15 Best Things to Do in Dania Beach (FL)

Written by Bart Meeuwesen
Updated on
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Between Hollywood and Fort Lauderdale, Dania Beach is a seaside city with a more natural shoreline than its near neighbors.

The Anne Kolb Nature Center and Dr. Von D. Mizell-Eula Johnson State Park protect thousands of acres of mangroves on the Intracoastal Waterway. 

Meanwhile the municipal beach park is my idea of paradise, and has a pier reaching out into the Atlantic for almost 1,000 feet.

Initially a farming community, Dania Beach started attracting tourists in the 1940s. At that time a collection of antiques stores sprouted along U.S. 1, the city’s main street. This district is still intact today, and is complemented by the acclaimed Wiener Museum of Decorative Arts. 

The sport of jai-alai arrived in the city in 1953. That fronton, one of just a handful remaining in Florida, continues to host international events and is part of the Casino @ Dania Beach.

1. Dania Beach Ocean Park

I know everyone will tell you this, but you have to catch at least one sunrise at Dania Beach. This is always a humbling experience, and a few things make it even more special

First the rickety fishing pier helps set the scene, but the shoreline also feels less crowded in  Dania Beach. The Intracoastal Waterway here is edged by the mangroves of the Anne Grove Nature Center. 

Then to the north there’s another undeveloped space, where Dr. Von D. Mizell-Eula Johnson State Park protects a rare coastal ecosystem.

There’s a pavilion for grilling, as well as a playground, bathrooms, and the newly opened Lucky Fish Restaurant. On the other side, you can also launch a canoe or kayak on the Intracoastal Waterway.

2. Wiener Museum of Decorative Arts

Wiener Museum Of Decorative ArtsSource: WMODA Wiener Museum of Decorative Arts / Facebook
Wiener Museum Of Decorative Arts

This sensational museum has one of the world’s most impressive collections of ceramic and glass art. In these holdings are historic pieces by pottery trailblazers like Wedgwood and Royal Doulton. 

You can also see work by the Art Nouveau and Art Deco master Renée Lalique, and contemporary artists like Dale Chihuly. I was especially interested in the works from the Florida scene, by the likes of Rob Stern and Chelsea Rousso. 

The museum was founded in 2014 to foster an appreciation for these expressive artforms. Complementing the priceless collections, the museum puts on important temporary exhibitions of glass and ceramic art. 

Added to that are events, from talks to live performances and workshops.

3. Dania Beach Fishing Pier

Can you even call yourself a seaside town without a fishing pier? I’m not so sure. Anyway, Dania Beach has had one since 1958. This was declared unsafe in 1990, and a new one was finally ready in 1995.

Due to Florida’s turbulent weather, piers don’t tend to have a long lifespan in the Sunshine State, so the one in Dania Beach is a true veteran.

You can make your way to the end of this 964-foot structure for an all-encompassing view. North is the natural landscape of Dr. Von D. Mizell-Eula Johnson State Park, while the modern hotels, condos and resorts of Hollywood Beach are in the distance to the south. 

If you don’t have your own fishing gear you can rent everything you need from the pier concession. When I was here, access was $1.50, with an extra $4 fee for fishing.

4. Dr. Von D. Mizell-Eula Johnson State Park

North of Dania Beach’s municipal beach is an ecologically vital piece of coastline. At Dr. Von D. Mizell-Eula Johnson State Park you’ll be in Broward County’s last undeveloped coastal ecosystem.

This place has an interesting and ultimately uplifting modern history. Designated as ‘The Colored Beach’, the park was opened in 1953, following a campaign by the Civil Activist Von Mizell, among others. 

Then thanks to the work of Mizell and activists like Eula Johnson, this and other Broward County beaches were finally desegregated by 1962. 

A blissful natural oasis, there’s enough to keep you here for a whole day. You can paddle through the mangroves, go snorkeling on the reef, or just chill. Something I like doing is sitting back and watching the vast cruise ships passing along the Intracoastal Waterway.

5. Dania Jai Alai

Dania Jai AlaiSource: Dania Amateur Jai-Alai / Facebook
Dania Jai Alai

In the mid-20th century South Florida was a center for the game of jai-alai. For people of a certain age, high-speed sport is still one of the things that springs to mind when they picture Miami.

