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This report is brought to you by Phil M.. The opinions expressed are those of the person who submitted the report and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of NetNude.


Haulover Beach, November 1997 

I'm in the contract computer work business. The nature of such an 
animal is that often one works really hard to make a deadline, makes 
it to the end of the project and looks up to find they forgot to do 
their marketing and there's nothing in the pipe. 

That's what happened to me two weeks ago, and my friend Shelley was 
about to start a project was awaiting some gifs for the web site.
 
So we decided to goof off to Haulover Beach, Florida.

Haulover beach is one of the beaches in an area more generally known 
as Miami Beach. What it is more exactly, is one of the nicest, 
sandiest, friendliest beaches I have ever visited, and I've left 
footsteps on a few! 

The Detailed Report 
--------------------- 

Organizing the Trip and traveling 

We live near Toronto, so travel to just about anywhere in the world 
is absolutely no problem. With a few phone calls, JanC organized 
this trip for my friend and I. 

Travel Notes: 

This is not the high season in Florida. We found seats available on 
flights quite easily, and we had been recommended to the Ocean Palm 
resort at Haulover (they advertise in the naturist pubs). They had a 
ground floor oceanside room available. 

Canada 3000 is a 'charter' airline, flying out of Toronto. I don't 
know what 'charter' means, because they fly to Fort Lauderdale every 
day and you don't have to rent the whole plane. 

We flew down on a A320 (3 + 3 seating, very acceptable) and back on 
a B757 (3 + 3 seating, seemed a little more crowded). 

Cost was about $500C. Return ticket is good for 3 months and you can 
change at any time with a $100 ea. admin fee. Highly recommend 
Canada 300 even though return meal was awful. 

I'd recommend flying to FLL (fort Lauderdale). From wherever. Miami 
is reputedly a dangerous airport. If you rent a car there and ake a 
wrong turn, you're in trouble. Fort Lauderdale is probably as safe 
as any smaller city, by contrast, and it's about 25 min to
the Haulover area. 

Haulover beach is in an area of the Miami Beach strip known as Sunny 
Isles. It goes something like this, north to south: 

Fort Lauderdale, Dania beach, Hollywood beach, Hallandale, Golden 
Beach, Ventura Beach, Sunny Isles, Haulover Beach, Miami Beach. 

All on the same golden strip of sand that blesses The United States 
east coast for a few thousand miles. 

These beaches are separated from the 'city' areas such as Miami by 
the IntraCoastal waterway, a navigable strip of water over which 
there are many bridges or causeways. 

The nearest causeway to the Ocean Palm is 826, next up after that is 
859, but the easiest way by cab ($25) from FLL to Ocean Palm is to 
go out to the beach at Dania, right near the airport, and drive down 
A1A. As in most places, the cab drivers do not speak the local 
language. More on that later. 

We had reserved using a guaranteed late arrival by VISA and checked 
in without incident. 

The Hotel 
---------- 

The 'Ocean Palm Resort Hotel' is a motel in most places. It's a two 
story walk-up with probably 30 rooms. Four face the ocean. In this 
area, all the properties on the beach have been chopped up so that 
they are long and narrow, so just about any building has
only a few rooms facing the ocean. 

We liked our room. It was quite spacious. It had everything we 
needed. It was cheap by Miami beach standards. It is a short walk to 
the free beach. There's a pool right outside the room. 

There's a little 'balcony' where you can sit and read in the morning 
sun. 

Everyone here is very friendly. There is daily maid service. We 
called her 'Lysol lady' because that's what the room smelled like 
after her visit. 

Let me set your expectations a bit, however. 

This is a 'B' motel. Despite rumours to the contrary, it has not 
been remodeled. Our room had two double beds, and lots of room for 
them. It was about 14'x14'. Off the main room there was an open 
kitchenette featuring a gas stove, small fridge which couldn't quite
make ice, microwave, and a sink. In the same area there is a closet. 

There are rooms without this 'efficiency' equipment. 
 
Off the main room there is a bathroom with toilet, pedestal sink and 
bathtub with shower. 

