Fort Lauderdale – The Venice of America!

Most of our short vacations are planned on a whim and 8/10 times the cities we have ended up going to in the past year were in Florida. We love the sunshine state and its gorgeous palm fringed beaches with welcoming azure waters. Thanks to its close proximity to Georgia, Florida has off late turned into our quick getaway destination!

I have been to 6 cities in Florida and out of all of them, Fort Lauderdale is by far my favorite. Apart from gorgeous beaches, you will also find innumerable lakes, lagoons and canals at every nook and corner. This ‘Venice of America’ apparently has around 165 miles of canals and waterways. But unlike Venice, this city isn’t sinking! 😛

Having visited Fort Lauderdale thrice already, I have gotten quite acquainted with the in’s and out’s of this city and the cities surrounding it – Miami, Weston, Sunrise, etc. I will not talk in detail about Miami since I have a dedicated post coming up for it. But will still include bits and bobs about places you can visit in and around Fort Lauderdale and the cities within driving distance from it. It might help you get a great perspective on the city and kick start your vacation planning to visit the Venice of America! 😀

WHERE TO STAY?

Each time we visit Ft Lauderdale, we stay at the Bonaventure Resort and Spa. It’s technically situated in Weston but we still stay there since it’s only a few minutes drive to the husband’s work place and also to Ft Lauderdale city. The experience of staying in this resort is wonderful. The suites in Bonaventure are so big that it’s actually a mini apartment with a living room, kitchen, bedroom, 1.5 bath and has every possible amenities one would need. We absolutely loved the view of the lagoon from our room. I would just sit in front of the water for hours and read a book or just listen to music and look at the ducks. It was absolutely amazing! 

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The resort also has a huge golf course, a spa, a huge pool with a poolside bar and couple of waterfalls, 2 other mini pools and lots of waterbodies around the area. It’s a great place to stay and we highly recommend you to stay there the next time you are in the area!

GETTING AROUND THE CITY

We have either driven our own car or have gotten a rental car every time we have visited Fort Lauderdale. It’s the easiest way to get around the city. If rental cars are not your thing, you can definitely try the Broward County Transit buses or the sun trolley which is either free or costs 50 cents per ticket at the most. The last and probably the most used mode of transportation that you can use is of course an Uber or a Lyft.:D

WHERE TO EAT?

Finding a place to eat is mostly never a problem in America since you have your Chipotles and Subways at every nook and corner of the city. On one of our mornings there, we had breakfast in a small restaurant by the beach called ‘Kisses from Italy’. As vegetarians, finding good food is quite a hassle but this restaurant was vegetarian friendly with some great options. It’s a nice place if you want to grab a quick bite to eat or want to have some coffee and breakfast. Depending on what cuisine you like, you can also find lots of other great lunch and dinner options by the beach with amazing views. There’s definitely something for everybody! 

WHERE TO SHOP?

 Every major city has the usual run-of-the-mill shopping malls that you can find all over the country. I don’t see the point of mentioning the names of those below. I will only talk about places that I feel are slightly different and unique…
 
Las Olas Boulevard:
 
The Las Olas boulevard is a beautiful tree-lined area interlaced with canals and waterfront shops & restaurants. It is situated in the heart of Fort Lauderdale. You will find a lot of small and local businesses and stores here and thankfully not the chain retail stores that we see all over America. We loved exploring this place. You can just sit by the canal and look at the boats and yachts cruising by and grab a bite to eat whilst at it. You can also board your Venice of America cruise from here. We loved this place. It has a very calm and relaxed vibe to it and is a definite must visit!
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Waterways next to Las Olas Boulevard
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Floating Tiki Bar near Las Olas Boulevard
Gallery at Beach Place:
 
This is another beachfront entertainment destination in Fort Lauderdale beach. It has a blend of shopping and dining options along with lots of live performances and events happening throughout the day. It is only a few blocks from Las Olas Boulevard and you can get here through a water taxi as well.
Gallery at Beach Place
 
Sawgrass Mills: 
 
Sawgrass Mills (technically situated in Sunrise) is the 9th largest mall in America! It is so huge that you can actually get lost here. It was only a few minutes drive from our resort and hence we found ourselves exploring this mall a lot more than we wanted to. You can find every possible brand here along with a lot of high end and luxury outlet stores. Someone told me that many people actually come here from South America and various other places only to shop. They come empty handed (without any luggage), shop as much as they want, buy a couple of suitcases in the end and fill them up and leave! 😀 How cool is that? No hassles of trying to fit your newly shopped items in your already overweight luggage! I’m definitely doing the same next time! tongue
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The entrance of Sawgrass Mills

THINGS TO DO & PLACES TO SEE:

    • Cruise along the winding waterways and canals to experience the “Venice of America” by taking a cruise with the same name.
    • Stroll along the pier in Fort Lauderdale Beach.
    • Explore the Everglades National Park – which is home to numerous endangered species like Florida Panther, West Indian Manatee and the American Crocodile.
    • Visit the Bonnet House Museum & Gardens.
    • Explore the beautiful waterfront area in Las Olas Boulevard.
    • Pay a visit to Butterfly World.
    • Hike along the various trails in the Hugh Taylor Birch State Park.
    • Visit the Museum of Art.
    • Shop till you drop at Aventura Mall (Miami) and Sawgrass Mills (Sunrise).
    • Visit Miami (it’s only an hour away)
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The place where the waterways & canals connect to the Atlantic Ocean

That’s about it. I hope you enjoyed your virtual tour of Miami’s little sister aka Fort Lauderdale. If you have been to Fort Lauderdale before, do share your favorite spots below. I would love to know! happy

Until next time…


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