Flowers and gifts are always a nice way to show mom or the women in your life how much you appreciate them, but why not make Mother’s Day extra special this year by spending the day—or the entire weekend—together? Mother’s Day falls on a Sunday, so brunch is a given, but in Greater Fort Lauderdale, you’ll find plenty of other ways to celebrate, from a day at the beach or spa to private island cruises and shopping excursions.
Dine Around Town
Take your pick of places to dine, from beachfront eateries to rooftop restaurants with a DJ spinning throughout the afternoon.
New York-style Jewish deli Top Hat Delicatessen, in Fort Lauderdale’s FATVillage, is a brunch favorite for its family-friendly atmosphere and inventive spin on classics like Reuben egg rolls and pastrami burgers. For something more interactive, spend Sunday at The Wilder’s Burlesque Brunch for a show served alongside a full breakfast spread and bottomless drinks. For something more low-key, grab donuts at Pink Love Donuts, a pie shake from Circle House Coffee, or specialty coffee at Brew Urban Cafe.
Continue the day with lunch at Tacocraft Taqueria & Tequila Bar in Fort Lauderdale or Plantation; at waterfront Aruba Beach Cafe in Lauderdale-By-The-Sea; or somewhere more upscale like Heritage in Flagler Village or Salt7 along the Fort Lauderdale Riverwalk.
Ease into the evening with cocktails or a glass of wine at Rooftop @1WLO, or Sparrow situated on the top floor of The Dalmar in Fort Lauderdale. You can even book a private speakeasy experience in the roaring 1920s-inspired 901 at Hyatt Centric Las Olas.
Explore the Great Outdoors
After fueling up, head to Fort Lauderdale’s Hugh Taylor Birch State Park, located between the Atlantic Ocean and the Intracoastal Waterway, to cycle or hike through the native hardwood hammock or a leisurely cruise on a pedal boat around the freshwater lake. When you’re ready to sit and enjoy the scenery, pause for frosé or craft brews at farm-to-table Park & Ocean, a shaded restaurant and brewery with oceanfront seating on the southeastern side of the park.
Another great place to explore Greater Fort Lauderdale’s natural attractions is Tradewinds Park in Coconut Creek. One of the main draws is Butterfly World, the world’s largest butterfly park, home to more than 20,000 live butterflies from across the globe, aviaries with exotic birds, waterfalls, and botanical gardens. The park also offers other things to do, from horseback riding to model steam train rides.
At the Bonnet House Museum & Gardens in Fort Lauderdale, take a step back in time to the 20th-century house-turned-museum and art gallery. Easel art and murals from former owners Frederic Clay Bartlett and wife Evelyn Fortune Lilly fill the storied space. The grounds are home to five different ecosystems, including mangrove wetlands and a maritime forest. Keep an eye out for the many migratory birds and manatees, often spotted in the estate’s Boathouse Canal.
One of the best ways to enjoy views of the stunning waterways that earned Fort Lauderdale its nickname as the “Venice of America” is by boat. The vibrant Water Taxi cruises throughout Fort Lauderdale and offers various stops at some of the city’s beloved eateries, like Shooters Waterfront, 15th Street Fisheries, and restaurants on Las Olas.
If you want a full-on sightseeing cruise, jump on board the Jungle Queen Riverboat, a steamboat-inspired vessel that makes its way along the New River en route to a private tropical island for a BBQ dinner and Polynesian fire dancing show.
If you want to spend the day exploring your artistic side, take a wheel-throwing pottery class at woman-owned studio Sarah Glass Ceramics in Fort Lauderdale’s Flagler Village.
Out west, Board & Brush in Sunrise offers DIY wooden board workshops where you can choose everything from how you want to sand and stain the wood to what you want to paint or stencil. Nearby, Pinspiration Davie allows guests to select their craft (think fashion upcycling, keychain making, and soy candle pouring) while enjoying a drink from the onsite bar.
Surprise mom with a Mother’s Day gift at Sawgrass Mills, an outlet mall in Sunrise with more than 350 stores, a destination in itself (shops include everything from Tory Burch and Michael Kors to Bloomingdale’s and Nordstrom Rack).
If you’re in Fort Lauderdale, hop on the Water Taxi and cruise over to The Galleria at Fort Lauderdale for an afternoon of shopping and dining at restaurants like The Capital Grille and Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant. On nearby Las Olas Boulevard, Greater Fort Lauderdale’s “style mile,” you’ll come across independently owned boutiques, sidewalk cafés, and fine art galleries. Meanwhile, in Hollywood, the brick-paved Hollywood Beach Broadwalk offers Old Florida charm in the form of surf shops, ice cream parlors, and laidback waterfront eateries perfect for family dining.
While in Hollywood, stop by the weekend Yellow Green Farmers Market, which brings together more than 600 vendors selling artisanal goodies and handicrafts. Take part in a yoga or art class or grab a bite to eat and dine alfresco under one of the Seminole chickee huts.
Other farmers markets include the New River Open Air Market, which unfolds along Riverwalk in downtown Fort Lauderdale on Sundays. And the Las Olas Oceanside Park Farmers, Antiques and Artisan Market is hosted on Saturdays off Fort Lauderdale beach. Given the number of farms, gardens, and open spaces out west, you’ll find farmers markets everywhere, from Volunteer Park in Plantation to Flamingo Road Nursery.
Another way to surprise mom is with a day at the spa, and since many in Greater Fort Lauderdale sit along the water, you can turn it into a hybrid spa and beach day.
The Scandinavian-style PURE Spa at the Pelican Grand Beach Resort in Fort Lauderdale sprawls across the 11th floor and features soothing relaxation areas both inside and out.
Fort Lauderdale's The Spa at Auberge Beach incorporates handcrafted practices using the healing properties of the sea, salt, sand, and sound (think infrared saunas, quartz treatment beds, and salt caves).
Ranked one of the top relaxing spa getaways in the U.S., Hollywood's St. Somewhere Spa at Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort stretches across 11,000 square feet and offers tropical-inspired treatments, like coconut oil cleansing facials and the “lost shaker of salt” scrub—which even comes with a complimentary margarita.