Throughout the summer, "Best Beaches" will highlight the best beach spots Broward has to offer. Don't agree? Check back next week; your favorite beach in Broward could be next.
Hollywood Beach is more than deserving of its famous name; it's the crown jewel of Broward beaches. While we enjoy other quaint beaches across the county, sometimes we need some action, and Hollywood Beach is the action. Going to Hollywood Beach is more than a trip to sunbathe and swim. It's an event. It's a memory. It's an attraction.
Between the people watching, the attractions, the food, the culture, and the resort style living, Hollywood Beach is hands-down the best beach Broward County has to offer.
10. The Hollywood Broadwalk.
The first thing that comes to mind when people think Hollywood Beach is the Hollywood Broadwalk, so obviously, we must start here. The Broadwalk — which runs two-and-a-half miles along Hollywood Beach — is littered with over 50 restaurants, 30 boutiques and shops, three oceanfront resorts, over 30 small lodging hotels, and three oceanfront parks. Simply put, it's as entertaining as it is beautiful.
9. Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville Resort and Hotel.
The $147 million Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort broke ground in August 2013 and has been brightening up Hollywood Beach ever since. Four years later, Margaritaville is such a huge part of Hollywood Beach that we can barely remember what it was like before it arrived. Its style is a hat tip to the lyrics and lifestyle of singer/songwriter/author Jimmy Buffett — a little taste of Key West in Hollywood. Along with the restaurants (including some upscale options like JWB Steakhouse), boutiques, and pools, it's one of the most important things built in Broward in some time.
8. The artwork.
It seems not an inch of a blank space on Hollywood Beach is wasted. At every turn there is a new piece of art, whether it be a sculpture, painting, or piece of architecture; Hollywood Beach is quickly becoming Wynwood North. The art gives the area a unique feel, and it reminds you where you are. Much of the art is spread throughout the Broadwalk, and you can always see beach-goers stopping to take pictures of or with interesting hidden gems.
7. Anne Kolb Nature Center .
Just off the beach itself, you'll find the Anne Kolb Nature Center (751 Sheridan St., Hollywood; 954-357-5161). The nature center complex is a 1,500-acre coastal mangrove wetland that doubles not only as a great park to take the family for a picnic, but as a place that is well known for its fantastic fishing and boardwalk. The trails that run throughout the wetlands make for great sightseeing as the Nature Center is home to a wide variety of plants and animals, including some threatened and endangered species.
6. Cheap meal options.
If you've ever been to Las Vegas, the above sign looks very familiar. The great thing about the Hollywood Broadwalk being packed with 50 restaurants and hundreds of other tiny shops — not to mention the occasional food truck or cart — is that it creates competition. It's a diner's market, which means you'll eat well on the cheap. The signs as you walk by make you do a double take. The idea, of course, is to get you with the cheap food in hopes you stay for the expensive drinks, but you're smarter than that. Maybe. Nah, probably not.
5. Lounge areas.
Every great beach needs some comfortable space off the sand because eventually, we're going to get heat stroke. Hollywood Beach has nooks and crannies at every turn that lead to shaded seating in some surprisingly wonderful spots. Just when you think you'll have to pay to get out of the sun, you'll find a perfect place for the whole family to set down its beach gear and eat some ice cream. There are so many places that scream read a book or look for Pokémon, you're bound to find a spot that speaks to you.
4. Hollywood North Beach Park.
This 56-acre park (3601 N. Ocean Dr., Hollywood; 954-357-5187) located at A1A and Sheridan Street includes just over one mile of public beach. Inside there is ample area to have a BBQ or kick the soccer ball around — and don't forget the boardwalks and shaded areas right on the beach. It's a nice change from the traditional set-up-on-the-sand-and-bake beach experience. You can reserve a shelter in the park for large parties and even park your RV there. The park is well-lighted, and police are on duty during business hours.
3. Beachside bike paths.
One of the coolest features Hollywood Beach has to offer is the dedicated bike path on the Broadwalk. On the path you will see everything from Rollerbladers, skateboarders, and cylists alongside people using numerous other forms of transportation local bike shops offer for rental. It may seem like a small thing, but it's utilized by so many people that has become a special feature unique to Hollywood Beach.
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2. Resort feel.
With so many resorts and hotels steps from the beach, Hollywood Beach itself has the feel of a resort town. At places along the beach, you can't look a few feet without seeing an umbrella or beach chair lined up. The well-manicured beach goes a long way to making you feel like you're on a faraway vacation for the day. It's something in the air in Hollywood Beach; you just don't feel like you're at home — you feel like you traveled somewhere even more tropical than South Florida.
1. Rocco's Pizza.
Rocco's Pizza (205 Johnson St., Hollywood; 954-926-3305) is legit. You might have a favorite pizza spot, and that's fine, but Rocco's gives that place a run for its money — trust us. Fan favorites include the stromboli and sliced meatball pizza, but there is a plethora of Italian goodness to pick from here. The pizza comes by the slice ($2.50 and up) or by the pie ($10 and up). Rocco's is located steps from the Hollywood performance stage, where live music takes place many nights of the week, and directly across from Margaritaville. Your favorite pizza place might be awesome, but is it right on the beach? I didn't think so.