Our family really enjoyed our stay at the Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort, which is located on the north side of the city; 1 block from the beach; next to the Bonnet House. Our room had a king size bed, a queen size sofa bed, and a pull down Murphy bed that easily slept the 6 of us.
The room also had a full kitchen and 1.5 bath, which made it feel pretty roomy. We had a west-facing balcony with a great view of the intercostal waterway – the kids enjoyed watching the drawbridge open and having their breakfast on the balcony.
The Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort has a nice pool, hot tub, and pool-side bar. A few times we would come back to the pool from the beach and we could sit in the shade, while a few of the kids could keep playing in the water.
We fell in love with the beach that’s just a 2-minute walk away. The water was calm and we quickly realized that bringing the boogie boards and skim boards was not necessary. You can literally walk 50 yards out before the water level reaches 3 feet deep. This was really nice especially for the 5 year-old.
The beach toys of choice included: snorkel, mask, fins, net bag for shells, and inflatable tubes. The visibility underwater was amazing. We spotted many fish to include the Atlantic Spadefish, Stingray, and even a Barracuda or two. The mask & snorkel were also great for spotting nice sea shells in the surf.
Fort Lauderdale beaches were not what we expected. Our family had become accustomed to the Jersey Shore beaches – which we still love – but, it’s very hard to compete with the crystal clear, 80-degree, light waves that South Florida has to offer. We also chose to return to the beach for a few evenings which was wonderful…no crowd…no suntan lotion…no umbrellas…like having your own private peaceful paradise.
We found the full kitchen to be a great way to eat-in for a few meals, but there were many reasonably priced options just within a hundred yard walk. They include:
- Primanti Brothers: The famous Pittsburgh-based franchise known for their Italian bread sandwiches heaped high with fries and coleslaw – our kids loved ’em! I’d recommend the “Pitts Burger”. They also have some great pizza – our hungry beach-crew had trouble finishing the two large 18” pies…so I know that they were bigger than “home” (we usually never have left-overs!).
- Ocean View Delight: This family-run kitchen serves great Mediterranean / Turkish cuisine along with all of the American-grill favorites. This was also a way to get some sorely-missed vegetables back on the dinner plates. The prices were very reasonable – anytime our family of 6 can eat dinner for under $40 and rave about the meal is a win in my book!
- Subway: It’s hard to go wrong here. Good prices – good nutritious sandwiches.
There is a lot to see and do within walking distance, but if you’re willing and able to hop in the car for a bit, a multitude of options open up. Here are a few great day-trip excursions to take from Fort Lauderdale:
- Everglades Fan Boat: We had a great ride at the Sawgrass Recreational Park with lots of gator and turtle sightings. The trip included a walk through their animal area where the kids got to hold a juvenile alligator!
- Shark Valley Tram Tour: A 2-hour tour from a very informative tour guide in Everglades National Park. We saw an amazing amount of wildlife and really enjoyed the view from the observation tower at the tour’s mid-point.
- Key West Road Trip: If you have access to a car, this road trip is well worth it. Most of the 4-hour drive is extremely scenic as you ‘hop’ from key to key until you reach the Southernmost point of the continental United States.
- Sunset on the Keys: There are plenty of place to view a sunset on the keys and many of them even advertise a full-on party to celebrate each evening. We chose Island Fish & Company in Marathon (mile marker 53.5) and had a great meal right on the dock under the Tiki thatched hut.
We were a bit nervous booking a Fort Lauderdale Beach vacation for our family, given its historical party-town roots. We were pleasantly surprised. And while there was plenty of nightlife, bars and tatoo parlors, there were lots of families on the beach and at the resort with us. I’d come back here again any day – south Florida is a great vacation spot