Fort Lauderdale Travel Guide

USA  #11 in Best Places to Visit in January
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Fort Lauderdale Area Map

Neighborhoods

Located in Broward County, about 30 miles north of Miami, beach-centric Fort Lauderdale sits on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. The area's also home to several museums, shopping districts and places to get up close and personal with nature.

Fort Lauderdale's city center is situated around the New River's banks. The area is home to the Museum of Discovery and Science, the Broward Center for the Performing Arts and the NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale, plus the scenic Riverwalk, a paved waterfront path lined with restaurants, bars and exercise stations. Las Olas Boulevard, which cuts east to west through the middle of the city, is another hot spot that's packed full of dining options.

The main draw of this neighborhood is Fort Lauderdale Beach's pristine sands and water, but other shores, such as Las Olas Beach and Fort Lauderdale Beach Park, can be found in Central Beach as well. The area is also where you'll find the Bonnet House Museum & Gardens and the bulk of the city's hotels and resorts. Just north of the region sits Hugh Taylor Birch State Park's entrance.

Similar to Miami's Star Island (but much larger), Las Olas Isles is the city's most exclusive neighborhood. Mega-mansions reside on small islands in a stretch known as Millionaires Row, with yachts docked beside them on the New River. Because of its ultra-private ambiance, access is limited; the only way for outsiders to take a peek is to sign up for a boat tour.

Located just south of Fort Lauderdale are the smaller cities of Hollywood and Dania Beach. Despite its small size, Hollywood still boasts a variety of entertainment options and numerous shops and restaurants. Formerly a thriving tomato farming community, Dania Beach is now home to streets lined with boutiques selling antiques and collectibles. Both locales feature gorgeous beaches, including the Hollywood North Beach Park, where sea turtle sightings are frequent.

If you're a fan of seafood, you might want to check out some of the eateries in the area just north of Fort Lauderdale. Pompano Beach gets its name from a popular fish found in abundance off the city's coast, and it's the site of numerous fishing competitions, as well as the annual Pompano Beach Seafood Festival.

Venture 20 miles west of Fort Lauderdale and you'll reach the small city of Weston. This family-oriented destination is best known for its proximity to the Everglades. To explore these impressive wetlands, visit Sawgrass Recreation Park, a former fishing camp that now offers airboat rides through this protected area. If you're not keen on getting close to alligators, tee off at Bonaventure Resort & Spa's golf course.

Having (mostly) moved past the days of spring break debauchery, Fort Lauderdale is a relatively safe place to visit. But you still shouldn't let your guard down. Vehicle burglary is quite common, so make sure to lock your car doors and close the windows all the way. Don't leave any valuables in your car, including laptops and cell phones; even loose change should be hidden, since instances have involved transients looking for a couple of coins.

Also, travel in groups at night, especially if you're a women and particularly during spring break. Although Fort Lauderdale isn't as popular among college kids these days, evenings can still get a little rowdy. Be on guard after dark, and avoid walking around alone. Exercise extra caution when visiting the west, northwest and southwest parts of the city.

If you're at the beach, heed any warnings about the water and swim near an on-duty lifeguard.

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