Florida: A guide to Fort Lauderdale beaches

By: Jen Karetnick

October 13, 2015

Fort Lauderdale beaches © Shutterstock

Fort Lauderdale beaches © Shutterstock

A Guide to Fort Lauderdale Beaches | A Blue Wave Beach

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. These certifications are coveted, and those that meet the seven holistic ethics must prove exactly how they embrace them, encouraging respect for the environment.

A Guide to Fort Lauderdale Beaches | Fort Lauderdale Beach
 A Blue Wave Beach of Fort Lauderdale © Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau

Among these, Fort Lauderdale Beach is perhaps the most familiar. Only a few decades ago, it was known as Spring Break capital, where an ongoing parade of partiers hung from hotel windows. Today, it has 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, from chic eatery 954 Steak in the W Hotel to the coastal cuisine-oriented s3. And if you can’t find anything to your liking there, try the shopping-and-dining destonation, Las Olas Boulevard.

A Guide to Fort Lauderdale Beaches | The Atlantic Hotel & Spa
Stay at The Atlantic Hotel & Spa © Doug Castanedo, courtesy of Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau

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 not only rent surf, skim and SUP boards, but they 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.

A Guide to Fort Lauderdale Beaches | Footprints in the sand
Leave your footprints in the sand © Doug Castanedo, courtesy of Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau

At nearby Pompano Beach, the Pompano Beach Fishing Pier is a popular place to cast for grouper, snapper, mahi-mahi and amberjack, with exceptionally warm and translucent waters. 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 the crowds in 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 iIf 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.

A Guide to Fort Lauderdale Beaches | A seagull on the sand
See the wildlife of these Blue Wave Beaches © Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau

Connecting you to numerous destinations across the United States and Canada, our partnership with Delta makes it simple to book a trip to Fort Lauderdale, or direct to Miami with Virgin Atlantic.


Do you have a favourite beach in Fort Lauderdale? Let us know in the comments section below.


Header image: The iconic wave wall of Fort Lauderdale Beach © Doug Castanedo, courtesy of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau


Written by Jen Karetnick


Jen Karetnick

Miami-based poet, writer, critic and educator Jen Karetnick’s fourth chapbook of poetry, Prayer of Confession, is out now from Finishing Line Press, and her cookbook, Mango, is due October 7, 2014 from University Press of Florida. She also has a full-length book of poems, Brie Season, forthcoming from White Violet Press/Kelsay Books in late 2014. She works a million jobs, including Creative Writing Director at Miami Arts Charter School, dining critic at MIAMI Magazine, contributor to, mom of two teenagers, fur-mom to six rescue pets and caretaker of 14 mango trees. Jen is currently working on her twelfth book, From the Tip of My Tongue (Story Farm Press), a cookbook with Miami and Caribbean chef Cindy Hutson.

Categories: Our Places