From Coral Ridge to Harbor Beach: Which Fort Lauderdale Neighborhood is Right for You?

Regardless of the luxury lifestyle you're seeking, Fort Lauderdale has plenty of upscale neighborhoods to choose from

For those relocating to Fort Lauderdale, one of the city's greatest attributes—its collection of upscale, world-class neighborhoods—can also prove one of its toughest aspects to navigate. There's not just one or two fantastic enclaves to call home, but several. 

Each offers outstanding amenities, an idyllic setting, and stunning homes. Understand, there is no wrong answer when deciding in which neighborhood you want to live. It's all a matter of which area is the best choice for you.

So let's take a tour around the city, visit some of South Florida's most celebrated communities, and determine which Fort Lauderdale neighborhood is right for you.

Bay Colony

Who's it right for: Islanders who prefer privacy and seclusion in the midst of a vibrant city. 

What better way to start our list of luxury Fort Lauderdale neighborhoods than with one of its most exclusive, sought after addresses—Bay Colony. Surrounded by water, this private, single-entry, guard-gated community is the definition of luxury. Streets meander through lushly landscaped estates, several of which are located on islands within the island.

As exclusive as it is, access is a central draw to the Bay Colony community. It's a twenty-minute drive to Downtown Fort Lauderdale and its luxury shopping and dining. Bay Colony's northern locale also puts it within a short drive of Pompano Beach and Boca Raton. As is the case with many of Fort Lauderdale's most exclusive areas, access to the water also matters. In Bay Colony, that means deep water canals doubling as backyards and Atlantic Ocean access in mere minutes.

Coral Ridge

Who's it right for: Those seeking the definitive Fort Lauderdale lifestyle.

Arguably one of the most dynamic communities in all of Fort Lauderdale, Coral Ridge allows residents the absolute best of upscale living. Occupying a large swath of real estate between Oakland Park and Sunrise Boulevards, the community is centered in the sought-after area of Fort Lauderdale. High-end shopping and dining are a short drive away. Outside pursuits that include the Coral Ridge Country Club, Hugh Taylor Birch State Park, Lauderdale Beach, and the Atlantic Ocean are even closer. 

Homes in Coral Ridge prove to be some of the most diverse in the city. Small vacation getaways mingle with larger Florida ranch estates in a lush, tropical setting. There is also an abundant collection of canal-side residences, where deep channels directly access the Intracoastal Waterway

Harbor Beach

Who's it right for: Yachting enthusiasts who value seclusion and exclusivity.

Water is a staple of life in Fort Lauderdale—10% of the city is covered in it, including over 150 miles of canals and waterways, which means one can easily find waterfront living at every turn. However, some communities offer a far grander experience than others. Such is life at the gated, ultra-exclusive Harbor Beach. The community is split into two distinctive sections. First is the dry land peninsula, separated from the beach and the Atlantic Ocean by the Stranahan River.

The more private canal homes sit on six single-street islands, where each house is a grand statement on the spoils of luxury waterfront living. Prices regularly top eight figures, with the most glamorous estates exceeding $20,000,000. It's all worth it considering what you get in return—a magnificent waterfront compound, direct canal, river, and ocean access, use of a private beach club and beach, tennis and social events, and spa services.

Hillsboro Mile

Who's it right for: Deep pockets who prefer the panorama of the Atlantic versus backyard canals. 

The first of three communities on our list not directly located within Fort Lauderdale, Hillsboro Mile, 30 minutes north of Downtown, deserves mention thanks to its uniqueness among South Florida neighborhoods. Popularly known as "Millionaire's Mile," homes here are waterfront property in the truest sense of the word. Situated along the 3-mile barrier island of Hillsboro Beach, the Atlantic Ocean serves as the primary water feature. Step out your front door, however, and cross the street onto the Intracoastal Waterway with enough room to dock your multimillion-dollar yacht.

To call this the rarified air of homeownership is an understatement. The massive estates regularly top the eight-figure mark and are more akin to secluded, gated compounds with private, direct beach access. They're not entirely sequestered, however, as this stretch of South Florida real estate is strategically located. The immediate area hosts numerous beachside hotels and restaurants. The luxury shopping, dining, and nightlife of Boca Raton, Pompano Beach, and Fort Lauderdale are all within a short drive

Las Olas

Who's it right for: Upscale shopping and dining (and waterfront) enthusiasts that crave being in the middle of the action.

