Elderly Parents have 3 day layover in Fort Lauderdale. What to do?

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texasdiver
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Elderly Parents have 3 day layover in Fort Lauderdale. What to do?

Post by texasdiver » Sat Sep 07, 2019 7:52 pm

My wife’s elderly parents who are from Chile have somehow managed to have a 3-day layover in Fort Lauderdale between a cruise and flight onward. They are longtime world travelers but in their late 80s and probably shouldn’t be driving in a strange country. My mother-in-law has the idea of driving down to Key West for 2 days. I’m not sure why.

Can anyone advise any appropriate closer excursions or things to do in that part of Florida for 2-3 days? They like nature excursions and nice accommodations. I’d like to give them something more “package-y” to do so they aren’t renting a car and driving through Miami on their own. Or, alternatively, what is the best way to get to Key West from Fort Lauderdale Airport without renting a car if that is what they really want to do?

Some kind of guided tour or just a really nice nature-y sort of place to stay for a couple days? We live in the opposite corner of the country and really don’t know anything about South Florida beyond MIA airport.

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Re: Elderly Parents have 3 day layover in Fort Lauderdale. What to do?

Post by THY4373 » Sat Sep 07, 2019 8:04 pm

Looks like Silver Airways (partners with United) has cheapish flights ($100 round trip on random dates I looked at) from FLL to EYW (Key West). Pick the right hotel in Key West and most things are walk-able and cabs and Uber are available if they prefer. If they are up for it I recommend a day cruise or flight out to Dry Tortugas National Park and Fort Jefferson which was the coolest thing I did in Key West earlier this year.

https://www.nps.gov/drto/index.htm

One thing to be especially careful about if you do this is to ensure they have a large buffer on their return flight from Key West before their flight back to Chile (or wherever they are going). If they miss their long haul flight the airline does not need to accommodate them.
Last edited by THY4373 on Sat Sep 07, 2019 8:08 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Elderly Parents have 3 day layover in Fort Lauderdale. What to do?

Post by AerialP » Sat Sep 07, 2019 8:06 pm


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Re: Elderly Parents have 3 day layover in Fort Lauderdale. What to do?

Post by Watty » Sat Sep 07, 2019 8:32 pm

On the flights to Key West be sure to check the baggage and carry on restrictions, they are sometimes a lot less than normal when they use a small plane and they may be strictly enforced.

Be sure to check to see what is going on when they will be in Key West to make sure they will be comfortable with it. I was there on a weekday and I had just missed a big annual event the weekend before which was a big Drag Race that apparently does not involve cars. :D

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Re: Elderly Parents have 3 day layover in Fort Lauderdale. What to do?

Post by ClaycordJCA » Sat Sep 07, 2019 8:48 pm

Since they like nature, they might be interested in an Everglades tour. Per Trip Advisor, you could arrange for a tour that picks them up from their Ft. Lauderdale hotel. We have no first hand experience with such a tour, but really enjoyed a day trip to Everglades National Park when staying in Key Largo.

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Re: Elderly Parents have 3 day layover in Fort Lauderdale. What to do?

Post by tibbitts » Sat Sep 07, 2019 9:11 pm

texasdiver wrote:
Sat Sep 07, 2019 7:52 pm
My wife’s elderly parents who are from Chile have somehow managed to have a 3-day layover in Fort Lauderdale between a cruise and flight onward. They are longtime world travelers but in their late 80s and probably shouldn’t be driving in a strange country. My mother-in-law has the idea of driving down to Key West for 2 days. I’m not sure why.

Can anyone advise any appropriate closer excursions or things to do in that part of Florida for 2-3 days? They like nature excursions and nice accommodations. I’d like to give them something more “package-y” to do so they aren’t renting a car and driving through Miami on their own. Or, alternatively, what is the best way to get to Key West from Fort Lauderdale Airport without renting a car if that is what they really want to do?

Some kind of guided tour or just a really nice nature-y sort of place to stay for a couple days? We live in the opposite corner of the country and really don’t know anything about South Florida beyond MIA airport.
There are day tours to Key West (long) and Everglades (shorter) from Fort Lauderdale.

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Re: Elderly Parents have 3 day layover in Fort Lauderdale. What to do?

