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Featuring 3,000 miles of gorgeous canals, breathtaking waterfront attractions, and great inlets and bays, Fort Lauderdale in Florida is popularly known as “the Venice of Florida.”
Fort Lauderdale, in Florida, is located in the southeastern part, about 25 miles north of Miami on the Atlantic Coast. The city’s Intracoastal Waterway is a winding hub of beautiful canals with plenty to explore. Boasting 300 miles of waterfront, including canals, navigable waterways, and pristine beaches, Fort Lauderdale also has one of the most extensive canal systems and is the 8th largest in the state.
In addition to that, Fort Lauderdale is also home to over 4,000 restaurants, 12 shopping malls, 130 nightclubs, 16 museums, 100 marinas and 60 golf courses, and 45,000 resident yachts. This is where you will see magnificent yachts of the famous and rich.
Whether you browse boutique shops or stroll down Las Olas Boulevard, relax with a gelato or take an exciting walk in the streets, the possibilities in the Venice of America are endless. Moreover, whether you are a fishing enthusiast, paddle boarder, party boater, or foodie, there are multitudes of ways to dine and play in Greater Fort Lauderdale.
So, if you are planning a trip to Fort Lauderdale and looking for recommendations, I insist on reading this comprehensive to know everything about the Venice of America.
History of Fort Lauderdale, Florida
The town has a fascinating history, beginning in 1836. That year, Seminoles attacked and killed an early settler’s family, “Cooley.” Since the 2nd Seminole War was underway, Major William Lauderdale commanding a group of Tennessee-mounted militiamen, built this fort. However, after the war, the area was abandoned in 1842 and became a “no man’s land” until the 1890s.
In 1893, Frank Stranahan became the first permanent resident and opened an overnight camp for travelers while his wife, Ivy, launched the town’s first school. Later, the couple built another house with a general store that still stands today above the New River Tunnel.
After World War II, the area’s population was still residing in the north and south of the area near the New River. However, beach communities grew rapidly after the war, and in 1960, the movie “Where the Boys Are” was made, making the city an established spring break capital of the US.
Is Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Worth the Visit?
Here are a few reasons why Fort Lauderdale is worth visiting:
Fort Lauderdale’s Quality of Life
There are plenty of reasons why people choose Fort Lauderdale as their full-time residence or to enjoy the season. However, the most significant ones are the beautiful canals, the Intracoastal, and the Atlantic Ocean. In addition to its stunning beauty and semi-tropical climates, Fort Lauderdale is also a vibrant town, boasting restaurants, performing arts centers, live music, and museums.
Moreover, apart from natural beauty, Fort Lauderdale is also an excellent business destination. It has a fantastic quality of life and cultural and healthcare amenities. Unlike Miami’s busy and noisy environment, Fort Lauderdale entices visitors with its unparalleled nightlife opportunities.
Since the city is mainly known for its incredible waterways, many residents live aboard their yachts. What’s more, the town is also home to over 100 marinas and “Blue Wave” certified beaches.
Pristine Beaches of Fort Lauderdale
Six of the town’s beaches, including Deerfield Beach, Dania Beach, Hollywood, Lauderdale-by-the-sea, Pompano Beach, and Fort Lauderdale, are certified “Blue Wave” beaches. These beaches offer an array of outdoor activities, including Ski Rixen – America’s first cable water ski parks, the stunning old-fashioned hamlet, living coral reef systems, and all sorts of water sports and seafood festivals.
In 1988, Ford Lauderdale Beach went through a significant makeover as the local government built the beachfront promenade, turning the spot into a beach-chic destination for spring breakers.
Fort Lauderdale’s Intracoastal Waterway
This is the reason why Fort Lauderdale is known as the “Venice of America.” The Intracoastal Waterway of the city incorporates breathtaking canals, high-end real estate, palm trees, restaurants, hotels, and other attractions. There’s also a water taxi service commute with twelve stops, including Las Olas.
Yachting Capital of the World
If you want to discover the splendid vistas of the Gulf and enjoy while enjoying the beautiful sea wind, there is no better destination than Fort Lauderdale. Also known as the “yachting capital of the world,” the town has some of the most luxurious mega yachts, ferry boats, and large yachts, docking at one of its 100 marinas and sailing along the scenic shoreline and waterways.