Things have receded a lot since that high watermark. When I wrote this list there were only four courts, known as frontons, in the whole state. 

The good news is that the tradition is alive and well in Dania Beach. The fronton at The Casino @ Dania Beach hosts several competitions throughout the year. The big one is The Dania Beach Invitational in December. 

This event features talent from around the world, including the Basque Country and southwest France where the sport originated.

6. Anne Kolb Nature Center

Anne Kolb Nature CenterSource: Steve Weisberg / shutterstock
Anne Kolb Nature Center

Abutting the Intracoastal Waterway is 1,500 acres of mangrove wetlands, at one of Florida’s largest urban parks.

This inspiring place was named after a local county commissioner. Anne Kolb worked tirelessly to protect and preserve South Florida’s natural areas that were being consumed by development.  

I adore the boardwalks lifting you through the mangroves. If you study the trees closely you’re sure to see a lot of blue land crabs crawling around. Make sure to look out for the juvenile crabs, as they sometimes end up on the boardwalk.

You can get a satisfying view from the 68-foot observation tower, while the exhibit hall explains the fragile mangrove ecosystem, with a 3,500-gallon aquarium and hands-on exhibits.

Until recently there were narrated boat tours of the mangroves. These were suspended during Covid, and hadn’t returned when I was here last. Even so, you can rent a kayak for some self-guided exploration.

7. Secret Woods Nature Center

Secret Woods Nature CenterSource: Kevin Barry Photography / shutterstock
Secret Woods Nature Center

On West State Road 84 in Dania Beach, the Secret Woods Nature Center was the first natural property in the state to be designated as an urban wilderness area.

Established in 1978, the center is made up of nearly 60 acres of cypress swamps, tidal mangroves, and tropical hammocks. With their many ferns, butterflies, tortoises, lizards and crabs, I’ll never tire of exploring these habitats.

It’s not unusual  to see manatees from on the riverside boardwalk and observation deck. There’s an engaging scavenger hunt for younger visitors, as well as a welcome center full of interactive exhibits.

8. Dania Beach Antique and Arts District

<yoastmark class=Source: Akiba Antiques Mall / Facebook

For 80+ years, Dania Beach has been regarded as a regional destination for antiques shopping. Even now, there’s still an identifiable district, with a knot of stores close together on U.S. 1, a block east of City Hall. 

You can park here and set off on foot to see what you can find. The shops, galleries, and studios are pretty much shoulder-to-shoulder on both sides of the street. 

With everything from jewelry to blown glass, pottery, furniture, housewares, paintings, and retro clothing, you never know what will turn up in these small stores.

In the same district is Kodner Auctions, a fifth-generation auction gallery, in business since 1906. With a focus on fine art, sculpture, estate jewelry, silver, luxury timepieces and more, auctions take place every other Wednesday throughout the year.

9. Juana La Cubana Café

Juana La Cubana CaféSource: Juana La Cubana Cafe / Facebook
Juana La Cubana Café

South Florida is famed for its Cuban community, and in Dania Beach there’s an acclaimed spot for genuine Cuban food.

The star menu item at Juana La Cubana Café is the World Famous Cuban Sandwich. This is the classic ham, roast pork and Swiss cheese on Cuban bread, with pickles and mustard.

Now, you’ve surely had your fair share of Cubans. But if you’re a first-timer at Juana La Cubana, I’d urge you to get this before anything else.

There’s a wide selection of other authentic Cuban dishes, like croquetas, tostones, vaca frita (seared steak), ropa vieja (pulled flank steak), and lomo de puerco (grilled pork loin). 

Whatever you order, you have to get rice and black beans on the side, and wash it all down with a creamy café con leche.

10. Hollywood Beach Boardwalk

Dania Beach is moments from one of the most celebrated beachfront promenades in the United States. The Hollywood Beach Broadwalk is something I think everyone should see at least once.

Lined with palms, the brick-paved promenade runs for 2.5 miles along a truly gorgeous stretch of beach. This is an artery for strolling, bicycling, rollerblading, and jogging. All along the route are parks, some 50 restaurants, boutiques, and companies offering water sports. 

