LAUDERDALE-BY-THE-SEA

By  Mike Miller  Updated July 5, 2023

Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, Florida Things To Do, Lodging, Dining, & Real Estate At End Of Article

Lauderdale-By-The-Sea, Florida is an example of how a town or neighborhood in a large urban area can still have a distinctive small town feeling. 

The first thing to know is that it is not Fort Lauderdale.  For those of you who know the area, the town is at the ocean end of Commercial Boulevard.

Lauderdale-By-The-Sea Welcome Arch at the PierLauderdale-By-The-Sea Welcome Arch at the Pier
Flickr/julie corsi

It is a small beach town of 6,600 located between Fort Lauderdale and Pompano Beach on Florida's east coast. 

It's town limits engulf the small village of Sea Ranch Lakes on the Intracoastal Waterway.

LAUDERDALE BY THE SEA HISTORY

The property that is now Lauderdale-By-The-Sea was first platted in 1924 by a Boston businessman. 

Soon after this a contractor and investor named Melvin Anglin bought the land.

Original Plat of Lauderdale By The SeaOriginal Plat of Lauderdale By The Sea

It was Anglin who set in motion the development of this new beachside community and became the town's first mayor.  The town was incorporated in 1927. 

Its charter was revoked by the state in 1937 during the Great Depression, but it was reincorporated in 1947.

In 1900 a cargo steamer, SS Copenhagen, hit a reef and sank offshore of Lauderdale-By-The-Sea. 

The grounded ship was visible for many years afterward and was used by Navy pilots for target practice during World War Two.

SS CopenhagenSS Copenhagen

The remains of the ship are now part of the Pompano Dropoff Reef, and home to a diverse variety of marine life.  Local dive charters are available to investigate the wreck.

Like most beach communities in South Florida, Lauderdale-By-The-Sea has seen continuous steady population growth.  Between 1960 and 2020, the population increased from 1,300 to 6,626.

Unlike most beach communities, the town passed an ordinance in 1973 limiting building heights.  This has resulted in the unusual phenomenon of a Florida city on the ocean with a limited number of high rises.


LAUDERDALE BY THE SEA TODAY

One of the first things you notice in this town is the absence of  looming high rise hotels and condos. 

This stands out when you see the towers of Pompano Beach and Fort Lauderdale looming skyward along the beach to the north and south.

That visual sensation emphasizes how different this little place is.

Lauderdale By The Sea Anglins Pier
Flickr/Rob Olivera

Lauderdale-By-The-Sea is a compact neighborhood.  You can easily park your car and walk wherever you want if you stay near the area between State Road A1A and the ocean.

It is amazing that this little enclave still exists in the Miami–Fort Lauderdale–Pompano Beach Metropolitan Statistical Area with its population of 6,166,488 in 2019.

The centerpiece of the town for many years was Anglin's Pier, a place for fishing, sightseeing, or just loafing. 

Sadly, one of our readers, Mark, has reported that Hurricane Katrina badly damaged the pier, and then Hurricane Nicole did further damage.

The pier remains closed with an uncertain future.

Anglin's Plaza is a newly renovated area that serves as the town's central focus, like a courthouse square would have done in earlier times.

The town has a good selection of beachy gift shops, art galleries, and restaurants.  

Lauderdale By The Sea Street SceneLauderdale By The Sea Street Scene

It is also possible to find a reasonably priced room in some of the Mom and Pop motels that still exist.

Horizon by the Sea InnHorizon by the Sea Inn

The lower population density in Lauderdale-By-The-Sea makes the beaches less crowded than in other areas of South Florida.

Lauderdale By The Sea Beach Scene
Flickr/Rob Olivera

One of my favorite restaurants in the entire state of Florida is Sea Watch on the Ocean.  The views and food are both terrific.

Sea Watch on the OceanSea Watch on the Ocean

You can contemplate a bit of history while you dine because the wreck of the SS Copenhagen is almost directly offshore.

Lauderdale By The Sea 101 Ocean Bar
Flickr/Rob Olivera

There are many places in the community that offer both inside or outside dining.  This is a wonderful feature in a beachfront town.

It's a great place to stay whether you are just relaxing or want a quiet base from which to explore South Florida.


THINGS TO DO IN LAUDERDALE-BY-THE-SEA, FLORIDA

El Prado Park
4500 El Mar Dr, Lauderdale-By-The-Sea 33308 | (954) 640-4200

El Prado Park is the Town's most popular beachfront park, with parking located just across El Mar Drive. We enjoy the shaded picnic areas and the easy beach access.

Visitors like the clean, well-maintained facilities and the beautiful ocean views. The park is great for family outings, with a playground for kids and plenty of open space for playing and picnicking.

The serene atmosphere and convenient location make it a favorite spot for locals and tourists alike.

