Ft. Lauderdale's Spectacular Beaches Focus on the Balance of People and Nature
By Dale Mack
Fort Lauderdale Local Expert
Ask anyone coming to Fort Lauderdale and it's all about the beaches. They're legendary. They appear on postcards, in movies and the internet. From kids to college students to newlyweds to movie stars, Ft. Lauderdale beaches have seen them all. For you, if you are planning the perfect vacation day soaking up the sun, playing in the sand, or swimming in the ocean, then our Fort Lauderdale guide is just what you need. Our 10Best list highlights the best places to soak up the sun, with Fort Lauderdale Beach being a favorite of our editors and readers. But if you're more interested in seeing nature up close and personal on unspoiled coastlines, then plan a day at John U. Lloyd Beach State Park, or the refined Hillsboro Beach. Families especially love the popular playful sands of Deerfield Beach, Pompano Beach and Lauderdale-By-The-Sea, where sun worshippers and the playful at heart gather for the full Florida experience. For the visitor who not only wants the sun, the fun and the ocean as well as convenient shopping and dining, it's off to the famous Hollywood Beach with its Broadwalk and endless fun. And, of course, for those whose ideal day on the beach means rest and relaxation, surrounded by hushed tropical breezes and swaying palm trees, then it's off to Hallandale Beach or the tranquil Dania Beach. So the turn off the laptop and the cell phone, pack your beach attire, and get ready for a relaxing day of taking in rays.
10 Hallandale Beach
Don't be distracted by South Florida's endless development and seemingly extinct natural terrain. It's not all high rises and Oceanside estates. There are some select places that resume their natural state for all to enjoy. Hallandale Beach is one of them. This is home to the region's southernmost seashore and is a village-like paradise featuring one mile of serene, unspoiled coastline where beachgoers savor an uninterrupted soundtrack of crashing waves and singing seabirds. Cozy chickee huts offer a respite from the midday sun, while playgrounds, bocce ball courts, boating trips and saltwater fishing excursions provide plenty of fodder for afternoon adventure. At lunchtime, visitors can chow down on scrumptious snacks from the seaside concession stand. (954-458-3251)
9 North Ocean Park
Lauded by many as the most breathtaking of all Greater Fort Lauderdale beaches, North Ocean Park's coastline is simple seaside beauty at its best. With its entrance conveniently located at Northeast 16th Street off of A1A in Pompano Beach, boaters, swimmers, sunbathers and snorkelers revel in the warm sand and crystalline waters, while anglers cast out from the jetty, and the Hillsboro Lighthouse serves as a postcard-perfect backdrop. Picturesque views in every direction are exactly what the Florida beachside coastline is supposed to look like. Also, because the park is designated as a beach for wind-driven instruments, the landscape is often awash with the vibrant colors of high-flying kites and outdoor enthusiasts. (954-786-4111)
8 Dania Beach
Truly Americana at its finest and home to some of the region's most gorgeous and secluded sandy stretches, Dania Beach, Florida is a family-friendly, small-town beach sprinkled with lush palms and sandwiched between gently-sloping dunes and the glistening Atlantic. Perhaps one of the least crowded of all area beaches, visitors can leisurely stroll the golden seashore or cool off in a Seminole "chickee hut" while little beachcombers delight in oceanfront playgrounds. The well-loved pier is ideal for hopeful anglers and hungry beachgoers who can savor just-caught seafood at the pier restaurant. Conveniently located just south of downtown Fort Lauderdale on Federal Highway, this is the perfect location for the perfect beach day. (954-925-6935)
7 Hollywood Beach
One of the region's most beloved seashores, Hollywood Beach, Florida draws visitors and residents from far and near. Boasting miles of clean, beautiful coastline surrounding the famous 1920s-era Broadwalk, a popular attraction that runs 2-1/2 miles up and down the coast, and named one of America's top 10 nostalgic boardwalks by "USA Today." This charming paradise offers countless outlets for seaside fun, including a water park, paddleball, volleyball, yoga classes, water sports, live concerts and festivals, as well as an abundance of tasty dining options, beachside shopping and rows of cozy sun beds beckoning with promises of exciting beachy bliss. (877-672-2468)
6 Lauderdale By The Sea
