Street Smart: Delray Beach’s Ocean Boulevard
Ocean Boulevard (or Florida State Road A1A) tops the list of the most scenic drives in Palm Beach County. Designated a Scenic and Historic Coastal Byway, it hugs Florida’s eastern coast for roughly 35 miles from Palm Beach in the north to Pompano Beach in the south. While there’s a lot to see along this stretch – from mega-mansions and beach towns to seagrape-swept views of the Atlantic – a few of our favorite stops center around a portion of the route that runs through Delray Beach.
Nomad Surf Shop [4655 North Ocean Boulevard]
While located on Ocean Boulevard, but technically just over the border to the north in Boynton Beach, Nomad Surf Shop is still a must-visit, especially if you’re into surf culture. The peach-colored tiki-inspired shop was first founded in 1968 by Ron Heavyside, a legendary surfer who became equally legendary for his surfboard shaping skills. While Heavyside passed away in 2018, the operation is still true to his vision, especially as it remains run by sons Ronnie and Ryan Heavyside (fun fact: Ryan Heavyside has modeled his sun-kissed surfer looks for brands like Gucci, Armani, Valentino, Calvin Klein, and more). Today, as the state’s longest-running surf shop, it’s still the place for the latest stock of boards, swimwear, surfing accessories, and plenty of local surf-story swapping.
Boston’s on the Beach [40 South Ocean Boulevard]
Boston’s on the Beach has been an institution in Delray Beach for more than 35 years, and it’s easy to see why. The festive atmosphere includes the type of oceanfront views you want when you’re on vacation in Florida, plus live music and tasty food from a full, casual menu. You’ll especially love it if you’re a fan of any of Boston’s sports teams as there are memorabilia hanging and affixed around the restaurant. We’re not sure if Kenny Chesney is a Boston sports fan, but we do know he is a fan of Boston’s on the Beach.
50 Ocean [50 South Ocean Boulevard]
Just upstairs from sister establishment Boston’s on the Beach, 50 Ocean offers a more upscale dining experience, with floor-to-ceiling windows, a luxurious sitting area for happy hour, and an aquarium bar that glows at night. Open for lunch during the week, brunch on the weekends, and dinner throughout, 50 Ocean has a refined menu highlighted by their fresh, local seafood dishes and consideration for vegetarian and gluten-free diners.
Sandoway Discovery Center [142 South Ocean Boulevard]
How many places can you walk in and touch creatures like turtles, stingrays, and even sharks for just a $6 entry fee? After spending some time at the Sandoway Discovery Center, you’ll walk away with a greater appreciation for the ocean and marine life. The fun, educational staff facilitate indoor and outdoor exhibits with live animals and other treasures from the beach to spike the curiosity of visitors. The saltwater tank – formerly a pool, as the center exists in what used to be a residential house – is the site of the nurse shark feedings every day and a crowd favorite.
Atlantic Dunes Park [1605 South Ocean Boulevard]
A pleasant alternative to Delray’s public beach, Atlantic Dunes Park is a large, sandy spot that affords beachgoers plenty of room to spread out. If you don’t feel like lugging your beach gear (although the metered lot isn’t a very far walk), you can rent lounge chairs and umbrellas to help you set up for the ultimate day of relaxation.