On one bitter cold December day, I stood in the crowded Philadelphia International Airport, getting ready for my first trip to South Florida. Picture lots of thick jackets, long faces, and grey skies.
Once we landed in South Florida and I was welcomed by the palm trees, cool breezes, and sun-kissed beaches, you could’ve told me I was in heaven and I would’ve believed you. From then on, I made it a personal goal to move to South Florida as soon as humanely possible. This was several years ago, and now I’m happy to call South Florida my home and to be a financial planner to families, small businesses, and boaters in the Fort Lauderdale area.
As an East Coast native, I try to never take for granted Florida’s warm weather, beautiful sights, and its flourishing, dedicated boating community. So that’s why I’d like to take a short break from my normal feed of financial planning content with a blog post on something different.
So, ladies and gents, we interrupt our regularly scheduled program to bring you this special blog post on... the top South Florida winter activities for 2019, both on water and on land. Make sure to bookmark your calendars for these. Enjoy!
Festivals & Fairs
From the South Florida Fair in January to the myriad of town festivals (I’m partial to the Delray Affair in Delray Beach and the Bacon and Bourbon Fest in Wellington), there are ample opportunities for daytime fun with family and friends. If that weren’t enough, there are dozens of beer festivals up and down the coast. Bottoms up!
Boat Parades & Boat Shows
December brings a bevy of holiday boat parades, with Winterfest — the “Greatest Show on H2O” — just wrapping up another outstanding show last weekend. We are also in the middle of boat show season, and the Miami International Boat Show is next up. If you are going, shoot me a note and I’ll see you there!
Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science & Pérez Art Museum Miami
The Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science is a state-of-the-art facility, complete with multiple levels of interactive fun for you and your kids. Make a day out of it and visit the neighboring Pérez Art Museum Miami; be sure to have lunch while taking in the spectacular views looking down Government Cut.
Weekends on the Water
Want a relaxing Sunday with friends out on the water? Pack a lunch and motor on over to Lake Boca, Haulover Sandbar, or Peanut Island. You will be greeted with fellow boating enthusiasts throwing anchor and swimming around, “wasting” the day away on the water.
An interactive combination of “Alice in Wonderland” and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden’s NightGarden in Miami is really something to behold. This year, they are introducing an augmented reality challenge as you navigate the sights of the garden. This is definitely worth checking out, but note that it closes for the season January 11.
You can’t make a list of top South Florida sights without mentioning the Keys, and it’s always tough to pick a favorite. Islamorada, though, is a special place for our fishing friends. Known as “The Sportfishing Capital of the World,” you are centrally located for both deep-sea swordfish and backcountry bonefish and tarpon. Don’t forget to stop by Islamorada Brewery & Distillery for my go-to wheat ale, Sandbar Sunday.
Lion Country Safari
Another option for the family is Lion Country Safari, a combination of a drive-through zoo (where you can see rhinos, zebras, ostriches, and, of course, lions) and a walk-through amusement and water park. You can also feed giraffes by hand — and yes, their tongues are indeed blue.
If you are looking for something off the beaten path, the Dry Tortugas is a fantastic option. Located seventy miles west of Key West, this collection of seven small islands is accessible only by boat or seaplane. The views are, quite simply, stunning. Dry Tortugas National Park offers exceptional snorkeling and diving with sweeping coral reefs and marine life. Make sure you spend time at Fort Jefferson, a coastal fortress that used to house criminals during the Civil War.
Polo in the Palm Beaches
South Florida loves its superlatives and titles, from the Yachting Capital of the World (Fort Lauderdale), to the Sportfishing Capital of the World (Islamorada), to the Equestrian Capital of the World (Wellington). For the perfect Sunday experience, I’d recommend spending an afternoon at the International Polo Club Palm Beach in Wellington, Florida, for a polo match. Where else can you sip champagne while divot stomping in your Sunday best?
The Super Bowl returns to South Florida after a ten-year hiatus. While it’s pretty clear the Miami Dolphins won’t be hometown heroes this year, the week leading up to the big game brings lots of activities and events. Whether you try to score tickets or just watch from the comfort of your home, it’s worth checking out the festivities surrounding the big game.
Enjoy South Florida
This isn’t, by any means, an exhaustive list of all the sites, activities, and events that South Florida has to offer. But hopefully it gives you a few solid reasons to take a break from the daily grind and get out and enjoy our little slice of heaven.
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