South Florida Beach Guide

South Florida has some of the best beaches in the world. People come from far and wide to partake in beach activities and enjoy our many beaches. Much of the coastline is beach, and you could probably walk from Jacksonville to Key West along the beach (well ok, swimming across a few inlets and channels, and swinging through some mangroves).

Beaches are often well appointed with showers, changing rooms, lifeguards and ample free or reasonably priced parking. This guide is intended to help visitors and locals alike discover beaches along the coastline and get a good idea of what to expect and where to park, and understand hours and facilities. We hope you find it helpful. We’d love if you share it or give us your feedback.

How this guide works

The Florida Beach Guide is organized from North to South along the eastern Florida coast, you can see the beach areas along the map with their names, and for each beach we’ve added comments and pictures. For now there is no rating system but we would love it you added your comments.

South Florida Beach Map

General Beach Information
Fort-Lauderdale Beach
Johnson State Park
Dania Beach pier and park
Hollywood North beach park
Hollywood Beach
Keating Park Beach
South City Beach Park
Golden beach
Sunny Isles
Pier park
Oleta State Park Beach
Haulover park
Surf Side Beach
North Beach
Miami Beach
South Beach
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General Beach Information

Many beaches are supervised with lifeguards; many have facilities such as washrooms, changing rooms, water fountains, and more.

In general, there is no alcohol allowed on Florida beaches. Unless marked, pets are not allowed and hours are sunrise to sunset.

Oceans are typically tranquil but conditions can change quickly so do be careful. Remember as well as it IS the ocean, and there may be all kinds of wildlife from small to large.

Look for these signs :

What are RIP currents and what to do if you find yourself being pulled out to sea in one? 

RIP currents are strong currents that can pull you out to sea. They are typically very narrow and isolated. Generally speaking, do NOT fight against the current and try and swim back. Swim sideways, away from the current until you are no longer in it’s grip before making your way back to shore.

Currents can happen and you should be wary if you see waves coming from two directions, or if you see a muddy looking path out to sea. Best to find another spot to wade in.

What do the flags mean?

Florida beaches have a universal  set of flags that are on display. Look for these and consider them before jumping in. Most likely the purple flag will denote jellyfish but, you can ask the lifeguard what he’s seen or why he has put it up.

The Effect of Tides

Beaches can vary greatly from low tide to high tide. Please consult the table below to see the tides and what to expect. Some beaches are literally half as wide at high tide, and the tide can come up quickly on some flatter beaches. Don’t be the one sleeping on the towel to get woken up and have to chase your sandals or purse into the surf. See this months tide tables here :  available online

Snorkeling or scuba diving off the beaches

Snorkeling and scuba diving is allowed from Florida’s beaches but not close to any piers. Keep a 100 yards (92 meters) away from any pier for your own safety to avoid line entanglement and any sharp hooks or getting snagged by the many fishermen that frequent the piers.

Divers are required to bring a dive flag and buoy to clearly mark the dive group. All divers must stay close to the buoy line. Snorkelers going further from the shore will also be required to bring a dive flag/buoy. Again, this is for your own safety and the flag should be 3 feet (1 meter) above the surface so it can be easily seen from a distance even with a slight chop where waves can get in the way of visibility.

All that said, we’re told that many boaters may not know what these flags are or may disregard them so always listen carefully before surfacing to avoid any mishaps. Another tip for divers is to watch the tide table above and go when the tide is coming in. This will give you the best visibility and you won’t have to fight a receding tide to make it back to shore.

A DEMA public service announcement

Have a look at the DEMA public service announcement about this when it was passed into law in 2014

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Fort-Lauderdale Beach

Location: Seabreeze Blvd Fort-Lauderdale
Parking:   Ample parking 500+ spots hourly at the meters
Restrooms: Yes
Showers:  Yes
Concessions: Yes
Lifeguards:    Yes
BBQ: Yes

Other amenities and comments

  • This is a huge wide beach and a great place to come and have a BBQ, watch cruise ships, or simply enjoy a beach day.
  • Note Snorkelers and Scuba Divers there is a spot at the south side of the beach about 75 yards out on the first reef line that is said to be good for diving (Be sure to bring a dive flag).
  • There are weight training areas, volleyball and basketball courts.
  • Plenty of nearby hotels and restaurants.

