My trip to Florida was satisfyingly upbeat, but chill at the same time. Getting our summer off on the right foot, we headed to Miami just two days after school let out. My little sister was especially excited to swim in her new mermaid tail; however, Mom, Dad, and I were more into good eats as well as getting lots of relaxation in amongst the palm trees. We got to do the latter (and really explore Florida for families) once we upgraded from our hotel in South Beach, Miami, to a resort we stayed at years before in Ft. Lauderdale.
My family spent most of our time in Florida relaxing, but we did do a few cool activities. We went to Bayside Marketplace and enjoyed listening to a live band perform, watching people dancing, eating, and sightseeing, as we walked around. My mom and I went shopping at one of our favorite stores called Fox’s located in Aventura.
On our last day in Florida, we drove to Downtown, Ft. Lauderdale and took a free water trolley ride. This was super casual but a lot of fun. While on our water trolley ride, my family got to meet a super sweet, warm, and friendly woman who was flaunting wonderful red and purple gear. She was rolling with a few other ladies who were all sporting the vibrant purple and red color combination. She came into the front part of the boat to ask the driver a question when she started talking to us. She told us the ladies in the back, along with her, were a part of the Red Hat Society and were enjoying time together after retirement. She was so sociable and I was so glad I had the privilege of meeting her. So, for all the 50-something’s out there, you might want to visit the Red Hat Society web site as these ladies definitely know how to have fun!
And there were plenty of photo ops, too, like at the huge wooden Ft. Lauderdale chair near the riverfront in Downtown, Ft. Lauderdale. I made sure my dad captured a photo of me sitting in it before we headed to the airport for our return home.
In close proximity to the arena where the Miami Heat plays in Downtown Miami, is Bayside Marketplace. It is ideal for everyone but super great if you love shopping, live music, food, and exploring. We went to Bayside to meet up with friends and had a great time. We ate at Los Ranchos Steakhouse, a Nicaraguan restaurant that serves a variety of signature entrees. Out of the eight of us, five ordered the churrasco chicken, one ordered churrasco baby steak, and two decided to go for crispy chicken tenders and French fries (Yes, this was me and my sister but do not worry, I did try something new while in Florida). Everybody enjoyed the chimichurri sauce as well as the traditional mixture of red beans and white rice. While almost everyone was too full to even think about dessert, one of our friends was eager to end his meal with Tres Leches, an original house dessert that he devoured. Our friends, who are locals, recommended trying not only this dessert, but dulce de leche, cuban coffee, and flan as well. Los Ranchos Steakhouse was a real treat. It has a wonderful atmosphere and is located in a great area for activities, shopping, and hanging out before or after you dine.
Also in Bayside is Coco Gelato. They sell fresh flavors of gelato that are perfect to cool you down while in the Florida heat. I got the strawberry sorbet and it was so refreshing!
Bayside is a neat place for everyone. You can go on a boat tour, shop, eat, listen to live music, check out unique vendors in the marketplace, and just enjoy yourself. I thought Bayside was an awesome place, and I would love to go back.
Tip: Double check what local event(s) might be going on during the time you want to be on vacation. You do not want to be unpleasantly surprised if there is an event that is not very family friendly. Miami was jumpin’ when we were there due to Urban Beach Week. It is a hip-hop festival that has been held in South Beach for 20 years. Needless to say, it is not suitable for most families. Hence, our departure for Ft. Lauderdale! LOL!
The Lago Mar Resort & Club
There is truly so much to do and see in Florida. When I was younger, I went to Walt Disney World and Universal Studios. Those places are really as magical as they seem and I am thankful I got to go there when I was a kid. I love reminiscing back to Space Mountain and just feeling as if there was magic going on around me. I remember how I was so surprised and in awe of how Tinker Bell showed up on my hand just like the cameraman said she would when we took the photo in front of the colorful Mickey and Minnie flowerbed. Although my family did not go to Disney during this trip, I still experienced some magic while staying at the Lago Mar Resort & Club in Ft. Lauderdale.
Returning to the Lago Mar years later was amazing. The resort is older, but well maintained and timeless. It has remained resilient throughout the years. The grounds are extremely spacious and the property gives off such an elegant, classy vibe. The resort is a phenomenal place to stay for families. The staff is warm and welcoming the moment you step into the luxurious lobby. And the lavish appeal and luxuriousness certainly does not stop after the lobby, but continues into the pool deck, 500-foot private beach, views, and the rest of the resort. There are so many cool areas to see at the resort. Lago Mar has a vast amount of property on the beach that is real low-key and less crowded than places farther down the shore. You can play beach volleyball, relax in the hammocks, swim in the ocean, collect seashells (I left with a total of 225!), or take a nap as the ocean breeze soothes you into slumber.
There are multiple ways to entertain the kids (or even the teens and adults). They have shuffleboard, tennis court, putting course, playground, and an oversized chessboard. There are numerous palm trees that provide shade, the rooms are nice, the food is exceptional, and it is an ideal resort for everyone, but especially for families with kids.
We ate a lot of good food during this trip that it’s almost too much to individually go over, or else this article would be really, really long. However, I will touch on a few places that are not found everywhere, as well as some honorable mentions that I personally enjoyed.
Two Georges at The Cove is a seafood restaurant along the waterfront. They serve you fresh catches and have a lot of different options to choose from. My dad got the fish tacos. I ate my traditional. Again. But that’s okay, because when we ate at The Cheesecake Factory I tried something new: chicken pot stickers. They were pretty good and I was proud of myself for venturing away from what I always get: spaghetti with marinara sauce and no meatball.
One restaurant I really liked was Pollo Tropical. It’s more laid back and has great food. I demolished some fire grilled chicken breast, black beans and rice, and corn. Good stuff. Miami Subs was really good too. They have tasty oil and seasoning with fresh ingredients.
Now, I don’t know if everyone was aware, but it was National Donut Day on June 3rd! National Donut Day! I LOVE donuts. During my trip to Florida my parents located a Krispy Kreme, and I really enjoyed the original glazed donuts. We scored because the “Hot Now” sign was on. Just like Krispy Kreme, Smoothie King is a place that is not located near where I live, but we found one in Florida. Their smoothies are mouthwatering. You can’t go wrong with Smoothie King. To end the food rave, we dined at the Briny Irish Pub on the riverfront in Downtown, Ft. Lauderdale. They had delicious entrees and I wish I did not get full so fast because I really wanted to finish my chicken tenders. This place has bomb chicken tenders and French fries.
Florida for Families
Overall, my trip to Ft. Lauderdale was a memorable one. There was an endless amount of things to do and see. It was the perfect place to relax as well. The Lago Mar was such a treat and I highly recommend it for families and really anyone. Revisiting Florida allowed me to experience the state with a different point of view from when I was a kid. Florida is a fantastic destination for families with young and older kids, and you can choose the route you want to take while there. Revisiting Florida was so much fun and I’d love to return time and time again.
I am Brooke Lauryn. I am a high school student with diverse interests. I enjoy being a member of my high school band and marching at Friday night football games, along with participating in basketball and track & field. I appreciate art and music and learning about other cultures. I love spending time with my family and friends. Since I was a child I have always enjoyed traveling, and I look forward to sharing some of my favorite places and “cool” things to do with you.