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Hollywood Beach is a jewel of South Florida. Well-known to locals, it’s often overlooked by tourists who travel long distances to stay in larger cities to the north and south. Take one look at the boardwalk, photos, and Margaritaville and you’ll want to visit!
If you’ve had the chance to visit Hollywood Beach, you surely remember the boardwalk because it’s the best part about the beach and one of the finest in South Florida.
It’s picturesque and perfect for selfies or family memories. If you’re planning a vacation to the warm shores of South Florida, make a point to visit this amazing beach (and take plenty of photos).
Have you heard of Margaritaville? Jimmy Buffet has one of his best locations, smack in the middle of Hollywood Beach. Sip margaritas by the pool, and cool off in the ocean (it’s only 50 meters away).
In addition to its beach, Hollywood, Florida is home to a up and coming downtown area, beautiful views of homes along the intracoastal and great nightlife.
Below I’ll share the best things to do in Hollywood Beach and I’ll share my tips for restaurants, hotels, parking, and weather! Let’s get started.
5 Things To Do In Hollywood Beach
#1 Walk On The Beach
If you’re taking a trip to Hollywood Beach, you will surely spend a lot of time on the sand. There are few activities more enjoyable than a leisurely stroll on the beach.
The beach is wide and there is deep sand (for a good workout) further from the ocean while the sand is more compacted with a steeper slope to the ocean near the water.
If you love people watching, weekends are a great time to enjoy natures beauty. The beach becomes crowded in the areas in front of the boardwalk, however, if you walk past (either side) of the boardwalk area, you’ll find more space along the sand.
Weekday mornings are a prime time to visit the beach with very few people. This is my favorite time to walk on the beach before the crowds arrive.
#2 Hangout Downtown
Downtown Hollywood has a lively scene on the weekends. It’s only a mile from the ocean and there are free golf cart shuttles that will pick you up and drop you off (just use the free “ride circuit” app to schedule your pick up location).
Parking can be tough on the weekends so I encourage you to use the shuttle or park a few blocks away from downtown and walk.
Hollywood has been called “Hollyweird” on occasion because there is a diverse, eclectic group of residents. Enjoy the Latin fusion restaurants, old theater, and pubs when you are downtown.
#3 Hike or Kayak At Anne Kolb Nature Center
Anne Kolb Nature Center lies at the North end of Hollywood Beach boardwalk, just over the intracoastal bridge. It’s less than five minutes from the beach.
This park is tranquil and it’s a great way to remove yourself from the hustle and bustle of South Florida.
Spend several hours on the trails or take your kayak and paddle around the preserve. Keep an eye out for special activities (educational walks) on their website.
If you like wildlife you’ll find plenty of birds, turtles, iguanas, and “no-see-ums” (yes, be sure to wear repellant).
#4 Attend A Concert On The Famous Hollywood Beach Boardwalk
Weekend concerts have been a mainstay at Hollywood Beach for years. Cover bands and well-known groups have made stops at this free concert venue.
Constructed in the middle of the boardwalk, passersby can enjoy the music as they walk to their dining destination. It’s right outside the Margaritaville Hotel (and run by the hotel), so people staying there can relax at the pool while they take in a sunset and some soothing music.
The venue is tough to beat due to is location, cost (free), and cast of regular bands that range from folk, to country and reggae.
#5 Rent Bikes and Cruise For Miles On The Boardwalk
Boardwalks are great for exercise and for cruising, so why not rent a bike for the day and spend hours cruising up and down the boardwalk.
Hollywood Bike Shack offers rentals for all different types of bikes. Cruisers, group bikes, low-riders and more (some even have stereos and lights).
If you’re at the beach, you should explore all 3 miles of boardwalk. You can even go off the boardwalk and continue down Surf Road.
If you’re into Latin music – which is the music of choice in South Florida – then enjoy this song which was filmed at Hollywood Beach. Yes, they are cruising the Hollywood beach boardwalk.
Hollywood Beach Hotels – Where To Stay
There are several great places to stay in Hollywood Beach. Because the beach spans several miles, there are many options with availability throughout the year.
The most popular are below, but you can also find smaller options that are great for travelers on a budget. Keep in mind that high season is during winter (Nov. – March) and prices are usually more expensive.
Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort
Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville is the centerpiece of Hollywood Beach. Located centrally on the boardwalk, visitors can enjoy live music, a wave machine, pool, and of, course those picturesque ocean views.
