croque madame (brioche, Swiss cheese, ham, turkey and fried egg), steak and eggs, or barbecue short-rib hash with poached eggs and lemon hollandaise sauce.

    3. The Circle. Brunch is celebrated at the Circle at the Breakers. The domed room with 30-foot frescoed ceilings and Renaissance-inspired murals is filled with delectable selections, complimented by drinks concocted by the bartenders on hand. And forget your diet — there are more than 30 desserts on offer.

    4. Buccan. Newer to the brunch scene, Buccan is the place to go for twists on the usual suspects. Try dishes like ham-and-egg pizza, butternut squash beignets, eggs Benedict with roasted heirloom tomatoes, and bacon, shrimp and grits, and buttermilk friend chicken.

    5. Café Boulud. Found within the Brazilian Court Hotel & Beach Club, Café Boulud was the first of chef Daniel Boulud’s outposts of his Manhattan location. The prix fixe, three-course brunch menu is filled with unexpected dishes, but those you’d expect from this exceptional chef. Go for a wild mushroom omelet; a mâche salad and truffle vinaigrette; grilled chicken paillard with watercress, fennel, endive and a grapefruit basil vinaigrette; or moules frites with crispy pommes frites.
  • On July 16, 2013
    Susan Barnes answered the question: Susan Barnes

    What are the five best Palm Beach food experiences?

    If you’re a foodie, you’re going to love your time in Palm Beach, whatever time of year you visit. The city’s culinary scene is brimming with experiences that are worth savoring. Here are our five best picks for Palm Beach food experiences:

    1. The Metropolitan Cooking & Entertainment Show. In the spring, make plans to attend the Metropolitan Cooking & Entertainment Show. A star-studded lineup — think the Food Network’s Paula Deen, Bobby Flay and the Neelys — joins the 100 or so exhibitors, live cooking demonstrations and tasting workshops. Each year features a new slew of celebrity chefs and demos, so even if you’re a repeat attendee, you’ll always find something new.

    2. Try discount dining. Palm Beach Restaurant Month and Flavor Palm Beach are month-long events designed to get you to try area restaurants. Both fine-dining spots and more casual eateries offer prix fixe, three-course lunch or dinner menus for a fraction of the typical prices during these promotions. The events are typically held in the summer and early fall, respectively.

    3. Palm Beach Food and Wine Festival. Worth Avenue in the heart of Palm Beach sets the scene for the Palm Beach Food and Wine Festival, a premier tasting event your stomach won’t want to miss in the winter. Well-known chefs like Daniel Boulud, David Burke and Michelle Bernstein have participated in the fest. The most exclusive restaurants in the area showcase their best food and wines — all you need to do is taste and sip.

    4. The Garlic Festival. Garlic lovers rejoice during the annual Garlic Festival in nearby Delray Beach. As you can imagine, garlic takes center stage in everything offered during the wintertime food festival. Don’t miss the chance to taste garlic ice cream.
  • On July 16, 2013
    Susan Barnes answered the question: Susan Barnes

    What is Palm Beach’s restaurant scene like?

    From casual beachfront joints to exquisite fine dining, mainstream restaurants to intimate, candlelit cafés, you’ll find something to please your palate in Palm Beach. No matter where you go, seafood reigns as the food of choice here. Whether it be yellowtail snapper from the Keys or local conch, fresh-from-the-ocean goodies will be listed on almost every menu in town.

    The hottest spot right now is Buccan, a contemporary American restaurant. For brunch, you’ll find twists on the usual suspects: ham and egg pizza, butternut squash beignets, eggs Benedict with roasted heirloom tomatoes and bacon, and buttermilk fried chicken. When dinner rolls around, the tapas menu at Buccan won’t disappoint, with dishes such as steak tartare with grilled bread, black truffle and crispy egg yolk; fried Ipswich clams with pork belly, cherry pepper aioli and lemon and parsley salad; squid ink orrechiette with sausage, conch, basil and chilies; or bacon-wrapped Florida peaches with an orange ginger glaze, blue cheese and greens.

    Another fine-dining option is the Restaurant at the Four Seasons Resort Palm Beach. Every table in the Four-Star restaurant affords a view of the ocean and candlelight sets the mood. The Restaurant specializes in Atlantic seafood, like a local yellowtail snapper served alongside lobster mashed potatoes and basil vin blanc, or ahi tuna and jumbo prawns, boniato, citrus, shiitake and onion relish.

    For dessert try a regional specialty: Key lime pie. Old Key Lime House, the oldest waterfront restaurant in the state, serves a mean version of the tart custard pie. It’s a must if you want to taste a slice of Florida.
  • On July 16, 2013
    Susan Barnes answered the question: Susan Barnes

    Where is the best Palm Beach shopping?

    When the shopping bug bites, you’ve got plenty of options to choose from in Palm Beach. You’ll definitely want to make your way to Worth Avenue in the heart of Palm Beach, just steps from the sand. Who needs Rodeo Drive when you can stroll the avenue among the beautiful people and peruse boutiques like Chanel, Tiffany & Co., Jimmy Choo, Hermès, Armani, Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels? Worth Avenue is home to about 250 upscale shops.

