I know exactly how to have an awesome day in Fort Lauderdale, I’ve done it. Back in December we had the most action packed day of our whole Florida road trip, so action packed I couldn’t even stay awake at the end of it for our final activity…
We wanted a day of adventure in Fort Lauderdale. It was the first full day we’d spent anywhere so it was time to make the most of it.
Early morning swim
The Atlantic Ocean was incredible at 7:30am, bit chilly, but there was barely anyone about and the sun reflecting on the water looked stunning. An early morning dip is a great way to wake up, and to get revved up for the day ahead.
I stocked up on the epic breakfast at the super luxe Hilton Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort, where we were staying. Sashimi salmon with capers, egg muffin, fruit and half a bagel for good measure. I can’t be trusted around buffets. Oh, and two coffees.
We called our Mustang round from the valet parking, as you do, and headed out to Florida Swap Shop to check out what was promised to me online as ‘vintage boutiques’, ‘market stalls’ all that good stuff. Instead in was knock offs, phone cases by the million and fruit and veg. Sadly it was a 45-minute round trip and we only stayed 5. No harm done, good to try these things, but I’d recommend saving your swap shop visit till later…
Segway on the river front
Segwaying was awesome, even better than I thought it was going to be. We got to ride the segways for an hour round the millionaires home streets – even seeing the home of the chief set designers for Harry Potter. We could go as fast as we wanted on the segways, up and down and round the natural obstacle course of the streets of Fort Lauderdale. Our guide Matt gave us a really interesting guided tour as we went round, full of interesting anecdotes about the city and his life. Segways are an awesome way to get around.
We went segwaying with SegwayFortLauderdale.
Lunch at Coconuts
I went for it at Coconuts. I had oysters, a cocktail with limencello and gin, fish tacos and a key lime pie (shared that, of course). Coconuts is an awesome waterfront, chilled out restaurant with one of the friendliest waiters ever. The food was yum, and the scenery perfect. You definitely need it to give you the energy for the afternoon’s adventures.
See the alligators in the Everglades
We drove out to the Everglades – a beautiful drive on easy roads. As we left the sun was going down and it all looked magical. For some reason I’d thought it was bigger than it actually was though, maybe it was just what we managed to see on our 30-minute tour.
We went round in the super cool yet super noisy airboat and saw the alligators lying in wait. They looked pretty ominous rising up from below. I wasn’t actually sure at that point whether they killed humans or not, the fact that no one seemed too bothered answered that question.
Go Karting and arcades
Go karting at the Xtreme Action Park was awesome, I’ve never done it before and thanks to my apprehension got viciously barged into a few times, spinning me across the track. I yelped, I squealed and I screamed, but I loved it. Fifteen minutes of absolute carnage. It was especially fun after our day out at Daytona International Speedway. I liked to imagine myself as Richard Petty on his final lap. Vroom vrooom.
I came second from last, which I was pretty happy with, and as it turned out had I been sat in a child’s car thanks to a mix up. I just thought I’d eaten too much at Coconuts. Definitely could’ve done better with the right materials, maybe.
We had a play on the epic selection of arcade games at Xtreme. From the basketball nets, to the motorbikes, to the shooting games, I was pretty useless at them all. All excellent fun though, and I was sad to leave, but it was onto the next activity!
The drive in movie
And then, and then, it was time for a DRIVE IN MOVIE at Swap Shop, one of the few remaining drive in movie theatres in the US. The photo above is from our earlier visit, obviously it was dark by this time.
We went in the Mustang to watch, obviously, seriously. We tuned the radio in, I sat on the back and the Hunger Games played out, just like you see on the films (think ‘Grease’). A guy went round on a little golf cart with snacks and you could flash your light and he’d come over to supply. I will admit that the film was rubbish and I fell asleep for what felt like the third hour but the experience was awesome. Definitely something I’ve always wanted to do.
Dinner at the Hilton
For some reason I don’t think our waitress at S3 wanted me to eat. I wanted a feast, I was hungry, but she kept suggesting I go for something smaller, and then told me not to have the rice. Bit weird. So I ordered two things, luckily. I ended up with two pieces of delicious sashimi and then these weird tortilla chips with chopped up sashimi on top, nacho sushi apparently. I ate the sushi and left the nachos then I was picking at them and she swung by and whipped them away. She obviously thought I could do without a carb or two.
My friend Joe’s meanwhile, looked amazing. Four big lamb shank things he couldn’t even finish.
Epic food envy.
Water taxi and shopping
The day before our epic Fort Lauderdale Day of Fun, as I like to call it, we went on the water taxi round the millionaires homes from the water side. We also got a look at the Las Olas Boulevard – a cool street filled with boutique shops and cool bars. Apparently Louie Bossi is a cool place to eat if you like Italian, but we didn’t have time and instead ate at S3, the Hilton restaurant. We also managed to fit in a little visit to American Social, one of the best places to try the local craft beers. They have pull-your-own beer taps on the table.
I really enjoyed Fort Lauderdale – it seems like a great place to stay if you want a base to explore all the other activities in the area. Staying at the Hilton with the view above from my balcony was pretty lush too.
Next time I visit I’ll be going to Sawgrass Mills – the big discount shopping centre – and I’ll try my hand at the wakeboard, wake ski and watersurf school too, it looked awesome!
I was in Fort Lauderdale courtesy of VISIT FLORIDA and Hertz.co.uk. They’re bringing ‘Moments of Sunshine’ to London this January. Click the link to see what they’ve got planned for the Big Smoke, or to find out more about Fort Lauderdale, click here.
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