Ft Lauderdale Beach, Florida
Ft Lauderdale Beach is a gem that is slowly being polished into brilliance. The reputation of this area as a year long spring break destination was well deserved, but as recent hurricaines forced the rebuilding of the area, many business owners have taken the opportunity to upscale and begin to attract a more stable population of clientale. This is not to say that there are not holdovers from the tacky tourist trap of the past, but the atmosphere of Ft. Lauderdale, espcially during the slower summer months, has shifted toward the cruise ship crowd and families looking for a driveable but beautiful beach getaway. Ft Lauderdale beach is now “The Venice of America” not only for the intercoastal waterway and billionaire homes along it, but also for the international reputation it is acquiring as a vacation destination.
The water and sand are absolutely gorgeous, no doubt about it. The beach in general is wide with white sand and the water is a relatively clear aqua with about 20 ft visability on a green flag day. Shells are not in abundance but some interesting enough for small children can be found. The Ft Lauderdale Beach water was deep enough for swimming about ten foot out at high tide and at low tide there was a nice sandbar about 5 feet out for lounging and for kids to splash around.
Sidenote: When we visited low tide was in the afternoon but this will change and you should ask a lifeguard when it is if you want to catch this time of day.
The Ft. Lauderdale Beache area is one of the few areas in Southeast Florida where the road runs along the beach. In my mind this is a negative in that there are cars driving up and down all day long and there is some traffic noise (which I am sure is much worse in the high seasons of winter and spring). It does however create a nice opportunity to cruise the strip and actually see the beach from your car and also makes all of the beach public access (if you can find parking). Public access is not the case in much of the Southeast Florida area where resorts and hotels line the beach without a break for non-paying guests to walk onto the beach.
Along Ft Lauderdale beach you can walk the sidewalk along the famous wave wall and I highly recommend it for people watching, but for beach-therapy I do prefer the quiet Hollywood Florida Baordwalk or to just walk barefoot along the water’s edge.
A major, major positive of the Ft. Lauderdale beaches is the presence of very active lifeguards on the beach all day every day of the week. For families with children it is invaluable that the town provides this service with their tax dollars. There are good freshwater showers at regular intervals but a negative is the lack of public restrooms. There is a restroom accessible from the beach via tunnel at the Hugh Taylor Birch state park but in general you will want to stick close to your hotel if a restroom is desired. You may be able to use a restroom in one of the restaurants across the street if you make a purchase, but don’t count on it, ask before making your purchase. There may be other public facilities further south but our place, the Ft. Lauderdale Beach Resort, was on the north end and we did not venture south to the more populated areas.
Another service provided here is that the beach is cleaned with a tractor so there is very little seaweed or trash to contend with on most days.
Ft Lauderdale Beach with Bonnet House Area behind us.
Our favorite area of the Ft. Lauderdale Beaches is the quieter area in front of the Bonnet House, a historic home and garden. For a short walk you are rewarded by less traffic noise and a quieter area to enjoy your Beach-Therapy. The area in front of the Hugh Taylor Birch park was recommended as well for this, but we found it to be popular with local families because of the metered parking available beachside and the parking area in the park for a $6 parking fee.
Ft Lauderdale Beach looking North near Birch State Park.
Overall we enjoyed the Ft. Lauderdale beaches enough to spend two and a half days of our five on them. It was very convenient to our condo, not overwhelmed with the party crowd we had worried about and we were more relaxed with the kids because the lifeguards were very attentive to the tides and the swimmers and maintained the flag alert system regularly. Ft. Lauderdale Beach has a lot to offer and is a great value compared to similar destinations in the area and internationally for that matter.
Ft Lauderdale Beach South area near park and main drag.