Before the hellish travel days home, our family vacation to Fort Lauderdale was one for the books. I planned everything to a T before we got there and besides our canceled flight and subsequent adventures, it couldn’t have gone more smoothly to the point where it felt too good to betrue!
Check out all of the details from grocery delivery to kid activities to details on the most perfect rental house ever.
Booking: The reason we booked the trip in the first place was that we had so many Marriott points. We wanted to fly somewhere from our smaller local airport (in Westchester, NY) and Fort Lauderdale was on that list. Neither of us had been before so we said why not.
I searched on the Marriott site for hotel options and randomly stumbled upon Marriott Homes & Villas which I had never heard of before. We booked this house because it was seemingly perfect for our family: It had a room for each kid (and bunk beds which Amalia flipped out about), a pool, a big kitchen, and was in a convenient location.
It should be noted that the house was split in two. We rented unit B but it would be fun to go back with my sister and her family or other friends and rent both units next to each other.
Amenities: Once we booked it, the rental management company contacted us and was amazing to work with. Our contact emailed or texted me back within an hour every time I had a question. The company was called Designed VR and it looks like you can rent directly through them. Highly recommend.
They were able to bring in a high chair and crib at no extra cost. The house also had a laundry room (I am a freak and brought our Dropps laundry pods) which we used daily. It had beach towels, chairs, and umbrellas.
This might seem like a random thing to like about a house but the front door locked and unlocked with a keypad so we didn’t need to worry about picking up a key or losing it while we were there. The AC unit was also great and easy to use.
The last big win was that they had a baby gate at the top of the stairs. We had to make a barrier out of chairs and pillows at the bottom for our active little guy but there were quite a few stairs so the gate on top made us feel a lot better.
I ordered Whole Foods groceries on Prime before we left to be delivered the day we arrived. I wanted eggs, fruit, bread, peanut butter, cheese, veggies, and other things I knew our kids would eat so we didn’t have to worry about breakfast and snacks.
The house had a toaster, pots, pans, and every kind of cooking utensil you might need to make a meal. It even had a brand new slow cooker.
Pro tip if you have a baby: Add unscented dish soap for bottle-washing!
I also placed a liquor order at Total Wine order for Cutwater cocktails and a few bottles of wine. Necessities.
Fort Lauderdale Food Options
Every single meal we had in Fort Lauderdale was a 10/10. I don’t know if we got lucky with our food choices or if the options there are all great, but somehow it was all wonderful.
Pura Vida (delivery): When we landed, I ordered lunch from Pura Vida. We got smoothies and salads. Everything we ordered was excellent.
15th Street Fisheries: That night we took the water taxi (more on that below) to 15th Street Fisheries for an early dinner which was a great kid-friendly fish-forward restaurant on the water. It was fun for Amalia because you could buy food to feed the fish there. The peel and eat shrimp and mussels were incredible.
Beach House: The next day we drove out to Pompano Beach and ate lunch at Beach House after many of you guys recommended it. It was fantastic! Beautiful ocean views, a super cool vibe, great food and cocktails, and they were so good with the kids. Our favorite items were the tuna surf stack and the burrata heirloom salad.
Phat Boy Sushi: We were all beat that night so we fed the kids from our grocery stash and ordered ourselves the sushi that we were both craving.
JB&C: This juice and bowl restaurant was another follower-recommended hot spot that delivered. JB&C had a ton of smoothies, juices, acai bowls, salads, sandwiches, and toasts, you get the idea. Our top picks for our lunch there were the farmer’s toast and the matcha mint chip smoothie.
Tacocraft: This was a random find that we drove by and thought looked cute. Tacocraft ended up being better than expected! Incredible tacos and margaritas, a very cute outdoor/indoor seating situation. Our children demolished their quesadilla. Our favorite tacos were carne asada, Korean short rib, key lime grouper, and crispy chicken. Amalia ordered a churro ice cream sandwich that was pretty out of this world, too.
Mya Papaya: We ended up at Mya Papaya after being at the airport for hours on Sunday. I took the kids while Anel waited for our new rental car. The staff was so kind, the food was really good, and they really saved the day when we had nowhere else to go for a few hours.
Fort Lauderdale Kid-Friendly Activities
Water taxi: Everyone told us to take the water taxi so we did. It was really cute! We hopped on at stop 1 and then off at stop 4 for 15th St. Fisheries. After dinner, we got one going back the other way. During the ride, the tour guide pointed out different homes and facts about the area. They had a little bar on board and the whole experience was quite pleasant.
Museum of Discovery and Science: Holy moly, MODS was hands down the coolest kids’ museum I’ve ever seen. The outside clock tower was fascinating and Amalia wanted to stand and watch it for hours. Inside, Luca loved the little baby room and played with cars for most of the visit.
Amalia loved “flying” an airplane and playing in an ambulance. She was terrified of the giant shark (a big draw for most kids) so we skipped that room.
Pompano Beach & splash pad: Pompano Beach was a 20-minute drive away but definitely worth it. After lunch at Beach House, we walked across the street to Kirwin’s for ice cream and then down the beach to a playground and splash pad. Both of my babies loved it. It was also next to a big park where Amalia and Anel ran around playing tag for a while.
I had even more kid-friendly activities on my list but that was all we were able to hit on this visit. I hope it helps if you’re planning a trip to Fort Laudy!