Broward County - the filling of the Palm Beach and Miami-Dade sandwich - may sometimes be neglected for the top and bottom slices of glamour and glitz. But, don’t make the same mistake. Along its 23-mile coastline, Broward has a number of Blue Wave Beaches. The Fort Lauderdale beaches are certified annually by the Clean Beaches Council, and those that meet the seven holistic ethics must prove exactly how they embrace them, encouraging respect for the environment.
Among these, Fort Lauderdale Beach is perhaps the most familiar. Only a few decades ago, it was known as a Spring Break capital, where an endless parade of partiers hung from hotel windows. Today, it offers an entirely different scene. With beachside resorts such as The Atlantic Hotel & Spa, Fort Lauderdale Beach is one of the most family-friendly stretches of coastline in the area, with gleaming sand, gentle surf and activities ranging from Stand-Up Paddle-Boarding to cycling along the promenade. North Fort Lauderdale Beach Boulevard features boutiques and restaurants of every stripe, including chic eatery 954 Steak in the W Hotel. If you can’t find anything to your liking there, try the shopping-and-dining destination, Las Olas Boulevard.
Just north of Fort Lauderdale Beach is the laid-back enclave of Lauderdale-by-the-Sea. Named the ‘Beach Diving Capital of South Florida’, there’s a natural coral reef that’s within swimming distance of the shore. Here, the picturesque Anglins Fishing Pier and the village’s charming dining options complete the yesteryear vibe.
Further north, Deerfield Beach hops with activity. In addition to beach volleyball, visitors can fish from the Deerfield Beach Fishing Pier. Making the most of the waves, outfits such as Island Water Sports rent surf, skim and SUP boards, and also provide free lessons for beginners of all ages. Ski Rixen also operates here, providing an exciting activity that’s likened to waterskiing on zip lines. Afterwards, head to The Whale’s Rib Raw Bar, a destination for exhausted beachgoers who are hungry for fried clams and conch chowder.
At nearby Pompano Beach, the Pompano Beach Fishing Pier is a popular place to cast for grouper, snapper, mahi-mahi and amberjack. The beach and surrounding city is, in fact, named after the saltwater fish that’s common in these waters, The Pompano Beach Fishing Rodeo attracts competitive anglers of all ages each year, with Pompano Seafood Festival drawing crowds each April.
Dania Beach Ocean Park also offers beautiful views and bait-and-hook opportunities from its Fishing Pier, as well as shade from its huts and delicious options from the city-run seafood grill. But if you’re simply looking to relax, Hillsboro Beach – at the northernmost point of the county – might be the best option. Quiet and scenic, it’s characterised by the Hillsboro Lighthouse, which operates tours. These sands are frequented by sea turtles that nest in the area, and if you’re really lucky, you’ll be on hand to watch one of the nests hatch when the baby turtles scramble to the sea.
Written by Jen Karetnick
Blue Wave Beaches, Anglin's Fishing Pier, Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, Courtesy Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention - Visitors Bureau
Blue Wave Beaches, Hollywood Beach at Sunrise Photo by AlanMaltz, Courtesy Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention - Visitors Bureau
Fort Lauderdale Florida Beach © iStock: EHStock