There is a free continental breakfast (coffee, tea, cream, milk, 
buns and toast, all you want) and trust me, that was great! 

In other words, everything you need. We had some lousy weather and 
decided not to move and chase better weather because we liked the 
room. 

That said, like most hotels, there were some things we did not like: 

The gas stove has a pilot light and stinks. We found out near the 
end of the stay that this is a common complaint and they would have 
turned it off had we asked. However, from other repeat visitors we 
learned that it was useful for heating up the room on a typical 
Florida winter evening. We actually did that once. There's no ice 
machine and the room fridge does not make ice. Reception will give 
you as much ice as you want in little trays, however.  

The bathroom is antique. I haven't seen faucet handles and shower 
heads like that since I ripped out the 50's bathroom in my parent's 
house 10 years ago. Wall tiles are green! Maybe it'll come in again.  

The water pressure is low and insufficient to get a thorough 
showering. Shelley has long hair and had trouble getting it washed. 
The water was brown once or twice. Although the water gets warm 
enough to shower with, you will never get it hot, and you will never 
need to turn on the cold water to reduce the heat. The owner said, 
aw, just let it run, it'll get hot. It didn't. 
 
The smoke alarm was in the TV table, uninstalled.  

It was hard to turn on the light beside the beds because the handle 
was broken off. The floor is nicely tiled, and there are no carpets 
or throw rugs or bath mats. The vertical blinds look nice but they 
don't hang tightly enough to keep the room from being bright all 
light from the security lights. This is a motel (all rooms face out 
to the cars) and the parking lot is insecure. The people in the room 
next to us had their GMC Yukon, all their money and stuff stolen 
while they were asleep. Apparently the individual had not turned the 
deadbolt and the thieves stole his Rolex from his nightstand beside 
his head!  

The parking lot is not secured or patrolled like many other hotels. 
There is a security gate to keep casual traffic from going from the 
parking lot to the pool and vice-versa, and another to keep people 
from going from the pool area to the beach and vice-versa. These 
gates are more necessary because everywhere on the beach, it is very 
difficult to get to the beach from the road. The paucity of public 
access makes it difficult for people who stay on the other side of 
the road to get to the beach. We had a key, of course. There are 
helicopter patrols up and down the beach, day and night. Sirens, day 
and night. Beach patrols in 4x4, day and night. If you walk down to 
the beach at night, don't go far. 
 
Shelley felt comfortable going topless everywhere at the pool and on 
the beach. The Day's Inn Next door is the only place that has any 
kind of a bar/restaurant, and it is very expensive. Since we at no 
time saw other women going topless, we asked about it and they said 
no problem. 

The pool area at Ocean Palm is clothing optional at night and we saw 
other people discreetly using the pool at night. We went in nude a 
few times, but every night it was too cold or windy to walk around 
without clothes. I can assume in the spring that when many naturist 
groups book out the place, the scene is quite different. The pool 
was heated to about 80F. One guy asked to have it turned up (it was 
too cold to stay in long, and there is no hot tub) and the owner 
said he was thinking of turning it down! Oh well. 

One must dress (topless ok) to walk to the beach because the free 
beach is about a ten minute walk down the sand. This may seem like a 
simple statement but is almost the whole reason to stay at Ocean 
Palm. It's so simple to grab your stuff, put on your bottoms and 
walk to the snowfence, take off your bottoms, and then walk to a 
suitable spot on the beach! No car, no parking, no hassle. 

The Daily Review
-------------------
Monday November 24

I like it when planes leave Toronto at a reasonable hour. This one 
was in the afternoon. The price is you still use a day of holidays 
and don't really get anywhere.

Florida is in the same time zone as Toronto. It's dark at 5:30pm 
there, too.

The airport was uneventful. We picked up our tickets from the 
Signature tours booth (recommended, no screwups, nice people). We 
checked in so early that the Canada 3000 people had to come over and 
check us in, then return to more immediate flights, but they did so. 
Note that this results in your luggage being on the bottom and 
coming out last. And somewhat smaller than when you checked it.

