If there was ever a Norman Rockwell-style painting done of a South Florida beach town, it would look like Lauderdale-By-The-Sea. This cozy little village exudes retro Florida charm with its low-rise buildings and mid-century style architecture. The ambiance is warm, inviting and inspires smiles from almost everyone who visits.
Not only is the 2.5 mile beach beautiful and unspoiled, but you can snorkel or dive right from shore. Recognized as “South Florida’s Beach Diving Capital,” the near-shore reefs are just 100 yards off the coastline. In fact, the 1900 SS Copenhagen steamship shipwreck is now the most-visited Underwater Archaeological Preserve in Florida, listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Like to fish? Book a deep-sea boating excursion or fish right from historic Anglins Pier.
Beachgoers seeking a chill afternoon should visit oceanside El Prado Park: plenty of shade, chairs, picnic tables and a farmer’s market every Sunday (in season).
What’s the one thing you won’t find here? No massive skyscrapers along the main public beachfront to block sunny rays and wide-open skylines!
The downtown Beach Pavilion and plazas are right alongside the beach and stretch for several blocks west, past State Road A1A. It’s a haven for people-watching and socializing.
Hotels, shops, restaurants, ice cream parlors and live entertainment are all within breezy walking distance. You can rent a bike or hop on the free “around Town” Pelican Hopper bus.
From the whimsical 18-feet tall coral reef entryway sculpture to bougainvillea trellises, reef-themed artwork, palm trees a’plenty, wooden boat benches, fish-themed bike racks and colorful Addy chairs, you can see and feel the town’s tourism motto everywhere: “Relax, you’re here.”
Parents and grandparents can feel fine about bringing the kids downtown at night: people of all ages are out enjoying the fresh air and entertainment. Many restaurants welcome well-behaved pets on their outdoor patios as well.
Stay a week or a month: you’ll never run out of tasty choices. Dig into Caribbean, Italian, Thai, Vietnamese, Japanese, pizza or burgers, wraps and salads, steaks, and of course, fresh Florida seafood. Craving a real homestyle breakfast? Classic American diner fare? Deli to go? Hand-made ice cream or gelato? Frozen drinks beachside? It’s all here. For ocean views, Caribbean-American cookery, tropical drinks and nightly live music, Aruba Beach Cafe is the go-to spot. Foodies flock to Blue Moon Fish Co. for its romantic vibe, outdoor deck with Intracoastal Waterway views and Sunday buffet brunch.
Every Friday night between November and May, the city hosts a big block party celebration with free live cover bands that attracts people of all ages. Almost every night, a diverse array of entertainers perform within the pubs, restaurants and clubs. Dance the night away or just listen: oldies, classic rock, tropical rock, R&B and top 40 are all represented.
Lauderdale-By-The-Sea lodging features mostly smaller, independently owned properties - with many terrific choices. More than a dozen are less than a mile away from the beach/downtown area, including several right on the sand. Many of these are highly rated by various sites online: most offer amenities like free parking, free breakfast and more.
While there are too many worthy contenders to list here, a few to check out: The Beachside Village Resort, High Noon Resort, Blue Seas Courtyard, Hotel Secrest, Windjammer Resorts. Tides Inn, Sea Cliff Resort, Driftwood Beach Club, Tropical Seas and Coral Key.