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Florida Guide > Travelling

Fort Lauderdale - The Venice of America

When we visit our villa in Orlando, Florida we sometimes finish off our trip by picking up a cruise from Fort Lauderdale. It is a quick and easy drive to and from Orlando, via the Florida Turnpike, and we enjoy the beautiful beaches and wonderful malls. Although we love everything about Orlando, it is sometimes nice to end our visit with a trip to Fort Lauderdale, which is a very different experience.

Fort Lauderdale is located 23 miles north of Miami and 42 miles south of Palm Beach. It is the seventh largest city in Florida, and is often referred to as the ‘Venice of America’, due to its myriad of beautiful inland waterways. Less frenetic than Miami, Fort Lauderdale offers a more laid back experience, with an emphasis on beaches, sailing, fishing, dining and chilling out. Bordered by the azure blue waters of the Atlantic, it has 23 miles of pristine beaches which have earned the Blue Wave award for their cleanliness and facilities.

Whilst the beach is central to life in Ft. Lauderdale, the scenic Everglades are never far away. It is one of the most desirable of locations, and has attracted many rich people to its shores, including actor Lee Majors, singer David Cassidy, one of the Partridge Family, Marilyn Manson, and the tennis player, Chris Evert, who was born here in 1954.

It has an enviable semi-tropical climate, which benefits from over 3, 000 hours of sunshine each year. It abounds with cultural, educational and entertainment amenities, and offers many opportunities for recreation and relaxation. There are museums and art galleries as well as shopping malls and a wonderful Boardwalk. It has a population of nearly 190, 000 and covers an area of more than 33 square miles.

Fort Lauderdale is home to one of the world’s busiest cruise ports, Port Everglades, which is the deepest harbour in Florida. It holds the record for the most cruise passengers in a single day when over 44, 000 passengers passed through the port. Annually, nearly 4 million passengers embark and disembark here, and it is the third busiest cruise port in the world. It has attracted 35 cruise ships, including those owned by such cruise lines as Princess, Holland America, Costa, Crystal, Cunard, Carnival, Celebrity, Radisson and Royal Caribbean International.

Fort Lauderdale also boasts an International Airport, which is close to Port Everglades, being only 2 miles away. This makes it an ideal location for those embarking on a cruise. Shuttles run from the airport to Port Everglades, and there are increasing numbers of internal and international flights using this busy airport. Amongst the airlines flying international routes are Air Canada, and Thomsonfly, but United Airlines, American Airlines, US Airways, Delta, Continental and North West have connecting flights from many major American airports.

A little further East of Fort Lauderdale is Lauderdale-By-The-Sea, an attractive seaside village on a barrier island. With pelicans flying overhead, beautiful soft sands, and an official underwater archaeological preserve within 100 yards of the beach, which is a great place for scuba-diving. The SS Copenhagen was an 18th century steamer which sank in 1900, and it attracts a myriad of fish, making it ideal for those who enjoy.

There are certainly plenty of things to do if you are in the area. As well as wonderful shopping malls like Sawgrass Mills and the Aventura Mall there are fantastic beaches. On top of this you can experience everything from Everglades tours to Butterfly World, from Flamingo Gardens and the Botanical Collection to the Seminole Indian Village and Museum, from glass bottomed boats and snorkelling tours to Speedboat adventures and riverboat cruises on a paddle boat.

One thing is for sure, you will never be bored.

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Page added on: 1 January 2008
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