It’s been a while since I’ve visited a place and just felt like I wanted, nay – needed, to stay for much longer.
Typically, I plan my time well enough on my travels (at least, well enough for me) that when ‘home time’ comes rolling on, I’m very content and happy to head back home. That feeling of longing (swiftly followed by researching flights returning back to the same destination within a few months) is one I’d kinda forgotten about – all until we recently visited Fort Lauderdale.
It’s my fault. We had a week booked to take in that sunshine, plans got moved around and I figured 4 – 5 days should still be fine.
All I knew about Fort Lauderdale was that it was the first port of call for cruises so I didn’t expect too much I guess… “4 days should be fine, really…” I thought to myself. Turns out it’s not.
For starters, the beaches here are amazing, the food is incredible, the cocktails delicious, the hotels fantastic… you know – all that good stuff we want from our sunny holiday. It’s a holiday destination that I feel Floridians and Americans as a whole have been keeping a secret from all of us.
So much of what we visit Miami for is right here – albeit at a much more chilled pace, which coming from winter in London and in search of sunshine, was exactly what I was looking for.
With that, we packed our bags and headed off to Fort Lauderdale, flying into Miami actually on a direct British Airways flight from London (it was one of their double-decker planes and we got to sit upstairs – Lloyd’s excitement levels knew no bounds!).
Miami to Fort Lauderdale (depending on where you are) is like a 30 – 45-minute drive; super easy! We’d rented a car to be picked up at the Airport here and dropped off in Fort Lauderdale (always convenient to have multi-city drop-off – especially when we’re planning a mini-road trip).
Our first hotel was the Pelican Grand Beach – a beautiful place right on the beach with views for days and a fantastic seaside vibe.
We arrived at night so apologies for the darker photos but you get a sense of why it was far too easy to settle in very quickly here (especially as you could hear the waves lapping at the shores with your door open).
After dinner downstairs (which was so good as you could probably tell from our reaction on Instagram stories), we decided to call it a night and get up fresh and early – ready to explore Fort Lauderdale (and the wider area).
Breakfast the next morning was a rather delicious affair at the same restaurant we’d had dinner in. I went for pancakes while Lloyd went for the Huevos Rancheros.
Well-fed and caffeinated to boot – we hopped into our car and headed over to Hollywood, Florida.
On recommendation, we’d been told about the public art murals dotted around the city and went to check it out.
Some of the art here is by some rather renowned artists, some by newer artists and some even by school kids.
It’s a colourful place to visit though – heads up, you will probably end up getting distracted by some pretty little cake shops and restaurants.
Any excuse to eat cake!
I want to tell you more about the art and the artists but I feel like this is one of those things probably best finding out about in person.
The mermaid wall is psychedelic and is one of my favourites, though the Salvador Dali, Frida Kahlo and Jean-Michel Basquiat one is also pretty impressive.
We stopped off at a local art studio (I did say you’d be distracted by lots of cute little places here)…
….swung by even more cute cafes and restaurants (*holiday time is cake time in my opinion… or for sweet pies, either works fine)
and eventually decided to give in to our new-found hunger and grab some lunch.
This reveals itself the more you get around it.
…which ended up in yet another distraction as Lloyd found himself a cool thrift store with so many amazing gems.
I on the other hand had to sit on my suitcase, and gently bound on it, to close it on the way out so there was no way I could even consider buying a single item.
For lunch – and I only realised this looking back – we ended up having rather healthy meals.
Fish on a bed of spinach for me and a Caesar salad for Lloyd. That is if you don’t count my Baklava cheesecake or little pitcher of mojito for 1.
Calories don’t count when you’re on holiday, right?