Your Beach Is the Best will be a recurring post seen here at
New Times. Leading up to and throughout this summer. we will highlight the main reasons why your local beach is undeniably Broward's best.
There are two kinds of people in this world: those who believe Lauderdale-by-the-Sea is home to the best beach in Broward and those who are wrong — it's that simple. You might not even know it yet, but the best beach in Broward County rests where Commercial Boulevard meets North Ocean Drive.
By the end of this list, you too should be a believer.
10. Parking and accessibility
Let's start with the basics: Lauderdale-by-the-Sea is definitely one of Broward's easiest beaches to visit. Ample parking lots surround the areas that matter, unlike other beaches that for some reason have lots tucked away down some side street, far away from the busiest parts of the beaches. This area has almost fully transitioned to parking lots that take debit cards, unlike some of the older beaches. It's incredibly easy to drive straight down Commercial Boulevard and step onto the beach.
Nobody wants to waste good beach time worrying about where they park their car. Luckily, that's not much of a worry at Lauderdale-by-the-Sea. It leaves a good taste in your mouth and gets you where you are trying to go faster: the beach!
9. Basilic Vietnamese Grill
Every great beach needs at least one or two solid restaurants, but it's even better when said awesome restaurants are quiet, quaint, and somewhat secretive. That's exactly what Basilic Vietnamese Grill (218 Commercial Blvd., Fort Lauderdale) is. Basilic has hands down the best pho within a 50-mile radius and lots of window seating that enables you to people watch while you eat.
The best part about Lauderdale-by-the-Sea (as mentioned above) is you can easily park and walk around to wherever you want to go, including Basilic and every other location on this list. This can't be overlooked because it creates a Key West type of atmosphere many other beaches can't claim. Basilic would be a fantastic restaurant anywhere, but the fact that it's steps from the beach is what makes it even more special.
Check out: Seven Best Bowls of Pho in Broward and Palm Beach Counties
8. The Lauderdale-by-the-Sea pier
It's just a pier, right? Nah, Lauderdale-by-the-Sea has a quality pier (2 Commercial Blvd., Lauderdale-by-the-Sea), one that you can actually feel good about lounging on with your date. Some piers are strictly useful for plastic-pants-wearing fishermen who smell like bait, but this pier actually has lots of picnic benches and beautiful places to take that ocean breeze sun-kissed selfie you're dying to post on Instagram. Again.
Not only is this pier a great place for sightseeing and picture-taking, but it has a restaurant built into it that actually is pretty damn good. The Beach Café is the sort of place where you just want to read a paper, drink some coffee, and sit for a good long while. It's a place that feels like it was plucked out of a Jaws
movie, but before anyone was attacked, when things were still chill and people were just enjoying a good breakfast by the beach.
7. Aruba Café
We aren't going to sit here and pretend Aruba Café (1 Commercial Blvd., Lauderdale-by-the-Sea) is something it's not. Including Aruba on the list of reasons why Lauderdale-by-the-Sea is the best beach has less to do with anything on the menu and more to do with the fact that it exists at all. Aruba should be considered a Broward historical landmark. Its distinct tropical island look has splashed a spring break-type vibe across this area for decades.
There are precious few things we can point to in South Florida these days and say, Hey, I remember seeing that as a kid,
and Aruba is one of those things. The place just smells like your childhood — not the seafood, but the ocean breezes. The views at Aruba can't be topped, nor can the memories we have there.
6. The courtyard
By far one of the top features that makes Lauderdale-by-the-Sea the best beach in Broward is its beautiful and peaceful courtyard. Just off the beach, you can sit here and enjoy everything that comes with the beach, but without the hot sand and noise. Here you can kick back in a lounge chair and sip on a drink you just bought at the neighboring Aruba, then play a few games of cornhole or read a book in the more secluded covered area.
Best of all? The courtyard is free. There isn't a guy taking a buck from you to get in. There isn't some sort of obligation to buy a drink or snack to use it. It's just there, and you can use it for as long as you like.