At Fort Lauderdale airport, we could not find any such thing as a 
shuttle to the beach. I wouldn't bother looking for it. It 
hindsight, renting a car ahead of time would have been a better 
option because the price of a limo to the hotel is about equal to a 
day's rental of a car. Our sudden decision to travel resulted in us 
not being able to find a reservation or a deal. In future, I would 
call InterAmerican.

Anyhow, there's quite the confusion at the ground transportation 
area on the main floor. Turns out there are cabs, and limos. Gee, 
how rare. When you sign up for a limo, at the booth, what the guy is 
actually trying to do is to match you up with others that want to go 
to the same area. Forget it. Ocean Palm and Haulover is far enough 
away that they don't even know for sure where you want to go. They 
will also offer you a limo as a 'single' but the price is daunting. 
In other words, the limo price posted on the sign looks better than 
the cab price because it is the 'sharing' price. Find the guy with 
the 'Yellow Cab' logo on his hat and he will call you down a cab. 
You are going to Haulover beach. If they have not heard of that, try 
saying 'Sunny Isles'. Failing that, you want to get to 826 and A1A 
north of Miami Beach. Dade County. 15795 Collins Avenue (which is 
also A1A). Cost, about $25 + tip.

Check-in at the hotel is fairly simple. Most everyone around here is 
a native Spanish-speaking person, people at the desk included. 
However, they have good English.

At check-in they will ask for $20 for the phone as a deposit if you 
want it turned on. Local calls $0.25 and they are really protecting 
themselves against your long distance charges.

They will also ask you for a $10 key deposit and give you two keys, 
one for your room, and one for the two gates you need to get through 
to get to the beach. I didn't ask for a second key, but they have 
them.

If you have a car, ask for the parking permit (no charge) which must 
be displayed on your dash so they won't tow you away. Parking is 
very tight, and the parking area on both sides is very small.

It was windy and cold so we took a quick walk to the edge of the 
crashing surf and then we walked up the road to Miami Subs at 826. 
Miami subs is excellent, and excellent value. They offer pitas, 
subs, Greek salads etc. and we ate there many times. Don't walk 
there at night.

A really cute black kitty had introduced himself, so Shelley had to 
get some cat food and we stopped at the Ocean Market. It's close but 
kind of crappy. I got some beer!

Tuesday November 25

We woke up to a cold rainy day. I went to the front desk and 
organized a car rental. Let me give you some pointers. They will 
probably get you a car from InterAmerican Car rentals. They will 
probably tell you the car is $20/day. They will ask you for a $30 
cash deposit at the hotel counter, with the implication that it will 
be credited to your rental. Later, that turns into their 
'commission' and you can't get it back. And if you're not watching, 
your car turns into $27/day plus insurance. Also, when you ask for 
an economy car, insist on getting one with a trunk. You need to be 
able to walk away from your car with the confidence that thieves 
cannot determine that there is useful stuff in your car (they tried 
to give me a hatchback). They'll pick you up and drive you to the 
car rental place. Worked out ok.

We drove up to Hollywood beach, not far north. It's much more 
touristy, shops to browse in and beach side restaurants to eat in. 
We went back there several times. There's a main square with 
entertainment. Much of everything is in French due to the huge 
French-Canadian population all winter.

I wanted a steak for dinner and somehow we were directed to Ruth's 
Chris steak house (beside Shooter's, first plaza to the right on 826 
when you go over the bridge from the hotel towards US1). Despite 
advertising steak and seafood, they offered only shark and tuna as 
seafood so Shelley was disappointed. I had an excellent steak and 
the meal cost me about a whole mortgage payment.

Note that we did not even GO to the beach this day.

Wednesday November 26

Cloudy but warmer. Dropping into a restful pattern of waking up, 
opening the vertical to do a weather check, pulling on enough 
clothes to go and get buns coffee tea and (from a box beside the 
road) a copy of today's Miami Herald.

Walked down to the free beach. Very cloudy but the big problem is it 
is way too windy. The beach was almost empty.