Post by LFS1234 » Sun Sep 08, 2019 6:56 am

texasdiver wrote:
Sat Sep 07, 2019 7:52 pm
My wife’s elderly parents who are from Chile have somehow managed to have a 3-day layover in Fort Lauderdale between a cruise and flight onward. They are longtime world travelers but in their late 80s and probably shouldn’t be driving in a strange country. My mother-in-law has the idea of driving down to Key West for 2 days. I’m not sure why.

Can anyone advise any appropriate closer excursions or things to do in that part of Florida for 2-3 days? They like nature excursions and nice accommodations. I’d like to give them something more “package-y” to do so they aren’t renting a car and driving through Miami on their own. Or, alternatively, what is the best way to get to Key West from Fort Lauderdale Airport without renting a car if that is what they really want to do?
Any useable answer would have to take into account the time of year; the more precision you can give, the better. It might also be useful to know if they're flying out of Fort Lauderdale or Miami. (Miami probably has a lot more direct flights to South America).

South Florida in September is hot and humid and most people don't find outside activities particularly pleasant during this time of the year, although at times it can be surprisingly enjoyable if you're at the coast, not overdressed, and not moving around too much. During the much more pleasant winter months, South Florida gets packed with "snowbirds" and tourists. The time around Christmas and New Year is particularly brutal as far as traffic is concerned, and lots of luck making restaurant reservations.

Key West is an island at the end of a 100-plus mile long dead-end road and this is NOT where one would want to send a couple of foreign octogenarians during the height of Hurricane Season.

As alluded to upthread, Key West can be a "cultural experience". My first visit there was in the mid-1980's, at which time Key West already had a very significant gay population as well as an even more significant population of aging hippies who kept up their '60's counterculture. Visitors included lots of beer-and-t-shirt college kids as well as a noticeable presence of more sophisticated, wealthier folks from overseas. So there was a great bar scene for the college kids, surprisingly good restaurants for the foodies, and a sense of personal freedom unsurpassed elsewhere. Key West has gotten more crowded in the past few decades, and some of the "cultural activities" may have gotten a bit more explicit, but the general vibe of the area remains.

The best place to stay to experience the local culture is around the north end of Duval Street, and lodgings would have to be booked early. If you are driving there, you make sure you have a place to park the car; then you park it and don't touch it again until you leave. You'd want to be walking distance from everything. If you're at the boring (east) end of the island, there isn't much to see or do, and there may not be a good way of getting to or from the more interesting (west) end of the island during the times when everyone else is trying to do the same thing.

If the "cultural experience" is not of interest but the fishing or natural beauty is, then it may make more sense just to stop in the upper or middle keys rather than making the trek all the way to Key West.

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Re: Elderly Parents have 3 day layover in Fort Lauderdale. What to do?

Post by magazinewriter » Sun Sep 08, 2019 7:30 am

I would NOT recommend that they use Silver Airways because I believe they are unreliable as to their schedule and cancel flights at the last minute.

I’m from the west coast of Florida but visited Fort Lauderdale last year. One possible excursion fairly nearby are the Morikami Museum and Gardens in Delray Beach, about 40 miles north of Fort Lauderdale. Probably a Uber would be the best way to get there. I visited there and really enjoyed it.

https://morikami.org/

I would discourage driving through Miami which I found stressful even in my younger days.

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Re: Elderly Parents have 3 day layover in Fort Lauderdale. What to do?

Post by stan1 » Sun Sep 08, 2019 8:10 am

The easy answer would be a 5 star beach resort between Miami and Ft. Lauderdale such as the Acqualina, if that's close to their preferences when you say they like "nice accommodations". If you don't like Sunny Isles Beach or that hotel there are many others. There are also golf resorts. You aren't going to find nature focused eco-resorts in South Florida. You could also hire a driver to get them out to Key West and back. Won't be cheap but your stated intent is to avoid them driving themselves.

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Re: Elderly Parents have 3 day layover in Fort Lauderdale. What to do?

Post by Longdog » Sun Sep 08, 2019 8:49 am

I’m not suggesting this would occupy all their time, but if they stay in that area they might enjoy a visit to the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens (https://morikami.org/)
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Re: Elderly Parents have 3 day layover in Fort Lauderdale. What to do?

