John U Lloyd Beach

The first year we moved to Fort Lauderdale many years ago, we stumbled upon this perfect gem of a beach in Dania. The beach inside John U. Lloyd State Park is our favorite beach in the Fort Lauderdale area because it suits our beach personality.

We work in the city all day, every day from Monday to Friday. You know the routine well. There are phones constantly ringing, paperwork to be done, meetings at odd times and e-mails to answer …

All cooped up in the office the whole day!

The girls go to school in the city. We don’t even need to talk about how noisy children can be!

So when we get a break, even just for a few hours in the weekend, we want quiet. We want lots of space, sun and a calming blue ocean before us.

John U. Lloyd Beach is our choice for best family beach in the Fort Lauderdale area.

Heading east on Dania Beach Boulevard, the road will loop downward. Drive past the exit to the Dania Public Beach and follow the road, veering to the right until you arrive at the state park’s entrance.

There is an entrance fee for the day per vehicle, but you can leave and re-enter the park by showing the paid receipt for that day. However, you won’t be able to get back in if the park is full (this sometimes happens on holidays).

Once inside, it’s like a different world. Visitors need to drive on a long, two-lane road lined with lots trees and shrubs. It’s like traveling back in time when the swamps ruled this part of South Florida.

But the time travel doesn’t last very long. Soon, the large filling stations for the big ships in Port Everglades loom on the other side of the Intracoastal waterway on the left-hand side of the road.

They almost look out of place but it reminds us that the bustling city is really not very far away.

Another reminder of the city are the high-rise condos on the north end of the beach and to the distant south.

Since John U. Lloyd beach is right on the path of the Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport, occasionally airplanes can be seen coming and going overhead. This might bother a few people, but I’ve realized that it’s actually great entertainment for small children (they don’t need much to make them happy)!

If you happen to find yourself too close to the path where planes come and go, just move further to the northern area of the beach and you should find more peace and quiet.

We’ve spent many Saturday mornings here (leaving just before the beastly noon heat). We’ve watched the girls happily dig in the sand and build and re-build castles with their pails and shovels or even with their bare hands.

But other than the relaxing and gorgeous beach, what else is there to do in John U. Lloyd Beach?


Bring your boat and spend a lazy day sailing on Whiskey Creek. You can also rent kayaks or canoes at the Loggerhead Café on the north end of the creek. You might even spot all sorts of different kinds or birds or even a manatee!

You can pack a picnic lunch with sandwiches and salads or you can bring all the fixings for a barbeque party with family and friends right on the beach! The park has grills and picnic tables for you to use. Just make sure to clean up afterwards!

After lunch and a siesta (under the shade of your beach umbrella to protect you from the sun), you can snorkel near the shore.

If you have the gear, you can scuba dive and explore the reefs that are very close to the shore. There is also a hiking trail and an Education Facility so that you can deepen your appreciation for nature in South Florida.

But, what do we do when we’re at John U. Lloyd Beach?

We splash and swim in the deep blue green ocean.

We attempt for the millionth time to build sandcastles as high as the sky.

We have picnic lunches of sandwiches made with baguettes and rations from the fridge – tomatoes, salad, ham and hard-boiled eggs, washed down with bottles of water and pouches filled with juice.

We watch the billowing clouds roll along and see lions and dragons turning into toaster ovens and flying turtles.

We walk on and on for what seems like an endless beach …

… and dream.

What about you? What will you do at John U. Lloyd Beach?


  • Several parking lots in the park. Free after paying park entrance.
  • Boat ramp (fee required)
  • Canoe and kayak rentals (at the café)
  • Full service café, take-out available
  • Picnic areas
  • Barbeque grills
  • Nature trails
  • Snorkeling
  • Scuba diving
  • Wildlife viewing
  • Showers
  • Public restrooms
  • Men’s and women’s dressing rooms

John U. Lloyd Beach State Park
6503 N. Ocean Drive
Dania, Florida 33004
Phone: 954-923-2833

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