See the Fort Lauderdale Beach Webcam

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Johnson State Park

Location: Continue north past Dania Blvd on the A1A to park entrance
Parking: 500+ spots lots of parking (entrance fee 6$ fixed/ day)
Restrooms: Yes
Showers: Yes
Concessions: No
Lifeguards: No
BBQ: Yes

Other amenities and comments

  • The beach is quite narrow and when tide is high, there’s barely a place to put a towel.
  • This is one of our favorite spots to get close to the cruise ships as you can walk the pier at the end of the park and come close enough to wave at the departing guests. (Saturday 4:30-5 is our favorite time to see them head out.)

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Dania Beach Pier and Park

Location: Dania Beach Blvd and A1A
Parking: 500+ spots lots of parking
Restrooms: Yes (close at 6pm!)
Showers: Yes
Concessions: Yes, restaurants at pier and at entrance
Lifeguards: Yes
BBQ: Yes

Other amenities and comments

  • Check out the restaurant with a view and lots of artwork.
    The beach is narrow as you come in but gets to be a wider area as you pass the pier.
  • Lots of parking and you can watch the cruise ships leave the harbour from Fort Lauderdale exit from here.
    (Saturday 5-6pm is our favorite time to see them head out.)

See the Dania Beach Webcam

Dania Pier Cleanup (2017)

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Sheridan Park Hollywood North Beach Park

Location: S Ocean Blvd and Sheridan St
Parking: Yes, over 500+ spots
Restrooms: Yes
Showers: Yes
Concessions: No
Lifeguards: Yes

Other amenities and comments

  • There are nice changing rooms and clean toilets here with showers.
  • The parking is behind a gate and there are BBQs that can be used.
  • Accessible from sunrise to sunset.

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Hollywood Beach

Location: S Ocean Dr from Jefferson to Sheridan
Parking: Yes, 500+ spots lot at Jefferson, parking along all the side streets
Restrooms: Yes (many)
Showers: Yes (many)
Concessions: Yes, all along the Broadwalk
Lifeguards: Yes

Other amenities and comments

  • This beach is huge, and had a 2.5-mile long well lit Broadwalk that sports over 50 restaurants and 30 shops.
  • Many cyclists, joggers, and walkers use the path day and night.
  • Bike rentals.

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Keating Park

Location S Ocean Dr at Magnolia Terrace in North Hallendale
Parking: Yes, about 40 spots
Toilets: Yes
Showers: Yes
Lifeguards: No

Other ammenities and comments

  • A volleyball net on this nice wide beach, quiet and somewhat tranquil in the parking under the trees and in the shade.
  • Trees come out to the beach also giving some afternoon shade if high up close to the shoreline.

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South City Beach Park

Location: Hallendale at the 858 Causeway
Parking: Yes, approx. 80 spots
Restrooms: Yes
Showers: Yes
Concessions: Yes
Lifeguards: Yes

Other amenities and comments

  • A kiddie section with swings and play area, this beach is wheelchair accessible with paths to access right up to the sand.
  • There is also a Shuffle board and Volley ball court.

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Golden Beach

Location: Golden Beach area at 399 Ocean Blvd south of Hallendale
Parking: No (residents only)
Restrooms: Yes
Showers: Yes
Concessions: No
Lifeguards: No

Other amenities and comments

  • This seems to be a gated entry for residents of Golden Beach only.
  • You can reach the beach from either Sunny Isles or Hallendale on the sand but there is no parking for non residents in this area.

