Fort Lauderdale – The Venice of America
The name Fort Lauderdale refers both to the city of the same name and, more generally, to the greater area that surrounds it. With over 42,000 yachts moored at its 100-plus marinas, the city’s elaborate canal system and seafaring nature has contributed to it being nicknamed the “Venice of America.” Spring Break, the annual university/college holiday period, traditionally has its spiritual home in Fort Lauderdale. Thousands of thirsty students descend on the area for fun and frivolity during this time, although the city has made a deliberate attempt in recent years to attract a slightly older and more reserved clientele. The beaches are Fort Lauderdale’s premier attraction, and The Strip, located near the downtown area, is the most famous of these beaches. In addition to sunbathers, the beach appeals to cyclists, early morning joggers, water sports enthusiasts and people-watchers. You can wander around the marinas and spot some of the extravagant luxury yachts that are berthed and maintained here. If you do feel like something different, there is shopping galore, with numerous malls, including the Sawgrass Mills mega mall, one of the country’s largest shopping outlets. For night owls, Fort Lauderdale comes alive in the evenings, with a wide range of restaurants and bars to suit every budget and interest. In particular, the Downtown/Old Town area and The Strip are home to some lively nightlife, live music and great food. Most flights to Fort Lauderdale arrive at the Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport, located only two miles (three kilometres) from the city centre. There are many cheap flights to Fort Lauderdale, thanks to the large number of discount airlines that fly here, particularly during the high season, and the airport serves as a hub for several American airlines. Most flights to the region from Europe, however, arrive at Miami International Airport, located 25 miles (40 kilometres) away from Fort Lauderdale. There are many hotels in Fort Lauderdale, particularly in the downtown area, which has seen a renaissance of sorts in the past decade, as well as near the beaches of course. Make sure too book in advance for the Spring Break time period, though you should have no trouble finding a suitable hotel at any other time of the year.