Fun in the Sun! All of our beaches are beautiful, but these take the prize.
Miami Beach From the jetty near Government Cut to 87th Street 305-673-7714 (Ocean Rescue -- call for beach conditions)
Most of the beach in Miami Beach has lifeguards, which should be the single most important concern for beachgoers, especially parents, according to Miami Beach Ocean Rescue. One of the things these lifeguards pride themselves on is their ability to quickly reunite missing children with their parents, thanks to their extensive training and radio communication with one another. Parking is plentiful, with ample metered spaces and "pay when you leave" lots. The beach area at 53rd Street is well-liked by families with kids, as the parking lot is right on the beach, and the walk to the surf is close enough to carry your own chairs and coolers. The covered playground at 13th Street offers the usual fun-filled apparatus -- in the shade. The southern end of the beach, particularly along Ocean Drive, offers quite an array of shops and restaurants. The new gateway entrance at Lincoln Road is another great place for beachgoers to browse and roam, as no cars are allowed on the street area. Chair, bike and skate rentals, and other concessions are ample. Concession stands that sell sandwiches, hot food, beverages and treats are conveniently located right on the beach, along the entire seven-mile stretch.
You can easily spend the whole day here picnicking, fishing, walking on the nature trails, and oh yeah, playing in the sand and surf on the beach. With parking fees costing $18 on weekends and holidays, and $16 all other days, families will want to make a day of this outing. But it beats driving around looking for a parking spot and walking a mile to the beach. And who really wants to leave this beach once they get there? The park sports a new look these days, courtesy of Hurricane Wilma, which provided opportunities for landscaping changes. Cleanup and restoration is almost complete. The children's playground area has been expanded to include an area for 5-to-12-year-olds in addition to the tot lot. Parts of the playground structure are covered, and palm trees provide shade. The playground is a short walk to the beach, which is clean and spacious. Visitors can check the weather conditions before they leave home at www.ci.boca-raton.fl.us/oceanrescue/conditions.htm. Park hours are 8 a.m. until sunset.
Open from dawn to dusk, the beach itself stretches from Hallandale Beach to Dania Beach. Families who want to be in the thick of things will choose the central portion along the Broadwalk, with restaurants and shops nearby. Those seeking a quieter, more serene beach area will head farther north. The popular Charnow Park is slated to begin renovations this summer, including pavilions, playground features and an interactive fountain. The Broadwalk is currently being refurbished with brick enhancements and a decorative wall at its edge. A popular spot throughout the year for all ages, Hollywood beach offers numerous designated areas, known as Fun Zones, for specific activities, including volleyball, fishing, Frisbee, bicycling and skating. The city maintains eight first-aid stations and 21 lifeguard towers to make sure beachgoers stay safe. The Hollywood Beach Theatre has year-round programming with a music and dancing series, twice-monthly Friday Fest performances and the new Cool Rhythms Sunday. The Broadwalk also offers an array of tasty treats from pizza to gourmet fare, sidewalk-style.
Fort Lauderdale beach South of Las Olas Boulevard to north of Sunrise Boulevard 954-828-5346; ci.ftlaud.fl.us/beach