BeachPlace Towers are on the beach in Fort Lauderdale, FL. It is an amazing location for a vacation or even just a romantic getaway. My car it packed and ready for this drive so let’s get started.
Video by GO GlobeHopper
Day One Travel & Arrival
Like the majority of my trips to Florida, this starts with a drive down I95 from Virginia. Door-to-door, this would be about a 13-hour drive without any accidents or traffic. These days, however, I like to take a break on the way instead of driving 13 hours in one long day. The last few times that I have had a long trip down to Florida, I have stopped in Jacksonville, Florida on the way down.
I drive about 10 hours to Jacksonville, then stay the night at an inexpensive hotel near the airport, then drive the remaining miles and hours the next day. It just makes things easier and more pleasant. If I drive it all in a day, I am so tired that when I get to the resort, I just nap anyway on day one. This means getting there takes the fun out of my first day at a resort. When I have time, I chose to take the extra day, at least coming down to my resort.
After a good night’s sleep at the days near the airport, I get moving fairly early and decide to drive town A1A at least for about 2 hours of the trip to the resort. I love to look at the older beaches like Cocoa Beach on the way down when I have time. I drove until lunchtime and hit a Tiki Spot in Cocoa Beach for lunch. Rikki Tiki Tavern is on Cocoa Beach Pier and has many specialty drinks and fun menu items for something to eat.
From Cocoa Beach, it is less than 3 hours to the resort. Even with me taking it easy with the drive on a full stomach, I made a great time. A such good time that I was too early to check-in.
So I chose to check out a neat local thing since it was Friday and most weeks, they only do the live mermaid show on Friday and Saturday. The Wreck Bar started offering this same show in 1950. If you look, you have seen this bar or one much like it in several TV series, and Movies over the years. This used to be a free attraction,, but a company has purchased it and made it a part of their resort and now sells tickets. They also offer several adult show versions which basically just mean topless mermaids. I think it was best as a free show for the kids, but I am glad that at least they are keeping it open even if they are selling tickets. They still offer a kids show on Sundays now, which was nice to be able to confirm, and that is associated with a brunch.
After feeling like I needed to learn to talk mermaid, it was time for me to return to the resort and get checked in.
Here at the resort, there are 1–2-bedroom villas as well as more simple guest rooms. I had booked a 1-bedroom villa for this trip. Because I would be picking a friend up from the airport tomorrow who is joining me for the beach fun here for a few days. So, the villa will give us some more space.
- Cable TV
- Coffee Maker
- DVD Player
- Ice Maker
- Iron/Ironing Board
Then the resort itself offers all of these options.
- Valet dry-cleaning
- Car Rental
- Business Center/Fax
- Laundry on-site
After touring the resort and checking in, I was hungry again and wanted to get something to eat close by. By this resort, there are a ton of restaurants. Likely because here you get either a great beach view or a sound side view from almost anywhere you go. That makes this stretch of the beach ideal for restaurants with a view.
Just up the road a few blocks I found the Luna Restaurant. If I was writing their slogan for them, I would have said “Mexican Done Right.” Because they offer high-quality, authentic Mexican food.
I had some Baja Fish Tacos that were out of this world. Truly prepared with local fresh fish and is full of flavor. Afterward, I drove back to the resort then since it was Friday Night, I walked over 2 blocks to the Rock Bar which has a very beach club feel to it. One moment you get a cool beach vibe, and the next minute you feel it is more of a club. I think in the 90s we would have called this a bit of a meat market, meaning that it is a single kind of spot-on Friday and Saturday nights for sure.
After a few hours, I called it and walked back to the resort. I needed to be up early to get my friend from the airport. She was just flying in from Atlanta, so a short flight for her, and it had an early arrival time of just after 9 AM.
Day Two Hanging on the Beach
I woke up and had a light bite to eat and some OJ. Next, it was time to shower and change so I could get to the airport. I did not want my friend to wait too long in case her flight came in early.
The Fort Lauderdale -Hollywood Airport is close by. So, close you do not need a rental car but in this area, you will probably want one just to see and enjoy more of Florida while you are in town. I was in my Mustang Convertible so unless my friend objected, I would put the top down on the way back from the airport. It is not even a situation where you have to drive fast on the interstate to get to the airport, so I think she will approve.
Ladies and their hair, you always have to ask, at least if you do not want to be in the dog house. When she arrived, we grabbed her bag quickly and then picked my car out of short-term or day parking. I explained we could drive back via the beach road if she liked and we could put the top down, and she said “yes, please”. Which was music to my ears. When you are 6’4” a convertible makes you feel free. Even if your head is not near the roof in every car you sit in or drive, it feels like it is. I guess it is that sense of freedom that feels like it takes a weight off my shoulders to drive with the top down.
It was a short drive along the beach back to the resort, but still, it only took about 20 minutes. Then we took her bag to the room, and I offered that we should go down to the beach for a bit. The resort has such a nice place on the beach here.
What I did not realize on my tour was something my friend picked up on as soon as we started to walk toward the beach is that on-site there is a Hooters restaurant. My friend noticed that maybe just to pick on me, or to make a joke. I chuckled because I truly had no idea, and promised to take her for a beer later.
You see, between the resort and the beach, there are a number of shops just steps down from the pool deck, and in those shops are the hooters, and a few other small restaurants, as well as the retail shops. It is actually a nice setup.
You also cross a small beach access road before your feet hit the sand,, but it is very easy to get on the beach. Once on the beach, you can access the resort chairs and umbrellas if you like.
When walking back to the resort and pool area a few hours later, we stopped in a few of the shops. There is also a Fat Tuesday right, so we stuck our heads in and had a few frozen drinks.
