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South Florida is anything but short on excellent destinations for a staycation, but some spots are just too packed for us locals. We’re going to let you in on a secret, though: Fort Lauderdale is exactly where you should plan your next weekend getaway. With top-notch spa treatments, beach biking, award-winning restaurants and just about everything else you need to relax and disconnect, we’re jetting north ASAP—and you should too. Here’s your guide to getting away from it all.

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ft lauderdale bonnet house
Courtesy of the Bonnet House

What to Do

You’re here to relax, so we’re instructing you to do just that. First up is a next-level spa treatment at the Ritz-Carlton Fort Lauderdale. We’re eyeing the Intuitive Ocean experience, which includes a full-body scrub and mud wrap, followed by a calming massage. Then make it a point to explore the shoreline with a bike ride. There are cycle rentals along the beach—and if you’re staying at a local hotel, there’s a good chance they offer their own. Besides lounging on the beach (which is an absolute must), spend a few hours wandering the Bonnet House. This historic Fort Lauderdale home, which dates back to the 1920s, is surrounded by one of the most beautiful orchid gardens we’ve ever seen. It’s the kind of place where you’ll want to spend the entire afternoon…or maybe even move in. (Hey, a girl can dream, right?)

ft lauderdale steak 954
Courtesy of Steak 954

Where to Dine

Looking for the meal of a lifetime? Yeah, so are we. Good thing Steak 954 has been a staple of Fort Lauderdale Beach for as long as we can remember. Nothing says vacation like a juicy tomahawk steak with sides of crispy tater tots and pan-fried greens. If you’re in the mood for something laid-back, rustic and just as delicious, head straight to Burlock Coast. They’re pros when it comes to fresh-caught seafood, seasonal veggies and rum cocktails. (Psst: They also have a great brunch.) Otherwise, check out Terra Mare for ocean-to-table beachy eats and El Vez for a funky Mexican vibe.

ft lauderdale hotel room
Courtesy of the Ritz-Carlton Coconut Grove

Where to Stay

Look, you’d be hard-pressed to find a beachy hotel in South Florida that’s not gorgeous. But an experience at the Ritz-Carlton Fort Lauderdale is one for the books. Let’s just say we’re willing to bet your entire feed will think you’re anywhere but Fort Lauderdale. This upscale oceanfront hotel features gorgeous floor-to-ceiling marble bathrooms (hello, home inspo) and bright balconies overlooking the water. If you’re willing to splurge, book your room with club access, which will get you into an exclusive amenities suite with all-day gourmet food and drink service. (Yes, that means you can quite literally drink rosé and nosh on cheese from morning ’til night.) If the Ritz is booked, you can’t go wrong with the W Fort Lauderdale. On the heels of a $55 million renovation, this spot is as chic as it gets.

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