Bonnet House Museum & Gardens#7 in Best Things To Do in Fort Lauderdale
This house sitting between the Intracoastal Waterway and Fort Lauderdale Beach has a long romantic history. In 1919, a wealthy settler gave the 35-acre property (named after the bonnet lily flower that grew on the grounds) as a wedding gift to his daughter Helen and her husband Frederic. In 1920, the newlyeds began construction of Bonnet House, hoping to build a winter getaway where Frederic could pursue his art and Helen could work on her music and poetry. But construction soon stopped when Helen unexpectedly died in 1925. Frederic didn't resume property renovations until 1931 when he married Evelyn Fortune Lilly. The new couple continued decorating the house until Frederic's death. Several decades later in 1983, Evelyn donated the house to the state's Trust for Historic Preservation, opening it to visitors for guided tours.
Previous travelers said Bonnet House has something to keep every type of traveler satisfied: Art lovers, horticulture enthusiasts, animal lovers and history buffs will enjoy this attraction. The plantation home is ornately decorated and filled with artwork (all three residents of the house were artists of some kind), but the estate's grounds are also well worth the visit. The campus is lush and beautiful for a nice walk through nature and even sometimes accompanied by monkeys. However, some noted that not every room in the house has air conditioning, so bring a fan if you're visiting during the summer months.
This property is open Tuesday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Only guided tours are available, which are held seven different times each day. Admission costs $20 for adults, $16 for kids between the ages of 6 and 12, and is free for children younger than 6. If you're only interested in seeing the gardens, admission costs $10 per person. A tram tour of the grounds is also available for $4. The attraction offers free parking in its lot, or you can take the water taxi to stop No. 9. For more information, visit Bonnet House's website.
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#1 Fort Lauderdale Beach
Want a beautiful Florida beach without a crazy party scene? Fort Lauderdale Beach may be just what you're looking for. Here you'll find a calmer and less chaotic version of Miami Beach – but with the same sugary sands and crystal clear water. There are still parties, but you're more likely to find families relaxing or leisurely walking the waterline than raucous groups of college kids. Backing the shoreline, the palm tree-lined promenade bustles with visitors looking to shop and dine in the many establishments along it. There are also beach chair and water sports equipment rentals near the shore.
Recent visitors loved Fort Lauderdale Beach for its wide, expansive shoreline, with some noting that even when there were a lot of people, it didn't feel crowded. Many were also impressed with how clean the beach is, adding that its calm waters make it a great place to bring kids.
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