EDITOR in Chief Sinead McIntyre, husband Alistair and 10-year-old twins Riley and Harris flew to Florida for some much-needed rays.
Here's why it's worth the trip.
Soak up the sunshine state
With eight enormous sparkling beaches spanning 23 miles of Greater Fort Lauderdale coast, this south-eastern region of the Sunshine State is a seaside lover’s paradise.
Hop on a “sun trolley” – that’s a shuttle bus to you and me – £2.20 for an all-day pass, to Hillsboro Beach, which boasts the brightest lighthouse on the east coast of America.
Snorkel from the shore at bLauderdale-by-the-Sea, or enjoy a trip on a glass-bottom boat with Sea Experience, £28 per person, to take in dazzling fish and unique marine plants without getting wet (Seaxp.com).
For the perfect beachfront hotel, the four-star Marriott Harbor Beach Resort & Spa sits on a beautiful quarter-mile private stretch of golden sands on Fort Lauderdale beach (Marriott.com).
Relax on a sunlounger with a delicious key lime margarita, £11, or take part in a yoga class or one of many other free fitness sessions on offer.
Make like Marilyn Monroe
Peckish? Try the Marriott’s stunning Sea Level Restaurant on the beach and enjoy fish tacos, £14.50, or a mouthwatering seafood cobb salad packed with scallops, shrimps and crab, £16.
Don’t miss B Ocean Resort, built in the shape of a ship in 1956 and said to have been a favourite of Marilyn Monroe’s (Bhotelsandresorts.com).
Free for guests, reserve a cabana by the pool for the day and feast on jumbo Patagonian prawns, £6.50, followed by Creole tuna steak, £23.
Then join a game of beach volleyball on the courts next door or check out one of the famous live mermaid shows at the hotel’s Wreck Bar, from £28.95 per person.
Hit the Everglades
The Everglades is one of the largest wetlands in the world, spanning 1.5 million acres across southern Florida, and has been the setting for numerous films and TV shows.
Head to family-run Sawgrass Recreation Park in nearby Weston to whizz around in an airboat, £16, while your captain fills you in on the history of one of the world’s most fascinating ecosystems (Evergladestours.com).
The Everglades is home to diverse wildlife, from herons to manatees, as well as the American crocodile, so keep your eyes peeled (and your hands in the boat!).
Afterwards, take a tour of the on-site reptile enclosures, where you can see dozens of alligators – including Cannibal, a 1,000lb beast who has eaten quite a few of his past girlfriends!
You can also get up close to turtles and iguanas and even hold a baby alligator, which the twins loved.
Shop till you drop
Take a water taxi to Las Olas Boulevard and stroll the picturesque streets packed with a mix of designer and vintage stores.
For cool wall art, check out Unique Treasures (Uniquetreasuresllc.com), while Grand Central Stationery is the place to pick up gorgeous writing paper (Grandcentralstationery.net).
Kilwin’s Ice Cream, Chocolate & Fudge is not to be missed for its incredible sea-salt-caramel fudge, £3, which we practically inhaled (Kilwins.com).
Or head to Sawgrass Mills shopping centre on Sunrise Boulevard to snap up bargains at hundreds of stores – from Forever 21 and Hollister to Gucci and Michael Kors outlets (Simon.com/mall/sawgrass-mills).
You won’t be disappointed!
Known as the Venice of America due to its canal system, Fort Lauderdale is home to more than 100 marinas – with 50,000 registered yachts.
Plan your trip at Visitflorida.com.
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