There is a small stretch of beach town in South Florida that maintains its town square appeal. You drive down four and six lane highways and past numerous business centers before arriving at the little town of Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, Florida.
Lauderdale-by-the-Sea is just minutes from the excitement of Ft. Lauderdale but it offers lots of great activities of its own. The hotels are within walking distance of many of the main attractions. We stayed in the Away Inn for our two night visit. This hotel is exactly the type of hotel that I would choose for our beach vacation. The room we stayed in was a one bedroom efficiency. There was a bedroom with one bed, a living room with a pull-out couch and a kitchenette. There was a washer and dryer available for public use and a small pool in the courtyard. While this was not the closest hotel to the main square, I liked that it was set off from everything. We could enjoy the beach and low key party atmosphere surrounding the restaurants and then head back to our room at the Away Inn for a quiet evening. Because it wasn’t the closest hotel, we did find ourselves driving to restaurants and activities every once in awhile because it was so very hot and humid. The rates at the Away Inn are reasonable and begin around 159 dollars.
Fresh fish, straight off the boat, abounds in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea. We ate at restaurants with so many delicious choices. This was truly one of these weekends where we ate our way through vacation. I tried my first bowl of Caribbean Conch Chowder at Aruba Beach Café. We ate tasty peel and eat shrimp and seared sesame Ahi Sashimi. When our order at the Village Grille arrived, I was a little worried that my son wouldn’t be interested in eating his grilled cheese. This grilled cheese was no bread with some American cheese slapped between it. This was a gourmet grilled cheese sandwich. My son gobbled it up and declared it the best grilled cheese he had. On our way out of town, we grabbed lunch at Keese’s Simply Delicious Gourmet for lamb gyros.
For once, my kids didn’t complain about anything we did during our visit to Lauderdale-by-the-Sea. If you know my kids, this will surprise you because they can be world class complainers! For once, they couldn’t come up with their one favorite activity because they loved it all.
We started our visit out with an evening dip in the hotel pool. The next morning we started our day with a chocolate making class at Kilwin’s. I have been to a Kilwin’s before, the chocolate shop known for its ice cream and fudge that melts in your mouth, but I did not know that they held tours and chocolate making classes (be sure to call ahead to find out if any classes are scheduled). During the class, the kids made delicious chocolate covered marshmallows coated in colorful candy sprinkles.
After our chocolate making class, it was time to hit the beach. We counted turtle nests and watched the surfers catch waves. Both of my kids participated in the last day of skimboarding camp with Alley Oop (follow that link to see a video of my son successfully skimboarding!). The instructors were great with the kids and managed to not only wrangle a number of children ranging from elementary to high school but also to teach them how to stay on their skimboards.
You can take diving lessons, go snorkeling, take art lessons, learn how to belly dance and the list goes on and on.
I usually prefer the slower paced sleepy beach towns and I thought Lauderdale-by-the-Sea would be more reminiscent of my college trips to Miami and Fort Lauderdale. We were wrong.
I didn’t expect to fall in love with Lauderdale-by-the-Sea but we did and we can’t wait to return.
*Thank you to Lauderdale-by-the-Sea for hosting my family for two nights during LBTS Events. We paid for transportation, some meals and activities. My opinions are always my own with no outside influence.