I recently spent a week in Delray Beach, Florida, and found it a welcoming beachside town with much to offer in recreation, accommodations, food, and shopping. Delray Beach is an easy 45-mile drive north on U.S. Highway I-95 along the Florida coast from Miami and about 30 minutes from Fort Lauderdale.
Delray Beach is located halfway between Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach. I enjoyed how the town retains an old-fashioned Southern charm and almost a raw, unspoiled feel. While there is development and modern conveniences, the beach and city itself seem to have survived, and there’s a nice balance of nature and modern progress.
How to Get There
Most major airlines schedule regular flights into and out of Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL). Delray Beach is also about an hour away from Miami International Airport (MIA). There are also frequent train, bus, and taxi services available for travel to Delray Beach from Fort Lauderdale and Miami.
We flew into Fort Lauderdale via JetBlue and departed via American Airlines from Miami and found the Fort Lauderdale airport smaller, less crowded, and a bit more convenient. We rented a car at the airport and used it throughout our stay. We booked online in advance and got a Ford Taurus (midsize) from Hertz for $129 for a seven-day rental.
Shopping in Delray Beach
Atlantic Avenue is the 20-block main retail area, consisting of many shops, condos, and restaurants on both sides of the street. Our visit was during spring break, and the stores were stocked with vacation clothing, swimwear, scuba equipment, souvenirs, and other items to appeal to both young and older visitors.
There are more than two miles of white sandy beaches at Delray Beach’s waterfront. When we were there, we found them very clean, uncrowded, and closely patrolled. Beach chairs and umbrellas are located every few yards and available for hourly or daily rental.
Delray Beach surfing history goes back more than 50 years, and it’s still a popular spot for both locals and seasonal visitors. There are also boat rides available for ocean and Intracoastal Waterway sailings.
Hotel Choice – Marriott Delray Beach Hotel
We found the Marriott a very convenient and comfortable hotel, just across the road from the beach and a one-block walk to the city’s Atlantic Avenue shops and restaurants. The hotel is upscale and has a nice resort feel to it. In-season (winter) rates start at $239 per night with online specials and discount packages available.
Marriott Delray Beach Hotel
10 N. Ocean Blvd.
Delray Beach, FL 33483
Restaurant Recommendation – City Oyster Restaurant
We enjoyed dinner at this unusual combination of Italian ristorante and Japanese sushi cafe. Although there were at least a dozen of us dining at our table on a very busy night, the service and quality of the food were excellent. We had antipasto plates, as well as linguine and clams in cream sauce. Others at our table had sushi, sea bass, lobster, shrimp, and scallops. Per-person cost was about $30, without wine.
City Oyster Restaurant
213 East Atlantic Ave.
Delray Beach, FL 33444
Charming, unspoiled, not crowded, and not too remote from airports, we found Delray Beach a perfect location for an economical and enjoyable winter vacation.