I love being surprised by a destination and I definitely was by Hollywood, Florida in every possible way. I truly believe it one of the last hidden gems! Hollywood is a city on Florida’s east coast, nestled between Fort Lauderdale and Miami. It is home to 60 parks, 7 golf courses, 7 miles of pristine Caribbean-like beaches, and the one-of-a-kind Hollywood Beach Broadwalk; a promenade that stretches nearly 2.5 miles along the Atlantic Ocean. It could not be more perfect for a family vacation!
How To Get There
We flew direct from Charlotte, North Carolina (CLT) to Fort Lauderdale, Florida (FLL). It was less than a 90 minute flight. You can also easily fly into Miami (MIA) as well, though FLL is the cheaper and easier of the two. We rented a car from the airport, so that we had the freedom to visit all three cities. Take note, if you rent a car at FLL you will have to take a bus to the rental car area. It is not a big deal, but if you have children and a lot of stuff it can be inconvenient.
Where To Stay
There are a myriad of options to choose from, but we had our hearts set on staying at the Hyde Resort & Residences. Just as we were going to book a suite there, we found this resident apartment listed on AirbNb. It was not a sponsored stay.
Hyde is a stylish beach retreat designed for sophisticated travelers seeking an immersive four-star experience. It is important to note, that on TripAdvisor there are hundreds of negative reviews. The two biggest complaints were long elevator waits and poor service. We experienced neither of these issues, however we stayed on the residence side, not the resort side. We had the most amazing time while we were there and before the trip was even over, we were already talking about when we could return.
Our spacious apartment had two bedrooms with direct ocean views, a full gourmet kitchen, washer/dryer, and two full bathrooms. The balcony was the best part, as it had a “million dollar view.” We paid around $300/night and I felt it was worth every penny. There was even a private elevator and umbrella and chairs at the beach waiting for us everyday.
Where To Eat
Upon arrival we were too tired from traveling to venture far, so we went downstairs to the Hyde restaurant, Terrazas. We were not expecting much, but it was so delicious that we ended up dining there two nights in a row (one night we did takeaway and ate from our gorgeous balcony). My Argentinean husband was thrilled that the menu was inspired by food from his homeland. The empanadas are a must.
Across the street from our apartment was an Argentinean bakery called Patagonia Nahuen. I cannot put into words how amazing everything we tasted was. I only wish we had discovered them on our first and not last day there. Make sure to take some of the alfajores home with you!
What To Do
Pool and beach on repeat. The Hyde’s pool area is a destination in and of itself. Think private cabanas and infinity pools. Unlike some luxury properties, we found it to be extremely family-friendly. Access to the beach was just a short walk away. Keep in mind the beach is pretty wavy, so it might not be the best option for babies.
As previously mentioned, a must-visit while vacationing in Hollywood is the infamous Hollywood Beach Broadwalk. Named one of “America’s Best Beach Boardwalks” by Travel + Leisure Magazine, this brick-paved thoroughfare hosts millions of pedestrians every year. The promenade also features the Hollywood Beach Theatre, a children’s water playground at Charnow Park, and many other attractions.
Next time I visit, I will make sure to experience the Downtown Hollywood Mural Project, which is a curation of more than 20 murals on buildings. These images are created by local, national and international artists both enhance and enlighten the visual tapestry of the community.
Download the Sun Shuttle’s Ride Circuit App to hop on and off the free, environmentally-friendly transport around Hollywood: to downtown, along Hollywood Beach, and the Federal Highway.
If you are visiting with children, then you have to spend at least half a day at Flippos. My son still talks about this massive indoor playground! The 10,000 square feet family fun center offers open play, a rock wall, sky trail, laser maze, arcades, and prizes. This is such a great option if you are looking to get out of the sun for a bit.
Where To Shop
A shining enclave for the world’s most discerning shoppers, Bal Harbour is the place to shop ’till you drop. Even if you are only interested in window shopping, you will have three levels of designer stores, fountains galore, and so much greenery surrounding you that you will think you have been transported to a tropical paradise. At least pause and get a cup of coffee and enjoy the moment.
My Favorite Experience
What I truly loved about Hollywood Beach is the location. Most people do not realize how close it is to Miami or Fort Lauderdale (I am talking 10 minutes either direction close). If you will have a car, I highly recommend driving into both towns and exploring them, although you will definitely have enough to do and see in Hollywood alone.
Another unforgettable experience was my time in the Hyde’s spa, Eména. Considered Hollywood’s premier eco-luxury spa, it offers a wide range of treatments, as well as an upscale hair and nail salon. I chose their signature Okeanos Massage, which you cannot find anywhere else in the world. It was life changing and my therapist and I could not have gotten along better!
If you have been to Hollywood Beach and you have any further suggestions or recommendations to add, please leave a comment below!