If you’re anything like me, you might be ready to take a little break and sneak away for a relaxing vacation. After Christmas, I always like to escape the cold weather and head south! In my mind, sun and fun definitely go hand in hand. Throw in a big fruity drink, and that’s pretty much my idea of paradise. Obviously, there are plenty of tropical islands in the world where you could indulge, but sometimes it’s nice to stick closer to home. Staying in the good old U.S.A. means you don’t have to worry about booking international flights or having passport debacles. All you have to do is go south and hit the beach.
One of my favorite places to enjoy the sun is in wonderful South Florida. There’s just something about the tropical weather and laid-back vibe that most Florida beach towns offer. Unique towns dot the shore from Miami all the way up the coast to St. Augustine.
When you’re on Florida’s East Coast, one of the very best low-key beach towns you’ll find is the city of Deerfield Beach, located in Broward County. Set just north of the small town of Hillsboro Beach and the larger city of Fort Lauderdale, Deerfield Beach has all the amenities of some of the bigger beach cities, with more of a “chill” atmosphere. You won’t have to worry about mob scenes of out-of-control college kids at Deerfield Beach. For the most part, it’s a quieter locale than what you’d find in crazy Miami Beach or Fort Lauderdale, for that matter. In 2022, Realtor.com named it the second most affordable beach town to buy a home.
So if you’re looking for a relaxing and somewhat quieter vacation spot with a to-die-for boardwalk and plenty of other activities, consider Deerfield Beach!
Here are six incredible experiences you’ll find once you’re there.
1. Deerfield Beach Boardwalk
Deerfield has one of the most fabulous boardwalks I’ve seen. The boardwalk is long — over 1 mile — and quite gorgeous, with grass and palm trees lining the promenade a few steps from the sand. The nice thing about the boardwalk is that if you’re not a huge fan of sand, or if you’re tired of the sun, you can park your chair in the grass under the palm trees! With a nice breeze blowing, it’s a very pleasant way to spend an afternoon. You’ll be entertained by the many people meandering up and down the boardwalk, as well as the view of the beautiful Atlantic Ocean. Just across the street and down towards the pier are tons of places to grab a quick lunch or a drink, so you don’t have to worry if you forgot to bring your own.
2. Quiet Waters Park
Amenities at the large Quiet Waters Park range from the unique Rent-a-Tent and Tepee Campground to Ski Rixen USA, a cable water-skiing park. The park also includes seven miles of mountain bike trails as well as Splash Adventure Water Park and Woofing Waters Dog Park. Whether you want to bring your dog and splash around the water or just relax in the pleasant surroundings of the park, there is definitely something for everyone at Quiet Waters.
3. Butterfly World
Butterfly World is the largest butterfly park in the world. It’s located 20 minutes from downtown Deerfield Beach in the town of Coconut Creek, Florida. The park has over 20,000 varieties of butterflies. Stroll along the grounds where you’ll be immersed in the beautiful surroundings and the beauty of thousands of butterflies fluttering about. You’ll also get to see a wide variety of unique birds in the multiple onsite aviaries.
4. Ski Rixen USA
If you’re feeling up for some adventure, try Ski Rixen USA, America’s first cable water-skiing park. Here you can try your hand at water skiing or wakeboarding, all without a boat. You don’t even need your own equipment. The park offers a unique pulley and cable system that pulls you through the water. It’s perfect for beginners or more experienced water sports enthusiasts. What’s cool about Ski Rixen USA is that they offer lessons, so if you’ve always wanted to learn how to waterski, this is the perfect place. And, if you don’t have skis or a board, don’t worry — they have all the equipment you need.
5. International Fishing Pier
Try your hand at fishing at the enormous International Fishing Pier located along the boardwalk in Deerfield Beach. Even if you’re not a master angler, that’s okay. There’s a little shop on the pier that rents rods and reels and has all the bait you need. We like to walk out to the end of the pier and just watch the fisherman and look out over the ocean. It’s super relaxing, and the view is beautiful. There are quite a few restaurants right next to the pier, so you can really make an evening of it. After checking out the pier, walk over to one of the restaurants, like nearby Flanigan’s Seafood Bar and Grill for scrumptious burgers
6. Deerfield Island Park
Get away from it all and explore nature’s beauty at Deerfield Island Park. Located just a boat ride away, the park is located on the Intercoastal Waterway. This nature lover’s paradise is only accessible by boat. Free boat rides take off from the mainland all day Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Hit the trails and check out the wildlife that roams the island. You’ll most likely see turtles, lizards, and birds. The trails are mostly uneven dirt trails, so if you aren’t super sure-footed, you may want to take this into account. There are no restaurants or commercial buildings on the island, but feel free to pack a picnic to enjoy in the serene surroundings.
