For most people, planning a vacation can be a real hassle. This is especially true when you have children of varying ages. How on Earth do you figure out a destination, let alone activities, that everyone can agree on and get excited about?

Many families head to Florida because A) it’s sunny and pretty no matter what time of year you go and B) there are TONS of things to do there! And while the theme parks are always a top choice for many, there are other amazing activities for you and the family to enjoy.

One of the best I recommend is swimming with dolphins near Hollywood, Florida!

Why Visit Hollywood, FL?

I just mentioned theme parks so you may have assumed this article was going to be about all of the fun things to do in Orlando. But nope, this is really about all of the cool things you and your loved ones can do in and around Hollywood, Florida!

Most people only know of Hollywood, California. And that’s too bad because Hollywood, Florida has a lot to offer!

For starters, if you love a vacation where you can spend a lot of time sitting at a Blackjack table, Hollywood offers plenty of sparkly casinos to burn through your savings!

Want to take in some live music and dance the night away? Hollywood has plenty of options. They also have a plethora of excellent restaurants.

If you’re traveling with kids, there are fun family activities as well. Weekends are a blast at the Boardwalk where you can bike and rollerblade, or just people watch while eating some ice cream. There are also a lot of street performers and artists selling their creations. Plus there are food trucks, farmer’s markets and awesome beaches.

One of the really great things about Hollywood is it’s only a half hour from Miami. And that means you can easily head to Miami’s Seaquarium to swim with dolphins!

Hollywood FL Beach

Enjoy Swimming with Dolphins Near Hollywood Florida

Without question, Miami’s Seaquarium is one of the top attractions in all of South Florida. People of all ages can spend the afternoon here interacting with all kinds of amazing sea creatures and learn about wildlife rescue. But the most thrilling thing to do here is to swim with the dolphins!

I’ve had the opportunity and immense pleasure of swimming with dolphins in Miami many times, and I can tell you I never stop getting excited about it. I was always one of those people who loved dolphins and dreamt about swimming with them one day.

If you’re like me and you’ll be heading to Hollywood on your next vacation, do yourself and your family a favor and be sure you spend at least one afternoon at Seaquarium swimming with dolphins.

All of their dolphin swim programs start out with a brief educational component where you will learn all about dolphin behavior. There will also be a chance to ask any questions you may have.

After all questions have been answered, you’ll slip into the water and wait for your new dolphin pals to arrive! The first time you experience a dolphin swim up to you… well, you’ll never forget it!

Miami’s Seaquarium offers three distinct dolphin programs.

The Royal Swim program is unique because it allows you to feel the thrill of a foot push. This is where not one but TWO dolphins push you from the soles of your feet. You will truly feel like you are flying!

This program takes place in deeper water so everyone in your party must be at least 8 years-old and a strong swimmer.

The Dolphin Odyssey also takes place in deeper water. You’ll get a chance to experience a handshake, a dorsal pull and much more. Again, you and those in your party should be comfortable in deeper water and strong swimmers.

So what do you do if you have little ones in your party or people who aren’t great swimmers? Sign up for the Dolphin Encounter. There is no swimming involved in this program so it is ideal for young ones. You’ll stand in shallow water as your dolphin splashes in deeper water right in front of you. You’ll get to receive a handshake and learn some fun training signals.

Book Your Dolphin Program

 

Swim with Dolphins near Ft Lauderdale

Miami Seaquarium – Where Dreams Come to Life!

While I definitely think swimming with dolphins should be your priority for this day trip, you should absolutelymake time for other fun. And believe me when I tell you Miami Seaquarium offers lots of different kinds of fun!

Seal Encounter

Seals are just awesome. They have been called the “puppies of the sea” for a good reason. In this program you will get to swim freely with seals, as well as give them a hug.

Shark & Cownose Ray Interaction

Want a little adrenaline rush on your vacation. Then you’ll want to get up-close-and -personal with some nurse sharks and rays. Don’t worry, these animals are very gentle and won’t hurt you. Plus this swim takes place in a beautiful natural mangrove.

Penguin Encounter

There is just something so charming about penguins! You will get the opportunity to immerse yourself into the world of penguins, learn about them and have a memorable and unique, one-on-one interaction with them.