Opportunities are endless, whether you plan an introductory yacht excursion or a fancy one. For instance, you can enjoy a ferry boat tour to the riverbank or experience Gondola rides to yachting cruises. Remember that Fort Lauderdale yachting tours run from affordable to ultra-luxurious.
Moreover, if you are itching for a yachting adventure, the Bahia Mar Resort and Yachting Center is among the top marinas. It is a perfect hotel and marina resort that lets you explore a glorious waterfront resort and includes Hilton Hotel’s Double Tree.
Fort Lauderdale’s Investment in Growth
The Venice of America is among the top tourist destinations in Florida. Apart from operating 11 cruise lines from port Everglades, Fort Lauderdale’s economy is mainly centered on the marine and yachting industries. The town also hosts annual boating events like the Lauderdale International Boat show.
Moreover, due to the easy access by train, ship, road, and plane, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, also has its financial district and the honor of securing a place in the “Hundred Best Places to Live and Launch” by CNN/Money.
Kayaking and Paddleboarding
Have you ever wished to glide through stunning waterways at your own pace? Fort Lauderdale, with incredibly navigable waterways, gazing at the green flora, and enjoying the sound of rippling water, is a dream destination for kayakers and paddleboarders of all levels. The city has two fantastic state parks that offer natural kayaking and paddleboarding opportunities within Broward County.
Between the Intracoastal and A1A, you will find Hugh Taylor Birch State Park. It is an excellent destination for a variety of outdoor activities, including camping, hiking, fishing, biking, and more. The park also offers art classes, in case you are interested.
Water Taxis Are Not Uncommon
Fort Lauderdale water taxis, especially Pompano Beach water taxis, are among the most exciting opportunities in the town. These taxis are designated to drive you from hotel to theater, museum to drinks, and shopping to beaches. In simple, regardless of what you want to enjoy, Fort Lauderdale taxis offer an excellent scenic ride.
Moreover, while these taxis are one of the main attractions, you can take narrated tours to explore the area. Water taxis and other transpiration businesses operate from Fort Lauderdale to Miami. Similarly, there are small ships running to the Bahamas. Whether you plan a day excursion or a few days’ trips, the choice is yours.
Furthermore, if you are athletic, you can enjoy kiteboarding and end up driving at a speed you have never imagined in your life.
Shopping Opportunities in Fort Lauderdale
Are you a shopping fanatic? Fort Lauderdale is a perfect destination with an extended range of shopping options. From affordable stores to antiques at the Dania Antique Row, Galleria’s glamorous shopping venues, eclectic vendors, and Las Olas Boulevard, Fort Lauderdale offers everything you can imagine.
Las Olas, in particular, is known to be the city’s heart, featuring many events like Wine Festival, Las Olas Festival, Art Fair, and one-of-a-kind stores. Moreover, it also presents Mediterranean architecture, old-fashioned light posts, and black olive trees that give it a distinctive ambiance.
The Boulevard extends from Andrews Avenue in the Central Business District to Fort Lauderdale Beach, and A1A is an incredible place to explore. Whether day or night, you will see travelers strolling in and out of art galleries, boutiques, nightclubs, restaurants, and live entertainment venues.
Fort Lauderdale’s Must-Go Boat Shows
The water-centric shows in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, invite visitors from across the country to experience the boating lifestyle in Broward County. Plus, for some events, you won’t even have the chance to leave the land. A few must-go events that are held annually include:
Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show (FLIBS)
FLIBS rings the bell every fall and hosts over 100,000 visitors, over 1,000 exhibitors, six miles of docks, and more than 15,000 boats. The Superyacht Village amazes visitors by showing off spectacular 400 feet vessels. Additionally, even if you have no clue about how to tie a bowline, you will still be able to experience a slice of salt life.
Moreover, the Hospitality Lounge, 100-vendor Culinary Experience, informative seminars, and presence of renowned divers, scientists, artists, fashion brands, and conservationists make the event even more enthralling. Whether you plan to spend an afternoon or want to stay for several days, the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show will keep you engaged.
Seminole Hard Rock Winterfest Boat Parade
The event kicks off every year during the holiday season. You will see giant showboats, private boats, and corporate mega-yachts adorned with lights and music when you are there. In addition, there are many spots that let visitors enjoy spectacles along the parade route from the New River to Fort Lauderdale’s Intracoastal Waterway up to Pompano Beach.
