A Trip to the Sunshine State

Been feeling those winter blues? It feels as though its been winter for so long I’ve forgotten what summer is like. Therefore, I decided to revisit my trip to Miami and Fort Lauderdale to give everyone some summertime vibes. I’ll share all the best activities to do, where to stay, what to eat, and of course awesome beach photos that will make you want to book your own flight immediately.

MIAMI

For everyone who can’t afford their own beach hut that comes with a sexy cabana boy fanning you with a palm leaf, there is still so much to enjoy in Miami. South Beach is truly a party beach. Boomboxes, dancing groups, drinks in every hand make it the perfect beach to have a bit of fun at. Bring a large blanket, a cooler with some mixers, a football or volleyball, and find your spot on the beach. Depending on what time of year you are visiting, this beach gets quite crowded and chances are you’ll be close enough to the next group to easily become party friends.

South Beach, Miami

The water here is also amazing. Crystal clear and pure turquoise. It doesn’t get much better 🙂

Another fun thing to do is walking up and down Ocean Drive to check out the various bars, restaurants, and party scene. A few will invite you in for a free shot to hopefully get you hooked and want to party at their bar all night. We simply went to Johnny Rockets for an affordable burger and a pina colada in a take home party glass the size of my head. 🙂 You will also get to see the historical art deco hotels that fill the strip with pastel colors.

strip on miami

 

GATOR PARK

An amazing half day trip from Miami for a little adventure and break from the beach is a trip to the Everglades. Top rated spot to visit is Gator Park, about a thirty minute drive from South Beach. Here you can take an airboat ride with a guide who will help point out all the gators. We visited in May and were also able to see all the little baby gators swimming around 🙂

Everglades Air Boat Tour

Gator Park Miami Everglades

And also a couple of pretty big ones!

Gator Park Miami

There is also a nice little gator sanctuary to take a walk through once your airboat tour returns. This is where you’ll see a live gator show and get to hold Larry.

Larry the Alligator

FORT LAUDERDALE

The rest of our trip was spent in Fort Lauderdale, about an hour north of Miami. Fort Lauderdale’s beaches were just as stunning as Miami, but for those who just want to relax on the beach, this is the beach for you. With less people and and a more peaceful atmosphere, its a great beach for laying out to catch some rays (sun rays not stingrays), shell hunting, and of course, romantic walks on the beach. May also happens to be sea turtle egg laying time. That means if you take a walk on the beach at night, you might just stumble upon a rather large sea turtle laying her eggs like we did. But be aware!!.. you are not supposed to take flash photography of these turtles as it scares them from laying their eggs. This will cause any locals on the beach to become quite upset as we saw with one group. So just enjoy the amazing view from a safe distance and and relish in the wonder you get to witness right there on the beach.

Beach at Fort Lauderdale

We stayed at the Bahia Mar resort right on the beach. It had a pool to play around in when that salt water was just a bit too salty, a nice bar, and large breakfast restaurant.

Bahia Mar from the pool

WATER TAXI

The cool thing about Bahia Mar is that is is right next to a large Yacht Marina and the inter coastal canal system. This is where some of the richest of the rich live. In the evening, you can take an inexpensive water taxi tour along the entire canal where they will point out who lives where.

yacht at sunset, Fort Lauderdale intercoastal

Inter Coastal Canals Fort Lauderdale

My suggestion, take a full water taxi tour down to Bokampers, a sports bar restaurant on the canal. This is no rinky dink sport bar, but instead a huge and gorgeous sports bar restaurant with everything you can imagine for a perfect outdoor evening on the water.

Bokampers Sports Bar

SNORKELING

What you might not have known is that Fort Lauderdale offers snorkeling tours right off the coastline to explore the depths below. We went with Sea Experience who was located right in the Marina next door to Bahia Mar. They take you out to the snorkeling spot on a large charter boat where you will see again some giant yachts and maybe even a dolphin or two 🙂 Once there, you are free to explore and swim.

Snorkeling Reef Fort Lauderdale

Snorkeling Fort LauderdaleWhile the waters are not quite as crystal clear as the Caribbean, it is still a fun adventure to go on. I would suggest if you love swimming to swim down to the bottom to check everything out a bit closer rather than staying at the top of the water. Everything is a bit more colorful the closer you get 🙂

PADDLE BOARDING

SUP Boarding Fort LauderdalePaddle boarding is another activity you can find all along the beach in Fort Lauderdale. When tide is high, it is possible to paddle in the inter coastal canals where the water is a bit calmer and therefore easier to stand up. My suggestion is to go earlier in the day rather than later so you can paddle in the canal while the tide is high. We had to paddle in the ocean which was a bit rougher but still exciting.

FOOD
Blue Crab Sandwich, Lulu's Bait Shack

Walking up and down the boulevard along the ocean in Fort Lauderdale, it is easy to find plenty of places to enjoy a beach front meal. We of course had to try Bubba Gump’s and the seafood one night. We also went to Lulu’s Bait Shack where I indulged in this amazingly delicious albeit slightly nerve wracking at first, fresh Blue Crab sandwich. They also serve shots in adorable take home souvenir shot glasses which I couldn’t resist. They have every kind of tropical drink and Fishbowl in awesome souvenir glasses.

Our favorite restaurant however, was Rocco’s Tacos and Tequila Bar on Las Olas Boulevard. The shrimp tacos were to die for along with the homemade guacamole done right at your table. It also has a great atmosphere for a bit of fun and enjoyment.

If you are looking for some rainy day activities to do, the Sawgrass Mills Mall, just twenty minutes from the beach, is an amazing place to do some shopping. From high end to mainstream fashion, they have it all.

The best thing about this trip, it won’t break the bank! We were both recent college grads on a tight budget none of these activities or places were too outrageous to enjoy on a small budget 🙂

I hope you feel a bit inspired to take a little vacay away from the winter blues and into the ocean blues! If you’re like me, the beach is the best escape and totally worth every minute.

Thank you for reading and don’t forget to share!

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