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Once popular mainly for spring break, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and the surrounding area have grown into a year-round destination that attracts visitors worldwide to its temperate weather, more than 23 miles of beaches and more than 300 miles of navigable waterways. There’s so much water in the area that the city wholeheartedly embraces its nickname, the “Venice of America.”
From its wide beaches to shopping and people-watching on Las Olas Boulevard to meeting the locals — people and animals alike — there’s a lot to do in Fort Lauderdale. Here’s how to plan a trip that’s fun for all ages.
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When to go
More than 3,000 hours of sunshine and an average year-round temperature of a balmy 76 degrees make Fort Lauderdale a popular destination any time of year. Outdoor temps and humidity levels are highest in the summer months, which coincides with the time of year when hotel rates are lowest. When temperatures and humidity levels cool off, hotel rates begin to climb, and outdoor fun begins.
One thing to consider when planning a trip is hurricane season, which is typically June 1 through Nov. 30; peak season is mid-August through mid-October. When visiting during this time, pack a raincoat and umbrella, and you’ll be prepared for whatever liquid sunshine may fall.
Before you go
Aside from making hotel and car rental (if needed) reservations before taking off, make sure to pack the right clothes. Florida is casual for the most part, so there’s no need for suits and ties. Rather, bathing suits are a must, as are layers that work together. Be sure to pack a sweater whatever time of year you’re traveling: Florida air-conditioning can chill you to the bone, even in the summertime.
Traveling to Fort Lauderdale from around the U.S. is fairly direct — Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) boasts nonstop flights to more than 85 cities. Miami International Airport (MIA) is 30 miles to the south via Interstate 95. Cruisers will know Port Everglades is one of the busiest cruise ports in the world, and seven cruise lines embark on their voyages from Fort Lauderdale.
Rent a car to travel around the Greater Fort Lauderdale area with ease: 31 cities span 1,200 square miles, so there’s a lot to explore. If you plan on staying within a certain area, hop aboard Tri-Rail, the train system that runs from the airport north to West Palm Beach and south to Miami. The Brightline train stops in Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. Or float to your destination onboard a water taxi. Lyft, Uber and bike-share options are also available, as is Circuit, an app-based, on-demand electric shuttle that cruises around Fort Lauderdale and is never more than $9 a ride.