Hallandale Daytrip

We know Hallandale has a beach, but did you also know it offers a western-style experience? I didn’t know the west could come so far east, but I like it. Partake in a day of shooting guns, gambling and bull riding. It’s all in a days work, cowboy.

Here is your itinerary:


1 p.m. Brunch / Flashback Diner
220 N Federal Hwy, Hallandale Beach
Website: flashbackdiner.com
Cost: $10

Since my only experience with guns has been to watch them in the movies it seems appropriate to celebrate ‘Hollywood’ before moving forward. So, I chose a good ol’ breakfast at the Hallandale staple Flashback Diner (I was also secretly hoping the photos on the wall of those famous gun-shooting celebs would send me along with some good luck). The food totally hit the spot. Sit at the bar, order some eggs, and I suggest trying their biscuits (and if you can get the recipe for them, I so want it). Oh, and drink an appropriate amount of coffee, because, too much caffeine today might be bad for the nerves (especially if it’s your first time). And as Clint Eastwood would say, ‘I have strong feelings about gun control. If there’s a gun around, I want to be controlling it.’ Not a good idea to let the caffeine take over. I’m just sayin’, you might want to listen to Clint.

3 p.m. Shooting / Miami Gun Classes
3300 W Hallandale Beach Blvd, Hollywood
Website: miamigunclasses.com
Cost: $80

We were lucky enough to score a class with David, the chief instructor of Miami Gun Classes. This lesson was informative, insightful, fun, and necessary. I recommend taking this lesson if this is your first time shooting, or even if you have had experience using guns. I think anyone can benefit from learning from a real professional, especially on such a sensitive subject and potentially dangerous tool. And David is an N.R.A. trained counselor and has been a firearm instructor for 10 years. He is also French, which would seem ironic, but I think it made his perspective on gun issues that much more interesting!

Miami Gun Classes can book your lesson at a range almost anywhere in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties, but we chose Hallandale. Welcome to Big Al’s Gun Range (I do realize the range is ‘officially’ located in Hollywood, but it’s close enough, and located on the namesake boulevard! So, I’m hoping you’ll cut Smith, Wesson and me a break on this one). It was a perfect space for our needs. It had a classroom for David to educate us on amazingly large array of topics, and is home to a good-sized indoor range. After having a discussion about gun rights and issues (in which David so graciously answered all of our questions; and we had a lot), going over safety and rules (like only pointing the gun down-range, and not putting your finger in front of the muzzle; you would be surprised how many people do not get this; on that note, have you ever heard of the Darwin Awards?), getting personalized techniques (did you know you have a dominant eye?) and learning how to handle a gun (finger off the trigger until you mean it; I’ll take it!), we made our way to the range.

Dressed in goggles and huge ear muffs (which you’ll be thankful for as the noise is deafening and the debris could be blinding) and with a drawing of a person on a big white piece of paper in front of you, you get ready to shoot. We shot a revolver that day (a model 19 Smith and Wesson, 38 special to be exact) but they also offer pistol and rifle courses. David will show you how to load the gun, aim and let ‘er rip. If you’re with a friend, you’ll get about three -to-four rounds in each before you’re done (which is more than enough). It is such a thrilling experience. And one that will leave you saying, ‘I’m your huckleberry.’ Over, and over, and over again. (See: Tombstone).

5:30 p.m. Gambling / Gulfstream Park
901 South Federal Highway, Hallandale Beach
Website: gulfstreampark.com
Cost: FREE

What goes better together than guns and gambling? (Actually, I’m not a huge fan of gambling, so I’d probably retort with something like, ‘Peanut Butter and Jelly?’) Gulfstream Park offers a free $15 playing card to all new comers, so why not? And I walked out with $12.60! This isn’t the most exciting casino I’ve ever been too, and you unfortunately cannot use your complimentary $15 on Blackjack, but who’s going to complain about getting free money when all I had to do was pull a few levers on some shiny machines? Grab a cocktail, move around the glittering casino, and have some fun on someone else’s dime.

7 p.m. Dinner / Cadillac Ranch
501 South Federal Highway, Unit 1615, Hallandale Beach
Website: cadillacranchmiami.com
Cost: $20-$30

After gambling, stumble on over to Cadillac Ranch for some true western-style American fare and music. The icing on the cake? They have a mechanical bull (note: the bull doesn’t make an appearance until 8 p.m., but he’s worth the wait). And guess who is going to ride it? You. Beware, this bull means business. But, I think you can handle him, huckleberry.