South Florida has long since been a family destination with miles and miles of beaches, direct flights from most gateway cities in the U.S. and a plethora of activities ranging from Segway tours, yachting, parasailing and sporting events.
Upscale Family Accommodations
The term “luxury family travel” used to be an oxymoron, but surveys have shown that couples who are used to traveling at a certain upscale level are looking for that same option when traveling with kids. They want nice restaurants with an expansive wine list, a spa with diverse treatment options, and fun activities for kids.
The demand for luxury accommodations in Southern Florida—one of the most popular parts of the country for family travel—has been increasing over the years, so it’s no surprise that the Four Seasons has opened up one of its newest properties in Fort Lauderdale.
Four Seasons Hotel and Residences Fort Lauderdale, which has 189 guest rooms and suites, opened this year and launched a variety of programming aimed at both adults and kids.
The morning yoga classes on the ocean sun deck, led by a certified instructor, attract not only parents but also teens and tweens. The private beach area, which has lounge chairs, umbrellas and cabanas, has been a popular place for a curated beach picnic with items from Honey Fitz, including sandwiches, healthy bowls, salads and snacks. The beach concierge can arrange water sports and other activities for kids and adults of various fitness levels and interests. The poolside dining option—from creative cocktails, healthy snacks, and poolside classics and treats like ice cream and popsicles—has been especially popular. Another good spot for families is the poolside daybeds, which reside between the two horizon-edge swimming pools—overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and Fort Lauderdale Beach.
For dinner, Evelyn’s Fort Lauderdale is where eastern Mediterranean meets coastal cuisine and is ideal for families—the menu has a variety of sharable spreads and mezzes, and a selection of seafood, wood-smoked meats and other favorites for diverse (and picky) palates. There are vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free dishes, too.
Activities in South Florida
Hotels are becoming destinations in and of themselves, offering many activities on-site, so families can decide how much—or little—they want to do on vacation.
The Four Seasons has complimentary on-site bike rentals, so families can bike along the beach or ride to restaurants and nearby attractions.
The spa is also a popular choice for an afternoon with various scrubs, wraps, facials and massages. South Florida has always taken its facials seriously—since so many people are out in the sun—and the spa has an extensive menu of treatments and products Pietro Simone, QMS Medicosmetics, Tammy Fender, Sodashi, and JetPeel. The Signature Ebb & Flow Massage is unique in that it combines harmonic healing sound bowls, aromatic oils, and a combination of Swedish massage and Thai stretching techniques.
For a unique way to explore Fort Lauderdale, a popular choice for families is to take a Segway Fort Lauderdale tour. There are several different tours offered, including the four-mile yacht and mansion tour. This one-hour tour goes through downtown Fort Lauderdale and explores the water, yachts, and mansions of the area. For a longer excursion, the eight-mile tour offers an additional four miles of nature and wildlife. There’s a chance to see sea turtles, blue herons and iguanas. This is a unique way to tour Fort Lauderdale and no previous Segway experience is required.
Another good option for families is the Boat Party Fort Lauderdale, which takes small groups (up to 10 people with a private captain) on the 20-foot Bentley Pontoon boat through the intracoastal. The trip includes sightseeing of celebrity mansions or anchoring at the Fort Lauderdale sandbar, where families can swim and relax on the 10×10 floating mat.
Another great option for families, is taking in a Miami HEAT game. Miami takes sports seriously and that can be seen the moment people walk into the stadium. The fanbase is very enthusiastic, making the experience full of energy and a lot of fun, especially for the kids. Fan favorites—including Jimmy Butler—make the Miami HEAT games fast-paced and draw a loyal following. And while the game is the center attraction, the HEAT’s mascot Burnie can’t be overlooked. Standing over seven feet tall with fire-orange fur and a green basketball nose, Burnie has been entertaining the audience for over 32 years. The HEAT dancers also perform several times during the game, keeping the crowd’s energy high.