Best Beach in Broward - 2006
John U. Lloyd State Park
Covered in mangroves and tucked away from major roads, John U. Lloyd State Park has that going-to-the-end-of-the-world feel and a sense that what happens there is secret. Its history reinforces that vibe. During Prohibition, smugglers used the land as a drop point for importing rum from the Bahamas. Its thick mangroves sure do look like an inviting place to dump a body, and indeed the corpses of two secretaries were found here in 1967, killed by a surfer named Murf the Surf who had already infamously heisted gobs of jewels from New York's Museum of Natural History. Today, if you pay the entrance fee and then take the road all the way to the end of the long, narrow park, you'll still find people doing top-secret stuff -- at FAU's oceanographic lab and an adjacent Coast Guard station. Unfortunately, big, intimidating warning signs advise you not to trespass. That's OK; there are plenty of other ways to amuse yourself here. Like, by bringing a pair of binoculars and looking into the cabins of massive cruise ships that float by just a few feet away. Or by bringing a Jet Ski and putting in at the boat ramp. Or fishing off the jetty. Or swimming in the ocean. Or renting Hobie cats, surfboards, or giant floating tricycles (!!!) from a beachside trailer. Getting hot? Walk along the boardwalk through the shady, mangrovey nature trail and look for pelicans. Hungry? Bring charcoal and cook on the grills. Thirsty? Grab a beer at the concession. Don't have a car? Boat in and out of the park on its Intracoastal side. Don't have any friends? Says a boy who visits frequently, "The squirrels will dine with you." And if they won't? Look for the "Red-Eyed Lady," the ghost of Murf the Surf's victim, who is rumored to hang around and keep visitors company.