For a vacation that’s all about rest and relaxation, look no further than Greater Fort Lauderdale. Take an unhurried approach to your getaway by indulging in soothing time on the waterways riding on a gondola or participating in paddleboard yoga; explore peaceful state parks, historic attractions, and participate in some retail therapy. 

Picking the right hotel for ultimate relaxation is key, and Greater Fort Lauderdale offers many retreats like the beachfront Pelican Grand Beach Resort where you can leisurely float down Fort Lauderdale’s only lazy river, or boutique gems like The Pillars Hotel hidden away on the tranquil Intracoastal Waterway. No matter where you stay, we’ve put together a three-day itinerary meant for a complete recharge.

Pelican Pure Spa

Day 1

You’ve just arrived and there’s no better way to sink into a relaxing vacation than with a pampering spa treatment.  If you don’t want to miss all of Greater Fort Lauderdale’s outdoor beauty, choose the rooftop PURE Spa at Pelican Grand Beach Resort, where you’ll dangle in the relaxation room’s hanging chairs that overlook the crystal-clear ocean, or post up with a bottle of champagne on the spa’s sprawling sun deck to be lulled to sleep by the sound of the ocean. For ultimate spoiling, opt for a couple’s massage or indulgent soak in the spa’s glass-enclosed suite that overlooks the water. If you’re staying at the resort, you can end the day floating down the hotel’s lazy river with a cocktail in hand or alternate from the infinity pool to the ocean.

Now that your muscles feel like Jell-O, it’s time to see the sights. Kick back on a tranquil boat ride down the scenic New River or Intracoastal Waterway. If you want something intimate (meaning you pretty much have the boat all to yourself), choose from an authentic gondola ride with Las Olas Gondola, or a sunset dinner cruise with Riverfront Gondola Tours. The gondoliers do all the work, so all you have to do is sit back and enjoy the ride, peeping the area’s waterfront mansions and appreciating why the area's rivers, canals and waterways earned it the nickname Venice of America. 

Day 2

After sleeping in and enjoying coffee on your balcony overlooking the sparkling sea, spend the morning at Hugh Taylor Birch State Park where all the natural beauty promises to leave your mind rested. Take a slow stroll around the expansive park dotted with nature trials, or snag a picnic table along the seawall to sun yourself while watching the unhurried parade of boats. Spend some time in the park’s new serene meditation garden listening to the sounds of nature; or for some light recreation, embark on a peaceful kayak trip on the park’s freshwater lake. A leisurely lunch outdoors at the oceanfront Park & Ocean is a great place for midday rejuvenation. You can soak up the salt air and ocean views while sipping a local beer and noshing on Caribbean-style dishes.

Birch State Park Aerial

Now that you’re refreshed, move across the street to the neighboring Bonnet House Museum & Gardens for 35 acres of breathtaking beauty. Roam the historic home (which recently celebrated its 100th birthday) known for its oh-so-Florida design and decor, where you’ll view eclectic artwork and cheeky animal statues, and even a spectacular shell museum. Don’t miss its lush gardens, courtyard, and an orchid room which are sure to make you calmly inhale and exhale. We suggest taking a moment to sit by the lily-pad clad lake flanked by towering palm trees to watch the swans glide by—it’s a postcard-worthy way to end the day.

Bonnet House Museum and Gardens

Day 3

There’s nothing more relaxing than beginning your day with yoga, and Greater Fort Lauderdale has plenty of places to connect with your mind, body, and spirit. For something truly unique (and a good test of your balance), treat your paddleboard as your mat with Sunrise Paddleboards. During their yoga paddleboard classes, an instructor will lead you through poses like downward dog as you breathe in the fresh, salty air, while gazing at the placid water. Or, you could rent a paddleboard for the morning and take in the sights and prevalent wildlife on your own. For something more traditional, sweat and stretch with local yogis at one of the many popular classes at Yoga Joint, which has several locations around Greater Fort Lauderdale and a big following.

In the afternoon, it’s time to stretch your legs for some laidback shopping and dining on Las Olas Boulevard. The famous street is lined with art galleries, unique boutiques, and mainstream shops, along with restaurants and cafes perfect for al fresco dining. Drift inside dreamy Ann’s Florist & Coffee Bar to sip coffee among the fragrant flowers, or have lunch at a popular spot like Boathouse. Grab a seat and take in the beautiful view of the New River, while perusing a wide selection of local & international inspired cuisine, creative specials and diverse cocktail options.

A woman stand-up paddleboarding on the ocean in Fort Lauderdale, FL

Of course, you can choose to do nothing on vacation but lounge on one of our many beautiful beaches or sit by the hotel pool and have someone bring refreshing cocktails to your chair. You don’t want to lift a finger—better use all this down time to start planning your next trip to Greater Fort Lauderdale where you can once again put relaxation on repeat.

Have more time to spend? Check out our other 3-day itineraries including adventure, nature, foodie, luxe, and culture

*Before visiting a location, please contact the business first to make sure they have reopened.