About Dania Beach

Dania Beach Census

Experience the Renaissance of Broward's First City!

Visit Dania Beach to Sea it, Live it, Love it!

Visit and stay in #daniabeach to discover its unique charm and Renaissance as Broward County's first city! Dania Beach boasts a rich history and exudes a vibrant presence, and promising future. 

Dania Beach thrives as a small town coastal community within the metropolitan Broward County-Fort Lauderdale area. It is known for its unique shops, pristine beaches and waterways, and the iconic Dania Beach Pier. Its historic district preserves the city's heritage, inviting visitors to explore its past while enjoying the many modern amenities and its picturesque coastal beauty.

Dania Beach borders the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and Port Everglades, and located south of the Broward County Convention Center. South Florida's Tri-Rail rail service links Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach from its Dania Beach-based Fort Lauderdale Airport station.

Dania Beach earned the "Blue Wave Beaches” award for its exceptional beach, pier and marina location you'll want to discover. Dania Beach is one of the few beaches in South Florida that offers dining and nightlife directly on the water.

Aerial daytime image of the beach and pier

PLACES TO VISIT & EXPLORE

The Dania Beach Casino features 900 Las Vegas-style slot machines, a 24-table card room, nationally-known artists and live Jai-Alai action.

Some of our local dining mainstays include Jaxson’s Ice Cream Parlor, Tropical Acres Steakhouse, Grampa’s Bakery, Quarterdeck, Rustic Inn Crab House, and Tarks. 

The DCOTA Design Center of the Americas, MAD Arts, and The Holocaust Documentation & Education Center bring visitors from all over the world right to the heart of our beautiful city. 

Dania Pointe is the premier destination for shopping, dining, and entertainment in South Florida. Make sure you visit the restaurants, entertainment venues, events and shops in this delightful outdoor destination. Dania Pointe continues to expand with the construction of the Spirit Airlines headquarters, training facility, employee housing and parking garage, complemented by Avery luxury apartments, an AC Hotel by Marriott and a full-service Marriott Hotel. 

Dania Beach is a major player in South Florida’s academic, marine, and tourism industries. The American Maritime Officers (AMO) Simulation, Training, Assessment and Research Center, with state-of-the-art bridge and engine room simulators, offers advanced merchant marine training. 

Derecktor Shipyards, one of South Florida's largest yacht repair hubs, owns a $1 million lift for boats up to 100 feet long. The yard also owns a $3.5 million lift that is nearly eight-stories-high, to handle super-yachts 100 feet to 200 feet. It is the tallest mobile boatlift in the world. 

The City’s 120-slip Marina, located between the Intracoastal and the Atlantic Ocean, Bass Pro Shops and Diver’s Direct are major attractions for people interested in outdoor sports, boating and fishing. 

SeaTech, FAU's Institute for Ocean and Systems Engineering, is the nation's first ocean engineering program. The world-class faculty is engaged in research and technology development in the areas of acoustics, marine vehicles, hydrodynamics and physical oceanography, marine materials, and nanocomposites. 

The city’s extensive recreational amenities include a beach and fishing pier, pools, tennis courts, neighborhood parks, and community centers that provide a wide variety of programs for youth, adults and senior citizens. 





* Historical Photos and Captions by C.K. "Mac" McElyea

ITS HISTORY

Originally known as Modello, the city traces its roots back to the late 19th century when it became a hub for tomato farming and the Florida East Coast Railway. The growing community optimized a spirit of progress that played a pivotal role in its development and resilience through challenges. 

The historic roots of the first city in Broward County date back to the 1880s, when much of what is now the FEC railroad line was laid through the area. In recognition of this transportation advantage, a pioneer and developer named W. C. Valentine planned a settlement called Modello and 12 Danish families moved from Chicago to settle there in 1898-1899. Three years later, 30 Danes were recruited from Oconto, Wisconsin, to colonize the settlement, and the first home was built by A.C. Frost, for whom a park is now named. Frost built the first general store in 1902 and became Modello’s first postmaster. He also built and donated the towns first two schools. The following year, Dania Methodist Church was erected, becoming the city’s first place of worship.

