Fort Lauderdale, FL
Sand, Sun and Surf Activities and Attractions
Fort Lauderdale, Florida, is located in Broward County on the Eastern Coast of the South Florida area. It is comprised of a city on the mainland and a section of beachfront as well. The Fort Lauderdale Metro area is a large land mass composed of many suburbs of Fort Lauderdale proper, mainly residential communities. Home to 152,397 permanent residents as of the 2000 Census, Fort Lauderdale is the county seat of Broward County. During the winter season the population grows significantly. Many retirees have chosen Fort Lauderdale’s mainland section for their retirement home.
Fort Lauderdale shares an International Airport with Hollywood, Florida, but it is located in Fort Lauderdale. The Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport provides a gateway to the entire world. Ground access is via the Interstate 95 corridor which runs right down the middle of Fort Lauderdale’s mainland area. Florida’s Turnpike is another choice for ground access, passing through the Fort Lauderdale suburbs with two exits taking you directly into Fort Lauderdale proper or straight to the Fort Lauderdale beachside. Long-distance bus services such as Greyhound provide daily service to Fort Lauderdale. Water access is available via the Atlantic Ocean or the Inter-Coastal Waterway.
Lodging ranges from the finest beachfront resorts and hotels to small locally owned and operated hotels and motels on the beach or mainland. Dining, whether beachside or on the mainland, includes choices ranging from 5-star restaurants all the way to the small open-air snack shops. Once Fort Lauderdale was better known as “Fort Liquordale” because of the Spring Break party crowd and the weekend warriors who loved to party all night on the beachfront nightclub strip. In recent years, Fort Lauderdale has become a more family oriented area, but there is still plenty of nightlife available.
The seven miles of beaches along Fort Lauderdale are wide and bright white. Parking is metered, but readily available along Atlantic Avenue. No businesses or homes are allowed to be built to the east of Atlantic Avenue, only on the west side, providing a clear beach vista. No glass is allowed on Fort Lauderdale’s sandy beaches, so be prepared when beach-going. There is a hefty fine if you are caught in possession of glass containers on the sand!
With 185 miles of waterways, Fort Lauderdale is a water sports Mecca. The largest yacht basin in the nation is located in Fort Lauderdale. You can see why Fort Lauderdale is known as “The Venice of the Americas”.
Hugh Taylor Birch State Recreational Area is a huge State Park providing camping, RV parking, and cabin rentals. Canoeing, nature trails, group camping, picnics, beach fun and fishing are all available in the Birch Recreational Area. Located right in Fort Lauderdale, there is easy access to the beaches and city.
The Department of Parks and Recreation lists information on over 80 city parks in the area. These range from small neighborhood parks to larger attraction-like parks. Covering over 942 total acres, some of the parks even allow your pets to visit provided you follow the leash laws. Fishing, boating, skiing, day cruises, riverboat tour trips, jet skiing, snorkeling, diving and every other type of water sport is available in Fort Lauderdale. Not known for its great surfing, you will often see skim boards, wake boards, and body boards in the water.
Culture and museums abound in Fort Lauderdale. The Broward Center for Performing Arts hosts many events. The Museum of Science and Discovery is a not-to-be-missed stop. My Jewish Discovery Place focuses on the Jewish background of many residents. Young at Art is an art museum for children, or anyone young at heart. Bonnet House Museum and Gardens includes a wonderful tropical garden tour, or you could visit Butterfly World which includes a garden tour and educational information and species identification of the multitude of butterflies residing in the complex. The Museum of Art, Graves Museum of Archeology and Natural History, Fort Lauderdale Antique Car Museum, Old Fort Lauderdale Village and Museum, Wray Botanical Gardens and Flamingo Gardens complete the list of some of the best known cultural spots in the area. There are many others to be found as well.
Located between the Turnpike and I-95, you will find the area’s largest swap shop/flea market combined with a circus that is open 7 days-a-week. This huge, free attraction provides carnival rides, clowns, and the fun of a circus along with the excitement of finding a real bargain among the swap and flea market wares offered for sale.
Located to the west of Fort Lauderdale on the Big Cypress Seminole Indian Reservation is the Ahtathki Museum (pronounced Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki which is Seminole for “to learn”) complex which showcases the history of the Seminole nation. Walk through a Seminole village, view native arts and crafts being handmade as well as completed crafts on display, learn about Florida history, and take the 1-1/2 mile boardwalk nature trail walk through the swamp. This cultural location is a true learning experience you shouldn’t miss.
As if that weren’t enough, you can golf, rent watercraft, travel to nearby Everglades National Park, and much, much more. When you visit Fort Lauderdale, if you are bored, it is simply because you choose to be bored. There are always many things happening in Fort Lauderdale for people of all ages and interests.
The Chamber of Commerce serving Fort Lauderdale.
Nearby cities to check for activities and attractions: Miami, West Palm Beach, Hollywood, Pompano Beach and Lighthouse Point.
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