For over twenty years it has been my favorite place to seek a reprieve from the harsh New Jersey winters or just the occasional unwelcome bout of ennui. Like so many of its legions of visitors, I have been a fevered moth flocking to the flames of excitement that is Fort Lauderdale to leave bone chilling temperatures and my cares behind.
Known as the Venice of the East Coast for its abundance of canals, it's been a spring break mecca for decades though it is its supermarket-like offerings of things to do that has made it an ideal place to either bring the entire family, escape with that special someone or take some time just to hang out with yourself. Dubbed Paradise's Playground Headquarters, it's main means of access, (the long stretch of highway A1A extending about six miles from Oakland Park Boulevard to Sunrise Boulevard also known as 'The Strip'), is it's official Command Central. A stroll down this buffet of entertainment means having your pick of an eclectic mix of restaurants, clothing boutiques and outdoor cafes on one side and a healthy portion of the Atlantic Ocean (aproned by powdery sand beaches dotted with jet ski rental booths, para-sailing stands, fishing piers, snorkeling coves and just pastures of beach perfect for sunbathing on the other.
The Strip with it's unlimited array of activities of which to (or not to) partake, tops my list of recommended Day-cation locations.
Rent a bicycle or scooter by the hour or for the entire day and spend the afternoon pedaling along to broad scenic roadway to wherever your interests take you. Rentals are generally from start at about $5 per hour, $12 per day, or $36 per week.
International Bike Shop: 954-764-8800
Downtown Bicycles: 954-763-6974
Florida Bicycle: 954-763-6974
Fort Lauderdale Duck Tours
17 S Ft. Lauderdale Beach Boulevard #220
Ft. Lauderdale, Fl 33316
Hop aboard this famous amphibious vehicle for an approximately two hour long land and sea tour of The Strip, Las Olas, the historical districts as well as mega mansions, yachts and celebrity hide aways along Millionaire's Row.
219 S Ft. Lauderdale Beach Boulevard
Ft. Lauderdale, Fl 33304
Located just steps across from the Ocean many flock to the venue known for it bar offerings, live music and entertainment on the weekends that is as much of a draw as the traditional American menu.
601 N. Ft. Lauderdale Beach
Fort Lauderdale, Fl 33304
It is the classic mix of international cuisine and the extraordinary views is what makes this a restaurant a local as well as national favorite. Located in the Atlantic it offers a worldly sophisticated ambiance, it is the perfect place to enjoy a late dinner. Dress is "dressy casual".
The Gallery at Beach Place
17 S Fort Lauderdale Beach Boulevard
Ft. Lauderdale, Fl 33304
Take a jaunt over to the place where retail therapy translates to shopping while listening to the sights and sounds of the ocean at this courtyard style open air mall facing the calming Atlantic, located on the West side of Ft. Lauderdale Beach.
- Next to the Hagen Das Ice Creamery there are at times free programs for children.
- The retail clothing store Black House White Market offers a great value coupon at their website.
- Avoid parking in Beach Place as they can charge up to $12 per day. It is much more cost effective to park across the street near the water taxi stop. Just south on A1A you may be able to find parking for as little as $1 per hour.
- From time to time you can catch a movie at the entrance to the Marriott Beach times Square section.
On the Strip:
Summer weather: Sunny with highs consistently at around 80 to 90 degrees. Be prepared for an occasional afternoon thunderstorm though they usually lasts only minutes.
What Hot: Newly opened B Ocean Ft. Lauderdale Resort features 240 rooms with white leather-front furniture, either a 37or 42 inch LCD television and an infinity edge pool. The hotel also offers a separate package featuring cooking lessons with its Chef Holli Ugalde.
Join in the year long celebration of Ft. Lauderdale's 100th anniversary with a slew of out door festival, grand-opening and celebrations. Go to www.ci.ftlaud.fl.us/press-releases/2011.com for a comprehensive list on all the must see and must do events.