On the second floor near the Fat Tuesday there is also a Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, so I pulled my friend in and picked up her favorite chocolate as well. When you are trying to earn points, you might as well get all you can.
On the 3rd floor here it is all Hooters, so I had to pick on my friend and go there for a few beers. It turns out that while one of their gals on staff was beautiful (the hard not to look and drop-the-jaw type) she was also a great waitress and noticed instantly that we were joking about our trip and joined in the fun with us as a couple. We had such a good time we ended up staying for a few hours and even getting a snack to eat.
Day Three Fort Lauderdale
We woke up and hit the ground running fairly early. I was not sure if my friend wanted to make me think she was just that active, or if she really was that active still. But she was up, showered and ready and waiting on me. That does not happen much to the women in my life, so I was impressed.
For breakfast, we went to Ocean 2000 for their breakfast buffet. I love a great breakfast buffet. Not for the quantity of food, but the ability to grab just what you want, and then go back for more with what is great that day. The buffet was fairly priced at $25 per person and included many of our breakfast favorites, including an omelet station where the chef prepares your omelet right in front of you with our ingredients. They also had a wide selection of breakfast meats, and sides. Worth trying too was the waffle station.
We both ate more than we should have, but it was nice to sit and talk and enjoy the meal together. The setting on the ocean was a nice view for the morning to start as well.
I was getting impressed by my friend. I had known her for years and in the past, we had dated some when we were younger. She was now more down to earth and willing to just dive into things. Maybe it was an age thing, but I liked her outlook and attitude. It was a can-do, and please may I have some more kind of approach to life that she had landed at, which I think worked well for me, and made her an amazing guest and friend to spend time with.
I have done helicopter tours before but I found out and breakfast that my friend had not. I was enjoying her company so much that even if this friendship never went any further, I wanted today to be memorable. Using my sense of fullness as an excuse, I headed towards the bathroom area and snuck away to book a helicopter tour. I figured that I would not be able to book anything last minute, but maybe I could get something for tomorrow.
It turns out that money talked and if I did a longer tour for both of us, they would be ready to go in 30 minutes and it would take us about 20 minutes to get to the location. So, I booked and then acted fast to pay the check and tip our waitress well for her great attention. Even at a buffet the drink refills and attention matter.
Funny though, since I was gone more than 5 minutes booking things I got back and she was worried I had fallen in. I kept my secret and paid the bill, then spirited her off towards the car. Then starting driving straight to the location for our flight. All along on the drive, I talked just generally about what she wanted to do next. Maybe go back to the beach today and hang out.
Like most ladies, she just said “Oh anything is fine; I really like it here.” Little did she know that my random driving was actually very focused. I stopped to look that the GPS on my phone. Not just to find the location, but to also think of the best approach I could make to keep it a surprise as long as I could.
Next, I said I have a silly idea. Then I asked if she would be OK closing her eyes and guessing for just 5 minutes or so without cheating and opening her eyes. The idea of this got her attention, and she was all in.
I found the airport helipad and parked on the other side of the building where you could not see the helicopters. Sure, it was far from the door, but I was going for the effect here. I then said she could open her eyes, and all she saw was a plain building and an area with a ton of concrete around it. We were obviously near the airport, but this was a little off to the side, so I have no idea what she must have been thinking.
Finally, as we walked around the front of the building, she saw the helicopters and freaked out (in a good way). At first, she was flustered, then she was shocked that I made this happen just after breakfast. I brushed it off as a simple thing. In truth, it was a big deal of sorts since all helicopter experiences are by the minute or mile, and I had booked a long 40+ minute flight for us that would show us Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood, and Boca Raton. I think the miles covered by air would be over 60 miles for the flight.
When we met the pilot, I could tell that this was a last-minute booking because he looked a little rushed, but he was kind and professional. Before a tip for the pilot, this would be about $600 for this morning’s adventure, so I hoped it was a great one.
It turns out this was one of the best flights I have taken and the pilot was very knowledgeable of the area and showed us some impressive buildings and local hot spots in the air. We also saw a once-in-a-lifetime view of the beaches and ocean. If you do not need another flat-screen TV, this may be a great experience for you as well.
Intro flights of only 5 minutes or so are available for $59 per person and longer flights can go up from what we paid. You could easily spend $600 per person for a flight that would cover the area we flew, as well as Miami.
Dinner Cruise, Buffet, & Show
We were excited after the flight and went back to the resort to hit the beach again for a few hours and relax a bit. Later today I had already booked a Dinner Cruise and buffet experience. The experience lasts 4 hours and includes a cruise to and from the location, a buffet BBQ dinner, a series of stage shows, and plenty of drinks and fun.
After a while of relaxing and then enjoying the beach, we headed towards the pickup site for the Dinner Cruise and buffet. They ask that you are ready 45 minutes ahead of the sailing. I got us there 20 minutes ahead just because sitting on site for nearly an hour was not the pace I wanted to go with. This meant on the boat we had good seats, still just not the best on the boat, and I was good with that.
During the cruise and then the time on Treasure Island with the food and the show, it was all fine. I thought the food was good, but not great. Certainly, it tasted good. It is just hard when you try to prep food for as many people as this place holds all at one time. This show and cruise have been active in the area since 1935, so they are certainly doing something right.
After the food and the show, you then get back on board the boat to head back to the port for the boat and then back to your resort. Had I not had a good deal to eat, I may have worried about the short drive back from an alcohol standpoint. But given my size and the amount of food I had, I determined the drive was safe.
I would go in and share more about my trip with you, but some things should be private. Let’s just say that this was a great vacation with a friend at an impressive beach resort. One that, given the chance, I would revisit again and again.
If you want a great romantic trip or a family vacation, this resort may be the one for you. Just make sure you book through TZort.