I took this photo when I was visiting Fort Lauderdale earlier this month. It’s a public playground just off the broadwalk at Hollywood Beach.
Growing up, my family would visit Rehoboth Beach in Delaware, and later Ocean City in New Jersey. The shore towns along the Jersey coastline are mostly great for families, and so many Philadelphians, especially, spend a great deal of their summers down the shore.
But I don’t remember ever seeing anything like public playground along the boardwalks of Rehoboth or Ocean City. I know they’re not in Ocean City, one of the most commercialized family shore towns along the coast. I can’t help but think those things are related—why push to provide public playgrounds if you’re the city council and risk the ire of a nearby business owner on the boardwalk?
Still, the wealthiest towns—places like Ocean City—are exactly the sort of towns that can and should set precedent for play areas for children and families. If the community is really family-friendly, it should be seeking to lead in providing public benefits and play areas for children without further financially soaking the parents.