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Fort Lauderdale is a city on Florida’s southeastern coast, known for its beaches and boating canals. The Strip is a promenade running along oceanside highway A1A. It’s lined with upscale outdoor restaurants, bars, boutiques and luxury hotels. Other attractions include the International Swimming Hall of Fame, with pools and a museum of memorabilia, and Hugh Taylor Birch State Park, featuring trails and a lagoon.

Sunny, tropical Fort Lauderdale is all about water: the Atlantic Ocean, International Waterways, canals and rivers. H20 seems to almost surround you.

It’s relaxation, it’s inspiration, Everyday life seems to revolve around it, and it’s a big part of the city’s casual, low-key atmosphere.

The Atlantic Ocean, of course, is why most visitors head south to this popular beach front destination between ritzy Palm Beach and Sexy Miami Beach. More than 7 miles of warm, golden sand beaches separated the ocean from scenic coastal route SR A1AS. Hotel. restaurants and bars both swanky and not so, are neighbors to shops selling everything from designer wear to touristy souvenirs. Wide in most parts the beach accommodation sunbathers volleyball matches, beachcombers, surfers and kids flying kites.

Fort_LauderdaleA 2 miles long section of the city’s ocean coastline is fronted by a pedestrian promenade and what locals call the “wavewall,” a flowing, serpentine wall cut by decorative entranceway to the beach and water. A fiber-optic lighting system embedded in the sun retreats. The palm-lined promenade is well-used by joggers, incline skaters and couples out for a beach front stroll, and the iconic wall is a Fort Lauderdale landmark. An interesting sidenote-the beach front renovation that resulted in the creation of the wavewall and promenade was begun after colege students, who had wreaked spring break havoc on Fort Lauderdale for more than 20 years, tool their beer and wet T-shirt contests and departed for other sunny climes.

What to see

African-America Research Library and Cultural Center, focuses on the African-American experience through an expansive collection of art, artifacts, books and documents. Tours: Guided tours are available.

Fort_Lauderdale_MuseumsBonnet House Museum & Gardens, is a 35-acre beachfront estate that was the winter home of two artist, Frederic and Evelyn Bartlett. Designed during the 1920s, the plantation-style house features loggias accented with inlaid shellwork and balconies enclosed with lacy wrought iron made in New Orleans. The residence is surrounded by laggoons, gardens, fruit groves, a mangrove jungle and a desert garden planted from seeds collected on the couple’s word travels.

Of note are pieces of artwork decorative accents and hand-painted ceilings created by the Bartletts as well as collection of porcelains, religious figures, furnishing and objects found on the beach. A shell museum and a orchid greenhouse also are on the grounds.

What to do

Sightseeing

Port_Evenglades_Cruise_TerminalDiscovery Cruise Line, departing Port Everglades, offers daylong cruise to Freeoport, Grand Bahama Island, Where, for additional fee, visitors can scuba or snorkel, fish or Golf, or just shop and eat. Food, a  sun deck and swimming pool, casino gambling and entertainment are featured aboard ship. Departure are daily, except select Wednesdays, at 10 a.m., with return arrival at 10:30p.m. United States and Canadian Citizens must carry proof of citizenship, such as a passport or an Alien Registration Receipt Card.

Sighseeing cruise along the Intracoastal Waterway and the New River are available aboard the Water Taxi. The craft also offers transportation to restaurants, hotels, chops and attractions.

Sport and Recreation

Golf_FloridaFort Lauderdale has a public beach and excellent inland and ocean fishing waters. Many species of fish are caught in the “inside” waters. The Everglades and deep-sea fishing rank with the best in Florida. Fishing boats can be rented at Bahia-Mar Yachting Center and Pier 66. Area piers are good sports for fishing; Bait, tackle and food are available.

Boating is another popular sport. There are numerous canals to be explored, and sailing around the barrier islands is a favourite pastime. Most marinas rent boats.

Scuba diving is rewarding along three lines of reefs, where clear water permits views of sea fans, branched coral and tropical fish. many firms offer instruction and rental equipment; consult the telephone directory.

Golf in the area is excellent. Most courses are semiprivate, with play governed by local regulations. Many hotels have agreements allowing guest to play on certain courses; ckeck with your hotel manager

Tennis is popular throughout the area; many hotels and motels have their own courts, Supplementing these are the public courts at Jimmy Evert Tennis Center.

Shopping

In Fort Laudedale (and, indeed, all of Broward County) you van easily find the usual souvenirs typical of a beachside location-T-shirts, beach towels, sea shells and multitude of kitschy items. But you can also hunt for antiques, shop for deals at outlet malls. browse flea markets and search through racks of designer duds at high-end retailers.

Las_Olas_ShopsThe crown jewel of Fort Lauderdale’s shopping scene has to be Las Olas Boulevard. This tony thoroughfare, which runs from Andrews Avenue to the beach front, is and electric mix of shops, restaurant, bars, spas and galleries. The tree-lined boulevard, a perfect spot for strolling and window-shopping, has a charmine Mediterranean ambience that seems to invite you to stop for a latte at a side-walk cafe and engage in some beautiful peoples watching. You can expect to find trendy boutiques stocking the latest fashions, galleries displaying one-of-kind pieces and restaurants that run the gamut from small bistros to well-known chains.  Traffic can be fierce, so park the car (or float in on a water taxi) and head out on foot to explore this Fort Lauderdale gem.

If you idea of shopping, however tends to the more contemporary, a visit to Sawgrass Mill is an absolute must. For sheer size and selection this outlet mall a W. Sunrise Boulevard and Flamingo Road is Sunrise can’t be beat. The sprawling complex has more than 350 name-brand outlets and stores (both indoors and open-air), two food courts, seven restaurants (including The Cheesecake Factory. PF Chang’s and Rainforest Cafe) and entertainment options including a 24-sgreen cinemas; Game Works; and Wannado City a children’s theme park where kids can pretend to be any occupation they chose. You can shop to your heart’s content at such well-known retail icons as Ann Taylor Factory Store, Banana Republic Factory Store, Gap Put;et, JCPenney Outlet Store, J. Crew Factory Store, Levi’s/Dockers Outlet by MOST, Nike Factory Store, Nordstrom Rack, Reebok/Rockport Outlet Store and Saks Fifth Avenue off 5th. Be forewarned, though; as huge as the parking lot is, empty spots can sometimes be difficult to find.

Nightlife

Fort Lauderdale became spring break headquarters following the popularity of the 1960 film “Where the Boys Are” and the Elbo Room, featured in the film, because party central. Though the spring breakers have moved on to other sun-soaked beach locales, the Ebo Room, at 241 S. Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd., remains as popular as ever The raucous bar is a Local institution, a landmark that is home to a seemingly never-ending party. This unpretentious double-decked handout on the corner of Las Olas Boulevard and the Ocean is still packed  with sun-baked revelers-bare-chested guys and girls in bikinis-soaking up cheap beer while enjoying music and million-dollar ocean views. Be forewarned, though: The bar accepts cash only.

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