Three hundred miles of navigable inland waterways and long, lovely beaches make Greater Fort Lauderdale a place of light and shimmering reflections, where blue waters kiss the sky. If you’re out to make memories with a significant someone, you’ll love the always-on-holiday atmosphere, with sunshine-yellow water taxis ready to whisk you around. Factor in top-class shopping, drinking, dining and nightlife, and you’re onto a winner.
Lined with boutique stores, bistros and bars and featuring the fresh-thinking NSU Art Museum
, Las Olas is Greater Fort Lauderdale’s most happening street. Its main focus is the ten-block stretch leading inland from the Intracoastal Waterway, home to luxury yachts and swanky waterside apartments. Grab a sidewalk table at Sweet Nectar
for alfresco people-watching over Eggs Benedict with grilled asparagus and bottomless rose mimosas, and you’ll feel like a billion dollars. If you’re a night owl, you’ll want to return after dark to soak up the club and bar scene.
John Wellmeyer / EyeEm via Getty Images
Whether you love the way you both look in your swimming gear or you simply want to enjoy some healthy ocean air, head for the shore. Greater Fort Lauderdale has 23 miles of beaches that have won the Blue Wave certification for promoting cleanliness, safety and healthy lifestyles. Try Fort Lauderdale Beach for its attractive landscaping, or Deerfield Beach – mystical at sunrise, sparkling by day and gorgeous at twilight. Just remember the Blue Wave Ethics, from ‘Leave no Trace’ to ‘Respect the Ocean’, and your squeeze will love you for your soul, too.
Flickr CC-BY Herb Neufeld
Broward County’s most upscale mall, The Galleria at Fort Lauderdale
, makes big brand browsing elegant and fun. But what if you’d like to give your shopping a little local pizzazz? Store-hopping by Water Taxi
will do the trick. From Stop 9, near the mall, cruise to Stop 8 at Beach Place for Fort Lauderdale’s best oceanfront boutiques, then continue to Stop 3 or Stop 4 for Las Olas Boulevard. Your Water Taxi ticket gets you discounts at numerous stores, bars and restaurants along the route.
Rafael Paulucci via Getty Images
Did you know that Florida has a Hollywood? Join the locals for a run or a bike ride along Hollywood Broadwalk (yes, Broadwalk, not Boardwalk), enjoying the bright and breezy Atlantic views and pausing for coffee or frozen daiquiris when you’re ready for a break. Or just purr along the palm-lined beach boulevards in a fabulous convertible – top down, stereo on. Smooth.
In Greater Fort Lauderdale, brewing is considered a culinary art. Need proof? Then head for the Culinary Arts District in downtown Oakland Park to sample the Funky Buddha Brewery
’s range of hand-crafted beers, featuring originals such as Pineapple Beach and Maple Bacon Coffee Porter. There’s been quite a buzz around Oakland Park’s urban regeneration project in recent years, and there’s live music outside City Hall, a two-minute walk away, on the fourth Thursday evening of each month.
Greater Fort Lauderdale has over 4,000 restaurants, so how on earth do you choose? Soft breezes and ocean views make Casablanca Café
on Fort Lauderdale Beach a perfect setting for dinner à deux
. The menu features luscious American and Mediterranean style seafood and meat dishes. You really must, as they say, remember this.
Greater Fort Lauderdale is interlaced with canals, their smooth waters delightful to paddle. In the daytime, Middle River offers views of glamorous waterside properties and the occasional glimpse of wildlife such as herons and manatees. If you’re feeling adventurous, book a full moon kayaking tour of Hugh Taylor Birch State Park with Park and Ocean
– it’ll give your evening out a sprinkle of natural magic.
British Airways launch direct flights from the UK to Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport on 6 July 2017.