Like a more manageable Miami, Fort Lauderdale makes an excellent family vacation destination if you’re looking for world-class beaches, a diverse dining scene and plenty of off-the-sand things to do, too (think boat tours, eco-excursions, farmers markets and kids’ museums). Make use of the city’s fun water taxis or trolley to ferry your family from beach to town, where pedestrian-friendly Las Olas Boulevard is idyllic for strolling.
Fort Lauderdale’s hotel scene offers a great mix of long-standing family favorites, big chain mass resorts and smaller motel-style lodgings, the bulk of which will put you just steps from one of the prettiest beaches in Florida. These are the best family resorts in Fort Lauderdale.
1. Pelican Grand Beach Resort, A Noble House Hotel
There’s old-school southern charm (think palm fans and a veranda lined with rocking chairs) at this 156-room oceanfront hotel just north of the busiest stretch of Fort Lauderdale Beach. You’re right on the ocean at Pelican Grand Beach Resort, but you’ll have a hard time pulling the kids from the hotel’s lazy river (the only one in Fort Lauderdale) and excellent pool. In the oceanfront suites, the bedroom and living room (with a sleeper sofa) are separated by a French door, providing extra privacy parents can appreciate.
2. Fort Lauderdale Marriott Harbor Beach Resort & Spa
Set on its own private beach just south of the main beach in Fort Lauderdale, this enormous 650-room property has a massive outdoor swimming pool that rarely feels crowded, a Surf Club for kids offering full and half-day programs, and water sports equipment like kayaks and jet skis for rent (from an outside vendor) on the beach. The Fort Lauderdale Marriott Harbor Beach Resort & Spa’s three onsite restaurants include family favorite Sea Level, with options like burgers and salads served poolside for lunch and dinner in the casual, poolside setting.
3. Hilton Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort
It’s a quick walk across A1A to get to the beach from this all-suite hotel. You’re a mile from Las Olas Boulevard (take the trolley to transport the family there in a fast and fun way) and nicely removed from the busiest and most raucous beach scene in that area, too. The Hilton Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort offers various suites, ranging from junior suites and two-bedroom affairs to the luxe presidential suite. All have full kitchens, making it easy to plan for meals. While there’s no kids’ camp, kids’ activities are often presented on the sixth floor rooftop pool, which has great ocean views. Bonus: The Hilton Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort has an all-inclusive option, offered seasonally.
4. The Aqua Hotel
Many Europeans gravitate to The Aqua Hotel, a chic, boutique hotel set a few blocks back from the beach in a cool mid-century modern building where 39 rooms surround a pretty pool. Microwaves, mini-fridges and coffeemakers are standard in all rooms and suites. Walk to nearby restaurants or gather the family for dinner in the hotel’s garden setting, where you can make use of the complimentary outdoor grills. Beach chairs, umbrellas and bikes are all free for guests to pilfer, too.
5. Premiere Hotel
Families who’ve been visiting for decades arrive with their grandchildren at this secret hotel that’s a mid-century modern blast from- he past. The small pool is perfect for cooling off and keeping the kids in action when you’re not enjoying the beach, just a block away. There are free gas grills for barbecuing onsite, and most of the suites have full kitchens. Don’t miss a visit to the undeveloped stretch of beach at Hugh Taylor Birch State Park, just north of the hotel. And catch the Sun Trolley, which passes regularly just in front of the Premiere Hotel, to venture farther afield to places like Las Olas Boulevard and the Galleria Mall.
6. Lago Mar Resort and Club
Strung with hammocks and lined with palm trees that lead to a beautiful beach, the grounds are paradise-like at the family-run Lago Mar Resort and Club in a residential area of Fort Lauderdale. Activities like mini-golf, tennis and Ping-Pong are all free for guests. Two beautiful pools include a lagoon-style version with a landscaped island in the center that leaves kids feeling like Robinson Crusoe. Most of the 204 rooms have kitchenettes or full kitchens and the five onsite restaurants include a fun soda fountain for ice cream treats.
7. The Ritz-Carlton, Fort Lauderdale
All 192 rooms and suites at this luxury hotel fronting A1A have private balconies with views of either the ocean or the river. And while you’re not directly on the beach, it’s just a quick walk across the two-lane street to get there. Families spend much of their waking hours enjoying The Ritz-Carlton, Fort Lauderdale‘s sprawling seventh floor pool deck, with unobstructed ocean views that make you feel like you’re on a cruise ship, and poolside activities (think tie-dying and jewelry making) for the little ones.
8. The Atlantic Hotel & Spa
With separate sleeping and living rooms in the suites and kitchenettes with mini-fridges, microwaves and two-burner stoves, The Atlantic Hotel & Spa right across A1A from the ocean feels more like a condo than a resort. There’s a heated swimming pool on the fifth-floor rooftop and you’re a 15-minute walk along the beachfront promenade to restaurants and bars. A vendor on the beach out front rents chairs and umbrellas that can be charged directly to your room. Particularly for families with older kids, The Atlantic is a stylish and welcoming place to stay.
9. Embassy Suites Fort Lauderdale
Complimentary buffet breakfasts, a nice swimming pool and suites with living rooms with sleeper sofas are a few of the perks that make this hotel so popular with families. If you don’t mind not being on the ocean (Fort Lauderdale Beach is 2 miles away), the Embassy Suites Fort Lauderdale is great for an affordable pre- or post-cruise family stay. And the Funderdome—a kids’ fantasy land, with indoor playgrounds and family mazes—is just a five-minute walk down the street.
10. Sonesta Fort Lauderdale
Formerly known as B Ocean, this low-key, U-shaped hotel just across A1A from the beach in North Fort Lauderdale has 240 spacious rooms, most of which have great ocean views. The pool at the Sonesta Fort Lauderdale is on the small side, but most families prefer to spend the day camped out on the beautiful beach in front of the property anyway. You can walk to the nearby Galleria Mall for shopping and restaurants, and the water taxi also makes a stop near the hotel.
What to Pack for Your Next Trip
Girls Chill Beach Outfit for Summer
Men’s/Dad’s Chill Beach Outfit for Summer
Women’s/Mom’s Chill Beach Outfit for Summer
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