- Celebration of Juan Ponce de Leon's Florida Arrival Highlights History and Hospitality in The Palm Beaches-

THE PALM BEACHES, Fla. (March 4, 2013) - The Palm Beaches are pleased to join in the statewide Viva Florida celebration - commemorating the 500

th anniversary of Juan Ponce de Leon's arrival on Florida's coast - by recognizing several of the area's historic and iconic landmarks.

"The historic year of Florida's discovery is one to be celebrated throughout the world and is particularly significant here in The Palm Beaches," stated the Palm Beach County Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) President & CEO Jorge Pesquera. "Ponce de Leon's arrival to La Florida 500 years ago opened the doors to visitors throughout the state, and ushered in such tourism pioneers as Henry Flagler who settled right here in The Palm Beaches, thereby establishing us as America's First Resort Destination ®."

The travel haven known today as Palm Beach started with Henry Flagler declaring Palm Beach as a "veritable paradise" and starting construction on largest wooden structure in the world - The Royal Poinciana Hotel - and connecting his railroad from the northern United States to South Florida. In 1986, Flagler opened the Palm Beach Inn, which soon became known as The Breakers Palm Beach - now a legendary, five-star resort. With rates starting at just $4 per night in the 1890's, the hotel set the tone for what would become a vacation destination for everyone from Hollywood stars to heads of state, earning Palm Beach the title of, America's First Resort Destination ®.

 Shortly after, the Cloister Inn in Boca Raton sustained the trend and has continued to evolve, with an emphasis on Addison Mizner's signature Mediterranean and Spanish architecture, to become the Boca Raton Resort & Club. Another historically prominent hotel in Palm Beach's landscape, The Brazilian Court Hotel & Beach Club opened New Year's Day in 1926, attracting a guest list of celebrities and dignitaries as it still does today.

Designed as a private residence, and gift, for Henry Flagler's bride, Whitehall is now home to the Henry Morrison Flagler Museum, which highlights the history of Florida's tourism throughout Flagler's time. Several other museums and cultural centers in The Palm Beaches are celebrating the state's history, including the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse and Museum with a special exhibit dedicated to the shipwreck of Ponce de Leon.

Another distinctive experience tied to Viva Florida is Taste History Culinary Tours of Historic Palm Beach County, which infuses local and state history, art, fashion and dining during the four-hour tour of some of the lesser-known restaurants, cafes and cultural centers in the area.

The Palm Beaches features an exciting collection of luxury resorts, boutique and trusted-brand hotels, an innovative culinary landscape, trendy shops and designer boutiques of world-wide fame, and a nightlife that thrives year-round. With 15 distinct districts, 47 miles of pristine beaches, and a staggering collection of attractions and cultural venues, it is no surprise the destination was ranked among the world's best in both the Luxury and Summer Vacations categories by

US News & World Report. With so much to offer, The Palm Beaches truly is the best way to experience Florida.

Visit for more information on The Palm Beaches. For additional information on the statewide celebrations and assets supporting Viva Florida, visit

About Palm Beach County Convention and Visitors Bureau

The Palm Beach County Convention and Visitors Bureau is the official destination marketing organization for Palm Beach County, Fla., with a mission to increase visitation, deliver a one-of-a-kind visitor experience, and contribute to the overall economic development in Palm Beach County. As a non-profit organization, the CVB develops marketing and sales strategies to support tourism, which, as one of Palm Beach County's largest industries, generates an annual economic impact of $5 billion in the local economy, welcomes five million visitors a year, supports 45,000 industry jobs, and helps to ensure Florida remain a tax-free state.

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Media Contacts:

Carli Smith/Palm Beach County CVB, Hope Sarzier/ Hayworth Creative,

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