Best Beach - 2004
Blowing Rocks Preserve
Readers' Choice: Fort Lauderdale Beach, Red Reef Park (tie)
Rocks? In South Florida? Yep. Only 30 miles from downtown West Palm is the only outcropping along the southern Atlantic Coast, in fact. When big-ass waves break along the base of these massive chunks of Anastacia limestone, the salty spray is channeled up through narrow holes leading to the surface. During the highest tides and especially after rough winter weather, the plumes can reach heights of 40 feet or more, hence the park's name. The resultant display is seen by few, especially on weekdays, when visitors may just find large stretches of the ritzy, remote beach all to themselves. The tranquil nooks behind the monolithic stones are home to tidal pools and shells for scavengers and beachcombers. This wild, untamed, and no-frills nature sanctuary (open 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily, $3 entry, $37 for annual passes) contains one of the most rugged -- and certainly unique -- beaches in the entire state.