Las Olas Boulevard is Fort Lauderdale's central commercial artery, stretching from Las Olas Beach in the east straight into the city's downtown district. Along the way, the road crosses over the Intracoastal Waterway, runs parallel to New River, and serves at the home address for more than 100 shops, restaurants, cafes and bars, upscale boutiques, and art galleries and museums. In other words, if it's the heart of the city you seek, Las Olas Boulevard will take you there.

Las Olas Boulevard is also the jumping-off point to one of Fort Lauderdale's most dynamic residential communities. Anchored between the Intracoastal Waterway and where Las Olas Boulevard crosses over to dry land, every lot is on a canal and every home is an immaculate waterfront estate. The mix of home styles is vast: Mediterranean-inspired compounds, sleek and modern new constructions, old-school Florida ranches, and even seven-figure condo penthouses. Yacht owners in particular will appreciate the water frontage complete with dock, deep water canals, and ocean access.  

Rio Vista

Who's it right for: History buffs and architectural aficionados who appreciate an incredibly convenient location.

One of Fort Lauderdale's original neighborhoods, Rio Vista is steeped in history and undeniable architectural charm. Framed by the Tarpon and New Rivers, the community is a short drive under the latter from downtown Fort Lauderdale and offers residents two distinctive lifestyles. The bulk of the community is located on a park-like peninsula with large lots, immaculate homes, and tree-lined streets. Head east and trade the land for water—grand canal-side houses with direct boat access to the Intracoastal Waterway and the Atlantic Ocean via the Stranahan River.

Regardless of your choice of home, there's a lot to do in Rio Vista, which is anchored by the Lauderdale Yacht Club in the neighborhood's southwest corner. Activities include sailing, tennis, dining and social events, fishing, and a fitness center. Given its incredible location, homes within Rio Vista are a short drive (or boat trip) to Fort Lauderdale's top attractions, including restaurants, nightlife, and beaches.

Sea Ranch Lakes

Who's it right for: Fans of cozy, close-knit (but not too close) neighborhoods tucked away on a barrier island.

Just across the Intracoastal Waterway from Bay Colony, Sea Ranch Lakes doesn't have quite the private island feel of its western neighbor, but it does offer an equally unique location. Bordered on its north and south by Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, with a sliver of land stretching out to the Atlantic, the village of Sea Ranch is the definition of a hideaway hamlet. 

For such a small enclave, the livability is high. It starts with the gated community featuring 200 surprisingly diverse environments. You have the option of inland living on oversized lots lined by well-manicured streets. Interior lakefront homesites are available thanks to two artificial lakes, Lake Seneca and Lake Cayuga, at the heart of the neighborhood. Finally, there are grand estates along the Intracoastal Waterway, each outfitted with docks capable of mooring sizable yachts.

In addition to the walled-in neighborhood, a home in Sea Ranch grants access to the Atlantic-facing Sea Ranch Beach Club.

Southwest Ranches

Who's it right for: Homeowners who prefer their luxury accommodations be rural, rustic, and wild. 

Our final community sits just beyond Fort Lauderdale's southwestern edge and serves as a gateway into Florida's celebrated Everglades. Less a singular neighborhood and more a collection of upscale, large-lot homes (from one- to two-and-a-half-acres) with room to roam, the area boasts a population of more than 7,000, all with one goal in mind—to keep its rural lifestyle intact. 

Designed as a buffer to stunt encroaching urban development, amenities mirror the slower, rustic sensibilities. Equestrian parks and trails are prevalent, and working farms and agriculture feature throughout the area's 13-square miles. But make no mistake, Southwest Ranches is high-end living. You can find both modest luxury in the area's abundant ranch style homes or more opulent homesteads that regularly fetch eight-figures.

So will it be Bay Colony's island enclave? Coral Ridge's in-the-heart-of-it-all location? Or the barrier island hamlet of Sea Ranch Lakes? If you're ready to discover your perfect Fort Lauderdale neighborhood, contact Tim Elmes and the Elmes Group today and allow them to be your guide to the best of South Florida luxury real estate.


We offer the highest level of expertise, service, and integrity. Elmes Group is the premier agency in Fort Lauderdale and has helped thousands of buyers find their dream home in South Florida and beyond, resulting in over $2 Billion of closed residential real estate transactions in the last 30+ years.

Contact Us