We slept a lot.

Got in the car and drove down to South Beach, the Art deco district 
and all that. I wanted to find the WebCam (www.video-monitoring.com)
that I always check to see what's happening on the beach. I found
it right beside Penrod's, where we had an acceptable meal on the
second deck overlooking the beach. Hint, park at Penrod's valet
parking, $7, and they give you a five dollar credit for your meal.
Otherwise you have to run and feed a meter if you can find one.

It was really dead there.

We looked around the Art deco district, drove up Ocean drive (much 
more busy) and then back to the hotel. Watched Seinfeld reruns then 
went out.

Found a place called Sharpshooters in the HYDE MARKET plaza on the 
west side of A1A not far up from 826. Got a pizza from Pizza Hut 
next door (by the way they will deliver to your hotel) and took it 
into SharpShooter's where we shot pool for hours. Just like home! 
Shelley got Po'ed because she usually beats me quite handily but for 
some reason I was doing really well. Beer $1.50 for the first, $1.00 
refills. Had to behave myself because I forgot to register Shelley 
as a second driver on the rental car.

Too cold to walk on the beach.

Beginning to realize that tomorrow is Thanksgiving day in the US. 
And it's a really big deal. It's also the shotgun start to the US 
Christmas shopping season. Wow. What a cultural tidbit. In Canada, 
we have Thanksgiving in October, and salute it with a whole lot less 
football and sucky family stuff. And in Canada we just drift into 
the Christmas season without the shotgun start. This sort of limits 
your options, too. the weather is still bad. But where are you gonna 
go on the biggest travel day the US has all year. Besides, we like 
the room and know we won't match it.

Thursday November 27

Thanksgiving day. Weather finally broke quite a bit. Wind still at 
50mph, but it turns out that's what keeping this place warm (the 
ocean's warmer than the land).

Went to Haulover Beach for the first time. At 10:30 am there were 
crowds! Of course, it's a holiday.

We're were saluted at the entrance by one male individual who stood 
right at the beach end of the snow fence with, well, you know, a 
full salute on.

Turns out the north end of the beach from the fence south to the 
first life guard station (27) is more gay than not. Past the station 
27, there's lots more people, and many more couples and women. Much 
better female/male balance than many places I have been.

We stayed on the beach till 1 p.m., but the wind wears you down , 
chilling your exposed flesh. We were also bone white, so much more 
sun (which you get through the clouds anyway) was probably not too 
wise so we wandered back to the Day's Inn next to the Ocean Palm.

It's not Lady Di's bar anymore, it's the Day's Inn Tiki Bar. Lady Di 
is gone, and Dianne is also gone. The bartender said Dianne quit in 
August.

Shelley and I sat topless at the Tiki Bar and at a table in the sun. 
This was the sunniest part of the day, while e sat there and ate, 
and we both ended up with tan lines. Damn.

Helped Day's Inn with their bottom line. $24U for a hamburger/fries, 
21piece shrimp/fries and 1 beer. Didn't eat there much.

We got too much sun. If we had known it was going away again, we 
might have opted for more.

A number of restaurants we had been recommended to were closed for 
Thanksgiving. We ended up eating at a place called Thai Sushi right 
on 826 across from Miami Subs. It was very slow, they ran out of 
many  ingredients (apparently they didn't know it was going to be 
Thanksgiving) and we're still wondering if our waiter even 
HAD a native language. One couple waited 1/2 hour for the 
incompetent idiot to even bring their menus. They ran out of rice. 
And some of the customers were loud and ignorant. (not us, we're all 
sweetness and light). Yeah.

All in all, not a bad day. Starting to believe maybe this was a good 
idea.

Friday November 28

Same pattern. Somewhat sunny but way too cold and windy to go to the 
beach. From the hotel beach you can see that there are many diehards 
there anyway.

At the pool area at the Ocean Palm, there are free chaise lounges, 
and the wind is quite broken. Despite the necessity to wear bathing 
suit bottoms, we were happy to stay right there outside our room.

