I Went to My Bestie's Hometown For Spring Break—Unconventional Adventures in Ft. Lauderdale

The frigid Boston weather pushed me to book my spring break to a destination full of beaches and temps always above 70 – sunny Fort Lauderdale. Yet, instead of spending every moment partying with sand beneath my feet, I vacationed in a different way.

One of my closest friends at Boston University, Maddie, is actually from Fort Lauderdale. She wasn’t even planning on flying home for spring break until I expressed interest in making plans with her. So, our spring break consisted of her showing me all her favorite places in her hometown.

Maddie and I still went to the beach, of course (and I have the very faint tan lines to prove it), but we steered clear of the mob of spring breakers further down on the beach. I’m sure they were all having fun, but laying on a blanket beside one of my best friends, soaking up the sun, and listening to music from her speaker was the perfect spring break beach experience for me.

We also made a daily trip to the beloved ice cream shop where Maddie worked during high school (and during college breaks). Yes, I ate ice cream every day of the trip, and I am not ashamed, just a little full.

I feel like a “Fort Laudy” local now that I’ve been to all of the secretly amazing restaurants and brunch spots. I just have to develop a Southern accent like Maddie’s dad before I return and I’ll be all set.

I got to experience Fort Lauderdale through a local’s perspective. Maddie constantly recounted stories of her childhood and adolescence to me – learning more about my bestie’s roots was so fun. I could finally see the environment that helped shape her into the woman she is today.

In a way, I felt like I had grown up with her in Fort Lauderdale. Although I loved growing up in New England, I’m kind of jealous of her experience living on the water in a warm location. I definitely felt the laidback, sunny Florida vibes while I was there and I was living for it.

For example, during spring break season, Maddie and all of her high school friends would rush over to the beach after school to try to join the action. When her high school had a fire drill, they walked to the Dairy Queen down the street.

The best part – living in Fort Lauderdale means you live in the “Venice of America,” as the greater city is broken up by more than 300 miles of canals. Maddie actually lives on a canal, where she and all of her neighbors all own a pool and a boat. One night, she said we could’ve driven the boat to dinner to avoid the busy restaurant parking lot if not for the engine that needed repairing.

On my last night there, we stood out on her dock before the day’s sunshine disappeared. Down the canal was a breathtaking view of downtown Fort Lauderdale's buildings. I could’ve stayed there forever.

Photo credit: Noble House Hotel & Resorts

Staying with Maddie’s family was so fun too (and cost-effective). I got the full Florida experience. Her dad made us biscuits and sausage gravy for breakfast one morning and I got to spy on an iguana laying underneath her banana tree out back all the time.

I highly recommend doing spring break with a friend in their hometown – you get an entirely different experience from everyone else. I also recommend traveling to Fort Lauderdale, but you must remember to take in the beauty of the place and its secret gems in order to truly enjoy your vacation.

My spring break was full of making lifelong memories with one of my best friends and I wouldn’t change a minute of it. Miss you already, Fort Laudy.


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