Fort Lauderdale: Miami’s Fun Aunt

View from B Ocean Fort Lauderdale

B Ocean Fort Lauderdale
Views, views and more views. The B Ocean Fort Lauderdale is aimed at large parties and families at a reasonable cost, but it doesn’t feel like it. The hip interior, well-appointed clean rooms and beachside location are ideal for couples, girls/guys getaways and families. Not only does it saddle up to miles of creamy sand beach, it’s also flanked on the north by Hugh Taylor Birch State Park and to the south, Bonnet Gardens. At its feet you’ll find long-standing beach pubs like the Sandbar that has live midday music and a beverage takeaway window. Across the way are tattoo parlors, an old school, now-hipster chic barber shop and several bric-a-brac tourist shops. The hotel has a convenient bike rental station near its entrance where you can rent a bike and return it at other stands throughout Fort Lauderdale.

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Hugh Taylor Birch State Park

A crosswalk away from the front door of the B Ocean Fort Lauderdale is Hugh Taylor Birch State Park where you can kayak, hike, bike and animal-watch in a tropical forest. It’s a lush refuge from the more social and touristy side of Fort Lauderdale. On the other side of the B Ocean at Bonnet Gardens, you’ll find art, gardens to stroll through, a museum that includes a mansion on the National Trust for Historic Preservation list and grounds that date back to 2000 B.C.

Helpful tip: The beach across from the B Ocean Fort Lauderdale is a sea turtle nesting area. During nesting season, April 1st – October 31st, you can find large sand mounds on the beach that are turtle nests. They are usually surrounded by caution tape and signs that warn of large fines for tampering, but you can still get close enough to get a look and snap some photos.

SAIA restaurant

SAIA restaurant

B Ocean dining
The hotel property is home to SAIA—a modern, Southeast Asian-influenced restaurant with sushi aimed at the American palate. This is not a die-hard sushi place, but it does have a menu that is diverse, delicious and includes unique signature drinks and saki.

On the water
The option to be on the water is everywhere in Fort Lauderdale. A favorite of mine was snorkeling on a catamaran through Spirit Yacht Charters that takes visitors out to a reef off the city’s coast. It’s an easy half-day excursion, snorkeling equipment is included and the onboard staff is friendly and accommodating.

After all these years of pigeon-holing the Miami area as overly decadent and glossy, all it took was a closer look to see there’s much more. I found culture, food, low-key fun and plenty of outdoor activities and sophisticated accommodation that doesn’t break the bank.

Reef snorkeling in Fort Lauderdale

For more on the Fort Lauderdale area—and its better-known nephew Miami, just 25 miles south—click here.

Cynthia Cunniff

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About the Author

Cynthia Cunniff
Cynthia Cunniff’s writing background spans magazine editorial, travel blogging, marketing and PR. She’s a graduate of the creative writing program at CSU Long Beach and went on to UCLA to further her writing skills. Growing up as a military dependent, she lived in several foreign countries and areas of the US. Post college she returned to international living and resided in London for close to a decade, where she took advantage of proximity to the rest of Europe and traveled extensively. She currently lives in the beautiful South Bay of Los Angeles, and can be found on Twitter and Instagram @localpathworld.

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