Lauderdale-by-the-Sea Beach
4229 N Ocean Dr, Lauderdale-By-The-Sea, FL 33308 

Lauderdale-by-the-Sea Beach is a beautiful spot for sun and surf. We enjoy the soft sand and clear, warm waters. Visitors appreciate the family-friendly atmosphere and the excellent swimming conditions.

The beach is perfect for snorkeling, with vibrant coral reefs just offshore. It's also a great place to relax with a book or take a leisurely walk along the shoreline.

The nearby shops and restaurants add to the convenience, making it easy to spend the whole day here.

Friday Night Music
Downtown Lauderdale-By-The-Sea, FL 33308 | (800) 921-2319

Friday Night Music downtown is a lively weekly event that brings the community together. We enjoy the live bands and the festive atmosphere.

Visitors appreciate the variety of music genres, from jazz to rock, ensuring there's something for everyone. The event is held in the heart of Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, making it easy to join in the fun.

It's a great place to relax with friends, enjoy the music, and maybe even dance a little. The friendly crowd and great entertainment make it a highlight of the week.

Enjoy free live music downtown from 6 pm to 10 pm. No coolers, outside alcohol, or pets allowed.

Lauderdale-by-the-Sea Farmers Market
El Prado Park, 4500 El Mar Dr, Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, FL 33308

The Lauderdale-by-the-Sea Farmers Market is a great place to find fresh produce and unique local goods. We enjoy browsing the stalls and sampling delicious foods.

Visitors appreciate the wide variety of vendors, offering everything from fruits and vegetables to handmade crafts and baked goods.

The market has a friendly, community feel and is a wonderful spot to meet local farmers and artisans. It's open on Sundays from 9am to 2pm, making it a perfect outing for a Sunday morning. Open December through May.

Beach Pavilion
0 Commercial Blvd, Lauderdale-By-The-Sea, FL 33308

The Beach Pavilion is a popular gathering spot right by the ocean. We enjoy the covered seating area and the stunning beach views.

Visitors like the convenient location, making it a great place to relax before or after spending time on the beach. The pavilion often hosts community events and live music, adding to its charm.

It's a perfect place for a picnic, with plenty of benches and tables available. The friendly atmosphere and beautiful setting make it a favorite for both locals and tourists.

SS Copenhagen Shipwreck
Offshore from Lauderdale-By-The-Sea 33308 | (954) 640-4209

The SS Copenhagen Shipwreck is an underwater adventure for snorkelers and divers. Guests enjoy exploring the remains of this historic shipwreck, which lies just offshore.

We appreciate the clear waters and the abundant marine life that has made the wreck its home. The site is part of the Florida Underwater Archaeological Preserve, ensuring its protection.

It's a great place for underwater photography and marine exploration. The wreck is accessible to both beginner and experienced divers, making it a popular spot.

Gold Coast Scuba
259 Commercial Blvd, Lauderdale-By-The-Sea | (954) 616-5909

Gold Coast Scuba is the go-to place for scuba diving enthusiasts. We enjoy their friendly, knowledgeable staff and top-notch equipment.

Visitors appreciate the variety of courses offered, from beginner to advanced. The dive shop also organizes guided dives to local reefs and wrecks, providing a safe and enjoyable experience.

It's a knowledgeable place to get certified or to improve your diving skills. The shop’s convenient location and excellent service make it a favorite among divers.

Anglin's Square
12 Commercial Blvd, Lauderdale-By-The-Sea | (954) 640-4232

Anglin's Square is the vibrant heart of Lauderdale-by-the-Sea. Located at the very end of Commercial, right where the road meets the ocean. We enjoy the variety of shops, restaurants, and cafes.

Visitors appreciate the lively atmosphere and the convenient beach access. The square often hosts events and live music, making it a fun place to hang out.

It's a stunning spot for dining al fresco or shopping for unique gifts. The friendly vibe and picturesque setting make it a popular destination.

Sea Watch On the Ocean
6002 N Ocean Blvd, Lauderdale-By-The-Sea | (954) 781-2200

Sea Watch On the Ocean, discussed earlier, is a renowned seafood restaurant with stunning ocean views. We enjoy the fresh, delicious seafood dishes and the elegant, nautical-themed decor.

Guests appreciate the romantic setting and the attentive service. The restaurant is perfect for a special occasion or a memorable meal with friends and family.

It's a relaxing place to enjoy a sunset dinner or a leisurely lunch by the sea. The beautiful surroundings and high-quality cuisine make every visit special.

101 Ocean
101 Commercial Blvd, Lauderdale-By-The-Sea | (954) 776-8101

101 Ocean, pictured earlier, is a popular restaurant in Lauderdale-By-The-Sea, known for its lively atmosphere and delicious cuisine. We enjoy the diverse menu, featuring fresh seafood, gourmet burgers, and creative cocktails.

Visitors appreciate the casual, beachside setting and the friendly service. The outdoor seating area is perfect for enjoying the Florida sunshine. They’re known for their seafood platters, a pizza counter and weekend DJs.


ALL ABOUT LAUDERDALE BY THE SEA

Restaurants

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