Just when I thought I couldn’t love Florida even more, I did after this trip! As mentioned previously in a post, my first experience with Florida was Destin and since then I’ve been looking forward to going to more beaches in the sunshine state! My birthday month of August is coming up so stay tuned into which beach destinations I’ve chosen.
It was a last minute trip so originally I was going to fly into Ft Lauderdale but instead found a great deal to Miami that cost me half as much. I took a lyft from Miami to Ft Lauderdale, roughly a 50-minute ride on the convenient but always busy I-95.
I chose Courtyard Marriott Fort Lauderdale Beach because I wanted to be within walking distance to everything, the beach, restaurants and shopping. I was not disappointed. The staff was very friendly and accommodating, just like the Courtyard in West Palm Beach 😉 The bistro downstairs served food and drinks. The waiter suggested the chicken pot pie and of course, he’d know best so I tried it, and it was very delicious!
Jungle Queen Riverboat Cruise– This was a 3-hr cruise that gave us intracoastal waterway views of beautiful Ft Lauderdale homes and landed us on an island where they housed animals and highlighted a gator show. The show was awesome and very entertaining! At the end of the show, for a $5 donation, you are able to take a picture with a baby gator. Oh boy was I brave for this one… but when I saw all these little ones lining up to take one I convinced myself to do it. The gator felt like a big piece of rubber toy! The gator handler said I could kiss it but my paranoia said, not a good idea 😉 This is definitely a must-see if you’re ever in Ft Lauderdale. The boat served drinks and snacks and the island served food and drinks as well.
Mai-Kai Restaurant– I bought my ticket for the dinner and Polynesian show on tripadvisor.com. The ticket includes a 3-course meal (appetizer, main course and dessert). I had the house salad, teriyaki chicken and vanilla bean ice cream. I was impressed with the food even though my order was wrong. They served me sesame orange chicken and later came with the correct dish but I ended up loving the wrong dish instead. The manager, I assume, gave me both dishes and said I did not have to pay for the other. The show was great. They covered Hawaiian, Fijian, Maori, Samoan and Tahitian dances. All very entertaining. And since we’re talking Polynesian shows, if ever you are on the island of Oahu in Hawaii, you must check out the Polynesian Cultural Center located in Laie.
I enjoyed Mai-Kai’s dinner and show. Please make sure to check it out if you are in the area.
Bubba Gump Ft Lauderdale– I really enjoy their seafood. It’s actually my favorite every time I’m in New Orleans. My favorite dish is the Shrimp New Orleans. They are located on the boardwalk and behind the hotel therefore it was a convenient place to eat, if I didn’t dine in the hotel restaurant. There is a great view of the beach as well. You can easily get caught up in people watching for quite some time, while enjoying your meal.
Ft Lauderdale Beach– I spent a few hours here. I rented an umbrella $20 and chair $15. The heat would have been unbearable unless you brought your own umbrella or if you went into the water and laid out intermittently. There is a beach attendant nearby who will come up sooner than later to ask for payment. Most people left and braved the heat under the sun but it’s definitely a must especially if you plan to be there all day. The water was warm and an emerald green. Nice beach overall, clean and inviting. I would definitely suggest as a great weekend getaway for two or a girls trip!
Las Olas Beach– This beach was right next to Ft Lauderdale Beach and offered the same amenities. I did not get a chance to swim since it was approaching evening, but I did get to hang out and enjoy the surroundings. I’ll be back, if I’m in Fort Lauderdale again.
Style In– This boutique was located next to my hotel and directly across from Fort Lauderdale Beach. They had a great selection of swimsuits, dresses and accessories. I ended up with sunscreen, a Panama Jack beach hat and a Tommy Bahama dress that I wore to my cruise and dinner later that night.
For those who are in South Florida for an extended weekend, Labor Day or Memorial Day weekend, I would suggest using the train to visit West Palm/Palm Beach and work your way south to Ft Lauderdale and Miami. They are also looking to expand a stop to Orlando, so this will be a quicker and possibly economical way to tour several cities in Florida. What a great way to make the most of your Florida vacation! I will update my review once I get to experience Brightline. My friend found out about it while on our last trip to West Palm, when she flew into Ft Lauderdale.
Overall, and once again, I enjoyed my time in Florida. If you have a favorite beach destination in Florida please share below. I’d love to hear about it!
Haze- Blue Crush Travel
Pic: Fort Lauderdale Beach