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Best Beach in Palm Beach (2006)

Lake Worth Beach

We were thiiiiiis close to naming Red Reef Park in Boca as the county's best beach, considering the fact that it has a golf course, a pristine snorkeling reef, and the seemingly well-funded Gumbo Limbo Nature Center. But when we saw the $17 entry fee, we were like, Whaaaaat? "It certainly keeps the riff-raff out," said a cocky lifeguard who works there. But, um, what if we are the riff-raff? Which is why Lake Worth beach rules. Lake Worth Beach will always rule. It ruled when we were 15 and got really excited to steal our mom's car and drive in circles around the parking lot and flirt with 17-year-olds until the cops booted everyone at 9 p.m. It ruled when we first started surfing and had to put up with locals' show-me attitudes and pay our dues and get better. It ruled when it had a pier (pre-2004 hurricanes) and the fishermen would throw smiles and chat. Lake Worth Beach hasn't changed that much over the years. It still has Hispanic guys yelling "Hey Mami" and old folks who will strike up a conversation as they wait for the bus. It has an amazing breakfast place in John G's (note the line around the building), a great pizza place, a shop where you can buy cheap towels and sunscreen, a swimming pool, a playground, and bonfires during winter months. Drinking a beer at Benny's on the Beach as you watch the sun set and lick the salt off your lips is heavenly. With its aging façade, its broken pier, and even -- no, especially -- with its riff-raff, this is a place to flip-flop your way down the boardwalk and feel beautifully, democratically alive.