Post by Sheepdog » Sun Sep 08, 2019 12:00 pm

I just did a Google Search "Ft. Lauderdale to Key West" You may find something there. One thing that stood out was,
"Is there a ferry from Fort Lauderdale to Key West?"
The Key West Express high speed ferry leaves Ft. Myers Beach on its way to the Keys. ... The ferry ride takes approximately 3.5 hours.
There are other ideas
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Re: Elderly Parents have 3 day layover in Fort Lauderdale. What to do?

Post by Kitty Telltales » Sun Sep 08, 2019 2:27 pm

My favorite beach is just north of Fort Lauderdale in Lauderdale By the Sea. It's a nice place to walk around and get a bite. They have updated it in recent years. Just north of Commerical Blvd, Lauderdale By the Sea, there is a restaurant called Sea Watch. It's frequented by both tourists and the locals. My secret tip is to tell the host that they want to go "upstairs" which also doesn't require a reservation. There's a bar and an outside deck area. Good place for lunch. I believe in the evening, you can only order from a limited menu, but it's more than enough. It has a fabulous view of the beach, that's mostly empty. Take along a blanket to sit on the beach afterwards. We were married on the beach so I have a sentimental feeling about the place.

The Bonnett House is in the Fort Lauderdale has a nice garden to capture that tropical feeling. If it's too hot and sticky, they can visit the NSU Art Museum. They should check out the exhibit schedule before they go on the trip. Sometimes they have wine and art events. Then they could walk along Las Olas Blvd and have dinner.

The International Fishing Museum is fun too and has a little boardwalk to become familiar with the flora and fauna.

Dania Pier and the beach to the north for a nice stroll.

They could use Uber or Lyft to get around. Or they could rent a car and drive over to Naples if they need a driving adventure, which is less than 2 hours away. The Seminole Indian reservation is half way over the state with a nice museum and boardwalk to have a closer look at the Everglades. I don't recommend the airboat rides as they are expensive and disturb nature, but I do recommend just stopping along Alligator Alley (Rt. 75) at a rest stop because there are ALWAYS alligators to see.

But less is more and for such a short time, why not just explore Fort Lauderdale.
Last edited by Kitty Telltales on Sun Sep 08, 2019 2:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Elderly Parents have 3 day layover in Fort Lauderdale. What to do?

Post by renue74 » Sun Sep 08, 2019 2:43 pm

I just took my 14 year son to the Keys last month. We flew into Miami and rented a car. Stayed in Largo a few days, Marathon a day/night, and Key West a day/night.

It's pretty. We took snorkel excursions and snuba excursion in Marathon, which was amazing like "Finding Nemo," amazing with all the different fish, etc.

We went to Key West for one day and did the usual touristy stuff...Hemingway house tour, duval street, the sunset thing at the end of Duval, etc.

I'm not really sure 80+ year olds would find Key West interesting. Lot's of bars and restaurants....but man, you could find good places in Lauderdale.

What are 80 year olds interested in? Cocoa beach is 2 1/2 hours north. They could tour the space center. They could go to the Everglades and tour.

If it were me, I would stick around Lauderdale, find a few things to do...maybe go to the movies, find some food, people watch and burn up 3 days.

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Re: Elderly Parents have 3 day layover in Fort Lauderdale. What to do?

Post by jello_nailer » Sun Sep 08, 2019 3:02 pm

Kitty Telltales wrote:
Sun Sep 08, 2019 2:27 pm
My favorite beach is just north of Fort Lauderdale in Lauderdale By the Sea. It's a nice place to walk around and get a bite. They have updated it in recent years. Just north of Commerical Blvd, Lauderdale By the Sea, there is a restaurant called Sea Watch.
+1^
I agree. I used to live at Galt Ocean about 1/2 mile from there. But, I am more of a Aruba Beach Cafe guy than Sea Watch. Lobster Pizza and Fish soup. Don't forget the smoked fish dip. Go a little farther north to Atlantic on the intercoastal to "Houston's" or for a real different treat, Cafe Mantorano's on Oakland Park and A1A - meatballs like baseballs and mob movies on the tv's. Great time.

