Way to go Hallandale Beach, Florida! A few days ago, city commissioners voted to approve the ban of polystyrene foam (Styrofoam) at the beach. This measure will hopefully be finalized by a final vote on May 6th, 2015.
If this vote goes through, Hallandale Beach will be the first city in Broward County to implement such a measure, and the second in the South Florida area behind Miami Beach.
If you are caught with a polystyrene foam cooler, cup, or anything else, you will receive a $50 fine once the ban is in full effect, which is expected to be in mid-summer.
The mayor of Hallandale has also set aside $50,000 towards an anti-litter campaign.
Hopefully Hallandale Beach and Miami Beach will set the precedent for the rest of South Florida, and other city commissions will begin implementing their own polystyrene foam bans!
Polystyrene foam takes a very long time to decompose, and it is very difficult and costly to recycle properly. Removing it from the beach, and ultimately from popular use, will help to protect the ecosystems!
On November 4th, 2014, Florida voters will head to the polls to cast their votes in order to decide the future of the state. Amendment 1, the Florida Water and Land Conservation Initiative, is an important initiative voters will decide on. If you like clean water, then we recommend voting yes.
Amendment 1 is our last chance to protect Florida’s fragile ecosystems. With climate change becoming more of a threat with each passing day, and the recent revelation that vertebrate populations have declined by more than 50% in just the last forty years, saving our planet and its plants and animals is something we can no longer wait for someone else to do. We the people must stand together, and by simply marking a ballot, we can choose to allocate more than $10 billion dollars to environmental conservation and water protection over the next 20 years, without any increase in taxes. Doing otherwise would be an irreparable act of negligence.
Since 2009, the Legislature has cut funding for land and water protection by 95%! Because our government seemingly does not find clean water all that important, citizens took matters into their own hands to get Amendment 1 on the ballot. Florida’s Water and Land Legacy was established, and within a year and a half, they received more than 700,000 certified signatures that allowed Amendment 1 to be placed on the November 4, 2014 ballot.
So what exactly will this Amendment do? According to the FAQS on the Amendment’s website, the Amendment will guarantee the following:
- Restore, manage, and acquire lands necessary to protect Florida’s drinking water sources and protect the water quality in our rivers, lakes and streams;
- Protect our beaches and shores;
- Protect and restore the Everglades and other degraded natural systems and waterways;
- Manage fish and wildlife habitat, protect forests and wetlands, and restore conservation lands that are an important part of Florida’s economy and quality of life;
- Provide funding to manage existing state and local natural areas, parks, and trails for water supply, habitat and recreation.
The money that will allow this to happen will come from Florida’s excise tax on documents, or documentary stamp tax. This is an already established tax generated by documents necessary during the sale of real estate, and Amendment 1 will see to it that 33% of the funds raised by this tax will be used only for conservation purposes. This money will help Florida’s fragile ecosystems, and will combat both land and water pollution, helping to ensure clean and plentiful drinking water for this generation and those to come.
If this Amendment does not pass, the future of Florida and its inhabitants will be at stake. The future of clean drinking water, of our beaches, and of tourism will be uncertain. Will our children know the beauty of the Everglades, will they know of manatees and Key deer, will they be able to traverse trails and play in parks? Let’s answer these questions ourselves, with action, with our voices.
We can no longer rely on our legislators or representatives to do right by us and by the environment. We must do the checking and balancing.
It is up to us to protect our state, our ecosystem, and all of the inhabitants within it, whether they walk on two legs, four legs, or none. We must take action, and the easiest way to do that is to Vote Yes on Amendment 1 on November 4th, 2014.
Read the Amendment in its entirety below: Continue reading Protect Florida: Vote Yes on Amendment 1
North Fort Lauderdale beach (A1A, north of Sunrise Boulevard) is undergoing major construction at this time. This section of Fort Lauderdale beach drew runners, bicyclists, and rollerbladers due to its wonderful, wide lane that ran parallel to the beach on the northbound lane of A1A.
This section of the beach also had ample metered street parking, a great alternative to the sometimes costly garages in the main hubbub of Fort Lauderdale Beach.
While the beach remains open in this area, the pedestrian lane and the parking is gone. At times, traffic can become very congested in this area during construction.
If you are planning on taking a trip to Fort Lauderdale beach, it is best to access from either the Las Olas Boulevard bridge, or the 17th Street Causeway. Another option may be to take Sunrise Boulevard, and park in Hugh Taylor Birch Park, which also offers paddle boarding and kayak rentals.
