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Fort Lauderdale is located in the American state of Florida, north of Miami. It is a popular tourist destination, mostly because of the mile-long beaches in near proximity. Because of the many canals in the city, Fort Lauderdale is also referred to as 'the American Venice'. The name refers to the forts built in the nineteenth century when the colonists were in war with the original population, the Seminole Indians.
Let's start with the greatest attraction of Fort Lauderdale: the beaches. The palms along side the beach boulevard in the town itself are just the beginning of what the region has to offer when it comes to sun, sea and sand. Hollywood Beach is mostly aimed at families with children. Next to it, in the shadow of pine trees, lies the John U. Lloyd Beach State Recreation Area. Several hiking trails have been set and you can also go canoeing on the Whiskey Creek there. Major cruise ships moor a bit further north, in Port Everglades. A notable house at the beach is the Bonnet House, where the eccentric artist couple Frederic and Evelyn Bartlett spent their winters. Evelyn was very fond of monkeys and the entree is therefore flanked by two monkeys from the Plaza hotel in New York.
What is the main other attraction of Fort Lauderdale? Shopping! From expensive designer clothing to cheap bargains and everything in between, you can find it in one of the specialty shops or shopping malls. One of the main attractions is the Fort Lauderdale Swap Shop. In the evening it is a big drive in movie theater (no less than fourteen screens!) but during the day it is the largest flea market in the South of America. There are about 2000 stalls and to haggle is the law here. The indoor Festival Flea Market Mall is a bit smaller, but includes a farmers market.
Hundreds of colorful butterflies live in the midst of rare plants in Butterfly World. There's more to do than just admire the butterflies, the center offers a lot of information about butterfly populations around the world. The Antique Car Museum is mainly dedicated to the cars that were made by Packard Motor Co. There are 22 antique cars on display: from a 1909 Packard Speedster to a 1947 Packard Clipper.
The International Swimming Hall of Fame is not just a pool with two competition pools, but also a museum to honor the world's greatest swimmers. You can see photos, medals and other souvenirs, including the starting block from which Mark Spitz won six of his seven Olympic gold medals. In addition, a movie is shown in the theater about Esther Williams and Johnny Weissmuller (who later became famous as Tarzan).
Along the Federal Highway lies a rebuilt Polynesian village, Mai-Kai. The different Polynesian cultures all have their own space and the restaurant serves Polynesian and Chinese dishes (but the American hamburger is present too...) For kids there is Captain Cooks rib piece in Secret Sauce.
At the edge of the Everglades swamp area lies the large Markham Park. A kind of nature park in which you can not only fish, ride a mountain bike and swim, but shoot (with a gun of pistol) or drive a model plane too.
Those Everglades are a vast marsh area in southern Florida. Part of it is National Park, where the famous Airboats aren't allowed (unlike in the marshes around the park). Inside the park itself you can rent rowboats, canoes and houseboats. Various boat routes have been marked, including the popular Wilderness Waterway. But you can also make hikes in this wetland over boardwalks and the beaches. The best time to visit the Everglades is in the dry winter months. You then have the greatest chance to see the animals who live in this marshland.
There are many parking garages and terrains in the city, but in the summer months it can be difficult to find a free parking space. Also note that the east of Fort Lauderdale - between the center and the beach - consists of a maze of canals. A good map is very useful there.
Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport is located four kilometers south of the city center and is mainly used by budget airlines. The airport is easily accessible via the South Federal Highway, which connects to the Port Everglades Expressway. The larger Miami airport is located forty miles south of Fort Lauderdale. Miami International Airport is accessible via the Interstate 95.