The whole area feels really comfortable to me.

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Re: Elderly Parents have 3 day layover in Fort Lauderdale. What to do?

Post by texasdiver » Sun Sep 08, 2019 6:07 pm

LFS1234 wrote:
Sun Sep 08, 2019 6:56 am

Any useable answer would have to take into account the time of year; the more precision you can give, the better. It might also be useful to know if they're flying out of Fort Lauderdale or Miami. (Miami probably has a lot more direct flights to South America).

OK, I dug up some more details from my wife. Apparently they are arriving to Fort Lauderdale on a cruise on April 7 that is coming through the Panama Canal from South America, and have a Delta flight out of Fort Lauderdale to Atlanta and onward to the midwest to visit my daughter in college on April 10. I think my mother-in-law added a couple of days of cushion in Fort Lauderdale in case their cruise arrives late since it is a long voyage from the southern coast of South America via the Galapagos and I don't know where all.

My wife asked me to figure out something appropriate to do in south Florida for a couple of days since my mother-in-law has it in her mind to rent a car and visit Key West and that idea has my wife somewhat nervous. They are affluent world traveler types who go to Europe about 2x a year, do river cruises, London, South of France, Greece, etc. Also places like Peru, Brazil, Colombia. Most recently Cartegena Colombia. So they are extremely veteran travelers. But perhaps need to slow down a bit as they are hitting their late 80s and not try things like driving through Miami in a rental car that they would have easily done a decade or two ago.

Personally I think what is in order is some nice place to stay for a couple days in the Fort Lauderdale area with shops, restaurants, and things to see, and a some ideas of excursions and sights in the surrounding area.

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Re: Elderly Parents have 3 day layover in Fort Lauderdale. What to do?

Post by DanMahowny » Sun Sep 08, 2019 6:20 pm

Gulfstream Park. They can lay down some action (horse racing).
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Re: Elderly Parents have 3 day layover in Fort Lauderdale. What to do?

Post by eucalyptus » Sun Sep 08, 2019 6:29 pm

I personally would go to Miami.

But consider sending them to Palm Beach, to stay at The Chesterfield or, if budget permits, The Breakers. The former is within walking distance of many nice restaurants, the beach and Worth Avenue's shopping/people watching.

I also second the suggestion above about the Morikami Gardens.

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Re: Elderly Parents have 3 day layover in Fort Lauderdale. What to do?

Post by curmudgeon » Sun Sep 08, 2019 9:21 pm

The "Jungle Queen" is the classic Ft Lauderdale attraction. Haven't been there in many years, but apparently it is still going strong. A good way to see the area from the nicer (waterfront) side. Alternately you could hire a boat (with driver) to cover more ground.

While the area is no longer the spring break party scene it was 20 or 30 years ago (most of the college students go to Mexico or the Caribbean these days, or stop at Daytona Beach), April can still be quite busy in terms of bars and restaurants (and traffic near the beaches).

Palm Beach could be an option as well, perhaps visiting the Flagler mansion or staying at the Breakers, but less convenient to FTL airport. Given their ages, I don't think I would suggest the Everglades or dragging all the way down to the Keys.

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Re: Elderly Parents have 3 day layover in Fort Lauderdale. What to do?

Post by Kitty Telltales » Mon Sep 09, 2019 5:11 am

jello_nailer wrote:
Sun Sep 08, 2019 3:02 pm
Kitty Telltales wrote:
Sun Sep 08, 2019 2:27 pm
My favorite beach is just north of Fort Lauderdale in Lauderdale By the Sea. It's a nice place to walk around and get a bite. They have updated it in recent years. Just north of Commerical Blvd, Lauderdale By the Sea, there is a restaurant called Sea Watch.
+1^
I agree. I used to live at Galt Ocean about 1/2 mile from there. But, I am more of a Aruba Beach Cafe guy than Sea Watch. Lobster Pizza and Fish soup. Don't forget the smoked fish dip. Go a little farther north to Atlantic on the intercoastal to "Houston's" or for a real different treat, Cafe Mantorano's on Oakland Park and A1A - meatballs like baseballs and mob movies on the tv's. Great time.

