For Family Travel

Fort Lauderdale Spring Breakin’ – Family Style

Spring Break looks a little different these days. Long gone are the days of parties, day-drinking on the beach, and pulling all-nighters dancing on bars and stealing kisses from strangers. Okay, I never participated in the last part – or at least that’s what my selective memory tells me.

Fast forward ten years and now Florida is one of our favorite places to take our kids.

Ft. Lauderdale is usually where we go as it’s close to Miami for a nice day trip, too. My husband lived there for several years in college. Besides the bonus of familiarity, there are lots of fun beach activities for kids, and the college kids tend to hang out further down the beach. We’ve also stayed in Hollywood, Marco and Sanibel Islands, which are great family getaways, too.

Our favorite hotel in Fort Lauderdale is the Westin Ft. Lauderdale. I worked for Starwood for most of my adult career so I’m a little biased. There’s a nice consistency across the brands, so you always know what to expect. They are kid and pet friendly and have a great rewards program, too.

Pro Tip from an ex-hotelier: After I left the hotel industry my hook-ups faded, so now to get an upgrade I give the front desk agent a $20 and 9 times out of 10 that gets you an upgrade to a nice room and many times a floor with free breakfast access, internet, etc. Take care of them and they will take care of you. 

A major bonus of staying at the Westin Fort Lauderdale is there is a sky bridge with direct access to the beach and the pool deck provides food and beverage service chair side. We never had to fight for a chair or go down and save seats ahead of time either. There is a Starbucks located in the hotel, which for an addict like me is important. I didn’t have to go far for my morning latte.

(Photo credit: Westin Ft Lauderdale Beach Resort)

We spent the majority of our time on the pool deck and hunting for sea shells on the beach. My kids loved this and it was a fun little competition to find the perfect shell. My little guy liked to nap by the pool and that gave me time to sip on a margarita and read a book in the shade as I held him. I know one day soon he’ll be too big to nap on my lap – so I loved every minute.

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(“Mommy, look at this shell!”)


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(Can this moment last forever?)

For most meals we traveled off the strip as hotel meals can get rather pricy. I’d recommend renting a car so you’re able to do this, too. If you head north from the strip and make a left on Sunrise Blvd, there are several less expensive hotel options and some great restaurants. There is also a large mall with shops and dining options right after you cross over the Coral Bay. For lunch we went to Burgerfi, I had the veggie burger and it was delicious! If you stay on the strip and want to splurge on a nice dinner and need a kid-friendly place, Sun, Surf & Sand (located in the Hilton) is the perfect mix. They have a great outdoor area facing the ocean, the service was great, and there are many options for kids.

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(Say Cheeeessseeee!)


(Brotherly Love)
(Brotherly Love)




The only negative experience I had during our trip was when one spring breaker called me “ma’am” and suddenly made me feel really old. Am I really a “ma’am” now? Other than that we made some great memories and enjoyed the sunshine. If Chicago doesn’t knock it off with the April snow showers, we may head back to Florida sooner than later.

No one’s grave stone says, “I wish I worked more.”



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Holly Rust is a native Texan currently living in the great city of Chicago with her husband and two sons. Aside from chasing around two lunatic boys all day, she is a writer, author, and runs a global skin care business. Her blog was featured on The TODAY Show’s List of Funniest Parents on Facebook. You can find her work on HuffPo, Good Housekeeping, Town & Country, Scary Mommy, Dot Complicated, TODAY and many more. You can also find her essays published in several anthologies. Follow her random thoughts on Facebook and Instagram – but no judging.

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