Source: | Author: Bob Rountree | Published: June 28, 2020

The best little beach towns in Florida

Photo Credit:  Jorge Molina

When you arrive in Lauderdale-By-The-Sea, your first reaction is “Where am I?” To the north and south, towering condos dominate the beach area. Yet the beach towers suddenly stop, revealing a pocket of low-rise mom-and-pop motels suddenly emerging along the beach, anchored by a colorful little village of traditional beach shops, galleries and cafes unique to the urbanized Southeast Florida coast.

This beachfront oasis is Lauderdale-By-The-Sea, not at all to be confused with iconic Fort Lauderdale to its south.

Here you can get a reasonably priced room on the beach in a two-story family-run motel with a pool and a path to golden sands dotted with palm trees. An inviting beach, to be sure.

An off-shore reef invites divers and snorkelers to paddle out in kayaks or SUP and explore a sunken shipwreck or net a spiny lobster for dinner (in season).

In the center of town, Anglin’s fishing pier invites you for a stroll above the sea, or try your luck at pier fishing. Nearby, within a few blocks, you’ll find an eclectic selection of beach shops and sidewalk cafes.

At the foot of the pier, I have often enjoyed breakfast or lunch with out-of-town guests on the patio of Anglin’s Beach Cafe, a light breeze brushing past while we enjoyed the ocean view. Or maybe you’d prefer the more boisterous Aruba Beach Cafe, just across Anglin’s Plaza, the town’s signature gathering place. 

What’s nearby: The venerable Sea Watch restaurant is a short hop north of town on State Road A1A. In my opinion, Sea Watch is the best seafood restaurant in Southeast Florida and my first choice for special occasions. Drive south on A1A to Fort Lauderdale’s famous Strip to gawk. Drive west on Commercial Blvd., past I-95, to the brand new Lockhart Stadium for major league soccer (in season).

How to get there: From Interstate 95, take the Commercial Boulevard exit straight to the beach, and you’re there. 

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