A few months ago, the talk of going to Greater Fort Lauderdale Florida was mentioned, and a slide show of these clips immediately played in my head: very tanned retirees playing chess in old people’s villages, super nightclubs and people rollerblading wearing nothing but g-string bikinis. Thanks to Hollywood for painting those images in my head. Little did I know – Greater Fort Lauderdale was a palm tree balmy paradise waiting to greet me with a warm friendly hello.
Nicknamed the “Venice of America” Fort Lauderdale has an intricate canal system and nautical orientation. 300 miles of intra-coastal waterways meander throughout the suburbs but rather than glide along them on a Venetian gondola, you may opt for one of it’s 50,000+ resident yachts that are housed along the waterways.
With Greater Fort Lauderdale’s average temperature in or above the mid twenties, you can see why their 23 miles of sun kissed beaches have been drawing in the tourists for decades. Here are a few highlights from our girls trip this month:
After watching numerous CSI type shows based in Miami with high speed chases through the everglade wetlands, reenacting the same chase has always been on my bucket list. But this time, we were on the chase to find alligators. We visited Sawgrass Recreation Park on our first day in Greater Fort Lauderdale. We were not yet use to the humidity, with sweat dripping off us like we were in a sauna. I was secretly also a little scared about getting into an open boat to get up close and personal with alligators. Our driver Deborah had worked at the everglades for more than 13 years so she assured us we were in good hands. However, we were not assured that we would see any gators.
Hovering over the reeded lake, the scenery was just breathtaking. As I was admiring at the clouds reflection painted into the lake below, the airboat comes to a slow halt. The suspense was real. The sweat was real-er. We were in luck! Our first croc reveals itself to us and cautiously approaches our boat filled with snap happy girls. Deborah continues the tour referring to some of her more frequently crocs – some had names, some didn’t. All in all, this a highlight of our activities during our time at Greater Fort Lauderdale. It’s definitely a must when you visit.
We literally didn’t have a bad meal the entire time we were visiting. Every meal was fresh, an array of dietary options and we all left feeling very satisfied. My highlight was our last meal at Kuro Japanese restaurant situated in the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel. We were treated to a 6 course tasting menu that included sushi, miso glazed Seabass, the most delicious Brussel sprouts and matcha flavoured iced desserts. I literally couldn’t get enough of every course. The flavours so tantalising, no soy sauce was needed. The Japanese inspired cocktails were just as delicious – enticing me to have one too many than probably needed. The Hard Rock is expanding and will soon have a 13 acre pool that you can paddle board on so I might have to come back to experience that (and another cheeky 6 course meal at Kuro).
Across the road from the beach, and in between the intracoastal waterway you will find Hugh Taylor Birch State park. Complete with gopher tortoises and a whole family of iguanas, the park is a family oasis of activities and a slice of wilderness in a built up area. Don’t worry, I made sure that there were no gators living here before we decided to clamber into the water in our kayaks.
It was quite a peaceful experience and a great way to get our exercise in for the day. There’s also a restaurant / bar at the same location so you can really make a day of it with some friends.
The largest walkable mural project in Broward County, is home to 24 murals painted by local and international artists. The murals bring a colourful energy to the town, each with their own message. Frida Kahlo and Salvador Dali grace the murals along with more abstract or surrealist artworks. All the murals are larger than life and are definitely worth a visit (even if you’re not an art buff).
There are literally no excuses not to keep active while visiting Greater Fort Lauderdale. The weather is just too nice to stay indoors and be lazy. From beachfront yoga to outdoor basketball and the miles and miles of beach front esplanades, this holiday made me want to be active all day long. And why wouldn’t you with beautiful blues skies like these?
Each afternoon after our day of activities came to an end, we headed to the beach front of the Fort Lauderdale Marriot Harbor Beach Resort & Spa and soaked up some the glorious golden hour. We swam, ran along the beach, took 10,000 photos with the perfect light, and talked about how we could one day live on the beach forever. It was all a little surreal.
Greater Fort Lauderdale really exceeded my expectations. It felt very similar to Australia, super laid back people, great food and awesome outdoorsy activities to keep you active and entertained and my hand would shoot straight up if the opportunity came around again.
This was a complimentary trip courtesy of Greater Fort Lauderdale. All opinions, words and images are my own. If you’d like to find out more about Greater Fort Lauderdale, visit the below links here.