Warm sunny weather all year ‘round, miles and miles of clean white sandy beach, various outdoor activities and affordable lodging options make Fort Lauderdale and Hollywood FL great getaways at any time of the year. Due to cheap flights, available public transportation and bicycle friendly streets and buses, it is a great eco-friendly and wallet-friendly option for some fun in the sun.
Our Ratings 0-10:
Hiking difficulty: easy strolls
About The Area
To be clear: this is about the other Hollywood…the one in Florida, not the movie and television mecca in California.
If you are craving warm sunshine and a few days of relaxation at the beach without the pretentious crowds while on a tight budget, then we recommend a trip to Hollywood in Florida. The flights to Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport have been some of the cheapest recently available—at least from New York. The low cost, combined with the bright sunny weather and a clear turquoise ocean, is more than enough reason to book a few days of relaxing fun and exploration.
Hollywood and its neighbor Fort Lauderdale are not only pedestrian friendly, but also offer a wide network of public transportation including buses, water taxis, and rental bicycles, which makes for an eco-friendly getaway without needing to rent a car. The flora is rich, palm trees line the beaches and streets, and beautiful flowers of all colors burst from bushes throughout the area. The average temperature ranges from 68 to 83 degrees, which makes for a great beach getaway even during the winter months.
Hollywood is a great choice as it is more low-key and inexpensive than its neighbors Fort Lauderdale and Miami. It only takes 1 hour by water taxi, bus, or bicycle to get from Hollywood to Fort Lauderdale and 90 minutes by bus or bicycle to get from Hollywood to Miami Beach.
Nearby Fort Lauderdale is noted as residence of the first Native Americans in the region, who arrived about 4000 years ago. Later, the Tequesta Indians inhabited the area. It is said that around 1565 the Tequesta Indians came in contact with a Spanish fleet and in 1567 a mission was established near modern-day Miami. History took a tragic turn in 1704 when the Spanish government resettled Florida Indians to Cuba so that they could be indoctrinated into the Catholic faith. Most Indians had been relocated to Cuba and/or died by 1770.
In 1838 the first stockade was built in Fort Lauderdale, but it was soon abandoned in 1842. The area remained unpopulated until the 1890’s when organized development began as the Florida East Coast Railroad was built. Fort Lauderdale was incorporated in 1911 and Hollywood was founded in 1925 by Joseph W. Young, who dreamed of building a motion picture colony just like the Hollywood in California. After multiple hurricanes and a stock market crash, it evolved into the beachside city that it is now.
Where To Stay
The rooms here are studio apartments with a fully stocked kitchen and a living/dining room. We booked this option because we loved the low price and sleek, modern design. The space was very clean and quiet even though it was located just a few steps from the beach and boardwalk, where various restaurants and cafes are located.
The only downside here: the pool is tiny and adjacent to the street. Since we are ocean swimmers and not pool people we did not care, but if a nice big pool is important to you, then you should book elsewhere.
This is another inexpensive option. We have not stayed here and found some mixed reviews, but it is the only other option in the area that costs less than $100 and it has a huge pool. From the outside it seems worth a try.
Both hotels are in walking distance from downtown Hollywood where a large Publix supermarket and other stores, boutiques, and restaurants are located. There is a nice walking/bicycle path along Hollywood Boulevard leading from Hollywood beach to the downtown city, it is lined with palm trees and residential houses and it’s a safe and well-lit walk even at night.
We also recommend checking AirBnB for other inexpensive options.
There are several Campgrounds and RV parks in the area:
Where To Eat
Publix Supermarket – Shop food at this supermarket with many vegan protein options and organic produce, located at the Young Circle ArtsPark.
Josh’s Organic Garden – Organic veggie and fruit market on Sundays located adjacent to the beach in Hollywood Beach.
Hollywood Beach Dining
Istanbul Restaurant – At the Hollywood Beach Boardwalk between Pierce St and Fillmore St, there’s a small Turkish restaurant with some yummy vegetarian options:
Try the Lentil Soup and Falafel Platter, Red Bean Stew, Baba Ghanush, or White Bean Salad. They have a variety of Mediterranean Salads, Sigara Boregi, and Spinach Borek (traditional savory pastry dishes).
Umi Sushi – Located at the Hollywood Beach Boardwalk between Buchanan St and Indiana St. They offer a choice of vegetable rolls, veggie tempura, seaweed salad, and miso soup.
Hollywood Grill – At the Hollywood Beach Boardwalk between Buchanan St and Indiana St. is an Armenian & Russian restaurant with a great variety of salads, vegan soups, and many vegetarian dishes.
Hollywood Brewery – Craft beer right at the beach! They even had Mango IPA—mouthwatering! The brewery also serves food and has indoor or outdoor seating.
Dania Beach Dining
Dania Beach is located 3 miles north of Hollywood Beach. It’s a scenic 1.5 hour stroll or 30-minute bike ride along the ocean to get to this vegan restaurant. Or you can just take the bus. The healthy mouth-watering menu is worth it!
Zen Mystery – A lovely, organic, vegan and gluten-free cafe located at 56 N. Federal Hwy, Dania Beach, FL 33004—just north of Hollywood Beach.
Downtown Hollywood Dining
It takes only 30 minutes to walk along the palm tree-lined Hollywood Boulevard foot path from Hollywood Beach to downtown Hollywood, where one can find a Publix Supermarket with many vegan protein options and organic produce, a Walgreens, and a variety of restaurants that dot Hollywood Blvd.
Food Truck Fest at Young Circle Park – This is a must!