The whole area feels really comfortable to me.
You forgot to mention the seafood Louie salad at the Aruba Cafe or a big platter of fresh oysters with a mojito!! Great service too. We love to sit outside and watch the beach goers kicking off the sand from their feet. However sometimes the island music is a bit too loud. One can hear the waves better on the deck at Sea Watch. Thanks for the tip for Houstons, we'll try it on our next trip. Also off of Atlantic is the Fern Park. It's our favorite boardwalk for a convenient Everglades walk.

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Re: Elderly Parents have 3 day layover in Fort Lauderdale. What to do?

Post by blackcat allie » Mon Sep 09, 2019 10:34 am

There is a bus between Miami and Key West for day trips etc, if MIL would like to add it to her bucket list. http://www.miamitokeywestbus.com/

I can't really speak from experience - perhaps Trip Advisor could give more specifics. Many other great local suggestions from other responses here.

Edit - If they're staying in Fort Lauderdale, to get to Miami (for Key West) they could take compare/combine transport (Uber/Lyft) with Brightline train.
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Re: Elderly Parents have 3 day layover in Fort Lauderdale. What to do?

Post by JBeck » Mon Sep 09, 2019 10:49 am

Uber to Hollywood Beach and walk the board walk

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Re: Elderly Parents have 3 day layover in Fort Lauderdale. What to do?

Post by researcher » Mon Sep 09, 2019 12:04 pm

texasdiver wrote:
Sun Sep 08, 2019 6:07 pm
they are arriving to Fort Lauderdale on a cruise on April 7, and have a Delta flight out of Fort Lauderdale on April 10.
Don't make this more involved than it needs to be.
They only need to occupy themselves for two days (April 8/9), which shouldn't be hard to do.

Pick a really nice resort in Ft Lauderdale for them to stay at.
Let them enjoy the beach, pool, bar, restaurants, spa, entertainment, activities.

If they get bored, pick a handful of activities from Tripadvisor:
https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attractions ... orida.html

Numbers 2, 5, 7 and 9 from the list look like reasonable options for your in-laws.

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Re: Elderly Parents have 3 day layover in Fort Lauderdale. What to do?

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Mon Sep 09, 2019 12:18 pm

Perhaps the in laws don't know how far Key West is from Ft. Lauderdale. I did a quick mapquest which showed about 3 and a half hours. Would that fact dissuade her from taking that drive?
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Re: Elderly Parents have 3 day layover in Fort Lauderdale. What to do?

Post by macaroon » Mon Sep 09, 2019 7:23 pm

researcher wrote:
Mon Sep 09, 2019 12:04 pm
texasdiver wrote:
Sun Sep 08, 2019 6:07 pm
they are arriving to Fort Lauderdale on a cruise on April 7, and have a Delta flight out of Fort Lauderdale on April 10.
Don't make this more involved than it needs to be.
They only need to occupy themselves for two days (April 8/9), which shouldn't be hard to do.

Pick a really nice resort in Ft Lauderdale for them to stay at.
Let them enjoy the beach, pool, bar, restaurants, spa, entertainment, activities.

I agree with researcher. Take a look at the Lago Mar Beach Resort. It's gorgeous and not too far from FLL and Port Everglades. They'll love it.
https://lagomar.com/

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Re: Elderly Parents have 3 day layover in Fort Lauderdale. What to do?

Post by LFS1234 » Tue Sep 10, 2019 8:03 am

texasdiver wrote:
Sun Sep 08, 2019 6:07 pm
LFS1234 wrote:
Sun Sep 08, 2019 6:56 am

Any useable answer would have to take into account the time of year; the more precision you can give, the better. It might also be useful to know if they're flying out of Fort Lauderdale or Miami. (Miami probably has a lot more direct flights to South America).

OK, I dug up some more details from my wife. Apparently they are arriving to Fort Lauderdale on a cruise on April 7 that is coming through the Panama Canal from South America, and have a Delta flight out of Fort Lauderdale to Atlanta and onward to the midwest to visit my daughter in college on April 10. I think my mother-in-law added a couple of days of cushion in Fort Lauderdale in case their cruise arrives late since it is a long voyage from the southern coast of South America via the Galapagos and I don't know where all.