Art Fort Lauderdale
The Art Fort Lauderdale event is especially a must-go and refreshing event for art lovers. It allows visitors to acquire their modern masterpieces. The event lasts for four days and is a unique art fair event that transports visitors by water taxi to vacant luxury waterfronts that are temporary homes for the galleries and featured artists.
Regardless of what your mood is or what style you like, there are many ways to enjoy Intracoastal Waterway, the New River, Whiskey Creek, and other places in the Fort Lauderdale area.
Museum of Discovery and Science
If you think the Venice of America is all about navigable waterways, beautiful beaches, and restaurants, you are mistaken. Fort Lauderdale has many other attractions away from the beach that entices visitors. For instance, the museum of discovery and science is an incredible place to explore, especially when traveling with your family and kids.
It is also a great place that offers scholastic eco tours about animals, eco exhibits, and an aviation station. Visitors can gain essential knowledge about Greater Fort Lauderdale’s gifted, rich, wild, and incredible marine life and scenic beauty.
Moreover, the Museum of Discovery and Science also features an Imax theater where you can enjoy a 3D movie. Additionally, you can also experience simulated trips to Mars, an enthralling simulated ride in Everglades, and an airplane flight simulator.
Discover the Spellbinding Flamingo Gardens
Another reason that attracts hundreds of thousands of nature lovers to Fort Lauderdale is its flamingo gardens. Besides having wood storks, alligators, and bears, Fort Lauderdale’s flamingo gardens are one of the most spectacular places to explore.
The garden, situated just 17 miles west of downtown Florida, is a botanical spot and Everglades Wildlife National Refuge straddling over 60 acres. It is home to free-roaming peacocks, majestic Caribbean flamingos, over 3,000 plant species, and native Florida wildlife. Whether you are traveling with family or want to enjoy your honeymoon trip, flamingo gardens are worth exploring.
Experience Hollywood Art Murals
Are you done with your fill of beach activities and want to explore something unique? Taking a stroll down Downtown Fort Lauderdale Street will let you appreciate the fascinating collection of curated outdoor murals of both local and world-renowned artists. These include Evoca1, Tatiana Suarez, The London Police, Rone, Ernesto Marange, Jessy Nite, Kenn Scharf, Logan Hick, and many more.
While this mesmerizing murals project attracts and educates visitors, it also essentially focuses on the enhancement of Fort Lauderdale’s existing cultural fabric.
Explore the Hillsboro Lighthouse Point
Fort Lauderdale, Florida’s Hillsboro Lighthouse Point, is yet another fantastic place. Located ideally between Miami and Palm Beach, the site is easily accessible via boat. The Hillsboro Lighthouse is in a small quaint oceanfront town and offers the picturesque Atlantic as a backdrop.
The tower was built in 1907 and helped ships navigate the Atlantic. Moreover, visitors are welcome to visit its Preservation Society’s Museum, housing an array of equipment and maritime artifacts. Furthermore, if you are looking for a place to get away from crowded beaches, head to the Hillsboro Lighthouse and enjoy your time in tranquility.
Discover the Butterfly World of Fort Lauderdale
Located just half an hour away to the north of the center, Fort Lauderdale’s Butterfly World is another mesmerizing place. It is worth highlighting that the area is the largest butterfly house in the world, with over 200,000 colorful creatures.
Moreover, it is the first indoor butterfly park in the Western Hemisphere and a firm favorite among locals and tourists. The tropical conservatories house a plethora of plant and flower species as well as thousands of gorgeous butterflies flapping to and fro.
Furthermore, the Butterfly World in Fort Lauderdale, Florida is also an astounding aviary and home to lorikeets and hummingbirds. Visitors are welcome to explore its outdoor botanical garden, magnificent museum, and intriguing bug zoo.
That’s all about Fort Lauderdale, Florida – the Venice of America. The city is a popular vacation destination and is mainly famed for its boat tours and green wave beaches. While the coastal city’s warm weather, sun-kissed sands, and pounding nightlife attract thousands of spring breakers, Fort Lauderdale’s tourist attractions are perfect for families and tourists. Whether you want to take a cruise, lounge on the beach, enjoy fun water sports, or admire the Hollywood art murals, the options are unlimited.
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