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Fort Lauderdale - Florida

Highlights

Fort Lauderdale has long been a beach destination for families and the spring break crowd. After some very rowdy years of spring break activity, the city took measures to calm down the annual rites, and many of the college students have taken off for other beaches.

Spring break is still observed, but with a different group of more gentil revelers. In making recent improvements, the city has new walkways and impressive landscaping -- complementing the restaurants and shops that line the beachfront.

 Where to Stay | Where to Eat

What to See & Do

Shopping is a major activity, for tourists and residents. This is one of the wealthiest cities in the United States, with opulent homes lining the many canals. Fort Lauderdale has many interesting places to eat. It's also the departure point for many Caribbean cruises.

The Ft. Lauderdale area includes several towns, spread along the shoreline. To the north is Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, a quiet area without the hubbub of the main beaches. Pompano Beach is between Deerfield Beach and the main city. The most famous beach is in Ft. Lauderdale. To the south is Hollywood Beach -- with its Broadwalk and an informal ambiance.

On the Water

Fort Lauderdale is a great place to bring your boat. There is a huge network of canals and waterways to explore, and even if you don't have your own boat, you can take a tour of the area on several guided excursions. These include the Sea Screamer, which offers a good tour of the waterways in Fort Lauderdale and Pompano Beach. You'll find it at the Sands Harbor Marina, on the east side of the Intracoastal Waterway. For info, call (954) 566-9697.

You can also take the Water Taxi, which will pick you up and take you where you want to go: to beaches, resorts, shopping areas, and more. A round trip costs only $15 and gives you a good look at the waterside attractions. For information, call (954) 467-6677.

The Jungle Queen is a river boat that provides cruises on the Intracoastal and the New River. Dinner cruises are available as well as daytime excursions. The boat leaves from the Bahia Mar Yacht Basin, 801 Seabreeze Blvd. (954) 462-5596

Looking at Nature

The Annie Kolb Nature Center and Marina offers tour of the large mangrove forest wetland. You can take a boat tour, or fish off the pier on the Intracoastal waterway, or paddle a canoe through the mangroves. It's open from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., at 751 Sheridan Street, in Hollywood. (954) 926-2410.

Check out the nearby coral reefs on a 2-hour tour on glass bottom boats that depart from Bahia Mar (on Hwy. A1A). The tour lasts about two hours, and snorkeling is also available. For info, call (954) 467-6030.

You can get the Everglades experience by taking one of several airboat tours. Everglades Holiday Park, on Griffin Road, offers guided tours, plus camping, fishing, and picnics. You can rent boats here. (954) 434-8111. For a different kind of Everglades adventure, drive an hour west via Interstate 75 to the Big Cypress Reservation and the Billie Swamp Safari, for tours in swamp buggies. There's lots of nature to see here, including alligators. (941) 983-6101.

While more artificial than the natural environment of the coral reefs or the Everglades, Lion Country Safari offers a good family adventure. You drive your car through this wildlife park, with more than a thousand free-ranging animals. It's at 2003 Lion Country Safari Road, in Loxahatchee. (561) 793-1084. Also here is an amusement park called Safari World. It includes a petting zoo, boat tour, paddleboats, miniature golf, and more of the usual family fun stuff.

There's a wonderful subtropical garden at Bonnet House, at 900 North Birch Road. This 35-acre estate offers tours of the mansion and grounds.

Power Shopping

There is no lack of interesting places to shop. Beach Place is a collection of shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues on the main beach on South Atlantic Boulevard, in Ft. Lauderdale. Beach Place includes the Marriot Towers. Worth Avenue, in wealthy Palm Beach (North of Deerfield Beach), has the best group of upscale boutiques in South Florida. While you're there, explore the Palm Beach Outlets, at 5700 Okeechobee Blvd, ff Interstate 95,in West Palm Beach. The Galleria is a large shopping mall with a movie complex, close to many of the Ft. Lauderdale hotels.

Pompano Square is a large indoor shopping mall on Federal Highway, in Pompano Beach. Antique shoppers should head straight to Dania and the Antique District, along U.S. Hwy 1, south of Ft Lauderdale.  

Where to Eat

Seafood

Seafood World (4602 North Federal Hwy, Lighthouse Point) is open for lunch and dinner, serving a variety of fresh seafood. (954) 942-0740

15th Street Fisheries is located on the Intracoastal Waterway, at 1900 S.E. 15th Street, in Fort Lauderdale. This is also a lunch and dinner place, with an ever changing menu including fish and shellfish, including gamefish dishes. Info and reservations: (954) 763-2777

The Rustic Inn is exactly that. Newspapers have replaced tablecloths, and the restaurant serves informal seafood dishes, including their trademark garlic crabs. (954) 584-1637

Informal Dining

H2O, at 32 East Las Olas Blvd. in Ft. Lauderdale, is a very popular restaurant, with pizza baked in wood burning ovens, plus seafood, pasta dishes, and much more. Prices are reasonable. (954) 760-7500.

Bootlegger, on the eat side of the Oakland Park Bridge, on the Intracoastal, serves up the same type of cuisine as H2O, but maybe with a little less flair. Menu items include pizza, salads, sandwiches, ribs, chicken and steak. Open for lunch and dinner. (954) 563-4337

East City Grill, at 505 North Atlantic Ave., is a beachside restaurant specializing in modern fresh cuisine. This is an extremely popular place so reservation should be made early in the day. (954) 565-5569.

Steaks & Barbecue

Shula's on the Beach is a restaurant owned by the former Marlins Football Coach, Don Shula. It specializes in steaks. For reservations, call (954) 355-4000.

Tom Jenkin's is a popular barbecue place, at 1236 South Federal Hwy. in Fort Lauderdale. Info: (954) 522-5046.

Mexican

Eduardo de San Angel is a fine Mexican restaurant with superior ambiance and excellent food. It's at 2822 East Commercial Blvd. in Fort Lauderdale. Reservations: (954) 722-4731

Baja Café serves tasty enchiladas, burritos, tacos, and fajitas - the standard Mexican dishes. It's located at 3327 East Oakland Park. Blvd., in Ft. Lauderdale. Info: (954) 563-7110

Italian

Café Martorano is a small, cozy Italian restaurant, open daily except Sunday. It's at 3343 East Oakland Park Blvd., in Fort Lauderdale. No reservations are taken. Info: (954) 561-2554

Il Tartufo is a larger and more sophisticated restaurant, serving great pasta dishes plus other house specialties including seafood and meat dishes. It's open for lunch during the winter season, with dinner served throughout the year. You'll find it at 2400 East Las Olas Blvd., in Fort Lauderdale. Info and reservations: (954) 767-9190.

Atmosphere and More

Churchill's Restaurant and Pub has four separate dining room with distinctive themes: Charles Dickens Pub, Medieval Room, Victorian Room, and the Churchill Room. The restaurant offers cigar rooms. You should reserve early for a table in this popular place, and jackets are required. Reservations suggested. It's at 10076 Griffin Road, Cooper City. Reservations: (954) 680-0226.

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