My wife asked me to figure out something appropriate to do in south Florida for a couple of days since my mother-in-law has it in her mind to rent a car and visit Key West and that idea has my wife somewhat nervous. They are affluent world traveler types who go to Europe about 2x a year, do river cruises, London, South of France, Greece, etc. Also places like Peru, Brazil, Colombia. Most recently Cartegena Colombia. So they are extremely veteran travelers. But perhaps need to slow down a bit as they are hitting their late 80s and not try things like driving through Miami in a rental car that they would have easily done a decade or two ago.

Personally I think what is in order is some nice place to stay for a couple days in the Fort Lauderdale area with shops, restaurants, and things to see, and a some ideas of excursions and sights in the surrounding area.
April 7 - 10 should be a good time to visit South Florida. Way before hurricane season and many of the snowbirds will already have left, so not as crowded as during peak season. Weather should be pleasant, especially at the coast where there usually is a light breeze.

If the couple were a bit younger, with no driving issues or mobility impairments, I would not hesitate to support the Key West suggestion. There is no need to drive through Miami, the 595 to 821 route goes well west of the city. The first part of the trip would consist of rather boring multilane highways, which once you get to the Keys are replaced by the much slower-moving, stoplight-filled largely two-lane main drag. As you get past the middle keys, much of this road trip is really beautiful, with wide open waters on both sides. I have found the Islamorada Fish Company in Islamorada to be a nice stop on the way down. Once you're close to Duval Street, you're dealing with old narrow streets and quite limited parking. Last time I was there, the traffic lights (at least on Duval street) still hung from wires over the middle of the intersections, so you have to know where to look.

Two nights is fine for Key West. I would only stay in a good B&B or hotel within very easy walking distance of the north end of Duval Street. If the couple really wants to go to Key West, but should not be driving, then perhaps there is another way for them to get to and from there.

The cruise ships almost invariably unload their passengers first thing in the morning, and the couple should be rested and in fine shape when they arrive. They have three full days, not only two. If they go to Key West, they'd spend the nights of the 7th and 8th there.

For the third night (if they do go to Key West) or for all three nights (if they don't), if I were in their shoes, I'd book one of the finer hotels on the section of Fort Lauderdale Beach which is North of Las Olas Blvd and south of Castillo Street. This section of the beach is in the middle of everything in the beach area, has only one-way traffic between the strip of hotels/bars/restaurants and the beach, and is highly walkable. The hotel concierges should be able to advise regarding local and semi-local attractions, and taxis should be easy to find. If the couple is able to use Uber/Lyft, this is often the best way to conveniently get around in South Florida without a car. This is also only 5-8 miles from Fort Lauderdale airport, so getting to the airport should not be a problem.

I am not a fan of most resorts. They tend to be a bit removed from the most interesting areas, and they, like Las Vegas casinos, really don't want you to leave the premises. So it is easy just getting stuck on-site for three days. Having just been largely confined to a boat and organized excursions for the previous week or two, is this really what they want? I much prefer being in a central area, within walking distance to a lot, and within easy taxi/uber reach to even more. This is the case with the beach strip I mentioned above.

Nearby potentially interesting areas are a strip of Las Olas Blvd a bit further to the west; Lauderdale-by-the-Sea as others have mentioned, Pier 66 and the Marina across from it if you prefer for your yachts to come with helicopters (although the largest yachts may already have headed north by April). Additionally of note: the Water Taxi service (regularly scheduled) which connects the aforementioned Las Olas strip, the main beach area, the Hollywood FL area (including the boardwalk mentioned upthread), and other areas. I have not yet personally taken the Water Taxi, but it might be a nice way to get around as well as to see a bit of the area from the water.

https://watertaxi.com/map/

Additional advantages of beach area: sea breeze (especially in case its a bit on the warm side), and ability to see sunrise over the ocean (either from your hotel room if you pay up, or from the sidewalk or beach across the street).

One more thing: one of the main businesses in South Florida is dealing with old people. I have friends in their seventies who love visiting because it makes them feel so young. If you're a healthy octo- or nonagenerian who might need a bit of extra assistance, it can be a pretty good place to spend some time. At least if you have money. But preferably not during the peak of hurricane season.

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