Lauderdale by the Sea
Wanda S. Rodriguez
The very best shore dive place on the East Coast I have ever dove at has been Lauderdale by the Sea. I only made it out to the first reef but it was incredible. That should be your first stop.
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11/20/2017 NH divers (Avg: 3.00 Review) - We went there today to enjoy some easy shore diving, but the wind was too strong whipping up too much surf (ENE 17/25 kts). Parking was plenty, $2 per hour, 3 hour max right at the beach, it would have been a nice access with a short walk and benches to gear up.
11/03/2014 Jeff Curtis (Avg: 3.39 Review) - Went on 11/1/14 at 3:30 pm. The Air temp was 78, water was 81. Light surf, with wind coming off shore. Entered on North side of pier. Very fast moving current once we were out at buoy. Ended up past second buoy on South side of pier. Got a good work out! Lots of coral, small fish, and a small ray. Found lots of trash, fishing line, and lead sinkers. Visibility started good at about 40', ended up at about 20' due to increasing current. Great shore dive location overall.
08/09/2013 Skip McGee (Avg: 3.38 Review) - The shore dives off Lauderdale by the sea had an average of 40 ft. of visibility. We saw nurse sharks, Sea turtles and a large spotted ray on the last day of diving. There were also many schools of a variety of fish and a giant bait ball directly off the shore.
07/25/2013 SF-Jeff (Avg: 3.71 Review) - This is a very nice shore diving site. We arrived early enough on a weekday to get parking in one of the few spots right at the entrance on Datura Avenue ($1.50/hour, maximum 4 hours, and the meter accepts credit cards for payment). Surf was somewhat moderate on entry, but got better 50 feet from shore. No perceptible current. Note that all maps we've seen of this site, including the plaque at the entrance, show a series of three buoys on the south side of the pier; those were ripped out by one of the last big storms and never replaced, so don't look for them. There are two square buoys a bit farther to the south at the first reef line which mark the BioRock project for researching and rebuilding coral formations. Remember to stay at least 300 feet from the pier, and a dive flag is a must. It's best to kick out to at least halfway out the length of the pier, which seems longer than it really is, before descending. Although we kicked out to the second reef line, the more interesting life was closer to shore, hiding in the holes of the 'swiss cheese' part of the reef. We saw some rather large lobsters, angel fish, a ray, and assorted other tropical species, as well as soft and hard coral.
01/23/2013 Troy Ochowicz (Avg: 4.35 Review) - This is one of the best shore snorkeling places in Florida. We saw a 3 1/2' Nurse Shark a sea turtle and lots of tropicals. The best places to snorkel are near the pier and anywhere the water is shallower. One of our fav's is the area past the buoy near the end of the pier on the south side. In the deeper areas you are a little far up to see the fish. Parking is hard to get on the weekend. During the week you can find parking easily for $1.50 an hour. We are a full time traveling family of 7 and are trying to snorkel every Florida location on this site. I will be posting videos and more information about our snorkeling adventures at our travel site NeverEngingRVTrip.com Hope this review helps! Happy Snorkeling!
04/21/2012 Kevin Day (Avg: 4.23 Review) - This is a great and easy shore dive when the conditions are correct. When the seas are flat it is like entering a swimming pool. The parking at Datura ave is limited but as others have stated but you can drop off your gear with your buddy and drive a couple of blocks and park near commercial in the paid lots, then walk back. The first reef is not too interesting but once you get past the pier going East from the second buoy marker you will run into the second reef. Normally we snorkel out to the second reef then drop\dive on the reef for more air time. I have posted some pictures and movies here http://lbtsdiver.dyndns-web.com/main.php?g2_itemId=21442 If you go to the second reef then turn and head North of the pier the reef is even better.
09/22/2011 Pam W. (Avg: 4.27 Review) - I live here in the area as an OWSI and can tell you just what it is like to dive here. Datura/Commercial Ave in Lauderdale by the Sea is the closest shore diving to reef there is. I have seen nurse sharks, turtles, morays, rays and abundance of marine life and tropical fish. If you don't dive, at least snorkel. The only cost is parking and the gear if you need to rent. Gold Coast Scuba is nearby on Commercial Ave within walking distance and can help with all your needs. Don't miss a vacation treasure the whole family would enjoy!
09/11/2011 Rob R. (Avg: 3.38 Review) - Actually, it was my first time diving in years and this place is a perfect spot! Live rock, plenty of fish and yellow rays, but you should be in somewhat decent shape because it is a nice swim out to where it is good. Shallow, but that leaves lots of TIME down there. I loved it. Perfect place for a shore dive. Stay away from the pier. You want to anyway, unless ya want a hook in ya head! Great place.
