The Small Coastal Town with the Largest Tiki Bar in South Florida: Lantana

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At just a little over 2 square miles, it’s safe to call Lantana small. Just steps away from South Palm Beach, Lantana overlooks the intracoastal river as well as the Atlantic Ocean. Surprisingly – with neighbors who’s names have “Palm Beach” in them – Lantana retains the old Florida feel and pace of the fishing village it once was. Chanel and Hermes may be strolling the promenade a few miles away, and nearby Donald Trump’s lavish Mar-a-Logo home with its private members-only resort is asking a price tag of $100,000 to join, but in Lantana your faded favorite fishing t-shirt and neon orange flip flops from WalMart aren’t looked down upon.

Gray pony tails on men and waist-long bleached hair on their wives. Capri pants on dad and grandma with no bra. Surfers with golden locks women kill for and toddlers with tattoos. None cause a double-take. (Perhaps a lingering single, but not a double.)

Lantana is named after the flower, was home to some of the area’s earliest settlers, and its first two mayors were women!

Today the beauty of Lantana, besides its water views, is the mom-and-pop motel within walking distance of the largest tiki bar in South Florida. I wanted to start a hashtag: #wwd – within walking distance – but I’m afraid Women’s Wear Daily would sue.

 

THE BEACH

100 N. Ocean Blvd.

Lantana, FL  33462

lantana-beach-yellow-flag2

  • PARK/WALK:  Parking is $1.50, and access to the beach is up a flight of stairs.
  • GO/RINSE:  Public restrooms and showers on site.
  • CROWD FACTOR:  There were very few people when we visited (but it was cloudy and windy) and the beach here is narrow; we imagine it could get crowded during high season and holidays.
  • GUARDS:  Yes.
  • IMBIBE: No.
  • BEST FRIEND:  No.
  • WE LOVE:  Dune Deck Cafe – pictured below – serving breakfast and lunch Monday- Friday and brunch Saturday, Sunday and holidays 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., is right there.

 

dune-deck-view

 

THE BAR

Old Key Lime House

300 E. Ocean Ave.

Lantana, FL  33462

561-582-1889

 

old-key-lime-house

Morris B. Lyman, one of Lantana’s founders, built his home in 1889 on the waterfront which is now the site of Old Key Lime House. Family owned and operated, Old Key Lime House is Florida’s oldest waterfront restaurant.

 

  • VIBE:  Super casual, Key West style decor. No A/C but powerful fans and breezes from the water keep diners cool.
  • ARRIVE:  By boat or by car. The parking lot can fill up quickly so many take advantage of the free valet service. Or walk the short distance from your mom-and-pop motel! (See below.)
  • SIT:  Upstairs, downstairs, outside under cover or at the floating bar which is totally open to the elements.
  • SIP:  Happy hour is Monday through Friday 4-7 p.m.
  • NOSH:  Some items you might expect in a waterfront restaurant with three bars, such as coconut shrimp and fish and chips, but also inventive choices like Quinoa and Forbidden Black Rice Cobb Salad and Roasted Cedar Plank Salmon.
  • LISTEN:  Live music most days of the week, check their website or call for the schedule.
  • WE LOVE:  The many choices for where to enjoy the serene water views and the lively atmosphere.

 

view-ryans-roost

two-palms-key-lime-house

 

THE BUNGALOW

Barefoot Mailman Motel

138 S. Dixie Highway (Rt. 1)

Lantana, FL  33462

561-585-0600

 

barefoot-mailman-office-front

 

When you pull into the Barefoot Mailman Motel parking lot, right on Rt. 1, the u-shaped motel looks like an old, spartan motorcourt motel from the 1950’s. The welcome surprise is just around the corner, as you can see above. The owners have taken an older property and added unexpected touches; in addition to the garden setting to the side of the motel, there is a cheerful covered communal patio kitchenette with an adjoining raised deck with tables and chairs. Free coffee in the mornings is available here, as well as ice and other necessities.

 

  • VIBE:  Old-Florida mom-and-pop, basic, clean, and updated – all you need when you’ll be spending most of your time outside of your room.
  • WALK:  A short walk to The Bar, through a lovely residential setting. Lantana’s main street with shops and restaurants is just a block away. The beach is a mile, over the bridge.
  • DECOR:  Simple and neutral. The bathroom is small but clean, with new sinks and fixtures.
  • SLEEP:  Amazingly comfortable beds for the extremely affordable price, as well as luxuriously cool and soft sheets. (I was thrilled! I’m the #sheetnazi)
  • EXTRAS:  Free wi-fi, fridge and microwave in most of the rooms, and if not the shared patio kitchenette is kept sparkling clean* and is easy to access. Flat screen t.v.’s in all rooms.
  • RATES:  Rooms start at $55 a night.
  • WE LOVE:  The surprising comfort of the place as well as the feeling of safety despite the location on Rt. 1.  The short walk to The Bar!

*I know I keep saying ‘clean’, but isn’t that one of the most important requirements?

 

 

barefoot-mailman-room-and-bathroom

baref-mail.room-front

 

My around town photos were a disappointment! The next day dawned with a depressing rain shower, and even after the rain stopped my camera lens and my phone both fogged up and I didn’t have time to Google “Yikes my phone and my DSLR lenses are foggy! What shall I do??” I’ll show you my pics anyway, but going forward here is the trick:  you stuff your camera down your shirt! Read more about why in this informative article I found on The Digital Picture, here.

 

hootchie-cootchie-lantanaHoochi Coochi Wax Studio, and Palm Beach Bakery & Cafe

 

marios-italian-lantanaMario’s Ocean Ave

 

good-vibes-cafeGood Vibes Cafe

 

pink-house-mailboxThe walkable neighborhood on the way to Old Key Lime House is full of delightful bungalows!

 

key-lime-sailorOld Key Lime House Fisherman’s stoic yet wretched facial expression mirrored mine regarding the weather this day!

 

Despite our blustery gray final day in Lantana, we were so delighted with the small town atmosphere, the walkability, and the superlative size of the festive tiki bar, we know our fellow off-the-beaten-path travelers will be too.

 

Lantana is on Florida’s Atlantic coast, 12 miles south of Palm Beach and 36 miles north of Fort Lauderdale.

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