The Breakers oceanside resort is Florida at its best, with golfing, beaches, family fun and romantic getaways. Photo courtesy Palm Beach County CVB.

Chicago Rockford International Airport: Enjoy Sun and Sand in West Palm Beach Fall 2010

Summer may be leaving the Midwest, but in West Palm Beach, Fla., it’s always sunny and warm. Starting Nov. 19, Direct Air offers flights to the Atlantic getaway from Rockford. This means you can feel the hot sun on your face within hours, despite the coldest weather at home, and with minimal travel hassles. West Palm Beach is Florida at its best, billed as America’s first resort destination. True to its name, Palm Beach County has nearly 50 miles of sunny beaches, providing plenty of choices for oceanside resorts, golf getaways, romantic retreats, family fun, eco-tours and much more.

Flights enter the award-winning Palm Beach International Airport, which sees about 7 million passengers through its gates every year. The airport offers convenient options for transportation by car, taxi, bus and rail. It’s right off a major interstate and within a few miles of the sunny beachside.

Golfers may enjoy the more than 160 golf courses throughout Palm Beach County, along with the special golf resorts such as the PGA National Resort & Spa Club; the Emerald Dunes Golf Course or the Boca Raton Resort & Club Resort Course.

Of course, there are plenty of choices for lodging around the area, with more than 200 hotels offering more than 16,000 guest rooms. Check out the Boca-Raton Resort & Club, built in 1924 and newly renovated for the modern vacationer, or stop by the Ritz-Carlton, a Mobil Five-Star AAA Five Diamond-rated luxury resort just miles from the airport and the Worth Avenue shopping district.

After the sun goes down, there’s still plenty to do around Palm Beach. Check out places like the Boynton Beach Mall, with more than 135 specialty stores. Shop on the Jupiter-Abacoa Town Center’s classic main street, or check out downtown Delray Beach’s Atlantic Avenue District, with it more than 20 art galleries, alongside unique shops and the Old School Square Cultural Center.

The Palm Beach area is a fun place for the kids, too, with family-friendly beaches, wildlife sanctuaries and zoos, along with water parks, children’s museums and the South Florida Science Museum.

Drive or a take a train outside Palm Beach, and you’ll find even more Florida treasures. Drive south on I-95 to Boca Raton or Ft. Lauderdale, where more popular beachside retreats and cultural destinations await.

Travel just a little further south and see Miami, which has the world’s largest concentration of boutique hotels and more than 50 diveable shipwrecks off its coast, not to mention professional sports teams. Miami is also a diverse city, boasting more than 150 ethnicities, more than 60 languages and a rich cultural and artistic community outside its many shopping and beachside areas.

Southwest of Palm Beach, tour one of the many state and national wildlife refuges protecting the Everglades. Jet around on a private air boat tour, or explore the state’s Native American history at one of the many historical sites and museums.

All those miles of sunny beaches make the perfect location for a beachside wedding or a romantic getaway. Many resorts offer services that can make the big day a memorable experience; others offer quaint retreats for the perfect honeymoon.

Direct Air flights begin Nov. 19, and run Mondays and Fridays through June 27, 2011. Check out more about RFD’s exciting getaways by visiting www.flyRFD.com. ❚

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