06/19/2011 Mike Oz (Avg: 4.05 Review) - I have snorkeled this site a few times before diving it yesterday. (what a difference) Due to the shallow depths you get great bottom time. I was down for about an hour and a half when my dive buddy signaled that he was running low. I only used 2/3 of my air, so I could have gotten another 30+ minutes easy. The conditions were great, got out easy enough. Visibility was around 40-50 ft. Life was abundant. The reef looked very healthy. No crowds (even for a weekend). We only stayed at the first reef as my buddy was new to the spot and was reluctant, but that was enough. We had a great dive and I recommend it to any one in south FL looking for a great shore dive. Check out the greatest dive shop (Blue sea divers) right around the corner for anything you might need. I get my gear there. (they are wonderful). Everything you need for a great dive in one location. I love this place.
04/21/2011 Nicholas Basquez (Avg: 3.77 Review) - Just went again on 4/19/2011.... had the luck of spotting a very nice nurse shark...maybe 8 -9 feet in length... I always enjoy this place.... there is a turtle and you will see a lot of fish... be careful of getting too close to the pier... people fish so hooks are an issue.
12/12/2010 Kevin Bryant (Avg: 4.01 Review) - http://www.flickr.com/photos/mentalblock/sets/72157625582736540/ A few more pics from September. :-) The long bottom times at this depth is just wonderful.
08/15/2010 Alex Wheeler (Avg: 3.92 Review) - Excellent dive site. Reef in better condition than I expected. Quite a few critters especially juveniles. Current can be a problem. Today it was running south to north and pretty strong. If you enter on the south side of the pier under these conditions, try to be as far south of the pier as you can and just drift back. There's a sign posted warning divers to stay 100 yards away from the pier and that's good advice as there's a lot of anglers. Parking costs 10 bucks around the pier but there's free parking away from the pier in public parking lots but you have to get there early or be lucky. Not a dive to pass up and should be high on your list if in the area. Deep Blue Divers is a nearby shop and they can tell you how the currents are running.
08/14/2010 Kevin Bryant (Avg: 4.72 Review) - More pics from an early July trip. http://www.flickr.com/photos/mentalblock/collections/72157624598861059/ Really enjoyed an area out beyond the pier and (I think) nearly in line with it where there were lots of Glassy Sweepers schooled up down in the reef and a bunch of Juvenile Grunts (French?) schooled up above them, with lots of Juvenile Bar Jacks darting around. I also was surprised by a ray when nearly back to shore, and after failing to get the camera to focus on it before it went out of sight, I realized that the only time that I had seen a ray flap its wings in that manner was when I had the pleasure of visiting with Molly the Manta off Little Cayman many years ago. This little guy couldn't have been more than five feet wide. I've since read that others have seen mantas in the area of late.
07/16/2010 Anonymous (Avg: 4.29 Review) - Dove LBTS off of Datura Ave: south of the pier. Public Parking is limited near the beach entry, so it is best to arrive early. I did not find a close by parking space, so dropped off my gear with a buddy and drove a few hundred yards away to find a space. There are park benches, making set up easy and outdoor showers to clean off gear afterward. The walk across the sand is easy and the swim to the first reef line, which is a bit over half way down the pier, does not take very long in the summer when conditions are usually close to flat calm. The second reef line is at close to the end of the pier. The pier keeps boat traffic light, so there is little danger of being run over while swimming out to the reef: but always a good idea to keep your eyes open. The day I dove, we saw many tropicals, a spotted eel and fairly healthy looking coral. Other folks have seen rays, nurse sharks and other critters. Given the shallow depths, it would be easy to get a 1.5-2 hour dive on a 80 cf tank.
07/14/2010 MeghanH (Avg: 3.98 Review) - Great site! Tons to see both north and south of the pier. Watch the current and overcompensate to stay away from the pier! Dive when seas are 2 feet or less and stay safe!
07/06/2010 Kevin Bryant (Avg: 4.14 Review) - Dove with a buddy for three days at the end of May. We stayed at a place on the beach, north of the pier. We're a couple of old guys, so carrying the load from the room to entry was a chore, but ultimately worth the trouble, especially considering the long bottom time at the shallow depths. We're going back soon to try it south of the pier. Google Earth makes it look like maybe there's more reef over on that side. Sort of documented what I saw with (too many) photos at http://www.flickr.com/photos/mentalblock/collections/72157624430180836/ Since I enjoy the colorful juveniles and the long bottom times, this may become my favorite dive site - especially since no airports must be involved with the tolerable drive from Savannah.
