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Choose from different water sports in Fort Lauderdale

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Fort Lauderdale beaches

Reinvented as a family-friendly resort town, Fort Lauderdale's golden sand beaches and Venice-like waterways are the backdrop to this South Florida city's charm of relaxed sophistication.


Fort Lauderdale's 5km (3-mile) strip of pristine sandy beach blends with the urban streetscape of highway AIA known as Beach Boulevard, where open air cafes and bistros overlook waving palms and the sparkling Atlantic. Combine this with kilometres (miles) of lagoons and a city built around winding waterways connected by bridges and water taxis, and you'll understand its appeal to water lovers.

Since the spring break crowd was banned in the 90s, the promenade is a magnet for runners, walkers and cyclists, and the beach is one of Fort Lauderdale's foremost attractions. Energize with kite surfing, waterskiing, scuba diving offshore wrecks, parasailing, and sailboat, jet ski, ocean kayak or power boat rentals and cruises. Fish off the piers at neighbouring Lauderdale-By-The-Sea, Deerfield and Pompano beaches.

Beyond the beach

Cruise America's own Venice on a gondola, or take the inexpensive water taxi for a tour of the hidden lifestyles of the rich and famous. The nearby Everglades offer airboat tours through the swamps, or hiking in waist-high water with nature guides for the more adventurous. Take a one-day or overnight casino boat cruise to the nearby Bahamas, relax on a champagne sunset catamaran cruise, or join one of many sport fishing charters to catch your own dinner. Port Everglades is the second busiest cruise ship port in the world after Miami, and a gateway to the Caribbean.

For something different, visit the Davie Rodeo the fourth Saturday of every month for some Wild West action (4271 Davie Road, Davie). You can catch some major league baseball with the Baltimore Orioles, who move to Fort Lauderdale for spring training, or the Florida Marlins, home based in Miami for the April-September baseball season. Follow the track with horse and greyhound racing in Hallandale Beach or Pompano Park, or ice hockey with the Florida Panthers.

Family fun

Fort Lauderdale offers many activities for kids and families. For a change from the beach, discover the wildlife in the nearby Everglades, Flamingo Gardens and Butterfly World. Try indoor go-karting, numerous boating activities, the Museum of Discovery and Science (401 SW 2nd Street, Fort Lauderdale), the interactive water playground at Paradise Cove (900 North Flamingo Road, Pembroke Pines), or the indoor role-playing theme park at Sawgrass Mills (12801 West Sunrise Boulevard, Sunrise). Swimming with the dolphins in the northern keys is unforgettable, and several tour operators provide transport.

Exploring further

Depart your gateway to the Everglades for an overnight stay in the swamps in a traditional Seminole Chickee hut, or view wildlife aboard a swamp buggy or airboat. A natural coral reef is only 92m (300ft) offshore Fort Lauderdale and perfect for snorkellers. Several horseback riding outfitters offer trail rides, barbecues, and equestrian shows in nearby preserves.

Wings Over Miami Air Museum at the Tamiami Airport (14710 SW 128th Street, Miami) showcases military and classic aircraft, giving visitors a glimpse into the country's early aviation history. Walt Disney World (Orlando) and Cape Canaveral Space Centre (east of Orlando) are a half-day's drive north of Fort Lauderdale, but well worth a visit by kids and adults alike.

For a true laid-back, tropical experience, head south to the Keys, a long chain of narrow tropical reefs edged with mangroves and linked by 42 bridges. They are a paradise for bird watching, deep sea fishing, diving, and boating.

Splashing out

Many opportunities for pampering abound in Fort Lauderdale's exclusive collection of spas, ranging from the newly arrived Elizabeth Arden's Red Door at the Hyatt Regency Bonaventure, 250 Racquet Club Road, Weston, to the Spa Atlantic, The Atlantic Hotel, 601 N Fort Lauderdale Beach Boulevard, where spa treatments are inspired by cocktails served in the hotel's chic Trina Lounge. The Sunfish Grill. 2771 E Atlantic Boulevard, Pompano Beach, has scooped all the ratings with its four-star, inspired seafood culinary experience and excellent wine list.

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