The Venice of America – Fort Lauderdale, FL | Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Why leave one big seaside town to visit another? Because variety is the spice of life. And with many affordable direct flights from Myrtle Beach to South Florida, any time of year is a great time to visit the tropical splendor that is so unique to Florida.

Fort Lauderdale, Florida has been a famous destination for travelers around the world for decades. Its white sand beaches, aquamarine water, temperate climate, tourist friendliness and typically tropical ecosystems make it a quick and otherworldly getaway from the Grand Strand. How fast? You can get to Fort Lauderdale (FLL) nonstop from Myrtle Beach (MYR) in about an hour and 45 minutes – faster than you would need to get to Florence or Charleston by car. If you are a dedicated road warrior, the journey takes just over 10 hours. Are you looking for another access option? Amtrak offers travelers a 15-hour train ride from Florence to Fort Lauderdale on its Silver Meteor, with private but expensive sleeping car accommodations.

Why Fort Lauderdale?

Aside from the aforementioned beaches and eerily beautiful water, this part of Florida’s coastline is different from the night and day of the Grand Strand. As a billionaire’s playground and mid-size city, just 30 minutes north of another famous Florida city, Miami, Fort Lauderdale has been dubbed the “Yachting Capital of the World”. The hundreds of mega-yachts that inhabit Fort Lauderdale, some of which are over 300 feet long and valued at over $ 30 million, are easy to see and admire via the multiple water taxis that carry tourists and tourists alike. inhabitants of a bar. to the next along many miles of canals and the New River. Want to take a closer look? The 62nd annual Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show (October 27-31) will last five days and will welcome approximately 125,000 visitors to explore and buy from hundreds of yachts and boats of all sizes.

Another nickname, “Venice of America”, is part of the city’s official seal. The city has some 165 miles of inland waterways (300 miles in the greater metropolitan area), filled with boats as small as kayaks and canoes to jet skis, ski boats, cruisers and sailboats to yachts for which the city is so famous for. On the banks of these canals you’ll find jaw-dropping little bungalows and mega-mansions, many of which are owned by the world’s richest, like the late Blockbuster founder Wayne Huizenga, whose 21,000-square-foot mansion, 10 rooms and 18 baths recently went on sale at $ 27 million.

Major city shopping is available in the area, and a little further south of Miami, international playboys and playgirls have made the area their home and playground for the Hollywood jet-set elite and the billionaire snowbirds that migrate south every winter.

The greater Broward County metropolitan area has nearly 2 million people and easily that many tourists in peak season, but getting around isn’t very difficult. All the rideshare companies, Uber and Lyft drivers, and taxis compete for your fares, and a strong city bus and rental car company covers most of the rest of your transportation needs. A cyclist’s paradise, you won’t find a hill while cruising the plains, and bikes are easy to hire. Even the waterways are bustling with private and public boat traffic.

Cruise

Although the Caribbean cruise ship industry is headquartered north of Fort Lauderdale, near the Space Coast, countless public water taxis ply the inland waterways with boat captains acting as tour guides, reporting areas and attractions of interest. The hop on, hop off day ticket (around $ 30) allows for the most fun, with frequent stops at favorite restaurants and bars, some of which are right across from Fort Lauderdale beaches, as well as stops in the trendy Las Olas restaurant district and the Galleria shopping center. Most water taxis also sell beer, wine, soft drinks, and snacks. Plus, tour boats, guided historical excursions, and sea excursions are all readily available. Several sailing schools offer instruction from beginners to experienced sailors.

To fish!

Local fishermen know that it can take two to three hours or more to reach the Gulf Stream from points along the Grand Strand. This fish-rich, 45-mile-wide, fast-flowing warm water river is so close to the southern Florida coast (16-20 miles away), you can sometimes see it from the top of your hotel and the reach by boat in 20-30 minutes. This makes South Florida a haven for sport anglers.

Fort Lauderdale and the surrounding coastal towns offer hundreds of fishing charters for the serious angler looking for trophies or the casual athlete looking for a day on the water and some fish stories to take home.

Where to stay

As you can imagine, like the Grand Strand, Fort Lauderdale has grown to accommodate the millions of tourists who visit year round. Airbnb, VRBO, and dozens of top booking sites will help you strike the perfect balance between your most requested amenities, from luxury beachfront and ocean-view hotel rentals to quaint budget bungalows just a few steps away. minutes drive to anything you could possibly want to see or do.

Roll the dice

At the Seminole Hard Rock Casino Resort, just 10 miles from Fort Lauderdale, rooms cost an average of $ 230 to $ 400 per night (sometimes more), along with packages that include spa and dining options. During your visit, Lady Luck may or may not oversee the heart and center of the resort, a giant Vegas-style casino. Don’t want to waste your hard earned money? Instead, spend it on the 26,000 square foot boardwalk, which features shopping of the highest caliber. Three waterfront areas provide poolside relaxation, and guests enjoy entertainment at an on-site comedy club, a theater with a capacity of 7,000 people (comedian Bill Burr performs here August 28), nightclubs, bars and lounges. The iconic guitar-shaped hotel with a light show reaching 20,000 feet into the night sky is the centerpiece of this adult playground.

Natural beauty

Maybe multi-million dollar yachts, celebrity mansions, fishing charters, and high-stakes gambling aren’t your thing. In this case, Fort Lauderdale has some beautifully scenic parks and natural recreation areas throughout the city that reflect the flora and fauna of the region.

For a particularly scenic ride, be sure to visit Hugh Taylor Birch State Park, where exotic birds and fantastic plants and flowers stimulate the senses.

To eat

In the greater Fort Lauderdale area, you’ll find a huge variety of delicious food, including blue-collar Primanti Bros., which serves Pittsburgh-style sandwiches, as well as fine steakhouses, seafood dives and all the points. intermediaries. You’re also so close to Little Havana, about 45 minutes from Miami, so be sure to visit during the day for an authentic taste of Cuban food and culture. Fort Lauderdale proper also has half a dozen highly rated Cuban restaurants.

So there’s your Getaway plan: fast and cheap flights, plenty to do and see, and customizable vacations to suit almost any budget. Consider opting for the three-night stay, Saturday through Tuesday, using Spirit Airlines’ standard schedule. In my experience in May, flights leave MYR early, around 7am, arriving in FLL around 8.45am, giving you a full day of vacation on the day you travel. Flights typically leave FLL late (around 6:30 p.m.), leaving most of your return travel day open for a final full day of Florida fun.

We’ve barely scratched the surface in describing this unique Florida city and its many tropical charms, quaint beauty and glitzy nightlife.

Life is short, travels often.

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