The Beach And Beyond: A Guide To Fort Lauderdale, FL
The first thing that comes into your head when you think about Florida is probably the beach. Lazy days spent lounging seaside with an overloaded cooler and friends to your left and right. Fort Lauderdale will likely spark similar images, as it should. Most people do not realize how close Fort Lauderdale is to Miami, around 30 or so miles; but these two cities are vastly different, yet similar all the same. Tourism is king in both areas for good reason and the beach is a major draw for residents and visitors alike. Still, there is just something special about Fort Lauderdale and anyone who has visited this wonderful city probably knows the beach is just the beginning. Because there are so many things to enjoy, a road trip to the Fort is never a bad idea even if you have been here a dozen times before or never at all.
As beautiful and irresistible as they are, Fort Lauderdale’s beaches attract an endless number of tourists each year looking to get the perfect tan or just escape the cold for a while. Once they arrive, most visitors are drawn to the ocean and unable to break away from its grip for most of their trip. This is what Florida is all about and most people that visit probably are not normally able to enjoy year-round nice weather or the comforts of pristine beaches. Enjoy, my friends, but know that Fort Lauderdale offers many things to do and see beyond the beach.
One cool place to check out is the Fort Lauderdale Riverwalk near downtown. A solid variety of bars, restaurants, and shops are at your disposal in this classy yet chill area. On a side note, the river portion of the Riverwalk is deceptively small, no larger than an oversized canal, but you will be amazed at the size of the vessels that traverse this passage en route to or from the Atlantic Ocean. Stop in and have a drink or snack at a waterfront bar and watch as the yachts that cost probably a hundred times more than your college education cruise by. The waterway is especially busy on the weekends for those of you who really dig nice boats.
Just to name a few attractions, the Riverwalk area is home to the Fort Lauderdale Museum of Art, the Museum of Science and Discovery, historical buildings and markers, and several parks to relax in when you need a break from exploring. As always, a little pre-trip research will go a long way and be sure to check out the Riverwalk’s website for maps and details. In addition, parking in the Riverwalk area is not normally a problem but is also not free. Most areas in Fort Lauderdale have metered parking almost everywhere- literally everywhere! Thus said, you will probably not have a problem finding a parking spot but you will most assuredly have to pay for it. No worries though, just scratch some change together and enjoy.
If you enjoy walking, leave the car parked in the same spot (check for time restrictions, though) and take Las Olas Boulevard east from the Riverwalk over to the Las Olas area for some more restaurant, bar, and shopping choices. Reward yourself for not driving by having a drink at any of the curbside cafes. This is also a great opportunity to people watch or just enjoy the weather. Shopping fans will love the eclectic variety of boutiques lining Las Olas Boulevard, but beware of the prices.
When the call of the beach is too much to handle, get back in the car and drive the two miles to the beach. Let Fort Lauderdale amaze you with its attractions, beaches, and how close they all are to each other. On top of this, there is never a bad time of the year to visit. The heat and humidity of the summer are easily corrected with a dip in the ocean followed by a cold beer. Subtract a few degrees and the humidity and you have the other three “seasons” in Fort Lauderdale. So road trip it to the Fort, fellow travelers, and know that there is much to do beyond the beach.
By: Gordon Alford