Ventured another burger at Day's Inn Tiki. Drank my own beer, kept 
it to $7.00U.

No one staying at this hotel speaks English. Spanish, Russian, 
Dutch, German. 

The Ocean Palm's most precious antique is an old black fellow, 
skinny and bent at the waist, a million years old, who is the 
handyman/security guard/pool boy/whatever. He spends most of every 
day dragging pool chairs around on the concrete (sounds a lot like 
fingernails on the blackboard) and using an electric drill 
intermittently (if he used it constantly, it wouldn't have wakened 
me up from my, ahem, 'reading').

Next door, at the Ramada's millennium reconstruction project (in the 
second year now), one fellow entertains us by using a hammer drill 
to chip away at the swimming pool.

Out on the road, Dade county reminds us where we are with constant 
helicopter overflights and sirens.

Not surprisingly, jumped in the car and drove up to Hollywood beach, 
where we putted around in the late afternoon.

Had snacks at Nick's grill on the beach (it has a door and walls and 
everything, unlike the other beach restaurants, so we were able to 
get out of the wind a bit). They have an ATM which is turning out to 
be crucial.

On a whim, stopped at Billy's Stone Crab restaurant on the A1A right 
in Hollywood Beach. Parked easily, walked in, took the elevator to 
the restaurant on the second floor and were immediately escorted to 
a table right at the window overlooking the Intracoastal. Excellent 
Meal. Recommended. Shelley had scallops, I had stone crab. We 
shared, both meals were excellent.

Great finish to the day.

Saturday November 29

Lousy weather. Raining. Somehow we decided to go to Aventura Mall 
(US 1, north of Hollywood). We had forgotten that the day after 
Thanksgiving was the busiest shopping day of the year n the US. But 
we were at the mall by 10am and got a good parking spot. Chatted 
with a lady cop on a horse (they patrol the hell out of the parking 
lots to keep order and also because it's the number one or two theft 
and shoplifting and pickpocket day). Nice horse. A paint.

Checked out Macy's (whew! expensive!) JC Penney's and a few other 
stores. Shelley bought some Christmas stuff for her nephews. We hit 
a game store and bought a backgammon board (hey, there's only so 
many things you can do trapped in a room), some good Canadian rye.

Had lunch at Chili's on US1 nearby. In the process we also located 
PF Chang's and Houston's, two other restaurants recommended to us 
that we did not try. Chili's has, well, chili. and Pseudo Mexican 
stuff. It was pretty good, and extremely busy.

Downpours. Soaked getting to car from Chili's door.

Stopped at Pizza Hut, bought a pizza for later.

Played backgammon, got drunk, ate pizza, etc., watched the Miami 
crime channel. Crashed.

Sunday November 30

Now this is what we are here for! Beautiful day. Hit Haulover beach 
by 10am. Crowd has to be in the thousands. Breeze a whole bunch more 
gentle.

Quite an international crowd. We parked just past life station 27, 
only to find that is where most of the regulars go.

Look for Larry, the unofficial dean or mayor of the beach. He hauls 
his stuff to the beach in a cat, and has a tall flagpole with a flag 
displaying what looks like a soccer ball on it. Larry is at the 
beach EVERY day. In that vicinity you will meet Scott, 
Debbie, Carol, John, Marty, Keith and other regulars who also have 
quite a bit to do with the South Florida Free beaches. This is where 
I learned to refer to Haulover as a 'free' beach, not a 'nude' 
beach. Hey, clothing is optional.

Scott says the beach holds 5000, and I believe him. The non-free 
section is still virtually unused. Today there are maybe 1500, 2000 
people. At 5000, you're virtually blanket to blanket.

There's an impromptu volleyball game going on constantly, males and 
females.

Some jerk in a straw hat and a blue bathing suit squats beside 
Shelley and stares. She ignored him, as did I. After a while I got 
up and stood and stared at him, and he moved off. Larry would help 
you out as would the others if you have a problem. It's really rare. 
Later Shelley told me the guy was winking at her and stuff. Jerk. 
That's my department. Well, I don't wink at her anymore. Well, 
sometimes.

