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In Fort Lauderdale you 'Stay' in Miami you 'Play' -
well, 'play' awhile then 'stay' awhile in Fort Lauderdale which is now becoming
the sophisticated 'sister' to Miami's 'wilder' side - whether you are a 'snow
bird' or just a tourist looking for sun, this is the place to be.
Fort Lauderdale is called the Venice of USA due to its
beautiful Water Canals that meander through this lovely city. Many people
miss this amazing coast line as they jet in and jet off or jet in and sail off
from Port Everglades which is the third busiest port in America.
Cruise ships come and go to the Caribbean or South America so the area is
very transient - but stay awhile if you can and enjoy the ‘American Dream’
that can be found in the beautiful, sunny south area of Fort Lauderdale. No
'Fort or Castles' in sight but lots of feelings of the good life, the sun is
shining and people look fit and healthy.
We flew into Fort Lauderdale and even though this is an
International Airport, be prepared to wait to go through customs. Take
some water and some comfortable shoes, it may be a shortish wait or an
exceptionally long wait!, so be prepared. Once you are through take a
taxi or your transport to your hotel. The taxis are plentiful and cost approximately
$20 to get down town. Try to share with other passengers to keep the cost
down, just ask around people are very friendly after a long wait. Our
hotel was the Best Western Oceanside, a well-positioned hotel with a short walk
to the beach, a beautiful room and comfortable beds. The breakfast area
is situated overlooking the pool, which is very pleasant and the breakfast was
very good; walk out of the hotel to the right and a short walk take you to the
beach area. No evening meal is provided at this hotel but just along the
road is a lovely place to eat and they do have a 'happy hour'! Whichever
hotel you choose, Fort Lauderdale has an abundance of hotels and boutiques that
are of a high standard. Ask the concierge at your hotel for lots of information
and depending on how much time you have I am sure you will not be disappointed.
A long stretch of white, sandy beach with seating and picnic
areas greets you, people jogging, walking or picnicing all add to the life
style of a sunny state. Fort Lauderdale has something for everyone,
you can shop 'till you drop!!! Wonderful malls that have inexpensive
shops - watch out for cruise ship staff as this is a 'mecca' for a bargain.
This canal-laced city has been renovated and renewed with upmarket
restaurants that have replaced fast food stands and T-shirt shops. For
shopping dining and nightlife go to Las Olas Riverfront or go to Hollywood
Beach - yes, Hollywood which lies on the southern end of Fort Lauderdale with
Dania Beach or take a trip to the Everglades for a touch of 'wild life'. There is a lot to do and see in the area. Cruise around the city's
water channels, with the convenience of hopping on and off, on the Fort
Lauderdale water taxi. Whether you are in the mood for shopping on Las
Olas Boulevard, sipping a drink at a cafe or merely for up for some
sightseeing, jump on the water taxi. The cost is $21 for seniors.
Sit back and enjoy seaside mansions, restaurants and extravagant yachts
as your captain talks about the sights seen along the way. If you have
only a limited time in Fort Lauderdale or more time then one of the other
transport ways to get around is to go on the Sun Trolley - this is a 'Wave
Down' service, which mean you see the bus and you 'wave' it down - the bus will
stop and for $1 you can go a distance but for $3 you can have an all-day pass -
The beauty of Fort Lauderdale is that not only is it a
really good base to stay but a good area to visit other interesting places on
the east coast. Visit lively Miami - a day trip can cost around $75 and
it will take you to South Beach with its art deco buildings and 'beautiful
people' parading along Collins Avenue. Restaurants which can be rather
expensive greet you and tempt you to sit down to eat lovely food - check the
prices before you sit down. The trip takes you to Little Havana and
through the busy international commercial areas, a good trip if you are on a
tight schedule. Visit the Everglades see the alligators and go on a air
boat - travelling at speed along the swamps, but keep your hands in the boat!!
- you never know what is lurking in the muddy waters!!
'Playing' in Miami, with enormous cocktails and beautiful
people is fun but I would rather 'Stay' in Fort Lauderdale with its feel good
factor and a touch of 'normality', it feels like a place to call home and
165,000 people cannot be wrong. Relax in the sun, eat, drink play golf,
go fishing, go shopping, don't just fly in and sail out it is definitely
an excellent place to' Stay Awhile' and enjoy.
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