On A1A from Atlantic Boulevard to Northeast 16th Street
954-786-4005 (For beach conditions)
Pompano Beach is a fun and lively beach that active families enjoy. You'll find personal watercraft zipping around and people kayaking, sailing, scuba diving, fishing, and playing beach volleyball. There are picnic grounds, a playground right on the beach, a boardwalk, restrooms, showers, changing rooms, cabanas for rent, and several nearby restaurants.
One of the main attractions here is the pier, which has a concession stand, bar and restaurant and is always lined with fishermen, pelicans, and gulls. For $1 per person, you can walk on the pier to sightsee and watch the fish get reeled in. Of course, you can also bring your poles and try your luck at fishing.
The beach is roomy and has lifeguards on duty from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. There are two metered parking lots close to the beach.
John U. Lloyd Beach State Park
6503 N. Ocean Drive, Dania Beach
John U. Lloyd is another one of those all-in-one beach and park experiences. In this large state park which borders on Port Everglades at its north end, you'll find a 2.5-mile stretch of beach (no lifeguards) that sits right next to an abundance of shaded picnic areas. There are seven large pavilions available for rent, as well as more than 300 picnic tables located throughout the park on a first come, first served basis.
At the north end of the park, the Loggerhead Cafe not only provides refreshments but also rents canoes and kayaks that can be taken through the park's Whiskey Creek, a mangrove-lined waterway where you can view plant life and wildlife and maybe even see a manatee.
Cary Alfonso of Pembroke Pines says she and her family like to pick a spot close to the concession, then enjoy a leisurely day. "You have the opportunity to stay all day, lounge around the beach, pack a cooler, and just hang out under the shady pine trees," she says. "We usually make a full day out of it and Andy, our littlest one, ends up taking a nap under the trees. Another big plus is that you get to see the cruise ships leaving Port Everglades on the weekends."
For a change of scenery, you can also take a 45-minute self-guided walk along the park's nature trail. John U. Lloyd beach is another popular spot for nesting sea turtles and nighttime turtle walks are offered on Wednesdays and Fridays between April and September (call ahead to reserve a spot).
The entrance fee for the park is $5 for a carload of up to eight people; $3 for a single person in a car; and $1 for a pedestrian or bicyclist.
A1A at Garfield Street and North Beach Park
954-921-3334 (For beach conditions)