About the Renovation
This $11.8 million dollar renovation will enhance the overall aesthetics and usability of this beach area. According to the website of the city of Fort Lauderdale, the enhancements include:
- Constructing a wide beachfront promenade on the east side consisting of a paver sidewalk
- Installing a decorative sea wall with accent lighting
- Constructing a raised median in front of Birch State Park
- Constructing median islands and left turn lanes in the residential section
- Installing a new underground drainage system
- Relocating underground utilities, adjusting manhole covers and restoring beach showers
- Installing decorative, turtle-friendly pedestrian lighting on both sides of A1A
- Installing signalized pedestrian crosswalks at Birch State Park, NE 15th Court and NE 17th Street
- Installing new asphalt pavement on all lanes and parking spaces, new pavement markings and highway signs
The website also says that once the project is completed, both lanes of A1A will have wide sidewalks and bike paths, 232 on-street parking spots, and 17 beach access points.
Phase one construction is expected to be completed in December 2014, so until then we advise trying out other beaches and avoiding this construction area, because safety is key!
You can follow the construction project on Twitter @MyDOT_SEFL for updates on the project.
It may be after Labor Day, which serves as the unofficial end of summer season to most of the U.S., but here in South Florida, we are gearing up for our busiest time of year, known to us as simply, “Season.” Home to an endless summer, many people from all over the world escape to our sands and sea, trickling down here beginning in September, and swarming Duval Street, Collins Avenue, Las Olas Boulevard, and Worth Avenue in full force by December.
This is an exciting time of year, and the perfect chance to discover new beaches in South Florida whether this is your first season or fiftieth. We at The Beach Review have been working hard to bring some new features to our website, such as a county-by-county guide of the beaches of South Florida, launching soon.
We hope you have your white outfits, sandals, and sunscreen ready, because the real beach fun is just getting started!!! Stay tuned!
Before you hit the sand and surf, hit the app store on your smart phone and download a few apps that will enhance your beach experience.
Check Out the Waters
Magic Seaweed is a go-to web resource for any surf lover, and their easy to use app brings need to know info on the go. This app shows you real time wave heights and wind direction, helping you choose whether you are going to bring the paddle board or the surf board.
You can save and choose your favorite beach spots in the world if you sign up for an account, so you can compare and contrast the tides, charts, pictures, and other information.
If you need some saltwater surfspiration this app will truly give you that with tubular videos and other dynamic content.
Basic download is free, create an account to utilize more of the app’s features.
Tides Near Me- Free
Tides Near Me- Free app is simple, easy to use, and straightforward. Quickly select your location to see the last tide, the next tide, times for the sunrise and sunset, and times for the moonrise and moonset.
Tides Near Me also shows you the tidal forecast for the future week.
This app is free to download, but for $1.99 you can purchase an ad-free version.
Ocearch Global Shark Tracker
This is a fun and exciting shark tracking tool! See if any of Ocearch’s tagged sharks are swimming near you!
Ocearch.org is a non-profit organization that provides nearly real-time information on large marine predators, such as Great White sharks and other shark species. Ocearch brings together some of the greatest research scientists throughout the world that collaborate to provide information about these magnificent creatures. Greater understanding about the habits and behaviors of sharks will yield more successful conservation efforts.
Follow the travels of Katharine the Great White, or Pablo the Mako Shark. It is truly amazing to see the distance these shark travel. You never know where they will be!
This app is free to download.
Participate in Citizen Science
This app is not only a great resource for learning about jellyfish, but it also allows you to record your own jellyfish sightings!
Walking on the beach and see a washed up jellyfish? Snap a picture and upload information about your sighting. Snorkeling or diving a reef and run into some jellies? Record what you saw, so other beach goers can be aware of what is out there!
Even if you don’t plan on recording information, this app is crucial to having a safe day at the beach sans jellyfish stings.
Marine Debris Tracker
This is one of our favorite apps, especially since we love responsible tourism. However, it only works if we contribute to it.
If you do a beach cleanup, or are just walking along the beach and discover any litter, bust out this app and record it.
Mark your location, and what you found. It is important to see if there are any litter trends, where debris is ending up, and what exactly is being left behind.
IveGot1 Invasive Species Reporter
This is a very important app to have on your phone if you are traversing nature in Florida, whether on land or sea. Invasive species cost Floridians an estimated $500 million a year, which is nothing compared to the ecological problems that they create.
