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
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)
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)
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.
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 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.
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)
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)
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)
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
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)
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.