Check out the Hollywood Bandshell, right on the promenade, hosting free live concerts, Wednesday through Sunday. At the north end, the Hollywood North Beach Park is the ideal place to park and begin your visit.

11. Dania Pointe

This new 100-acre mixed-use development was still being rolled out when I was in Dania Beach. Dania Pointe is a blend of outlets and big box stores, all with a lot of dining choices.

Think Urban Outfitters, a Nike Clearance Store, Hobby Lobby, Foot Locker, Build-A-Bear Workshop, American Eagle, and Anthropologie. 

There’s truly something for all palates if you want to pair a shopping trip with lunch. Outback Steakhouse, Firehouse Subs, Panda Express, Bento, and Starbucks were a few of the 20+ chains.

The 16-screen Regal Dania Pointe opened in 2022, and has 4DX and RPX auditoriums, with full reclining seats in the VIP sections.

12. Topeekeegee Yugnee Park

Topeekeegee Yugnee ParkSource: Holly Guerrio / shutterstock
Topeekeegee Yugnee Park

On nearly 140 scenic acres in nearby Hollywood, Topeekeegee Yugnee Park has a name that means ‘meeting or gathering place’ in Native Seminole.

With 61 RV sites, and a convenient location minutes from the beach, I’d recommend this spot if you’re planning  a camping trip. 

A few of the amenities are covered picnic and gazebo areas, showers, bathrooms, full water and electrical hookups, and free Wi-Fi. Something special here is a wildlife-rich lake, covering 40 acres, and primed for catch-and-release fishing. 

Best of all for me is the Castaway Island water park. This attraction is open seasonally, and has six waterslides, two water playgrounds, and a large pool.

13. The Casino @ Dania Beach

Dania Beach’s jai-alai fronton is part of a facility that first opened in 1953. In the 2010s The Casino @ Dania Beach was given an 18-month $64 million makeover.

In the past, guests could only bet on the jai-alai games. By the 21st century these were attracting ever-smaller crowds.

When I visited the casino there was a sprawling modern complex, with 900 Vegas-style slot machines. There were also two dozen tables in the card room, a choice of three eateries, and concerts and live comedy several nights a week.

14. Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World

Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World, Dania BeachSource: Jillian Cain Photography / shutterstock
Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World, Dania Beach

I’m sure you know that Bass Pro Shops is one of the country’s foremost outfitters for all things related to the great outdoors.

Well in Dania Beach there’s an enormous destination showroom, with more than 160,000 square feet of retail space. So if you’re planning a fishing, camping, hunting, or boating trip, this a great place to complete your inventory. 

It’s worth coming here even if you don’t have anything in mind. Among the sights are a huge indoor waterfall, and a 39,000-gallon aquarium, large enough for some giant fish. 

Kids will also love checking out the many vehicles, from motorboats to ATVS and waverunners.

15. Hollywood Beach Golf Club

Hollywood Beach Golf CourseSource: Hollywood Beach Golf Club / Facebook
Hollywood Beach Golf Club

If you’re in need of a round of golf and don’t want to travel, I’d look at this affordable public course a couple of minutes down U.S. 1.

Hollywood Beach Golf Course was designed in the early 1920s. For a reasonable price you get a straightforward layout in a lush natural setting. 

One of this track’s big selling points is that it’s all on one self-contained plot of land, without homes overlooking any of the fairways or greens. 

The amenities are basic, and drainage can be an issue after heavy rains. Still, this is a good choice for newcomers to the sport, on open ground, without any testing doglegs.

15 Best Things to Do in Dania Beach (FL):

  • Dania Beach Ocean Park
  • Wiener Museum of Decorative Arts
  • Dania Beach Fishing Pier
  • Dr. Von D. Mizell-Eula Johnson State Park
  • Dania Jai Alai
  • Anne Kolb Nature Center
  • Secret Woods Nature Center
  • Dania Beach Antique and Arts District
  • Juana La Cubana Café
  • Hollywood Beach Boardwalk
  • Dania Pointe
  • Topeekeegee Yugnee Park
  • The Casino @ Dania Beach
  • Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World
  • Hollywood Beach Golf Club