Holidays in Fort Lauderdale

By: Terry Hely

Copyright (c) 2008 Terry Hely

Located in the middle of 23 miles (37 km) of popular beachfront and 300 miles (480 km) of navigable waterways, Fort Lauderdale has the title of "The Venice of America". The shoreline to the north of Fort Lauderdale has been named the Gold Coast, being a reference to Spanish treasure ships that ran aground along this stretch of coast.

Fort Lauderdale has beautiful wide beaches lined with up-market shops, restaurants and a variety of hotels and condominiums. Intermixed with shopping malls and a trendy town center is a landscape of beaches, parks, golf courses and tennis courts.

As Fort Lauderdale continues to develop, so does its near neighbors. Hallandale Beach, once a small, oceanfront town now has a skyline dominated by condominiums and resort developments. The fast developing Hollywood is now a area of 1.5 million people made up of many different ethnic backgrounds.

Port Everglades is Florida's deepest harbor and second only to Miami for the number of cruise passengers passing through the port terminal. Most cruises from this port are bound for the Caribbean, Bahamas, Mexico and Latin America, although several casino day cruises operate from this port.

** Fort Lauderdale Vacation Highlights

Fort Lauderdale lies at the center of more than 50 golf courses, making the area a popular vacation destination for keen golfers. Sometimes referred to as the "Yachting Capital of the World," Fort Lauderdale provides great opportunities to cruise or sail along the Intracoastal Waterway and on the open ocean.

The waters around Fort Lauderdale are rated by scuba divers as amongst the best in North America, having excellent water temperatures and visibility and a diverse array of fish and marine life. There is a natural off-shore reef plus 81 man-made artificial reefs and 18 major shipwreck sites. Jupiter has a dive site onto a 17th century wreck.

All types of fishing are popular in and around Fort Lauderdale, including drift-boat fishing, deep-sea charters or simply casting a line from the pier. The International Game Fish Association World Fishing Center is an angler's heaven, being a combined museum, library and park with virtual-reality simulations.

The historic Bonnet House and estate provides a glimpse of Florida history. The spacious two-story waterfront mansion and surrounding gardens was the home of Evelyn Bartlett, the wife of acclaimed artist Frederic Clay Bartlett. Stranahan House is typical of "Florida Frontier" architecture and is Fort Lauderdale's oldest standing structure, dating back to 1901.

A popular visitor attraction is the paddle wheel steamer dinner cruises and sightseeing tours that take visitors past Old Fort Lauderdale, the new downtown and Millionaires' Row.

** Fort Lauderdale Transport

The area is serviced by the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport with carriers such as Air Canada, Air Tran, American Airlines, Continental and Delta. Several budget airlines also operate from this airport. Numerous shuttle bus services provide door-to-door connections and the local city bus service has routes that include the airport. Amtrak, the USA train system, has stations at Fort Lauderdale and Hollywood.

Tri Rail is the southern Florida commuter train that connects all the major centers from North Palm Beach to Miami and all cities in between. Broward County Transit (BCT) operates a community bus service that runs throughout Fort Lauderdale and the surrounding areas.

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