Travel: Sun Direct: Hollywood, Florida
Why: Just over a year old, the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino is already
making South Florida feel like Vegas, boasting the state’s largest gambling playland and nightlife hot enough to draw folks from nearby Boca Raton and Fort Lauderdale.
Where to stay: The Hard Rock Hotel is one part music museum and one part luxury resort, complete with a full-service spa and dining options ranging from budget to indulgent. When you book, ask for a view of the 4.5-acre lagoon pool (866-502-7529; seminolehardrockhollywood.com).
Where to eat: In the hotel complex, the cowboy-cut rib eye and broiled lobster at Council Oak are king-size must-trys (954-327-7501). Outside in Paradise, Tatu’s Asian fusion dishes and chic dining room decor make for a great start to a night out (954-583-1499).
What to do: Check out the alligator wrestlers at the Seminole Okalee Indian Village & Museum (954-797-5560), or sign up for one of Aqua Sports’ offsite excursions, which include a dolphin swim and a champagne sunset cruise (954-797-2418). At night, catch headliners like Tony Bennett or Bruce Springsteen at the 5,500-seat Hard Rock Live arena. Among the many bars outside the casino, nothing draws a crowd like Tequila Ranch, where a mechanical bull and its mischievous handlers invite tipsy patrons to take a spin (954-556-7430).
Getting there: Fly direct from Philly to Fort Lauderdale, and with just a 10-minute cab ride to the resort, you could be lounging in less than four hours.