Top of Form

Sea Trek Reef Encounter

This is truly one of the coolest experiences you’ll ever have! You will wear a state-of-the-art dive helmet that allows you to breathe freely, so you can walk around underneath the water feeling right at home and comfortable in the facility’s 300,000-gallon tropical reef. You’ll get to explore and encountertropical fish, sting rays, and a variety of unique sea creatures.

Ocean World also allows you to host birthday parties, anniversaries or any kind of family get-together. Their terrace overlooks the pretty marina and is the absolute perfect spot for entertaining. From here you’ll be able to enjoy one of the most gorgeous sunsets you’ll ever see and all while enjoying music, snacks and a variety of beverages.

As you can tell, Ocean World is a special place. You can have thrills during the day swimming with dolphins and sharks, and then sit back and relax in the evening enjoying a glass of wine, watching the sun set over the marina. And that’s why we know for certain your time at Ocean World will be time you’ll never forget!

Book Your Dolphin & Other Activities

Miami Dolphin Swim

Getting to Miami

As I mentioned, Hollywood, Florid is only about a half hour away from Miami, so getting there will be easy. Here are your basic options:

Rent a Car

If you are flying into Florida,you may want to think about renting a car at the airport. This way you can easily drive to the facility.

Bus

If you don’t want to rent a car, you can always take the bus. Greyhound offers trips between Hollywood and Miami throughout the day with fares typically at around $9 average each way.

Uber/Lyft

For those people who don’t like driving in unfamiliar cities and hate the thought of using public transportation, where the AC may or may not be working that day, you can always hire an Uber or Lyft car. Fares should be reasonable for only a 30 minute trip and if you’re traveling with multiple people, you can each chip in.

Book Your Dolphin Swim in Miami

 

Hollywood Hotels

Accommodations in Hollywood, Florida

South Florida has no shortage of excellent accommodations and Hollywood has some particularly good options. Here are a few I am a personal fan of:

Margaritaville Resort

Yes, this resort was inspired by the lyrics – and the lifestyle – of singer and songwriter Jimmy Buffet. The resort is located on the legendary Hollywood Beach Boardwalk and offers guests an array of excellent amenities as well as a high level of hospitality. Best of all, this place gives you those, “everything is ok” vibes. If you’re looking for an accommodation that will help you just “chill” this is a great option.

This resort has wonderful dining options (both casual and upsscale) and a great bar called the Lone Palm Beach Bar. They also have a lovely spa where you can get some much-needed pampering.

1111 N Ocean Dr, Hollywood, FL 33019
(954) 874-4444

Diplomat Resort

The Diplomat Beach Resort is considered by many as the ultimate South Florida resort by the sea. It has actually been voted one of the top 10 resorts in all of Florida by Condé Nast Reader’s Choice and 4 Diamond rated by AAA.

This resort features a beachside lagoon with infinity pools and private cabanas. There is also a splash zone to keep the kids busy.

As far as dining options, you have 6 on-site fantastic options, and the hotel bar is open daily until 11PM. There is also a 15,000 square foot award-winning spa to get that massage or facial you’ve been dreaming about.

And as if all of that wasn’t enough, you are in the center of it all and next to some of the best shopping Hollywood has to offer!

3555 S Ocean Dr, Hollywood, FL 33019
(954) 602-6000

Hollywood Beach Marriott

Right on the beach and just steps away from the iconic boardwalk, the Hollywood Beach Marriot hotel offers wonderful amenities. As an example, they offer guests use of their bicycles so you can bike to Anne Kolb Nature Center and many nearby shops and entertainment venues.

Of course, if you’ve had a busy day swimming with dolphins and seals, you may want to stay put, and you can because the Marriot offers the Latitudes Restaurant that serves fresh cuisine.

The bottom line is, if you want a great place to stay but one that won’t break your vacation budget, this is an excellent option!

2501 N Ocean Dr, Hollywood, FL 33019
(954) 924-2202

Things to Do in and Around Hollywood

While I definitely think you should make a trip to Miami’s Seaquarium a priority, there are some other really fun things to do in and around Hollywood:

Anne Kolb Park

Anne Kolb was an active environmentalist. One of the things she is best known for is saving this park’s coastal mangrove wetlands from development. Today, the nature center hosts fantastic exhibits and interactive displays. The center is also surrounded by 3 miles of nature trails with a 68 foot observation tower.

