A Long Weekend in South Florida

I recently jetted off to South Florida for four days with my mom. We planned our mini getaway to fly down to visit my grandmother and explore the area. Now, I am not much of a fan of the heat. It was a drastic change leaving the 20 degree weather of Maine in exchange for 85 degrees of hot and humid Florida air. But, as hot as it was for me, we did make the best of our little March vacation.

In particular, there are two spots in the South Florida area worth mentioning that I highly recommend tourists visit if the opportunity arises: Hollywood Beach Boardwalk and Flamingo Gardens.


When the weather hits 80 degrees, it’s a must to trek to the water to cool off. Nestled between Miami and Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood Beach is a lovely stretch of beach that offers a boardwalk, including shops, restaurants, and music. Much more than your average beach, Hollywood Beach is a place to spend hours visiting. Whether you’re looking to swim, sunbathe, grab a bit to eat, cycle on the boardwalk’s bike lane, or simply enjoy a long stroll, Hollywood Beach has it all.

Many of the shops offer souvenirs and keepsakes in the form of magnets, t-shirts, keychains, and more. Craving an ice cream to cool off? The boardwalk features Häagen-Dazs and Ben & Jerry’s (the latter offers a short variety of non-dairy sweet treats). Want to bike around? You can bike for miles on the boardwalk’s dedicated bike lane; rent a bike and enjoy a ride!

After a bit of sunbathing, a touch of walking along the boardwalk, and treating ourselves to an ice cream cone, we called it a day. We enjoyed our trip to Hollywood Beach very much!

Flamingo Gardens

The second place we visited while staying in South Florida was Flamingo Gardens. A 60-acre botanical garden and wildlife sanctuary, Flamingo Gardens is full of lush greenery, over 3,000 species of plants, and is home to animals that have been rehabilitated from injuries and are non-releasable.

We started our time at Flamingo Gardens off by visiting the animals. We fed flamingos (three different types, in fact), watched otters play in the water, had a staring contest with a large alligator, and followed a group of brilliantly colored peacocks around.

Midday we hopped on a park tram, which carted us around the 60-acre botanical garden portion of the site. Our tour guide chimed off hundreds of different plants, including different types of citrus trees, desert roses, and cycads. It was incredible to learn about all of the different types of trees, flowers, and bushes that thrive in Flamingo Gardens.

We ended our time there by watching a brief show on some of the animals that the staff of Flamingo Gardens care for. We watched the staff present on a bird with a broken wing, a skunk that was someone’s former pet that they did not properly care for, and a raccoon that had an irreparable brain injury. It was really informative to learn about how these animals could not be released into the wild even after they were cared for.

Visiting Flamingo Gardens was definitely the highlight of our trip!

Visit South Florida

All in all, our trip to South Florida was a very memorable adventure. I survived the heat (huge accomplishment, if you know me at all) and enjoyed being a tourist in an area new to me. The Hollywood Beach Boardwalk was fun and Flamingo Gardens is a must see.

If you’re ever in the South Florida area, gives these places a visit!

Rachael Tulipano