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Why Your Family Will Love Florida's Hollywood

TravelPulse logo TravelPulse 6/11/2019 Emily Krause
a beach with a palm tree: palm trees, beach, Broadwalk, Hollywood Florida © Emily Krause palm trees, beach, Broadwalk, Hollywood Florida

When most people hear the word Hollywood they immediately think of the Los Angeles neighborhood that is the epicenter of the entertainment business.

But the other Hollywood, Florida’s Hollywood, is an artistic coastal city between Fort Lauderdale and Miami that makes the perfect destination for a family vacation.

A few weekends ago my two older kids and I hopped in the car and road-tripped down the coast to see how Hollywood would compare to other beach towns up and down the Florida coast.

A Welcome Stay in Hollywood

Our hotel of choice in Hollywood is the Diplomat Beach Resort, part of Hilton’s Curio Collection. I love that it’s slightly removed from the tourist hotspots of Hollywood Beach and the downtown area, but there's still plenty to do. You're also just a short drive away from the action, so you're not missing out on anything.

From the moment I walked in the door with my kids, I felt instantly welcome. The concierge passed us in the hallway and ushered us over to her desk so the kids could pick a prize from the treasure box. That set the tone for the whole weekend. I could instantly relax knowing we were staying at a resort that values families.

The Diplomat’s lobby exudes beach-chic elegance with palm trees stretching toward the soaring glass ceiling, greenery everywhere and pops of turquoise and coral on the wicker and wood furniture. In other words, it’s gorgeous, but not uninviting for families with young kids.

Our corner suite was bright and modern with plenty of space to eat, sleep and play with kids. In fact, we often grabbed a quick meal from Geoffrey Zakarian’s lobby café, Counter Point, to eat on our balcony overlooking the pool area and the Atlantic Ocean.

As most parents of little ones will note, it’s easier to spread out in your room than try to get kids to mind their manners in a restaurant at the end of a long travel day. The one experience that drew us out of our room was the splendid Sunday brunch at Point Royal, another Geoffrey Zakarian creation.

The highlight of our weekend at the Diplomat was spending a day at the pool. With both a lagoon and heated infinity pool, plus a splash pad and water slide area for kids, you’ll find plenty of ways to occupy yourselves. You can seek shelter from the hot afternoon sun in a poolside cabana, or grab a bite to eat and a refreshing beverage at Playa, the poolside bar and grill.

Don’t forget to wander over to the beach area where shovels, pails and sand toys await the Diplomat’s youngest guests in the shade of umbrellas. Finish your day at the pool with ice cream from Candy & Cones.

What to Do in Hollywood

Though it was tempting to spend our entire weekend poolside, I knew exploring the city of Hollywood would be well worth our time. If you’re somewhat uncomfortable navigating new cities via car, then you’ll love Hollywood. We made use of the $1 trolley to get around, but that will, unfortunately, have its final day of operation on June 30, 2019.

Another option for getting around town is the brand new and completely free Sun Shuttle system. You can download the app and request a ride in one of the electric shuttles. They go to most hotels in the area, Hollywood Beach, and historic downtown Hollywood. Just be aware that it’s still a relatively small fleet of vehicles, so you’re not guaranteed a ride. Have Uber or Lyft downloaded on your phone as a backup option!

We began our adventure by exploring the Hollywood Broadwalk. The Broadwalk is a brick-paved promenade along the Atlantic Ocean that spans 2.5 miles. You’ll see souvenir shops, restaurants, hotels, ice cream parlors and parks along your stroll.

The kids found plenty to do and see, including stopping to watch the brave souls trying out Margaritaville’s FlowRider surf machine, which is visible to passers-by. We grabbed some lemonade and ice cream and alternated between people watching and staring at the ocean and swaying palm trees.

My only suggestion would be to hit the Broadwalk earlier in the day rather than the afternoon when the sun gets almost unbearably hot if you’re not swimming.

Art and Culture in Downtown Hollywood

Once you’ve had your fill of beach vibes, catch a ride to historic downtown Hollywood. If it’s art you’re looking for, you’ll find it at every turn. Hollywood is home to a vibrant community of artists, and you can see their work both inside museums and even on the very walls of the community.

Check out the Art and Culture Center of Hollywood for modern art and theater or wander the streets of Hollywood in search of the many murals adorning the walls. If you want more a guided experience you can join the ArtWalk which takes place every third Saturday of the month.

Kids will enjoy ArtsPark at Young Circle. There is a playground and splash pad where kids can let their energy out. You can also amble along the pathways and admire the fountain and foliage. The park hosts events like movie night and food trucks on different days of the week, so check the schedule before you go!

Take a Day Trip

Because of its convenient location in South Florida, Hollywood is also a great place to stay because of its convenience to Miami and Fort Lauderdale.

If you’re visiting for a longer period of time, it’s worthwhile to plan a day trip to one or both cities for more family fun.

Even if day trips aren’t your style, Hollywood is a great place to stay and play, no matter what age your children are. With sun, sand, art, great food and easy transportation you’ll have no problem filling your days with memories you’ll treasure for years to come.

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