Last updated on May 28th, 2021 at 12:15 pm
As ever more highrises fill the skyline in Broward County, it seems a miracle that the low-rise, Old Florida, mom-and-pop Hollywood Beach Broadwalk remains.
So far, the 2.5-mile pedestrian and bike path along the ocean hasn’t been ruined by development, even though the Jimmy Buffet Margaritaville Resort was built in the middle of it a few years ago. At the time, many said it would ruin the ambiance they’d grown to love. In my visits, including a wonderful bike ride and breakfast facing the beach on Mother’s Day 2021, the Hollywood Beach Broadwalk is an charming as ever.
I love the Hollywood Beach Broadwalk — and yes, it is the Hollywood Broadwalk, not the Hollywood Boardwalk — for six big and little reasons:
- In an urban area where it is downright dangerous to bike on many streets, the Broadwalk is a safe traffic-free bike path with spectacular ocean views and breezes. See more below on bicycling the Hollywood Beach Broadwalk.
- There are still so many surviving low- and mid-rise hotels and apartments built during the late 1920s and 1930s in the Streamline/Art Moderne, Mediterranean Revival, and Mid-Century Modern architectural styles.
- The vintage architecture might remind you a little of the Art Deco hotels of Miami Beach’s South Beach, but there is absolutely nothing hip about the Hollywood Beach Boardwalk. It has a small-town feel, where for years middle-aged French Canadians dominated the scene. And there’s no mistaking them for fashion models.
- I admit I love the extraordinarily expensive lifeguard towers. Controversial because the little blue-and-yellow wooden structures cost $74,415 apiece, I think they are a perfect complement to the Broadwalk.
- You won’t find this many open-air beachfront bars and restaurants that are casual and moderately priced anywhere else in South Florida.
- This may sound strange, but here’s another thing that’s great about the Hollywood Beach Broadwalk: Public bathrooms. There are a number of bathroom facilities along the Hollywood Broadwalk, an amenity it is often hard to find in Florida beach areas.
Biking Hollywood Beach Broadwalk
When we bring our bikes, we like to park at the Anne Kolb Nature Center in West Lake Park, 751 Sheridan St., Hollywood. Parking there is free, as opposed to beachfront parking meters where it’s easy to drop $12 for a few hours of biking.
From West Lake Park, it’s a five-minute ride east on Sheridan. (Don’t take the bike path; it goes under the Intracoastal bridge and then heads west on Sheridan again.) Crossing A1A, you’re at North Beach Park, a good place to start your Hollywood Broadwalk ride.
As you ride south on the Broadwalk, you’ll pass bars with live bands on weekends playing reggae or classic rock oldies. There is always a breeze, but if you get hot, stop and take a swim. At the south end, the Broadwalk gives way to an alley-like Surf Road that continues through 1960s vintage low-rise hotels that evoke an earlier era.
Families love to stop at Charnow Park (at Connecticut Street) where there is shaded seating and an interactive fountain usually teeming with delighted children.
Don’t expect to ride fast here — too many kids on training wheels, four-wheel “bike buggies” and clueless pedestrians wandering into the marked bike lane. If you’re not patient and willing to take it slow, find someplace else to ride.
On the north end of the Hollywood Broadwalk, you can continue as the urban setting gives way to a seagrape-lined route through North Beach Park and then onto a narrow Surf Road through a funky residential area. This is my favorite part of the ride; it’s much less crowded and has more trees and foliage. You can continue all the way to the Dania Beach fishing pier.
If you don’t pause, the bike ride will take about 90 minutes. If you stop for a drink or meal, as we did, you could spend considerably longer.
We love to start this bike ride early before the Broadwalk gets too busy and have breakfast.
Hollywood Beach Broadwalk bike rentals
If you don’t bring your own bike, you can rent bikes and surreys at two locations on the Hollywood Beach Broadwalk:
Sun and Fun Cycles, which is located where Hayes Street meets the Hollywood Beach Broadwalk. This business offers a variety of bikes, including adult tricycles, low riders and recumbent models. They also carry wheelchairs and motorized scooters.
The Hollywood Beach Bike Shack, at 101 N. Ocean Drive also rents bikes, trikes, surreys and more.
Things to do near Hollywood Beach Broadwalk
- Nearby: West Lake Park is also a great place to kayak
- Ten favorite South Florida bike trails
- Ten best kayaking places in South Florida.
- Flamingo Gardens
- Dr. Von D. Mizell-Eula Johnson State Park (formerly known as John U. Lloyd Beach State Park)
- Hillsboro Lighthouse
- Cap’s Place, a historic waterfront restaurant
- Wakodohatchee and Green Cay: Best birding in Palm Beach suburbs
- Oleta River State Park
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