The mangrove wetlands is now home to a wide variety of plants and animals, including specific threatened and endangered species. There are boat trails (no motorboats allowed) offering access to excellent sightseeing and fishing.

There is also a cool 200-seat amphitheater for outdoor events.

All-in-all, this is a really special place and I highly recommend you make some time to check it out. It’s great if you are traveling with kids.

751 Sheridan St, Hollywood, FL 33019
(954) 357-5161

Hollywood Dog Beach

I once read a review where a woman called Hollywood Dog Beach “Serotonin Beach” because she said spending time here put her in a really good mood. Boy is she right! If you’ve had to leave your own dogs at home or if you don’t have dogs but wish you did, do yourself a favor and spend some time here. There are literally dogs EVERYHWERE and they are happy to come up to you and say hello.

The beach itself is also really pretty. The water is a clear blue and inviting and there are tons of pretty seashells along the sand.

All-in-all, this is a great destination to spend an afternoon!

4999 N Surf Rd, Hollywood, FL 33019

Le Tub Saloon

This place is great and has been around since 1959. In fact, back then it used to be a Sunoco gas station. The place was closed down in the early 70s because of an energy crisis but then was purchased in 1974.

This restaurant is known for two things:

The first is that it was rebuilt and decorated, painted and landscaped – you name it – by one man and his family. All of the ocean-theme decorations were gathered over a 4 year period when he jogged on Hollywood Beach at daybreak.

The other thing this place is known for is their hamburgers. In fact, in 2006, GC said LeTub had the #1 burger in the ENTIRE country. Not too shabby! Of course, all the food here is really good. There Seafood Gumbo is some of the best I have ever had,

I highly recommend you make time to experience this very special place.

1100 N Ocean Dr, Hollywood, FL 33019
(954) 921-9425

Hollywood Beach

Weather

At the beginning of this article I mentioned how difficult it can be to plan the perfect family vacation. Well, in addition to selecting a destination and activities everyone can agree on, you also have to decide what is the best time to visit. And much of that decision is based on what the weather will be doing.

Now Florida is called the Sunshine State and for good reason: the sun really does shine for most of the year. But rain does happen, and no one wants it to rain when they are on vacation!

Plus, this is South Florida we are talking about. And Hollywood is notorious for having some odd weather. For instance, you can wake up and look outside and it is sunny and not a cloud in the sky. All of a sudden at 2pm there will be a sudden downpour for 15 minutes. Then suddenly, the rain has ended and it is once again sunny and gorgeous.

The other thing about Florida, and especially South Florida, is that it can get super hot and really humid down here. And I mean, the uncomfortable kind of hot and sticky that can ruin a vacation. Unless you plan on spending all of your time at the beach.

So when is an ideal time to visit South Florida?

If you can help it at all, do not plan your vacation for the summertime. It’s just too hot and sticky. Plus there are crowds and everything costs more.

Fall is hurricane season, with August through October being peak hurricane season, so best to avoid these times as well.

The absolute ideal time to visit Florida, especially South Florida, is either in the spring or the winter.

So this is one of the reasons why you’ve got to really plan your trip and book early. Because you’re not the only person trying to come to Florida at the perfect time. So be sure to select your dates and book your plane fares, hotel accommodations, and Seaquarium tickets as soon as you can!

Festivals & More!

I’ve told you about Miami’s Seaquarium and also about some of the great attractions in Hollywood. But there are still so many cool things going on at any given time. From sporting events to festivals, concerts and other outdoor festivities, Hollywood, Florida truly offers something for everyone.

If you want to plan your vacation around any kind of big event or festival that may be going on, you can visit this link to view the activities calendar and get an idea of the fun waiting for you and your family.

Helpful Travel Links

To help you plan your vacation, please visit the following websites, which may offer you information that can help you plan better.

Hollywood Chamber of Commerce

Hollywood, Florida Official Website

Vacations typically only come around once a year, so it’s important that you plan carefully. I have travelled all around Florida and I can tell you that my family and I always have a good time when we visit Hollywood. The beaches are gorgeous, the food is fantastic, and the boardwalk is really fun.And because it is only 30 minutes from Miami, we have no shortages of fun activities.

Be sure you make some time to visit Miami’s Seaquarium to swim with the dolphins. I promise you you and your family will make memories that will last a lifetime!

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