The Atlantic port of Fort Lauderdale takes in a Venetian network of canals dotted with yachts and lined with marinas. Just 23 miles (37 km) north of Miami, this sophisticated boating city is no longer spring break central for college kids, but a buzzing cosmopolitan base for experiencing the best of Florida.
Day 1: Family Fun
Budding swimmers can paddle safely at the International Swimming Hall of Fame on the Fort Lauderdale beach, with an on-site museum and swim school aquatic complex. Browse the world’s largest indoor and outdoor trash and treasure market, complete with funfair rides and drive-in movies, at the 14-screen Fort Lauderdale Swap Shop and outdoor theater. Step back to the early 20th century at Old Fort Lauderdale Village and Museum, and follow a nature trail through tropical plants at the Bonnet House Museum & Gardens.
Day 2: Out on the Water
Around 7 miles (11 km) of Atlantic beaches stretch from Fort Lauderdale, offering cooling breezes in this tropical climate that averages 85°F (30°C) in summer and a balmy 75°F (25°C) in winter. View the area’s over-the-top millionaires’ mansions from the water on a sightseeing cruise of the port and yacht marina. If there’s one must-do in Fort Lauderdale it’s a dinner cruise aboard the fun and fabulous Jungle Queen Riverboat, for revue entertainment and a nonstop shrimp BBQ buffet.
Day 3: Out and About
Make the most of Miami, just down the road, with the Go Miami Card, packed with Miami, Everglades and Fort Lauderdale tours, attractions and museums. Swamp safaris head off from Fort Lauderdale to visit the traditional home of the Seminole Indians, where you’ll see deer, water buffalo and alligators. For more of nature’s creatures, try Butterfly World and the laidback Flamingo Gardens.