For a tennis scene devoid of tea-party etiquette, Hardy Park is the place to go. The four hard courts, lit until 9:45 p.m., attract scrappy players who don't wear white and who don't need well-manicured courts. And best of all, they're free.
Hugh Taylor Birch State Park
Ebyabe via Wikimedia Commons
For most of A1A's course through Fort Lauderdale, the west side of the street is a hideous combo of strip malls, restaurants, condos, hotels, and curio shops: crap, in other words. But then you come upon a strange little strip of mangroves and sea oats corralled behind a wrought iron fence, which seems as out of place on this road as a ballerina at a biker bar. That would be the eastern boundary of Hugh Taylor Birch State Park. Mr. Birch was a reclusive former attorney from Chicago who amassed the land for a dollar per acre. In 1949 he donated it to the state, and today it's a priceless reminder of just how beautiful Fort Lauderdale must have been long ago. Spread a blanket on the beach or grab a picnic table on the Intracoastal and watch the parade of passing boats. (But beware the marauding raccoons. You could lose your lunch.)

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