Fort Lauderdale with Teens: A Perfect Family Day

by Ikam Acosta, an AOL Travel ContributorPosted Sep 24th 2010 07:53 PM

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Fort Lauderdale with Teens: A Family Vacation

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When visiting Fort Lauderdale with teens, your stay should definitely include a day filled with sun, fun, photos and great travel memories. Here are some Fort Lauderdale family vacation ideas to ensure you and your kids get the best out of your trip here.

Morning

Start by having breakfast in one of the many restaurants along Las Olas Boulevard, a favorite hangout for local South Floridians. Las Olas features an array of shops, restaurants and fun things to do for the whole family.

A wonderful cafe in which to start the day is La Bonne Crepe, located at 815 East Las Olas Boulevard. Order waffles topped with fresh strawberries or blueberries, or sample the French toast if you prefer. Eggs and omelets are also on the menu, along with crepes and other traditional breakfast items. Call 954-761-1515 for opening times. After breakfast, take a walk along the strip or enter the stores and browse for souvenirs that will help you remember your family vacation in Fort Lauderdale with teens.

You can then head to Fort Lauderdale beach and enjoy the smooth sand and uncrowded atmosphere - at least, it's less crowded than Miami's South Beach! Parents can tan and enjoy the salty air while teens head off to the water to swim or boogie board. There's even some decent shade for those looking to avoid the rays or anyone wanting to lie under a palm tree while they enjoy a picnic on the beach. This beach is also surprisingly clean, so you won't have to worry about stepping on any cans or debris while venturing into the surf.

Cool off by visiting Kilwin's Ice Cream. Located at 809 East Las Olas Boulevard, this ice cream eatery offers a wide variety of delicious flavors, as well as other sweet treats like fudge, milkshakes and chocolate. The toasted coconut ice cream is a personal favorite, but any flavor is sure to impress. Call 954-575-9577 for opening times.

Afternoon

After the beach, take your teens to visit the Riverwalk Arts and Entertainment District. The Riverwalk District is filled with restaurants and shops, where you can browse through sculptures, paintings or antiques, or simply stroll down the sidewalks and enjoy time with your family. Travel along the river, enjoy a smoothie, or just relax and plan your next move in Fort Lauderdale.

You can also take a free or low-cost trolley ride around downtown Fort Lauderdale - a great option for family travel. The Sun Trolley takes five different routes, and is considered an eco-friendly (and fun) way to see downtown Fort Lauderdale with teens. Saturday around noon is the busiest time, so schedule your trolley tour accordingly. Many of the routes are free, but some cost as little as 50 cents to ride.

If you have time, visit the Fort Lauderdale Museum of Art. A must-see exhibit is the Indigo Room, an ongoing installation by Edouard Duval-Carri that commemorates Haitian independence. His work encompasses the many legacies of Haitian culture, including voodoo, slavery, and French colonialism. He constructed this exhibit with the help of students from the Dillard Center for the Arts, a high school magnet program in Fort Lauderdale. With teens being involved in the making of this exhibit, it will not only inspire your kids, but it will teach them about Haitian culture, art, and history as well.

The Museum of Art in Fort Lauderdale is located at One East Las Olas Boulevard at Andrews Avenue. Opening hours are Tue, Wed, Fri & Sat 11AM-5PM and Sun noon-5PM. Admission is $10 for adults, $7 for seniors and students aged 6-17, and free for college students with ID.

Evening

There are many dinner options available for those on Fort Lauderdale family vacations, ranging in price and type of cuisine. Treat your family to a steak dinner at Shula's On the Beach, at 321 North Fort Lauderdale Beach Boulevard, or go for a pie at Riverfront Pizza, at 300 Southwest First Avenue.

Shula's is pricier and offers a more luxurious dining atmosphere, if you want to impress your family or celebrate a special occasion such as a birthday or graduation. Dine in style on lobster bisque, filet mignon and jumbo scallops, or go for the lighter fare like grilled salmon or ahi tuna. Either way, there are several items on the menu for adults and teens to find appetizing. If Shula's is the restaurant of your choice, reservations are required.

Riverfront Pizza offers a more casual atmosphere and more affordable selections. The restaurant is family owned, located in a beautiful courtyard, and you can watch the owner make the pizza dough in the front. If you are in the mood for New York style pizza and want a variety of topping options, you won't be disappointed. Whether you choose fine dining or a more casual setting, either of these locations is sure to satisfy everyone on your family vacation.

Teens will enjoy ending the day with a Fort Lauderdale Ghost Tour. The tour, conducted by author and ghost hunter John Marc Carr, takes approximately two hours and winds through Fort Lauderdale's most haunted places. It begins at the corner of 6th and Las Olas, in front of the Cheesecake Factory. You can park in the garage so you don't have to worry about feeding the hungry parking meters. Call 954-290-9328 to make a reservation. Tours cost $15 for adults and $10 for children.

Incidentally, Fort Lauderdale's historic Stranahan House also features a ghost tour. The Stranahan House is located at 335 SE 6th Avenue, at Las Olas Boulevard. It is a great place to visit if you and your children are interested in Florida history. Now a museum, this house was formerly a trading post, post office, town hall, and a bank. Frank Stranahan originally built the house in 1913 for his beloved Miss Ivy Cromartie, the town's first schoolteacher. The 90-minute ghost tour is guided by Sea Dog John, and includes a trip on the river by boat. Call 954-524-4736 for reservations.

All in all, with the itinerary above you can be sure you'll enjoy your best family vacation in Fort Lauderdale with teens.
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