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Sunny Isles Beach

Location: 192nd (856 Causeway)
Parking: 3 lots, 200+ including the largest under the 856 causeway across the A1A from the beach
Restrooms: Yes
Showers: Yes
Concessions: Yes, hotel restaurants look out onto the beach
Lifeguards: Yes

Other amenities and comments

  • This is one of our favorites beaches, and is a small, fairly quiet beach with lot of parking.
  • The beach is kept clean with the hotels and condos from Sunny Isles maintaining it.
  • Shade is available in the late afternoons when the tall buildings give shade onto the beach.
  • The beach gets fairly narrow at high tide, and can get crowded on holidays and weekends.
  • If arriving early try the small 30 spot lot at 192nd which is usually full midday.

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Pier Park (Sunny Isles)

Location: Sunny Isles near 163rd
Parking: Yes, small only about 30 spots
Restrooms: Yes
Showers: Yes
Concessions: Yes at the pier and hotels
Lifeguards: Yes

Other amenities and comments

  • Nice wide beach with a bike path behind it and a pier.
  • Difficult to find parking as many visiting the restaurant or hotel seem to use the beach parking.
  • Alternative spots could be back at the shops up 163rd but the parking makes this a difficult beach to visit.

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Oleta State Park Beach

Location: In the Oleta State Park at the end
Parking: Yes, 500+ spots Pay for daily entrance fee at the park 6$
Restrooms: Yes, throughout park
Shower: Yes
Concessions: Kite sales, Bike rentals
Lifeguards: No
BBQ: Yes

Other amenities and comments

  • There is a huge park and we had a some great kayaking or canoeing in the mangroves. See our write-up on the park also.
  • You can also do mountain biking on their many trails and BBQ.
  • The beach, while on Biscayne Bay is not directly on the ocean, it is really calm and makes for great lap swimming or an outing with kids.
  • Also a good place to come if the ocean is rough or you just want some peace and quiet.

Oleta State Park Outing

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Haulover Park

Location: A1A/Collins just before the Bal Harbor Bridge
Parking: Yes, 500+ spots
Restrooms: Yes, throughout park
Showers: Yes
Concessions: Kite sales, Bike rentals
Lifeguards: Yes (many)

Other amenities and comments

  • There is a huge parking lot and this is a great beach and park.
  • The beach itself is wide but there is limited shade.
  • Some days of the week they have ‘dog days’ and a sign will be visible.
  • Many come here to fly kytes, and you can see all the boat traffic (small crafts) coming in and out of the Haulover channel.

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Surf Side Beach

Location: Off 95th St in Bal Harbor
Parking: Yes, (paid by meter, approx. 50 spots, 20 more spots on Collns Ave)
Restrooms: No
Showers: Yes
Concessions: No, head up to A1A/Collins St for stores
Lifeguards: Yes (but sparse)

Other amenities and comments

  • This is a nice wide beach and generaly not too crowded and clean.
  • There is a walking path behind the beach and generaly a nice place to come for peace and quiet.
  • You can find shade at the end of the afternoon from the highrises casting a shaddow on the beach.

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North Beach

Location: Ocean Drive at 85th
Parking: Yes, (lots of parking in the park)
Restrooms: Yes
Showers: Yes
Concessions: No, head up to Ocean Drive
Lifeguards: Yes

Other amenities and comments

  • Still nice and wide as a beach.

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Miami Beach

Location: Ocean Drive North of 15th
Parking: Yes, lots of street parking including many across the A1A
Restrooms: Yes
Showers: Yes
Concessions: Yes, along Ocean Drive
Lifeguards: Yes

Other amenities and comments

  • This is a nice wide beach in downtown Miami.
  • Lots of room, but not a lot of shade.

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South Beach


Location: Ocean Drive 1st to 15th)
Parking: Yes, lots of parking including many on 1st and along the south point pier
Restrooms: Yes
Showers: Yes
Concessions: Yes, along Ocean Drive and the pier
Lifeguards: Yes

Other amenities and comments

  • This is a nice wide beach and a great spot to see cruise ships head out from Miami as opposed to the Fort Lauderdale.
  • There is also a lot of yacht traffic from Miami along this busy channel. The beach is great and tourist flock here to see the perfect people and sip overpriced drinks, a must do (at least once).

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