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For those of us who came of age in the early 80s and before, Fort Lauderdale is a hazy memory of Spring Break beach parties, wet t-shirt contests, keg beer, baby oil sunburns and bawdy behavior. Three decades later, the same beaches and motel strip have matured and cleaned up nicely, providing an affordable, comfortable destination for a family getaway.

lauderdale-beachFort Lauderdale Beach

Spring Break veterans will recognize vintage establishments such as the Elbo Room, established in 1939 and still rocking 20-somethings looking for cheap drinks, a great view and not much else. I rediscovered the 50s era motel with center court pool that 14 of my closest friends and I shared for a week and affectionately nicknamed, "The Bahama Mama." Now sporting new paint, a new name and likely new owners, it bears a striking resemblance to the set of TVs Melrose Place and possibly a decent place to stay.

There is plenty of family appeal to the area including the wide, clean, light sand beaches with emerald water and palm trees, quiet hotels, trendy restaurants and boutique shops along Las Olas Blvd., and a variety of museums. Ice cream, pizza and sandwich shops have replaced most of the raunchy beachfront bars and even the tacky souvenir shops along the main strip are endearing. The miles of wide sidewalk that outline the beachfront are popular with runners, walkers and bicyclists. On the north end across from the beach, the refreshingly shady Hugh Taylor Birch State Park offers canoes, bicycles, fishing, swimming and nature hikes. A tunnel from the park extends under the main road directly to the beach.

Before you go, check out the classic 60s era spring break flicks, "Where the Boys Are" and Elvis's, "Girl Happy." Both films feature popular spots in Fort Lauderdale you may still recognize today. Fort Lauderdale promises plenty of opportunities for family fun and this time you won't be sleeping on a floor or nursing a hangover.

 

Helpful Links 

Where to Stay

Harbor Beach Marriott
http://bit.ly/harbor-beach-marriott 

Lago Mar Resort
http://www.lagomar.com/ 

Pelican Grand Beach Resort
http://www.pelicanbeach.com/ 

View-from-Pelican-GrandView from the Pelican Grand

 

Where to Eat

There are a variety of restaurants from fast food and chain restaurants to higher end local restaurants from which to choose. Coal fired pizza is popular in South Florida and of course at a beach resort, seafood is always a great option.

Anthony's Coal Fired Pizza
http://anthonyscoalfiredpizza.com/ 

15th Street Fisheries and Dockside Café
http://www.15streetfisheries.com/ 

Bubba Gumps
http://www.bubbagump.com/locations/ft-lauderdale/ 

Cheesecake Factory
http://www.thecheesecakefactory.com/ 

Yo Mama's Ice Cream
Kilwin's Ice Cream

central-ft-lauderdaleView of Central Fort Lauderdale

Other Popular Activities

Hugh Taylor Birch State Park
http://www.floridastateparks.org/hughtaylorbirch/ 

Funderdome
http://www.funderdome.net/ 

Broward Center for the Performing Arts
https://www.browardcenter.org/online/ 

Las Olas Boulevard
http://www.lasolasboulevard.com/ 

Fort Lauderdale Antique Car Museum
http://www.antiquecarmuseum.org/ 

International Swimming Hall of Fame
http://www.ishof.org/ 

Jungle Queen River Boat
http://www.junglequeen.com/ 

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Pouches' Community Corner

Adoptive parents in Fredericksburg now have a new partner on their journey to a healthy family. In 2016, Children’s Home Society was awarded a $125,000 grant from the Virginia Department of Social Services to extend their Richmond area post-adoptive services to the Fredericksburg area.

ChildrensHomeSociety

Now CHS is looking to find adoptive families in the area who need support before they hit a crisis point. “It doesn’t matter which agency they adopted from, or when that happened,” said Buckheit. “We want to offer a lifetime of support to adoptive families in the Fredericksburg area, especially those who haven’t been aware of our services in the past.”

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