Florida Guide > Places to Visit
All about Fort Lauderdale
Fort Lauderdale is a popular tourist destination on the Atlantic coast, 23 miles north of Miami. Originally it got its name after a series of forts built by the United States during the Seminole War. Nowadays it is sometimes referred to the “Venice of America” because of its expansive and intricate canal system. (You can even take a gondola ride on the canals! ) Amazingly Fort Lauderdale and the surrounding area is home to 4, 100 restaurants and 120 nightclubs!
Fort Lauderdale was first developed in the 1920’s but the economy took a downturn during the Great Depression of the 1930s. During World War II it became a major US base and a Naval Air Station where pilots, radar operators and fir control operators learned their skills.
Visitors can enjoy seven miles of beaches as well as the tropical climate which varies little throughout the year - from 75 degrees farenheight in January to 90 degrees in the height of the summer. Fort Lauderdale is proud of its Blue Wave beaches and follows the ethics this involves: leave no rubbish, walk run or swim (ie move your body! ), don’t tread on the dunes (where animals such as turtles might be), know your limit (be safe if you swim, surf or boat), you are what you eat (eat healthy seafood), feed your mind (read a book) and respect the ocean (especially the tides and storms). This helps keeps their beaches safe.
Sea turtles visit their home beaches along the beaches of Fort Lauderdale from May thru September to lay eggs. If you are interested in sea turtles there are various programmes visitors can participate in. The Museum of Discovery and Science run a ‘Moonlight, Sea Turtles and You! ’ guided walk every Tuesday – Thursday in June and July from 9pm until 1am. This starts with a hands-on session about various types of turtles and contines on the beach to the nesting grounds. Conditions permitting you’ll see a 400 pound Loggerhead sea turtle venture out of the ocean to lay her eggs. This walk can be one to two miles. John U Lloyd Beach State Park also has information on sea turtles and rangers give talks, as well as facilities for kayaking, swimming and picknicking, whilst the Anne Kilb Nature Centre at West Lake Park also features talks on the sea turtles.
Amazingly Fort Lauderdale celebrates is centennial in March 2011 and the City plans to have events and activities that celebrate Fort Lauderdale’s past, present and future. Look out for more information as its announced.
Other nearby beaches watch beautiful sunrises on Deefield Beach, to the north. Here Ski Rixen can be found – one of America’s first cable water ski parks. The cable system pulls you silently over the water without a boat! If this is too strenuous try beach volleyball or why not build a sandcastle on the beach. Other beaches include Hillsboro Beach with views of its lighthouse as well as turtle nesting. Pompano Beach has an annual seafood festival and fishing rodeo whilst Lauderdale by the Sea is a half mile wide hamlet with an old fashioned feel. Dania Beach is home to what some think are some of the prettiest and least crowded stretches of ocean in Great Fort Lauderdale. It has a striking fishing pier where you can dine and enjoy panoramic views and tasty seafood just caught out of the ocean. Hollywood Beach has a boardwalk which runs for two and a half miles where tourists stroll along on foot or hop on a bike. There’s also a ‘dog’ beach where the film ‘Marley & Me’ was filmed here. At the southern end of Great Fort Lauderdale is Hallandale Beach with many outdoor sports – golf, swimming, boating and salt water fishing. It’s also home to a ' racinos' - Gulfstream Park Racing and Casino, home of thoroughbred horseracing and the Florida Derby and the Mardi Gras Racetrack and Gaming Centre.
So if you’re looking for great beaches, or shopping on Las Olas Boulevard browsing the many independent boutiques, Fort Lauderdale makes an exciting place to visit.
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