Lots of people walk down the beach clothed. No one cares.

The walkover from the beach path on the other side of the dunes is 
marked 'No Loitering' but still some jerks, sometimes with cameras, 
hang about. Larry is parked right there and jumps on them pretty 
quickly.

On the other side of the walkover is a concrete buildings with clean 
flush toilets and urinals and sinks. There are also showers to help 
you get the salt off if you have been swimming (many did).

A concession stand sells sodas (that's American for pop) for $1.00 
and hot dogs and the like for $1.75 plus nachos etc. They are also 
the guys who have a pile of chaise lounges on the beach ($3/day) and 
umbrellas ($5/day).

Under life guard stand 27 there is a beach wheelchair. If you 
require it, make sure this is the walkover you come to (it's the 
most northerly), wheel over in your chair (no steps) and get Larry 
or someone to attract the lifeguard's attention. They will help you 
into the beach wheelchair (huge yellow plastic wheels) and stash 
your chair for you). Friendly people, they will make you feel 
welcome.

Ah, this is the beach they talked about.

We fried ourselves quite deliberately.

This beach is almost a 10.

Planes dragging banners down the beach; one says 'Prince Hamlet all 
you can eat steak and seafood'. Don't go there. It's a tourist trap. 
Broken down building, lousy buffet, shrimp so bad Shelley's discards 
them. Steaks on the buffet are tough and not appealing. I ordered 
prime rib off the menu and it was acceptable but the whole thing was 
a lousy experience.

We noticed our waiter jumping into his Mercedes after we left. 
They're doing ok.

Met a guy from Atlanta that night in the pool (yes, it was actually 
warm enough to swim for once).

The three of us played some backgammon.

All in all, this day almost makes up for the whole week of crap.

Monday December 1

Another excellent day. To the beach at 10am till 2:30. Talked to 
Larry a bit, who is wearing a Santa hat and being generally 
gregarious. Marty shows up again, something about he's got all his 
work done for the day. Larry will give you a free massage, at a 
sufficient distance from the lifeguard stand to avoid a recurrence 
of being thrown off the beach. Not sure what that story is about.

Another excellent day. Even read some of my book. Quite fewer 
people.

Went down to Curry's in Miami beach with our Atlanta friend. Curry's 
is an old style, wide, high ceiling, fans, etc. kind of restaurant 
way south of the Ocean Palm but owned by the same guy. The Ocean 
Palm gives you a coupon which entitles everyone at the table to a 
free glass of beer or wine. I drank all three (they gave me Buds). 
So the meal was good value although not remarkable. 

While you're driving around on A1A, try and guess how many thousand 
apartment  buildings there are on the strip. How many are being 
built. Multiply by your guess as to how many apartments there
are in each building. Wonder aloud why there are so few tourist amenities. 
Conclude that most people here are senior, move here for the winter, 
and eat at home. Conclude further that any group of ten or more of 
them could offer to pay off the national debt. Conclude further that 
you are not in the group.

Tuesday December 2

Our last day. No sobs. I'm tired of this place.

Got an urge to get a greasy breakfast, so we jump into the car and 
find a Denny's just up A1A. Note helicopters circling the building. 
5 of them. Note cops all over the place. Note that the bank next 
door has just been held up at gunpoint; one guy gets arrested at 
scene; another jumps into intracoastal and swims ashore after a cop 
yells 'Sharks!". Third guy commandeers car at gunpoint (this could 
have been us) and makes it back to Liberty City and disappears.

Another crash on Intracoastal. This time a local cardiologist 
manages to drive the family boat into a ferry in broad daylight. His 
wife is killed. Last week two guys in a speedboat slice another boat 
in half killing six. Another couple of domestic murders.

There is a news channel, 7, here that runs continuously and just had 
to be the model for 'COPS' or other shows of that genre. Except that 
this one is live, cameramen running around, cameras live at boat 
crashes, woman falls out of plane into planter, helicopter cams on 
robberies.