10/12/2009 Omar Paez (Avg: 3.92 Review) - Dove about 200 yards south of the Pier. Saw Spotted Eel, two squid, several French Angle fish plus several other tropical fish including a school of Parrot and Barracuda fish. Enjoyed. Parked on the metered parking. The police and parking enforcement are at large so put those quarters in the meter. One dive was about 1:23 min on a 100cu tank but I suck on air a lot. My daughter only used an 80cu tank same amount of time. Nice place! Also saw brain coral, fan coral. Can't beat the free price and a dive shop around the corner if you don't have gear.
06/30/2009 Deep Blue Divers (Avg: 4.03 Review) - The conditions off Lauderdale By The Sea have been excellent, with flat seas and great visibility. 50' of vis for the most part on the first and second reef. Schools of tarpon, bait fish, herds of manatees, and lots of turtles. Marine life has been abundant.
02/08/2009 John Purcell (Avg: 3.71 Review) - I used to live in Coral Springs, about 12 miles away in 2000 and 2001 and dove this location a couple of times and snorkeled it at other times. I have seen visibility there from 10ft. (in January) to 70ft. (June). There were coral heads 3-4ft. High (star and brain coral), and purple sea fans 3ft. High. On one Saturday morning in June, the day with 70ft. Visibility, I say a baby Manta ray (about 9ft. Across) just off the beach in about 7ft. Of water, then later had an 8ft. Nurse shark swim over my right shoulder, then saw a green moray about 5ft. Long, and saw a gray angelfish along with other tropicals. Wow, what a day, for a diver from Texas!
11/03/2008 Michael Kovach (Avg: 4.25 Review) - I have been diving on the Inside Reef and on the first reef line at Lauderdale by the Sea for the past three years. So far in 2008, I have made 120 dives on these reefs. They are close to the beach, shallow, and full of marine life. I frequently see nurse sharks, turtles and even an occasional octopus. I post pictures at www.picasaweb.google.com/fmichaelk, and many are of these reefs. The surf can be a problem on both entry and exit, but the trick is to wade into deep water as quickly as you can, don your fins and swim beyond the breakers. When coming in, swim close to the beach, remove your fins and let the breakers wash you onto the beach, then walk out before you get toppled.
07/09/2008 Anonymous (Avg: 4.85 Review) - The reef was moderately populated with various ocean fish. While I observed a sting ray and sea turtle at this site on two separate visits to this location on two different days during the same week, don't expect to befriend any fellow snorkelers or divers. The people I met that were going to the reef were peculiarly unfriendly, and they rather be left to their own devices which was the opposite of what I had experienced in the past on vacations to other places.
01/01/2008 Breyn Fish (Avg: 3.92 Review) - My husband and I started out snorkeling on the South side of the pier and it progressed into diving! The first reef starts about 3/4 ways down the pier. It is very shallow with lots of life! The second reef is located due east. It our favorite and still not too deep...just a longer swim. Parking is $10 at the tiny little lot by the pier. There are restaurants and shops nearby for food and water. There is also a dive shop right there called Deep Blue (I think).
12/24/2007 Chris Harmon (Avg: 3.24 Review) - I live in South Florida and snorkel south of Anglin Pier all the time. For a while the pier was closed for hurricane renovations, but now it is open so keep 500 feet away. Looking at the pier, the covered structure in the middle marks the distance from shore where the old cannons are dropped. At the end of the pier is where the first reef or the "swiss cheese" is. This reef is only about 10 feet deep, so you can see all kinds of marine life. Turtles, nurse sharks, squid, angels and the usual small reef fish are all present. A great place for novice snorkelers and divers. Watch the direction of the currents which can be up to 5 MPH here. Swim in from the beach upstream of where you would like to drift over and let the current do the work. Also, someone in your group MUST have a dive flag, even when snorkeling, because South Florida has a lot of idiot boaters.
08/12/2007 Mike Walsh (Avg: 4.04 Review) - If you are coming from north to Lauderdale, take 95 south to mile maker 30. At the bottom of exit take a left [east] Go to RT.1. Take a right [south] about 3 miles. Find a parking spot on the beach, and bring quarters for parking!! Expect to spend 3 to 4 hours there. Depth is 20 FT so you will get 90 minutes from a tank. Have fun Its well worth the trip!!
