Atlantic Avenue and A1A
Overview: Delray Municipal Beach extends for 1.5 miles and is among the best beaches South Florida has to offer. You come here for fun in the sun, to dip your toes in the surf, for a quiet evening stroll, for myriad other things. Bird watching, wildflower spotting, probably not so much. But as you have fun, look around for the birds and other animals that depend on the beach and the waters off shore for their lives, and the plants in the dune that quite literally hold things together.
What You'll See: Delray Municipal Beach is actually a pretty good spot for birdwatching, particularly during fall and spring migrations. We've seen birds here that we haven't seen elsewhere, such as the lesser black-back gull, and more common birds like laughing gulls and sanderlings. We've seen mottled ducks, yellow-crowned night herons, ospreys, woodpeckers blue jays and more.The access paths to the beach provide a close up view of the dune and the plants that hold it together against the forces of wind and storm surge. Look in the right spot and you might see a mangrove spider lily or tropical salvia providing a bit of beauty. Look more broadly and you'll see saw grass, sea oats and other grasses that are the prime protectors of the dune. Near the beach, look down and you'll see tiny beach star, one of the first plants to colonize the dune above the wrack line and another of the key contributors to holding the dune together.
Amenities: There is metered street parking along A1A and at several nearby city parks (listed below). There are sitting areas along the sidewalk above the beach. The beach itself is monitored by lifeguards during certain hours (check the website above).Also check the website for available rentals. There are no restrooms within the beach proper, but there are at three city parks across A1A, including Sarah Gleeson Park at 2 Ocean Drive, Sandoway Park in the 200 block of A1A (aka S. Ocean Drive) and at Anchor Park, 340 S. A1A.
Nearby: Atlantic Dunes Park is a few minutes south of the municipal beach along A1A; Spanish River Park and Gumbo Limbo Nature Center are farther south in Boca Raton. Ocean Ridge Natural Area and Ocean Ridge Hammock Park are a five- or ten-minute drive to the north.
Links: The Institute for Regional Conservation's list of plants for Delray Municipal Beach.
Of Note: Metered parking is available along the length of the beach on the west side of A1A. There are several lots on the east side of A1A at Sandoway Park, Anchor Park, Ingraham Park and Orange Grove just north of Atlantic on the east side of A1A. Resident and nonresident annual parking permits can be bought at the city website.