Discover the alternative side to Florida: Fort Lauderdale

SAM | 11th July 2019

From the seagrass to the sawgrass, Fort Lauderdale, located in Broward County, boasts a thriving arts and culture scene, top shopping, vibrant rooftop bars and nightlife, as well as a range of outdoor activities. All this and year-round sunshine. 

 

There are more than 34,000 spots to call your vacation home with the choice of hotels, luxury spa resorts and superior small lodgings that reflect the cosmopolitan culture of the area.   

 

Visitors can also enjoy 23 miles of Blue Wave certified beaches, while discovering 300+ miles of inland waterways that run from the Intracoastal Waterway to the exotic Everglades. 

 

With average temperatures between 25-35 degrees, it’s an area that offers almost everything for any type of traveler.  

 

And with hundreds of restaurants and eateries opening all the time, this alternative side of Florida is packed full of places, making it a great choice to create and enjoy its cool vibe for a holiday experience that you might not necessarily find anywhere else.  

 

What is there to do? Start by getting outdoors, of course – after all, that’s why Fort Lauderdale is so popular with UK tourists.  

 

Explore the exotic Everglades at Sawgrass Recreation Park

 

 

Climb aboard an air boat for an adventure in the Everglades. Experienced captains will take you on a thrilling ride to explore this impressive ecosystem. Catch a glimpse of the wildlife – like Gators – as you skim across the water at high speeds in the open air – let your spirits soar as you view nature at its finest!

 

Kayaking in West Lake Park 

 

 

Located in Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, it’s the largest expanse of parkland consisting of 1,500 acres. 

 

It’s a pristine tidal lake offering paddlers’ ten hours of exploring on three marked one-mile long mangrove tree-lined routes, dozens of unmarked trails and three miles of protected open water. No power boats are allowed, which makes this place wonderfully peaceful. 

 

You can expect to pay between $15-20 for a kayak or stand-up paddleboard for a minimum of an hour. It’s a perfect way to spend time outdoors and explore. 

 

It’s also ideal for bbqs and outdoor hiking with many families enjoying the outdoors together on any day of the week.

 

 

Shop until you drop 

 

 

Sawgrass Mills is the largest outlets and value retail shopping destination in the USA. It features more than 350 stores including top brands such as Nike, Tommy Hilfiger, Ralph Lauren and Gap, plus value retailers Off 5th Saks Fifth Avenue, Bed Bath & Beyond and Target. 

 

 

 

 

 

Fashionistas will delight in luxury brand outlets too, with over 70 exclusive outlets not to be found anywhere else in South Florida – these include Burberry, Diane Von Furstenberg, GUCCI, Prada, Jimmy Choo and Versace. Significant savings are to be had so you might want to buy an additional suitcase while you’re at it! 

 

 

Take a tour of the Downtown Hollywood Mural Project

 

 

The Downton Hollywood, FL district, is on the National Register of Historic Places and is the backdrop for year round festivals, street markets and entertainment.  Don’t miss the nearly two dozen murals that comprise the Downtown Hollywood Mural Project. It’s a collection of curated outdoor murals by both local, national and internationally. Explore on your own or join the free guided walking tour Art Walk on the third Saturday of every month. 

 

Go on an Art Walk in FATVillage

 

FATVillage is relatively small only in geography, but this unsuspecting district is becoming widely recognised.  This arts’ community located downtown in Flagler Village is home to local artists and creative businesses. FATVillage aims to connect the city to an emerging culture of grassroots inspired creatives, musicians, painters, sculptors, photographers, urban land planners, designers, young professionals and, of course, the occasional hipster. A great night of great art, food and music! 

 

 

Where to eat

 

One Door East 

 

Chef-owner Giovanni Rochio and his partner, Elke Quintana, have created their long-awaited global tapas restaurant concept. The restaurant has a stylish menu offering guests the opportunity to choose from dozens of small or large plates of food that almost look too good to eat. You can also grab some culture while you dine, enjoying art collections that hang from the walls of this super stylish restaurant where the art crowd meet and socialise.  

 

Sunday lunch at Louie Bossi’s on Las Olas Boulevard

 

This is where you need to be on a weekend. Louie Bossi is not your typical chef. He taught himself to cook at the age of just eight. The food is hearty Italian and the place is renowned for its infamous boozy brunches. 

 

Afterwards, hop on a water taxi to explore the nearby waterways for a lazy afternoon in the sun as you drift along the water and snooze away the rest of the day after a belly full of brunching.  

 

Sunset cocktails and Dinner at GG’s Waterfront Bar 

 

 

Centrally located on beautiful Hollywood Beach, you can enjoy an amazing selection of locally sourced fish, such as lobster and stone crabs, raw bar specialities, salads, sandwiches and superb steaks as well as chops that are grilled to perfection. 

 

Its overlooks the Intracoastal waterway, where you will enjoy beautiful waterfront views as world class luxury yachts cruise by your dinner table. Watch the sky change colour from blue to yellow and orange then ending in a burst of red. 

 

Where to stay

 

Whether you prefer to stay in a high-end resort or cosy beachside cottages, the area offers a wide range of different accommodations for all budgets and tastes.  

 

 

The CIRC Hotel, is a unique and modern, a 111-room boutique hotel located in Downtown Hollywood. It features artful designed guest rooms and suites amid a colourful, cultural vibe that’s designed to help guests leave all their worries behind and just enjoy the ‘now’. 

 

The rooftop boasts an inviting pool with cabanas and there are panoramic skyline views, while its bartenders serve boozy cocktails – these guys really do know how to mix their drinks!  

 

The hotel is also home to the Olivia Restaurant and Bar, which features an extensive Italian-themed menu highlighted by a fresh mozzarella bar. 

 

 

The Cellar is a private dining room with a wine wall that has more than 800 bottles. It is the perfect place to enjoy a meal while soaking up the vibrant atmosphere around you.  Filled with energy and warmth, it offers authentic style cooking in a very classy environment. 

 

How to get there  

 

Fly from London Heathrow to Miami and three nights at the 4* CIRC Hotel in Hollywood from £1,119 per person.  This package is based on two adults sharing and economy car hire with travel in September. To book, visit www.ocean-holidays.co.uk or call 0207 939 7775.

 

Alternatively visit www.visitflorida.com for more information on a range of holiday options across the sunshine state.  

 

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Photography by @FujifilmGirl

 

Greater Fort Lauderdale CVB compiled the itinerary with all of the venues in the feature agreeing to showcase their superb offerings.