07/16/2006 Cindy Thackston (Avg: 4.00 Review) - This was my and my husband's first time to the Anglin Pier beach dive at Lauderdale by the Sea. I am a novice diver and my husband is an advanced diver - we both enjoyed the 2nd reef off the Anglin Pier! We snorkeled out starting at 100 yards to the right of the pier as you face it from the beach, continued snorkeling for about 300 yards east and then we continued on scuba to about 100 yards north of the pier. We had been told by the Deep Blue Diving shop that this was the "sweet spot" and they were not exaggerating! We saw an electric ray, nurse shark, turtle, lobster, Queen Angle fish, Blue Tangs, etc. (the variety of reef life was in abundance) You have to take your time and look into the tongue and groove reef formation for the hidden surprises. We will be going back in the fall to continue our experience for 5 days.
05/24/2006 Tyler in Coral Springs (Avg: 3.29 Review) - I do about 200 dives a year at this site and many more times than that snorkeling. When arriving there, park to the right of the pier, in a small parking lot (think alleyway). That side of beach has sea turtles, squid, nurse sharks, skate, lobster, angel fish, parrot fish etc. Carry a dive flag as boats come close to pier (1st reef). I like this site because it's convenient, easy and peaceful. Weekends, get there before 9am to get parking in that alleyway.
03/25/2005 Matthew Bane (Avg: 3.13 Review) - Went to Lauderdale by the Sea to dive. My impressions was that it was really a bit overrated. Dove both first and second reef as shore dives, plus several boat dives. Reef is nothing like Mexico (or other places farther south) -- fewer fish, most coral is brown coral, vis for shore dives was maybe 30' on second reef, 15' on first. To be fair, we did the shore dives in the afternoon after boat diving so the water was more churned up than it might have been in the morning. Did see 1 nurse shark and an eel on the shore dives, but that's about it (besides some reef fish). Note that the shore dive depth is also only about 12' on the first reef, and maybe 20' on the second. If you are spending the money to fly to Lauderdale to dive and stay, do yourself a favor and go to the Riviera Maya south of Cancun instead. The cost of a decent all-inclusive there is roughly the same or less than paying full price for everything in South Florida, and you get world class diving rather than the over-hyped stuff you get in Florida. You can also easily take a $17.00 ferry ride to Cozumel from the Riviera Maya and dive in Cozumel for cheaper than it costs to go (boat diving) in Florida . . . Email me if you want any info, we go there all the time -- mmbane(at)indy.rr(dot)com.
12/23/2004 Bronwyn (Avg: 3.41 Review) - This was one of my first snorkeling experiences and it was wonderful! (Much better than the chartered dive I went on the day before) There was SO much to look at, the visibility was pretty good and the reef is SO accessible. I do have to note, however, that I was very sad to see fishing line crisscrossing the reef near the pier and also saw trash on the bottom like a cell phone and a large knife… let's hope this reef will be preserved because it is truly a treasure. Dreaming of Florida in St. Louis!
12/04/2004 Marvel (Avg: 3.10 Review) - As a resident of Lauderdale By The Sea, I have dived this site nearly 100 times or so. Max depth is less than 20 feet, visibility varies by time of year & conditions. Expect some surge & current. Depending on the time of year and the wind conditions, this is a great dive at any time. The reefs were damaged by last summer's hurricanes and many of the honeycombs are filled in halfway or more with sand but there is still plenty to see- turtles, nurse sharks, small eels, squid, grouper, parrot fish, & more. This site is located at the end of Commercial Blvd in Ft Lauderdale. Go past A1A one block, turn either left or right, go 1 or 2 blocks & park as close to the beach as you can.
10/29/2004 Jason NYC (Avg: 3.71 Review) - Lauderdale by The Sea is a lovely little town just outside of Ft. Lauderdale that boasts a very easy shore dive that can be truly heaven (for a Florida shore dive) if conditions are right. It's like Ft. Lauderdale but much slower and less crowded. We stayed in a waterfront hotel so suiting up was a matter of walking out of our room and into the water for a 50-100 yard swim out to the first reef line of three. Each reef line is another 100 yards and gets deeper as you go. We always dove the first reef line at a max depth of about 20 feet. We saw a few boats at the outer reef line. The first reef line, located at the fishing pier, is not spectacular as far as health is concerned but it does showcase all of the usuals like Angels, Grunts, Grouper, Turtles, and more. We had a blast poking around with dive times well over one hour! Winds=N, Viz=20ft, Water Temp=87 during the month of September. Small surf. Mild S. current. This would make a lovely weekend trip as hotels can be found from around $50-$60 in the off season. If you drive, a small parking lot is located by the pier. Bring a ton of quarters for the heavily monitored meters. Restrooms and beach showers are by the lot. Flag required. Boat traffic is moderate beyond the pier. Surf and current vary with wind speed and direction. Deep Blue Diver's rent gear, if needed, two blocks away from the pier. Don't underestimate this dive. It's a fish watchers fantasy and the price is right. Free!