Even if you aren’t a Jimmy Buffett fan, this hotel’s location and amenities will keep all visitors happy.
Hollywood Beach Marriott
The Hollywood Beach Marriott is a wonderful hotel close to the beach. Some rooms offer gorgeous views of the ocean and/or intracoastal so make sure to ask where your room will be located.
This hotel offers all that you’d expect from Marriott and there is a wonderful buffett. There is on-site parking at most of the hotels so you won’t have to worry about expensive beach parking.
The Diplomat is an expansive hotel and resort located in South Hollywood Beach. It is farther away from the boardwalk so keep that in mind when booking a room here.
The hotel itself is excellent and it has its own private bridge to walk over A1A road.
If you prefer a little privacy away from the hustle and bustle of the boardwalk, then this is an excellent choice. Surrounding the Diplomat Resort are other high-rise buildings on the beach.
Because of the high-rise buildings on the beach, they cast an afternoon shadow on the beach. So get out to the beach early to soak up the sun!
One of the easiest ways to enjoy Hollywood Beach is to use Airbnb. It’s become a very popular and affordable way to travel if you don’t want to be in a hotel.
There are so many quaint places in historical buildings and they are usually affordable if you book far enough ahead.
Look at the options off the boardwalk and you’ll find 1 and 2 bedroom rentals for $50 a night. If you use my Airbnb link you can get $40 off your fist stay.
Hollywood Beach Restaurants
Nicks is a long-standing bar and grill that is near Margaritaville and the live concerts. It was recently remodeled (2020) and has a great selection of beer and food.
Enjoy a game and food inside or sit at a table that looks over the beach. If you need a quick lunch during the heat of the day, you can find a cool spot in Nick’s and wait until the sun becomes less intense.
Nick’s is a spot that has been around forever and it’s great to support a local joint!
I’ve eaten at the Taco Spot on occasion and it’s another quick meal that can be enjoyed while you eat on the boardwalk (or overlook it).
I tend to enjoy the people-watching spots and the Taco Spot offers that in addition to it’s tasty tacos.
Want a classy dinner with beautiful views of the intracoastal? Take a break from the waves and walk two blocks away from the beach and you’ll have a totally different view of Hollywood.
The great thing about GG’s is its sunset views. It faces west, you’ll have a much better view of the sunset than if you were at the beach.
In the evening the intracoastal waterways are tranquil and quiet. You’ll be able to watch large yachts cruise by while you enjoy a delicious meal.
Tip: go for happy hour and get the same great food for a more affordable price.
Opa’s has a few locations throughout South Florida and serves delicious Greek food. Similar to GG’s, Opa’s sits on the water of the intracoastal and there are wonderful views of the water.
Make your reservations early (or get there for an early meal) because the tables near the water fill up quickly.
Opa’s even has belly dancing (might only be on the weekends) so you get some entertainment along with your meal. Servings are large so you’ll have plenty of leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch.
Parking in Hollywood Beach, Florida
Parking in Hollywood Beach is easier than you’d think. The main challenge are afternoons on the weekends.
My advice: arrive to the beach prior to 10am and you’ll find parking close to the beach. Arrive after 10am and you might be driving around for an extended amount of time.
Weekdays are easy to find parking. I There are several parking garages on A1A and parking is paid by the hour (usually costs around $30 for the day).
I recommend parking at Hollywood Beach North Park or to the south at Harry Barry Park (paid parking). Both of these options will allow you to park very close to the beach to minimize walking.
However, both of these options are not central on the boardwalk, so if you’ll be spending most of your time on the boardwalk, use the parking garage or arrive early for paid street parking.
Hollywood Beach remains a secondary option to other, more popular beaches in South Florida. However, few of the other beaches offer the beauty that Hollywood Beach provides.
It’s the perfect place for cruising the boardwalk or walking on the beach. There are miles of sand to walk up and down and it’s a safe beach as well.
Numerous music videos, shows, and movies have been filmed at this beautiful beach.
It’s not just about the beach.
Plan your trip and spend time at the Anne Kolb Nature Center, just a stones throw from the beach. Visit the thriving downtown area as well.
It’s only a mile from the beach and has an eclectic feel to it. There are free rides to and from the beach, and there are plenty of restaurants, bars, and theaters to satisfy your curiosity.
The activities I’ve suggested are all within a mile of Hollywood’s beautiful beach. But I recommend spending every possible moment on the beach, enjoying the sun, sand, and warm water!