Best Restaurants In Deerfield Beach
We had so much fun at the Whale’s Rib. It’s a hot spot right on the strip in Deerfield Beach. It’s super popular, so you will most likely have to wait, but it’s worth it. The food is excellent, and the atmosphere is lively. We enjoyed the offerings at the raw bar, including the raw oysters and steamed clams. For our entrees, we shared the blackened salmon salad, which was divine. Try the smoked fish dip for an awesome appetizer.
JB’s On The Beach
Gorgeous views abound at this popular oceanfront restaurant. Visit at dusk for stunning sunset views. You’ll like the three bars and large outdoor patio area on site. JB’s on the Beach offers live music and a fun atmosphere. The menu features casual, beachy food like you’d expect: crab cakes and seafood salads along with fish and chips. They also offer a great big eight-ounce, center-cut ribeye. Yum!
Charm City Burger Company
Everybody loves a burger, and there’s no better place than Charm City Burger Company to dig into a juicy burger. Charm City is a top-rated, beloved burger joint in Deerfield Beach. This packed little casual place will satisfy you with its many types of burgers, including turkey burgers, tuna burgers, and beef options like the scrumptious wagyu beef burger. The portions are big, which gets a big thumbs up from my college-aged son. Don’t forget the hand-cut fries or tater tots. And we suggest topping your meal off with one of their decadent, homemade shakes.
Two Georges At The Cove
Two Georges At The Cove is another great waterfront restaurant in Deerfield Beach. One of the most appealing things about a beach town is that you can dine outdoors pretty much year-round. With its prime location on the Intracoastal Waterway, you’ll enjoy beautiful views of the boats. Two Georges has huge canopies covering the outdoor decks, so you’ll be protected from the sun and elements no matter the weather. Two Georges offers live music every Saturday and Sunday afternoon as well as a good happy hour on Friday afternoons for half-price drinks. Try my favorite, the wedge salad with creamy blue cheese topped with chicken. It’s hard to beat!
The Perfect Place To Stay In Deerfield Beach
Staying in Deerfield Beach is typically more budget-friendly than staying in some of the more upscale towns along the coast. Cities like Boca Raton and West Palm Beach are noted for their opulence, and staying in those more luxurious towns can be expensive. That’s why I like Deerfield Beach and Pompano Beach. Staying here still allows you to have gorgeous beaches, and you can visit Boca or West Palm Beach since they’re so close.
If you want a super hotel right on the beach, with amenities like breakfast cooked to order plus a beautiful outdoor pool, then head over to the Wyndham Deerfield Beach Resort. The hotel offers regular rooms and suites that include a large separate bedroom so you can unwind and spread out. The suites also have an in-room refrigerator, which is super convenient for when you want to grab a cold bottle of water. One of my favorite things about this hotel is that it’s pet friendly, so I don’t have to leave my goldendoodle at home! This hotel has a great bar, The Patio Bar and Grill, that offers beachside dining and a great weekday happy hour. And they offer live music. What’s not to love? The beachfront location can’t be beat.
In addition to being beachfront, it’s in close proximity to the International Fishing Pier, so you can take a stroll on the pier and check out gorgeous sunsets. And since you’re on the boardwalk, you can feel safe walking down the well-lit walkway after dinner. Also, with many restaurants within walking distance, you won’t have to drive anywhere if you don’t want to. Hillsboro Boulevard offers quite a few different eateries to choose from. We hate to drive on vacation, so we usually stay somewhere close to everything and just grab an Uber.
Embassy Suites By Hilton Deerfield Beach Resort and Spa is a good choice if you’re looking for extra pampering. The onsite Spa950 offers a full menu of spa services in its five treatment rooms. Steps from the water, this prime piece of real estate is perfect if you need room for the family and want a luxe location steps from the sand.
If you’d rather stay in a condo while you’re in Deerfield Beach, check out VRBO or Airbnb. We’ve found many rentals available, but if you’re looking for a rental during the high season, book early!