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Ft. Lauderdale or Hollywood Beach Boardwalk for an afternoon?

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We will be arriving at FLL around 10:30am on Wed. March 9 and wanted to hit a beach/boardwalk for a few hours before heading down to the Keys (spending the night in Key Largo).

This is a budget outing and we prefer the "explore the local scene" rather than the "Bubba Gump's/Rainforest Cafe/tourist attraction" form of travel (though I fully intend to feed some gators before leaving FL!).

We're renting a car at the airport and want to know if Hollywood or Ft. Lauderdale boardwalk/beach (or another option in the area) would be better for a few hours for 2 chilly NYers to defrost and grab some lunch before heading south. Ease of access and authentic local budget restaurants are major considerations. Also, a place to rinse off the sand and change would probably be a plus.

Side question- what are the smoking regulations in FL these days? I've gotten spoiled with CA and NYC's smoking bans and want to know how much mental preparation I'll need to do for this trip!

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