Hit the beach from 12:00 to 3:00. It was perfect. Weather then 
turned abruptly cold and windy.

Dinner this night was the best yet. Siam River is a Thai/sushi 
restaurant in the second plaza over the 826 bridge (keep right going 
over the intracoastal but exit at the light, not the first plaza). 
We sat at the sushi bar, where they have little wooden boats flowing 
around and you select off the boats whatever you want to eat, a 
plate at a time. the size of the plate determines the price. 
Excellent value. Will scan and post their menu and pictures. 10/10. 
Couldn't have been better unless it were free.

Wednesday December 3

Our plane doesn't leave FLL till 6 p.m., so I had asked for a late 
checkout (12:30). We sat out a bit then packed up and left. We went 
up to Hollywood beach, again, and had pitas at the Greek place (the 
guys out front who hawks away trying to get you into the restaurant 
is a bit annoying and we refused to go there the first time because 
of him... you know him, you've met him at every exhibition or fair, 
he's your best friend, come on in) but it as acceptable. Pitas and 
beer.

The US surgeon general has ordered tobacco companies to stop selling 
and giving away paraphernalia that has the cigarette logos on it 
(Joe Camel etc) but Shelley has been collecting Camel stuff for 
years and giving it to her twin brother (he's a smoker anyway). She 
dragged me into a small convenience store and literally charmed and 
suckered the clerk into selling them the Camel clock off the wall. 
All without removing any articles of clothing, as she put it. So 
then we have to repack everything so we can carry this huge thing on 
the plane.

Good thing we had left spare time. The InterAmerican car rental is 
hard to find, north of the airport, not near Hertz, which we 
visited, nearer Alamo. Make sure you constantly inspect your car, 
when you get it (I had made them note some damage) and all the time 
you have it. Only if you file a police report will their insurance 
cover the damages. We didn't have any, just mentioning it.

We killed three hours at the airport then flew home to rain and 
cold. About the same as we left. The flight was unremarkable except 
for the lousiest meal I have had on a plane in years. So damn hungry 
I ate it anyway.

Will separately post some pictures and menus etc.

The summary (same as my overview note):

The Beach
------------

It's well worth a visit. The South Florida Free Beaches people have 
done an excellent job in getting the beach to where it is. Where it 
is, is that the government has designated about a mile of the beach 
as a free beach. It's sandy, wide, secure, friendly and wonderful.

There seems to be very little trouble with the whole thing. The 
beach has quite a tourist contingent, and quite a regular gang.

Up to 5000 people will be found on the beach on a good weekend. On 
U.S. Thanksgiving day (Nov 27) it was about 80 degrees F and the 
wind had dropped for the first time in a few days, and the beach was 
populated with about 1500 people. The non-free sections of the beach 
were virtually unused during our visit.

We would recommend staying where we did, at the Ocean Palm motel. It 
is right on the beach. Most of the rooms face the parking lots of 
the Days Inn and the Ramada, but there are four oceanside rooms 
which are bigger if you can get them. This motel is value-priced, 
meaning it is not an 'A' motel. But it is clean and acceptable. It 
and the Days Inn are the closest to the free beach. The Ramada is 
not yet open as it undergoing reconstruction and looks like it 
always will be!

There's little interesting to do in the Haulover Beach area. This is 
an area of high growth of high-rise expensive condos. Don't expect 
to find much in the way of tourist amenities without a car. In fact, 
you should not visit here without a car. Security in the area is 
frankly a concern.

The weather was very iffy and contributed to me having only a fair 
time. There were many days when it was too cold and/or windy to go 
to the beach. This is conceivably the worst of the winter for them, 
but with the El Nino effect this year they don't know what to 
expect. Most evenings were very cold, and when we left the 
prediction was for low 40s. For the daytime. What actually happened 
was that it rained so much the day after we left that they were 
unable to set up for the Rolling Stones in the Orange Bowl.

Hey, we didn't see any snow. That all said, my friend loved the 
trip. I just wanted perfection! 

Beach: 9/10
Hotel: 6/10
Area: 3/10

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