10/22/2004 Anonymous (Avg: 3.54 Review) - Snorkeled the site the afternoon before diving with family, wife, 20 and 14 y/o. Snorkeled out past the end of the pier. Visibility the same both days 45 feet. Saw school of tarpon, 8-10 of them, each about 5 feet. Saw angel fish, cuda, various other tropicals. Long swim in and out until you see something, but I have been told this is probably the best shore dive in Florida. Saw many of the same fish we see on Key Largo Reefs, just not as many and poorer visibility.
10/17/2004 Jeff Mitchell (Avg: 3.27 Review) - Entry is straight out from Tides Inn Resort. Look for a line of buoys. Start right there and go North and South in about 15 feet of water.
09/08/2004 Ray Clark (Avg: 3.91 Review) - Disclaimer, no diving is allowed within 300' of the Commercial St. Pier but this was a clean-up dive, well at least 1 of the 3 I did here! Ask a LDS about doing a clean-up dive here, it's definitely worth it! Under the pier were bait fish being worked by Jacks, Permit, Blue runners and Cuda waiting. A moving wall of Lookdowns. There are sandcastle looking blocks that are home to cleaners, Arrow crabs and at least one Scorpion fish. On the Swiss cheese reef I saw Sharptail Eels, Turtles and Glassy Sweepers. Near shore are Southern Stingrays. The three blocks south are pretty much the same but without the big schools of fish. Instead of feeding the meters park at the Commercial St. Pier lot, $5 a day during the week and $7 on weekends. There are showers at the end of every street.
04/09/2004 Grier (Avg: 3.73 Review) - After several years of boat/quarry/spring diving, this site was a welcome change. Park your car right by the beach, set up your gear on the wide, concrete wall at the edge of the beach, walk 10 yards across smooth, flat sand, and you're diving.
I've only been to the first two out of three reef lines, but I've seen nurse sharks and lobsters on every trip, seen golden and spotted morays, seen cuttlefish, barracuda, and the usual reef fish (butterflies, sergeant majors, groupers, grunts and the occasional trumpet fish).
One other real positive aspect of this site is the number of divers who frequent it. We joke about getting together a "pick up" dive trip, because there are always people there who will let you buddy with them.
Surface swim is roughly 75 yards to the buoy that signals the start of the reef. Drop down along the line and expect to see thee reef just beyond the crossed cannon on the bottom.
One of the earlier review was accurate about the parking situation. Lots of beachgoers will covet your space as the day wears on. Be courteous and they'll leave you alone. The crowd does make an early arrival desirable. When I went at 0800, it was empty; when I arrived at 0930, I had to park two blocks away.
11/06/2003 Anonymous (Avg: 3.75 Review) - Good dive site. Entry over the sand ok. Third reef is great once you get there. Remember: Whatever reef you go to will determine your return swim
08/23/2003 Jackie (Avg: 3.71 Review) - Dive was Ok the first time- entry was easy over sand and no rocks. Second time the surf was up and fighting to clear the breakers was tough. Nice enough reef down there- fair amount of sea life and in fairly good condition. There is parking- but it is a pain if you need to drive off to get fills - you will lose your spot. There is and excellent concreted shower area to rinse gear.
08/18/2003 Anonymous (Avg: 3.86 Review) - Great place to go without leaving the country. The site has a wide range of animal and plant life. It's nice to stay in a hotel on the beach and walk right from the room into the ocean.
06/29/2003 Anonymous (Avg: 3.79 Review) - Once you park, put your quarters in the meter! Max on the meters is 4 hours (15 min for each quarter) The beach police are always checking up on the parking conditions so security is very good! (still use common sense!) There is a fresh water shower right there to rinse off. Gear up in the parking lot and a very short walk (about 100 feet to the water. Swim out towing your flag ( remember the beach police...) about 60 to 100 yards out to the first reef in about 14 fsw. Lots of juveniles, gorgonians, reef squids and other marine life. 2nd reef at about 150 to 200 yards out is in 20fsw and a lot more lively! The 3rd reef I would recommend a small boat. Dive at least 2 hours before high tide, go early in the morning. Be prepared to be approached by lots a people asking "What's down there?" I usually park on the south side of the pier in the 1st parking lot after turning right off of Commercial Blvd at the beach. be sure to stay at least 150 or more yards from the pier which is an excellent reference point. Great loc for night dives!
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Number of reviews for this site: 38