Boca Raton isn’t your average place to live, but you knew that already. That’s why you moved here. You knew the first time you came here that there was something special about this place. Maybe it’s the way the warm breeze blows over the Boca Raton Beach after a long journey across the Atlantic, warming itself in the tropical sun; or the way the water flows through the city, curling lazily about the place bringing the sunny scent of salt water everywhere; or maybe it’s just the thunderstorms reminding you that yes, you do technically live in a Tropical Rainforest, but something about the city simply relaxes you. Yet there’s so much more behind the beautiful weather -- from the fascinating history behind the town to the numerous outdoor adventures that await you in this sunny little slice of paradise, you’ll be amazed by what’s behind Boca Raton. 

One of the most interesting things is that Boca Raton wasn’t always Boca Raton. What the Spanish called Boca De Ratones was originally Biscayne Bay -- it was named that because of the rocky bottom of the bay which scraped on the ships that came in. The area around what is now called the Boca Raton Lake was named that due to mistakes by 19th-century Map-Makers.

However, what is now Boca Raton was just a small farming community with a population of 100. However, much of that changed with the arrival of a man named Addison Mizner. Addison was an architect who dreamed of turning the town into a city-resort whose entirety would rival the splendor of Palm Beach. He designed and oversaw construction on many of the historical buildings that still stand today, including the old Town Hall, which is now the Boca Raton History Museum.

This began in 1924, though, and World War II was on the horizon. Much of the land that Addison had used to build his resort was confiscated and put to use towards the war effort. A massive Air Force base was constructed as a training facility for B-29 Bombers, and the only training facility for training radar operator’s in the country. The grounds ended up being donated after the war, and much of it became the grounds for Florida Atlantic University. You can still see where some of the old runways have been turned into parking lots.

Boca Raton was home to two amusement parks through the 50’s but really exploded when IBM announced their plans to build a huge production plant in the late 1960’s. While originally adjacent to Boca Raton proper, the site was annexed into the city by 1970. By this time, the population had grown from 6,951 to 28,506, launching Boca Raton from a small town to a full-blown city.

Being a full-blown city can come with its own set of problems, but transportation isn’t an issue. Cruising around the city is easy here. If you have a car, you’re always a smooth ride away from I-95 and can navigate easily around Florida. Don’t fret if automobiles aren’t for you. There are regular buses provided by both Broward County and Palm Tran. For longer journeys, the Tri-Rail system can quickly and cheaply get you up and down the coast all the way to Miami.

With a simple transportation system, all you really need are places to go, and those are plentiful in Boca Raton. If you have kids, Sugar Sands park is a must. It’s a beautifully-kept, safe, and huge place, measuring out to 137 acres with loads of things to do to keep your little ones entertained and happy. For you, however, Mizner Park is the place to go. Here, Mizner seems to have gotten pretty close his dream, as the park named after him is a fantastically luxurious shopping center of the city. Even if you don’t buy anything, walk through here in the afternoon or evening to take in the beautiful landmarks and architecture before catching dinner and a movie. Here you can bask in the culmination of a trend started by a man with a dream over 90 years ago.

However, if you’re looking for things to do, rather than places to go -- if you’re the adventurous sort, not sated by a mere day at the gorgeous golden beaches, Boca Raton has you covered. The numerous lakes, bays, and rivers make water skiing and wakeboarding an unofficial pastime. Paintball is also fairly popular, but if that doesn’t get your adrenaline up enough, then simply head back into the Everglades. Airboat rides are all over the place, and nothing gets the blood pumping like looking into the eyes of Florida’s apex predator in its natural habitat.

There’s just so much to Boca Raton hidden behind the veneer of a tropical paradise. While, in some ways, Addison Mizner’s dreams of a city-resort have come to fruition, there’s so much history embedded in the streets here that the city has really become something greater: it’s become a home for thousands of people. Hopefully, this has given you a taste of the amazing things you can find here.