    More mainstream shopping can be found at CityPlace in downtown West Palm Beach. The open-air shopping center features Sephora, Banana Republic, Anthropologie, Williams-Sonoma and plenty more shops to exercise your right to charge.
  • On July 16, 2013
    Susan Barnes answered the question: Susan Barnes

    Where can I go to watch sports in Palm Beach?

    Sports fans will find plenty to cheer about when visiting Palm Beach. Start your engines and watch drag or kart racing at the Palm Beach International Raceway. If you visit in February, you can catch the Palm Beach Grand Prix. Though, you can take the wheel yourself and enroll in a driving course.

    In the winter, equestrian fans will delight in watching a polo match, steeplechase or dressage at any of a number of centers throughout the Palm Beach area. You can even mount your own horse and ride along Palm Beach’s 300 miles of trails.

    Baseball die-hards make a pilgrimage to South Florida in the spring to see the Florida Marlins and St. Louis Cardinals, both of whom have spring training at Roger Dean Stadium in nearby Jupiter. Grab your Cracker Jacks and you’re set.

    If your game takes place on the gridiron, travel just about an hour away to watch the Miami Dolphins battle it out at Sun Life Stadium.

    Of course, if you’d rather sit back with a pint and watch the game on TV, there are plenty of bars in the area that are sure to show your favorite team: Grease, Duffy’s and O’Shea’s Pub in downtown West Palm Beach; Dive Bar in Jupiter Island; or the Old Key Lime House or Dave’s Last Resort and Raw Bar in Lake Worth.
  • On July 16, 2013
    Susan Barnes answered the question: Susan Barnes

    What is the best Palm Beach nightlife?

    Many choose to visit quiet Palm Beach to get away from it all, which means it’s not a banging spot for nightlife. However, if you want to party the night away, there are several options in and around Palm Beach. In West Palm Beach, make your way to Feelgoods Rock Bar for a rockin’ good time. Dance the night away to tunes from a live band or a DJ. Other West Palm Beach spots are Gratify, which has a pub atmosphere, or the Blind Monk Wine Bar, where you can sip a glass with friends.

    In nearby Delray Beach, Falcon House is popular for its creative cocktails and laid-back vibe, while the Office is a gastropub with a bar-next-door feel. Buddha Sky Bar offers a rooftop bar with views of the ocean in an exclusive setting. And if you want to stay in Palm Beach, try Cucina Dell’Arte, the hot spot on the island. People hang out at Cucina daily till 3 a.m., drinking grappa and noshing on seafood. It’s one surefire place to party in Palm Beach.
  • On July 16, 2013
    Susan Barnes answered the question: Susan Barnes

    Where are the best places to hear live music in Palm Beach?

    When you want live music in Palm Beach, you’ll have to travel a bit, but these spots are well worth the short drives. In nearby Lake Worth, the blues are alive and well at Bamboo Room, or stop by open mike night at Havana Hideout. Make your way to neighboring Jupiter and you may find a national band headlining in the intimate venues of Guanabanas or Square Grouper. The Back Room Blues Bar in Boca Raton features — what else? — blues, while Respectable Street in West Palm Beach is the southeast’s oldest alt music club, often hosting national touring bands on its stage.

    For a low-key outing, every Thursday night in downtown West Palm Beach is Clematis by Night. It’s a free evening of music with a variety of genres taking the stage.
  • On July 16, 2013
    Susan Barnes answered the question: Susan Barnes

    What are the best Palm Beach museums?

    If you’re looking for the best museums in Palm Beach, start with the state’s largest, the Norton Museum of Art. It exhibits works from 19th- and 20th-century masters like Gauguin, Matisse, Miró, Monet, Picasso, Hopper and Pollock. The internationally known museum also carries an impressive collection of Chinese art, contemporary art and photography.

    For some local history, try the Flagler Museum. It’s dedicated to railroad tycoon Henry Flagler, who was instrumental in developing south Florida. His hotels also helped establish tourism in the state. Want more history? Check out the Richard and Pat Johnson Palm Beach County Museum, housed in a 1916 courthouse in downtown West Palm Beach. The museum features two permanent exhibits — The People Gallery and The Place Gallery. In The People Gallery, learn about those who helped build up the area and develop it into what it is today, including pre-Columbian inhabitants, Seminole Indians, early pioneers, educators, influential leaders and more — all through video displays, kiosks and exhibits. The Place Gallery is filled with models and photographs of the area’s natural environment, and the animals and ecology that make it unique.

    If science is more your thing, geek out at the South Florida Science Museum in West Palm Beach. Test yourself with some brainteasers, touch a 232-pound meteorite from space, view Egyptian artifacts or safely experience the force of a tornado. The hands-on, interactive exhibits and laser and star show just might make you forget about Palm Beach’s lovely beaches — at least for a little while.