If you see an invasive species, such as a lion fish or ball python, record it in this app. This information will help to determine how advanced an infestation of an invasive species is, and hopefully help to remedy the issue and to protect indigenous species and ecosystems.
This is a great way to record any nature you want- plants, mammals, insects- whatever you see!
This fun app is a social network of other likeminded nature lovers that record their observations. Peruse guides, such as the Caribbean Coral Reef Food Web, or find your location on the map to see what has been spotted near you!
Did we miss an app that you think is a must-have for any beach goer? Contact us and let us know what we should download next!
Lauderdale-By-The-Sea is your quintessential beach town. Its quaint shops, casual restaurants, dive bars, and boutique hotels create a charming small-town atmosphere. Nestled 33 miles south of Palm Beach and 30 miles north of Miami, LBTS offers a low-key and laid-back experience in the coastal heart of South Florida.
The Shore-t Story
Parking: There are many different options for parking in LBTS. Recommended parking for the beach is in El Prado Parking lot and the grass lot next to it, located just north of Commercial Boulevard. Here it is $1.50 per hour, or $10 for all day. Other options included metered parallel parking, restaurant valet, parking lots on the west side of A1A, or the parking lot near the pier.
Refreshments: There are many restaurants within walking distance if you get hungry, but if you are just beaching it, it is recommended to bring your own refreshments.
Picnicking/Grilling: There are no picnic tables or grill spots near the LBTS beach. There are two covered gazebos or the grassy area at El Prado Park, but most picnicking here will be done on the actual beach.
Restrooms: The public restrooms are located behind Town Hall, which is a decent walk from the beach. This could prove problematic for anyone with small children or a bathroom emergency.
Fishing: Anglin’s Fishing Pier open 24 hours
Snorkeling/Diving: Excellent spot; the SS Copenhagen is a popular dive spot near the Sea Watch Restaurant, as is the BioRock Reef south of the pier
The entire town of Lauderdale-By-The-Sea is situated on a barrier island, meaning that on one side of the town is bordered by the intracoastal waterway, and the other side is the ocean.
Towards the end of the 2013-2014 season, aesthetic renovations to the town center were completed. Many people may have stopped going to LBTS because of the inconveniences of the construction, but worry not, because they are done and they have created many fun spots throughout the town where you can relax with family.
Murals and sculptures of sea life can be found throughout the town, every utility box is colorfully painted, and no bike rack is an eye sore. These details found throughout the town add to the charm that can only be found in Lauderdale-By-The-Sea.
Tip: All of the hotel accommodations in LBTS are boutique hotels, which are perfect for large groups to rent out. They might not satisfy those looking for glitz and glamour, but will be a comfortable fit for those looking for a low-key vacation.
Lauderdale-By-The-Sea’s beach provides ample room for any beach activity. It is a wide beach, so unless it is a super busy day, there is usually enough room to spread out and not crowd onto someone else’s beach blanket.
Just north and south of the pier will usually be the largest concentration of people, even though you are supposed to stay at least 300 feet away from the actual pier when you are in the water. Go south of the pier if you want to snorkel the BioRock Reef; go just north of the pier if you are looking for a fun atmosphere near the town center.
As you continue north on the beach away from the town center, the upbeat tempo of reggae beats from a restaurant’s musician will fade away, and you will be left with the sound of the ocean waves and the faint chatter of the beach crowd.
Even in this area north of the pier where there is not a reef, you can still snorkel and see many different fish just offshore. Snorkeling directly offshore LBTS is great for beginners.
The other area that becomes concentrated with people is the access point at El Prado park. Across from El Prado park are two decent sized parking lots for daytrippers. El Prado Park is a nice grassy area good for picnicking or playing frisbee, and it is framed by colorful adirondack chairs and umbrellas. There are two gazebos that offer shade and some excellent people watching.
This beach does not have lifeguards. They do have life rings available just in case, but everyone here is swimming at their own risk.
Would we classify this beach as being family friendly? Yes and no. Yes, if you are on vacation and have your own hotel room, with an accessible toilet and air conditioning. No, if you are a daytripper, because there are no lifeguards and no public restrooms in a comfortable vicinity. We would recommend Pompano Beach, just north of LBTS, that features a playground, bathrooms, lifeguards, and refreshments, for daytrippers with small children.
