Southern Florida or more specifically Palm Beach County may be a playground for the rich and famous, but there's plenty of natural wealth here too on the southern side of the 'Treasure Coast.' There are many jewels to be found in this area where the Gulf Stream rubs against the continent, and her tropical warmth caresses the beaches. The surf here can be overhead when barely 60 miles to the north it is 1ft slop. Palm Beach County catches swell that other states, or even other parts of Florida, don't get a sniff of. This is because Palm Beach County is the most easterly point of the USA mainland south of the Outer Banks, making it well-situated to receive swells from the north. The Gulf Stream current also seems to be a swell corridor, even though it flows against swells coming out of the north. Reef Road is the obvious diamond here, but there are plenty of other jewels in this particular crown. The new pier at Juno and Lake Worth Pier are super consistent and therefore super competitive, with threatening locals (and local authorities) ready to reprimand those who upset the status quo.
Fort Lauderdale and Miami (Broward and Dade counties) somehow miss out on receiving waves of the caliber that converge on Palm Beach. Offshore shoals and, more importantly, the shadow of the Bahamas mean that almost any swell either gets broken up or doesn't get through to these average beachbreaks at all. SE winds will produce some rideable windchop and, of course, hurricanes will liven up the area, but on the whole, Miami is not the best surf zone in Florida. The exception is South Jetty, where powerful, quality peaks are jealously worked over by a large local crew that has to wait a long time for conditions to synchronize and produce the best waves in the area. The crystalline blue-green water color gives Southern Florida a unique feel, and a tropical photogenic look rare on the mainland. The Florida Keys to the south are waveless on all but the biggest swells, although the extraordinary natural beauty and varied ecosystems make it a worthy place to visit.
Like the diverse array of animal species that live and breed in the state, humans too have been attracted to Florida, spawning the archetypal modern tourist capital of the USA. Inevitable conflicts arise between man and nature, but people as well as animals may find some areas difficult to access. South Florida boasts the most expensive oceanfront property on the continent and developers continue to try to stake their exclusive claim to stretches of this sandy shoreline. Money talks louder than reason and, while Florida doesn't prevent lateral beach movement between the high and low tide mark, exclusive gated communities, commercial developments, and privately-owned beachfront properties can make access challenging. Palm Beach Shores, Reef Rd, south of Lake Worth Pier, north of Boca Raton inlet, and plenty of isolated areas between Fort Lauderdale and Miami Beach are diabolically difficult to park near or even make it to the water's edge, let alone get away with a surf without a hassle.
Pressures like this ensure that crowds are inevitable at all of the name spots, not least because the South Florida surfer has to wait longer than most for good local conditions. But when it happens, the biggest surf in the state is usually found here, in the Palm Beach area.