John U. Lloyd State Park in Dania Beach is the only place in South Florida where a park -- a real one, complete with trees, barbecue grills, picnic tables, and enough green space to throw a Frisbee across -- dominates a rise above the ocean. In true Florida fashion, the 310 acres of barrier island stretch from the Atlantic Ocean to the Intracoastal; it's one of the few places in the state where you can actually be a couple of feet above sea level yet near salt water. The place is big enough to find a quiet spot to hide. Or you can sit in one of the more populated areas and stare out at the water as you eat. You can choose between sun and shade, grass and sand, or throw caution to the wind and have it all. We like walking through the mangroves or sitting atop one of the picnic tables and looking down at the beach. Depending upon your level of courage and agility, you can climb down to the sand and walk a couple of yards to the beach, or you can just sit on the rise and watch the waves break.John U. Lloyd

State Park

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