When the town was incorporated in November 1904, its 35 residents, most of whom were Danes, changed the name to Dania. By 1912, Dania was a thriving community of almost 1,200 people and continued to grow through the 1920s when the city suffered tremendous setbacks. In 1925, the Dania Hotel caught on fire, and the Bank of Dania failed due to embezzlers in the Bank’s Atlanta home office. The 1926 hurricane with its 200 mile-per-hour winds devastated the town, destroying the first church building completely, and subsequent damage prompted residents to vote for annexation to the neighboring City of Hollywood. De-annexation came in 1927. 

Tomato Capital of the World

Early immigrants prospered in tomato farming and, as early as 1910, the Florida East Coast Railway was shipping to northern U.S. cities from "The Tomato Capital of the World." During the three-month winter harvest, over 200 farmers shipped 1,000 to 1,500 train carloads of tomatoes and V. Taoring of New Orleans set up a tomato paste factory which contributed to local prosperity.

In 1927, the first Tomato Day Celebration was held to raise funds for the new Dania Methodist Church. Attracting a crowd of over 5,000, it was so successful, that the celebration continued into the 1940s featuring messy, but official, tomato fights and a Miss Tomato Festival Pageant. In the late 1940s, the tomato boom was over, as crops began to fail from saltwater intrusion into the fields.

The Antique Capital of the South

Just as the tomato industry was fading, a new type of commerce -- the antique business -- arrived when Genevieve and Willard Ely set up shop in 1945. It took 10 years for other antique businesses to follow, but it wasn’t long thereafter that Broward’s first incorporated city once again gained fame, this time as the "Antique Capital of the South," along Federal Highway. 

Antique Row became not only a browser’s and shopper’s paradise but also the stores themselves are located inside buildings steeped in the city’s history including Broward County’s first movie theater.

The City has a wealth of historic architecture and a variety of architectural styles including Greek Revival (Dania Bank Building 1923); Mission Revival (Model Land Company Building 1900); Mediterranean Revival (the Martin Frost House 1913); and the Dania Beach Hotel, built by Francis Abreau in 1925. Art Deco styles are also present in the Florida Theater (1939) and the Pirates Inn, formerly the Hotel Katherine (1940).

THE MUNICIPALITY

Dania Beach operates under a commission-city manager form of government and provides services to an estimated 30,000 residents. 

Dania Beach has earned its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification from the US Green Building Council, the nation’s leading governing body on sustainable design. The Dania Beach Nanofiltration Water Treatment Plant is the first LEED Gold Certified Water Plant in the world.  The Dania Beach-Paul DeMaio Library building also achieved LEED Gold certification.

Dania Beach has implemented Oasis - Rebuilding Neighborhoods, an innovative community project that is improving the city one street at a time. The goal is to foster neighborhood pride and improvement, and through a “ripple effect” induce owners and tenants in the City to work together to beautify the City, increase property values, and reduce crime.

The City provides a full range of municipal services. The public safety program includes contracting of fire and rescue services and police services from the Broward County Sheriff’s Office. The City’s extensive recreation program includes a beach and fishing pier, pools, tennis courts, neighborhood parks, community centers and also provides a wide variety of programs for youth, adult and senior citizens. The Public Services Department provides essential street maintenance, roadway beautification, and general service operations oversees Community Development Block grants improvement projects. Public Services oversees operation of the City’s water, sewer and stormwater services and also provides internal support for grounds maintenance, fleet management and citywide building maintenance. The Community Development Department provides planning, zoning, building inspection, and code compliance to the public.

Internal support services include the Department of Human Resources which is responsible for recruitment, compensation and benefits, employee relations, workers' compensation, property, casualty, and liability insurance. The Finance Department handles all of the City’s debt management, billing, and collections as well as annual budget planning and preparation, computer network and support, management financial reporting, property lien research, cash management, capital assets recording, payroll, and water and sewer utility billings and collections, annual budget and annual audit reporting, the City’s business tax licensing, and water meter reading and basic residential water meter services.

SEA IT. LIVE IT. LOVE IT.

Discover Dania Beach to Sea it, Live it, Love it