Make sure to stay on a Monday evening to partake in Hollywood’s own food truck fest from 5:30-9:30pm. You will find a mouthwatering variety of juicy southern BBQ, Caribbean BBQ, jerk shrimp, Mexican steamed corn, tacos, spring rolls, burgers, cheese fries, mofongo, pizza, ice-cream, cookies, and more.
The Food Truck Fest takes place at the city’s arts-park, which has plenty of grassy areas where you can sit down and feast on the yummy fare.
Chocolada Bakery & Cafe is a laid back spot for Brunch and Lunch with a variety of vegetarian options.
Bistro 1902 – French food with vegetarian crepe and vegetarian friendly brunch buffet on Sundays.
Ft Lauderdale vegetarian/vegan friendly restaurants
The Green Bar Kitchen – Organic locally sourced plant based food at its finest! Their story is quite inspiring!
We had the oh-so-tasty Coconut Burger with a side salad and the Reuben Sandwich with pickled Seitan. Their salads are vibrant and beautiful and the tacos and bowls are simply mouthwatering.They even have a Sunday brunch menu with chia pancakes, healthy biscuits and gravy, pumpkin French toast, and tofu rancheros. And their desserts are a must for anyone with a sweet-tooth.
Sublime Restaurant & Bar – Plant-based vegan restaurant serving eco-conscious food. The food is outstanding and supports a good cause—the restaurant’s owner Nanci Alexander founded the Animal Rights Foundation of Florida. It’s said that 100% of Sublime’s profits go to organizations that promote animal welfare and a vegan lifestyle.
Myapapaya Juicery and Kitchen – Serving cold pressed juices, healthy salads and soups, many vegetarian and vegan options, and all made fresh from scratch with organic, local, and natural ingredients.
Fresh First – 100% gluten free and vegetarian friendly restaurant with a variety of vegan options:
Things To Do
Hollywood Beach offers 2.6 miles of boardwalk and miles and miles of white sandy beach with beautiful clear turquoise water. Ocean swimming is great throughout most of the year. The area has a variety of nature parks that welcome hiking or bicycling, there are picnic areas with grills for your own barbecue near the beach, and the intercoastal waterways and canals in the area are ideal for kayaking or exploring by paddle board.
Take a tour by Water Taxi
The local water taxi is an awesome way to explore the Hollywood beach area and even goes as far as Fort Lauderdale. Adult tickets are $26/day, which includes unlimited rides all day long.
Hollywood beach alone has 7 different water taxi stops along the intercoastal waterway.
We recommend taking a whole day for a trip to Fort Lauderdale by water taxi. Take the Margaritaville Express – it’s the water taxi route that connects Hollywood Beach with Fort Lauderdale. It’s a 45 minute ride along the beautiful intercoastal waterway. Once in Fort Lauderdale, it’s an easy switch to the Fort Lauderdale line, which allows you to explore the many beautiful canals of the city. These canals give the city its nickname “the Venice of America.” The whole Fort Lauderdale route takes about 3 hours. The ride affords views of the many luxury villas, as it leads from the inner city to Fort Lauderdale Beach Park and even Hugh Taylor Birch State Park. There are 12 stops within Fort Lauderdale alone and one can hop on and off the water taxi to explore different areas of the city. If you are looking for a nice downtown stroll, get out at stop Number 4: The Shops at Las Olas. Along Las Olas Boulevard you’ll find many shops, cafes, and restaurants. Spa Juicebar, Falafeltime, and Raw Poke Bar all have vegan options.
Rent a Bicycle
Hollywood is very bicycle friendly and what better way to explore the area than with a relaxing ride along the ocean, boardwalk, or into downtown.
Visit the Anne Kolb Nature Center
Only a 30 minute walk or 10 minute bicycle ride north of Hollywood Beach, this nature center is ideal for a leisurely afternoon stroll through the center’s 1,500-acre coastal mangrove wetland. This park is a part of the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail and includes an exhibit hall, observation towers, beautiful wooden walkways over the the wetland, and mangrove trails that allow walking and bicycling. The park offers environmental boat tours for $5/person.
Have a Barbecue at Hollywood North Beach Park
Enjoy free outdoor movies at Artspark Movie Night
Every Friday at 8pm at the Arts Park at Young Circle in downtown Hollywood. Bring a blanket or beach chair to sit on the lawn and enjoy a family friendly film.
Visit the Hollywood Beach Theatre
Enjoy outdoor entertainment, concerts, and dance at the Hollywood Beach Theatre and surrounding areas.
Visit the Hugh Taylor Birch State Park
Located in Fort Lauderdale, this park is nestled between the ocean and the intercoastal canal and is perfect for relaxation. The park is a part of the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail. Take a walk, rent a canoe or ride your bicycle and observe the wildlife. You might see gopher tortoises, eastern indigo snakes, butterflies, turtles, gray squirrels, marsh rabbits, and opossums, wading birds, hawks, and ducks.
How To Get Around By Public Transportation
Take the Bus
From the Airport, take the bus to Hollywood Beach:
Just outside the airport on the left is the bus station. Take the free Tri Rail bus to the transportation hub Tri Rail Station. From there switch to the No. 4 bus, which brings you to Hollywood Beach in 30 minutes. The fare is $2.
There are numerous buses that run from Hollywood Beach to Downtown Hollywood. The ride is about 10 minutes long. There are also buses from Hollywood Beach to Fort Lauderdale and Miami.
More on public transportation in Broward County here.
Use the Bicycle
Bicycle lanes are available on all bigger streets and even along the Hollywood Boardwalk.
Broward BCycle—a bike-sharing program—has stations located throughout both Hollywood Beach and Fort Lauderdale. Bike rentals are $5 per 30 minutes.