For the most part when I travel I seek adventure. Really cool hikes, awesome experiences, new places etc. This time, Bryon and I did the exact opposite. We left the camera and GoPro at home and we went to probably one of the last places anyone would expect me to go: Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Most of you know this area as a hotspot for retirees and snowbirds escaping winter. And it is. But that's sort of why we went. August has been a bit of whirlwind for us and for the entire summer we have been busy each weekend. It was nice to grab a beach chair and hang out by the ocean all day, going for dinners and then retreating to our room to go bed early. I mean really really early. We took full advantage of sleeping and sleeping in. It was really refreshing.
I didn't have the intention of blogging about this trip - especially with my lack of photos, but it occurred to me that Bryon and I really enjoyed this opportunity of complete downtime and thought it would be an easy trip to do again in the winter. Even if we went for 3 days instead of 4. I know my style of traveling isn't for everyone - and some of you have families and tight finances that don't allow you to travel as often as I do, or even indulge in the experiences I have. But if you're looking for a really awesome relaxing, fun and enjoyable way to disconnect - this trip is perfect and really do-able for anyone (mostly for those of you in Toronto and the north-east/east coast states).
First things first, most of you know I love a good flight bargain. Since flying to Fort Lauderdale from Toronto is only about 2.5 hours, we did not want to waste any time with a layover. So looking for a budget flight on Hopper wasn't an option this time. A direct flight from Toronto was too expensive, so instead, we drove to Buffalo from Toronto Wednesday night after work (once rush hour was over) and stayed at the Quality Inn across from the airport. Parking is only $6 a day here and there's a free shuttle to the airport. Our flight was at 6:30am with JetBlue (I never thought I would say this, but I really love this airline!), which meant we could sleep on the plane and enjoy a full day. Flying from Buffalo saved us LOADS of cash. Seriously. The difference was great. To my Toronto / Southern Ontario friends who are within driving distance of Buffalo, I highly recommend this option if you care deeply about your bank account.
We stayed at Marriott Harbour Beach Resort. It's a resort, but it's not all-inclusive. So expected to spend extra money on food and drinks. Dining at the report can add up really quickly too, so keep that in mind. We checked in early and the concierge was super awesome and gave us a room upgrade with an ocean view and a king bed. We were pretty happy about that. The room was fabulous! The hotel in general was fabulous. It has so many amenities, you really don't need to leave the hotel. It has a private beach, which was the only beach we used. It was quiet and on the first two days the water was calm enough that it was clear and blue. There were lots of little tropical fish swimming with us and at one point a stingray swam past us, which was so cool. It did get pretty wavy for us on the last day, which made swimming fun. Some water sport items are free to rent for an hour including a boogie board. Those came in handy on our last day when the waves were quite large. The hotel also had a really nice pool and restaurants and Starbucks and a juice bar. At dinner we Ubered off the resort. We ate at Coconuts, Caffe Europa and The Baclony - which were all great. You can go to Las Olas for dinner and to browse shops, or to Hollywood Beach, which is the public beach if you're looking for more of a scene.
I think this would make the perfect little getaway for anyone who doesn't have the time to do a week-long all-inclusive, but still wants to get away for a nice hot vacation somewhere sunny. It's just a little one, but even still, coming home today I feel refreshed and relaxed and I have a nice little tan too!
If you have any questions about visiting Fort Lauderdale, please let me know!