My little sister has gone to college down in South Florida the last four years and I have taken full advantage of it. I have traveled down twice a year and gone to my favorite spots in Del Ray and Boca Raton, but on her graduation weekend I decided to spend a day at Fort Lauderdale Beach. Of all the times I have flown into Fort Lauderdale, I have never stayed. Crazy right? Well I am glad I did. People watching to the max. I am talking lots of thongs, lots of slicked up tanners basking in the Florida sun, lots of people taking innumerable selfies. (Oh wait, so was I!) Think Jersey Shore meets Florida sunshine. I loved it.
I stayed at the Courtyard Fort Lauderdale and though I was a bit skeptical about staying at a non-full service Marriott, I was more than pleasantly surprised. The location is bar none.
You are literally steps away from the beach or the great walking path along the beach. And you literally can find a street full of open air bars and restaurants next door. They even have a large patio area overlooking the ocean with a pool bar that served up a perfect blackened shrimp Caesar salad. I will have you know that I got to the hotel at 1:45 and I was in my pool chair with a Corona by 2pm.
I took a long walk down the beach and dipped my feet in the roaring Atlantic. There were boogie boarders and swimmers despite the rip tide warnings. Hello?! I walked at a snail’s pace down the sidewalk back stopping to shop, people gawk, and check out potential dinner hot spots. (The patio Happy Hours were sure tempting!)
Did I mention that the hotel is ocean side and also on the intercoastal? And thanks to my Platinum Marriott status (Thanks Andy for all that work travel!) I was upgraded to an ocean view room that looked straight out of a postcard. The only thing missing was a patio where I could drink my moring Starbucks-Which you can buy onsite at the Courtyard. Nice. Check it out:
The shops, restaurants, and bars on Ft. Lauderdale Blvd. are literally steps outside the hotel. See:
That night my sister and I donned our Roxy dress (admittedly I was the copy cat). Even she didn’t have seven inches on me and I didn’t have seventeen years on her, we could have been twins!
At Spazio, We ate mussels and clams with crusty pieces of bread and I enjoyed a Prosecco and my sister a hibiscus cocktail. We lingered listening to the guitar player and watching tipsy couples dance between tables before we headed out to Sangria’s where the live music in Spanish called us in. It seemed only appropriate to order a bucket of Coronas. I laughed that throughout the night the guesses to my age continued to rise. I started the night at 24 and ended it at 37. Haha! And looking at this picture, it’s obvious the salty air did nothing for my hair!
After getting home near 2am (as a married mother of three this is wild and crazy I might add) , I was impressed that I was up and out the door by 8:30 where I walked with my icy coffee along the beach and breathed in the saltwater air, I put my face to the sun and said a silent thank you for the opportunity to start my day ocean side.
I then picked a little outdoor café called Beach Bunnies (next store to the Courtyard) where I had an awesome Greek omelet and a giant mimosa and read the USA Today.–I even continued staying outside as the clouds came in and the rain poured over my head! Overall, it was my idea of a perfect morning…Unfortunately, the time was ticking and we need to go to the airport so we gathered up our things and headed out.
I spent the afternoon walking Deerfield Beach a mere 25 minutes away, less people watching but more clear water lapping the sand. Overall I have to say, life is darn good in South Florida. Thanks Maddy for choosing to go to college down here and for passing on the stole of gratitude to me.(I am sporting it in the pic below)– And of course, huge congrats!
PS-I didn’t have time to take it, but they have an awesome water taxi that you can take to explore the city by boat. They don’t call it the Venice of Florida for nothing! So don’t come anytime soon Mad, I need to come back to Fort Lauderdale Beach.
Stay: Courtyard by Marriott Fort Lauderdale Beach
Eat: Beach Bunnies Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd.
Imbibe: Sangria Café Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd.
Soak: Find a pool chair facing the ocean at the Courtyard and order a frosty drink from the pool bar or find one of the Courtyard’s ocean side chairs for rent.
Shop: Maui Nix Surf Shop Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd.
Drink: Your favorite Starbucks at the onsite café at the Courtyard or take it to go
Tip: There is a CVS right down the street from the hotel. Stock up on waters and snacks there!