Thursday, February 23, 2017

Exploring A1A from Ft. Lauderdale to Palm Beach

Ft. Lauderdale Beach

One of the benefits of our central location in south Florida is that we are within an hour & a half from each coast . . . of course it takes the first hour to get to civilization of any kind . . . I guess that would be the downside!  LOL 



We do try to take one big trip each week, so last Saturday we planned to visit Ft. Lauderdale.  Tom hadn’t been there since he was a kid, and my only visit was one day during a college spring break in Venice, so we were both looking forward to exploring the city and the beach.






From Big Cypress, we took I-75 toward Ft. Lauderdale and got off the highway at the western edge of town.  There’s a Broward County Park – Markham Park – that’s really close to 75, and has a nice campground, so we wanted to check it out.  We paid the $3 weekend fee, and drove through the campground first.

In some of the loops, the sites are pretty tight, but in others they have twice as much space.

Nice campsites

The road that the campground is on ends at a series of mountain bike trails, and on this Saturday morning it was packed – there must have been 100 cars parked along the road and in the small parking lot at the end of the road!  Note to self – stay here during the week – very busy on the weekends!

We drove through the day use area of the park next, and there was a huge Boy Scout Jamboree going on – there were tents everywhere!

Boy Scout Jamboree

A field full of tents











On our way out, we stopped at the office to inquire about volunteering opportunities.  The kid there said that they don’t really use volunteers – plenty of paid employees – but they have one woman as a campground host who’s been there forever, so they just let her keep the job.  No go there . . . it is a nice park, and would be a great stopping point on the way to the Keys, but I wouldn’t plan on spending a long time there.  You can stay as long as you want, but it’s $40/day . . . no weekly or monthly discounted rates!

Rather than getting on the freeway (and getting billed at home for tolls), we opted to take Las Olas Blvd. all the way through town and onto the beach.

Crossing the Inter-coastal, we got our first glimpse of Ft. Lauderdale Beach.

Intercoastal Waterway

We turned onto A1A and looked for a place to park.  The beach parking lots were all full, but we lucked into a metered spot in a small lot right next to the park.

We’ve arrived!

Ft. Lauderdale

We walked along the street first, looking for a place for a quick, inexpensive lunch.

It's changed a lot since my Spring Break days!

I spotted a sign for a small shopping area in the courtyard of one of the bigger hotels, and there was a Subway there – that’ll work!

After lunch, we continued walking until we reached the end of the main commercial area of the beach.

Hotels along the strip

We crossed over to the beach side of the street then, and walked back along the edge of the water.

Ft. Lauderdale Beach

It was a beautiful day at the beach, but it wasn’t too crowded yet . . . the real crowds show up in March.  Right now, it’s mostly Europeans on vacation.  That was evident from the lack of English being spoken!

Quiet Beach - it's not March, yet!

Nice beach day










As we walked back toward the busier area of town, the beach got more crowded.

Interesting Hotel

We sat on the wall and people-watched for a while.

Look closely - could that be Bryce??


I spotted this guy – stretched out in his hammock, music playing, longboard propped against the tree – and I thought if I didn’t know Bryce was up in Michigan, I would have thought it was him!


It was a great day for people-watching!

Enjoying the beach



We got back to the parking lot then, and with the top down on the Jeep, we continued north on A1A, past the condos of North Ft. Lauderdale, and from one prosperous small beach town to another.

Continuing north

We crossed drawbridges,


and passed huge hotels on the beach.

More Hotels

Along the ocean side of the road were magnificent estates,












some hidden by elaborate landscaping,


and most with a yacht parked across the street on the Inter-coastal waterway.  There were plenty of boats out, with people enjoying this beautiful day,

Lots of yachts on the Intercoastal











and no shortage of sports cars, either.


He just realized we were parked next to a Ferrarri











As we got close to Palm Beach, we found a catholic church that was having a 4pm mass, so we decided to take care of that while we were out.  We had some time, so stopped for a quick ice cream cone to tide us over until dinner.

After mass, we continued north, and started seeing signs that A1A was closed at Southern Blvd in Palm Beach.  We drove past some beautiful Palm Beach homes,

Palm Beach

and the Palm Beach Golf Club.

Palm Beach Golf Club











Sure enough, when we reached Southern Blvd, where the Mara Lago Resort is located, the road was closed and we were directed to cross the bridge over the Inter-Coastal Waterway.  We couldn’t get a good look at the resort, but just across the bridge was a small fishing beach where we stopped for some pictures.

I guess this is as close as the news crews can get, too.

Out here with the news guys

We had a decent view of the back of the resort,

Mara Lago

Mar a Lago










and a girl at the beach told us that we had just missed the motorcade coming from the airport – I guess he arrived while we were in church.

We didn’t see a single protester . . . I guess they are being kept further away!  There were boats on the Inter-Coastal, though, and we saw a big Coast Guard ship out on the ocean.

Keeping watch

The detour worked out well for us, since Southern Blvd. turns into Highway 80, which takes us right to Clewiston, where we could pick up County Rd. 835 back to the RV Resort. 

It was a big, 200-mile loop for our Saturday adventure, but we had a nice drive, a delicious dinner in Palm Beach, we went to mass, and stopped at Walmart for some shopping – so it was a pretty full day!

That left Sunday open for relaxing at the pool!!  Smile  Yay!


  1. Looks like another Enjoyable day. Too Bad the motorcade had to ruin things or maybe you saw things you might not have otherwise.
    Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.

  2. Great review. I plan to visit this place this summer.


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