The pier in Lauderdale-By-The-Sea, Anglin’s Fishing Pier, is open 24 hours so no matter your work or vacation schedule is you can get your fishing fix. It costs $7 per adult fisher. Common catches include snook, snapper, mackerel, bluefish, and more. With the reef being just south of the pier, in the deepwater part of the pier you are able to catch a variety of fish.
If you are not a fisherman or fisherwoman, the LBTS pier offers great views of the Lighthouse Point lighthouse, Fort Lauderdale beach, and plenty of wildlife. It is a $2 fee for sightseers. Bring a camera!
Tip: We recommend this local secret for down-to-earth beach destination weddings, couples, and older family get-togethers.
The Diving and Snorkeling
There are two main spots to dive in “The Shore Diving Capital of the World.” Shore diving means that the reefs are a short swim from the shore, and boats are not needed to access them.
The BioRock Reef
Lauderdale-By-The-Sea features the first of its kind fisheries restoration project that utilizes a technology called BioRock. In a nutshell, the BioRock technology speeds up the growth of a coral reef by mimicking reefs natural growth in order to replenish dying reefs and marine life populations. Steel structures are installed and charged by solar energy that attracts and propels the growth of limestone over them.
The BioRock Reef is excellent for all levels of snorkelers and divers, and this pilot project provides a great opportunity to see a variety of fish and marine life. Being a strong swimmer is highly recommended, as the maximum depth is around 12 feet. Often times people will dive/snorkel off of a kayak or paddle board.
This reef attracts a lot of fish and marine life, and offshore in any part of LBTS you will at the very least see a few different species of fish if the visibility is good.
The SS Copenhagen Shipwreck
In 1900, the steam-ship schooner SS Copenhagen hit a reef and became stranded carrying almost 5000 tons of coal. The crew attempted to salvage the cargo, but the ship ended up being left behind. The ship remained visible above water until World War II, when it was used for target practice, ultimately causing it to sink. Most of the machinery was salvaged, but the features of the ship are still visible. The bow now sits separate from the ship after an excavation attempt gone awry.
What is left of the shipwreck is now an artificial reef, located 3/4 of a mile offshore of LBTS at latitude 26° 12.349’ N and longitude 80° 05.108’ W. The water depths fluctuate from 16-31 feet.
Take an underwater tour of the shipwreck.
The SS Copenhagen is a protected state underwater archeological preserve.
Throughout Lauderdale-By-The-Sea, we found a variety of recycling receptacles! Unfortunately, they were not always in use. LBTS sometimes has a lot of leftover trash from weekend revelers. If you don’t pick it up, no one else is going to, except maybe a hungry bird.
Pier goers also have to make an effort to secure their trash, especially plastic bags, that can easily be blown away and into the ocean by the breeze.
We appreciate LBTS taking the steps to attempt to promote recycling, but it takes the beach goers to make this plan came to fruition.
If you had the pleasure of enjoying the beach, let the next person have the pleasure of enjoying the beach without your trash.
Find out more about Lauderdale-By-The-Sea’s recycling program.
All in all, this small town packs a big beachy punch. Fantastic for fishing, snorkeling, diving, dining, and drinking, it is easy to take it easy in Lauderdale-By-The-Sea.
Welcome to The Beach Review! It seemed appropriate to launch The Beach Review on the first day of summer, June 21st, 2014, when the days are at their longest and the sun is at its brightest.
Each week, TBR will highlight different beaches beginning in South Florida- the famous and the lesser known- as well as provide information on beach safety, wildlife, and responsible tourism. The Review will feature photography of local sunrises, sunsets, and more beach scenery for you to enjoy. We will also focus on pollution, endangered species, and ways to protect the fragile ecosystems of the region.
If you have never been to South Florida, you may not realize how many different beach options and experiences are available. Each beach has its own vibe and offers something different. From Tequesta to Key West, there is something for everyone.
Whether you are a local planning a daytrip or a first time beach goer flying into Florida, it may be overwhelming to pick which beach you want to go to. What does each beach offer? How crowded are the beaches? Which ones are clean? Where’s a good place to find sea shells? Where’s a good place for sand sculpting? Where can I park? What are the hours? What can I bring?
All of these questions and more will be answered here at The Beach Review.
Explore the beaches of South Florida and beyond with The Beach Review, where we bring the beach to you. You never know where we are, or where we will be, so enjoy the journey!
Follow us on social media for a real time look at what we are up to!