If you’re looking for a trip that combines beautiful beaches, exotic wildlife and delicious cuisine (especially seafood!), Fort Lauderdale should be on your radar. And if you want to also weave wellness into your vacation, that’s even better. With so many healthy restaurants, beautiful parks and fun fitness options it’s easy to take care of yourself while on vacation.
Fort Lauderdale is home to many great restaurants, especially for those looking to keep their beach body intact. Green Body & Kitchen is one delicious stop, offering grain bowls, fresh salads, “meaty” mains and curative tonics laced with spirulina, coconut oil and acai. Sunday brunch offers comfort options like “Tofu Rancheros” and “Chia Pancakes,” and they even serve up organic wine. Another delicious vegan option: Sublime Restaurant & Bar. Don’t miss their ravioli stuffed with cashew cheese or the veggie rich “Raw Mein” topped with a spicy ginger miso sauce.
Fort Lauderdale is full of yoga studios. Head to Heart & Soul Yoga & Wellness Center to take a yoga or Pilates class before getting a massage from one of their licensed therapists. The Yoga Joint is another great spot, with a schedule of mainly hot yoga fusion classes. For something unique, Sunrise Paddleboards offers yoga-boarding classes where you’ll do your Downward Dogs and Chatarangas floating over coral reefs and tropical fish. They also offer SUP Pilates, as well as two-hour manatee tours where you’ll paddle through jungle to search for manatees, iguanas and sea turtles.
Everglades National Park is only an hour and a half from Fort Lauderdale, making it an easy active day trip destination. Encompassing 2 million acres of wetland, you’ll explore mangroves, pines and orchids to spot wildlife like leatherback turtles, alligators, bottlenose dolphins, and even the endangered Florida panther and West Indian manatee. Along with the numerous walking trails, a fun adventure is kayaking the numerous waterway trails. Head out on the Nine Mile Canoe Trail — a five-mile trail where you cross Nine Mile Pond — with beautiful scenery and opportunities to spot many of the park’s 350 different bird species.
This rooftop spa at the Pelican Grand focuses on Scandinavian treatments, with the option to have your hot stone massage or papaya body polish indoors or outdoors while listening to beach waves. One truly decadent offering is the “Pure Day Package,” where you get a 50-minute customized massage, 50-minute customized facial and 25-minute customized body scrub for $305. After your treatment, chill out on one of the hanging chairs offering aerial views of Fort Lauderdale.
This 180-acre park offers the chance to see what Florida looked like before the population rapidly grew. It showcases giant banyan trees, huge beehives, beaches, tropical gardens, a lovely two-mile trail that loops around the Intracoastal Highway and nature paths with signs telling you indigenous uses of the onsite flora. Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife like birds, lizards and turtles — you’ll even see turtle crossing signs — and peek into the water to see if the manatees are swimming about. There are tons of activities in this park to burn calories and stay active, like cycling, banana boating, paddle boarding, surfing, jet skiing and more via the onsite M. Cruz Rentals.
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Jessica Festa is a full-time travel writer who is always up for an adventure. She enjoys getting lost in new cities and having experiences you don’t read about in guidebooks. Some of her favorite travel experiences have been teaching English in Thailand, trekking her way through South America, backpacking Europe solo, road tripping through Australia and doing orphanage work in Ghana. You can follow her adventures on her travel websites, Epicure & Culture and Jessie On A Journey. You can also connect with Jessica directly on Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus, or follow her epicurean adventures on Facebook and Twitter.
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