The quaint seaside village of Lauderdale By The Sea, with a reputation as a Low-Key Get-Away, is set on a picturesque barrier island where the only sounds are the soothing rush of waves and the occasional shout of excitement from lucky fishermen on Anglin's Pier. Lauderdale By The Sea still has that laid-back beach village appeal that draws visitors back year after year. This beach is also a popular diving spot, as it is one of few Florida locations where the magnificent three-tier natural coral reef system is within swimming distance of the shore. Plan a Friday night visit when the street that runs through town is shut off to traffic, a stage is set up and live music is enjoyed. (954-776-1000)
5 Pompano Beach
Because of a bend in the Gulf Stream, Pompano Beach, Florida boasts some of the warmest and clearest water in South Florida, satisfying even those beachgoers known to toe-test the water and then head straight back to their sun-drenched towels. Named for the saltwater fish found exclusively in area waters, this popular coastline also features a wide, sugary beach for sunbathing, an offshore reef for diving and snorkeling and a 24-hour pier that enables visitors to enjoy the unparalleled beauty of a moonlit ocean. This is what people think of when they think of a Florida beach. Set some time aside to also enjoy the city's popular annual Pompano Seafood festival and Fishing Rodeo. (954-941-2940)
4 Deerfield Beach
Award-winning Deerfield Beach, Florida is a cove-like paradise with 3,000 feet of sparkling shoreline. The beach is vast and tranquil, perfect for romantic retreats or family getaways, but there are also plenty of activities for bold beachgoers. For the playful, plan a day can be spent at Ski Rixen, one of America's first cable water ski parks. This amazing water skiing system was designed to pull its guests silently over glassy smooth water without a boat! Show off your spike in a volleyball game or your architectural prowess in a sandcastle-building venture. Then, take it up a notch with water sport excursions, or haul in the catch of a lifetime from the 920-foot pier. Whether the goal is to catch some sun or have a day of fun and adventure, Deerfield Beach is the place for it all. (954-480-4200)
3 Hillsboro Beach
With spectacular views of the 1907-era Hillsboro lighthouse, the most powerful light on the east coast, Hillsboro Beach is among the most tranquil of all Fort Lauderdale beaches. This pristine, isolated seashore is the perfect place to escape from the everyday. Amidst warm taupe sand and glittering green-blue water, beachgoers can swim, sunbathe and seek out sea turtle nesting spots, and relax while watching a stream of yachts enter through the Hillsboro Inlet. In addition, visitors can view a charming stone statue dedicated to the 19th-century "Barefoot Mailman," representing the mail carrier who walked from Palm Beach through Broward County and into Miami delivering mail, taking him seven days, between 1885 and 1892. (954-427-4011)
2 John U. Lloyd Beach State Park
Not all of the beaches in South Florida sizzle with crowds of beautiful people. Visitors seeking peaceful, uncrowded beaches adore this Fort Lauderdale area sanctuary set on an unspoiled 251-acre barrier island. Located just north of Dania Beach and south of downtown, guests can kayak along mangrove-lined waterways, scuba dive in one of the area's easiest yet most enchanting dive sites or simply lounge on the wide, sun-drenched beach. The park is also one of the county's most important sea turtle nesting sites, and a summertime awareness program enables visitors to learn about and often witness the nesting phenomenon. Perfect for nature enthusiasts or just a day away from it all. (954-923-2833)
1 Fort Lauderdale Beach
This beach chic destination is one of Broward County's exceptional Blue Wave Beaches. The world-famous Fort Lauderdale beachfront boasts four miles of publicly accessible coastline backed by a colorful array of exclusive shops, inviting sidewalk cafes and exciting entertainment venues. And for those who just can't get enough of this world class stretch of coastline real estate, there are some of the finest luxurious condominium options in the world. Once known for being a Spring break party zone for college students, this newly-renovated beach is now a family-friendly destination where visitors can swim, Jet Ski, snorkel and dive in the exceptionally clear waters, or simply stroll along the award-winning wave wall and majestic, palm-lined promenade and enjoy the unique buzz in the air that is Fort Lauderdale Beach.
About Dale Mack
Dale Mack has been involved in Fort Lauderdale tourism and promotions for over twenty years. Working for Travelhost Magazine in Dallas, Texas, he was especially drawn to the edition published by the Fort Lauderdale Associate Publisher; the city's beauty, its energy and the fun-in-the-sun atmosphere. When an opportunity came to relocate to Fort Lauderdale by another company, Dale accepted. He has spent the last eight years discovering "the Venice of America" and South Florida itself. Dale is the author of three children's books and numerous articles. He has also worked as a copywriter for the South Florida real estate market.
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