Miami has the beat, Fort Lauderdale has the beach. Few people will come to Florida’s 8th biggest city unless they are coming for the sun, sea and sunsets, rather passing through on the way down to Miami just 30 minutes to the south and onwards to The Keys. But there’s enough here to keep even the most restless tourist occupied for 24 hours.
For starters there’s Sawgrass Mill, America’s biggest outlet centre with over 300 stores, located on the edge of the Everglades National Park, and rivals some of the theme parks in Florida for daily footfall. Less busy but still impressive is the Aventura Mall that sits on the borders between the city limits of Fort Lauderdale and Miami. No good can come out of visiting either as the owner of a joint bank account or credit card. Both really require a car to access although Aventura has the hub of a number of local bus routes, such as line 4 that runs up Ocean Drive to Dania Beach.
To get a different view of some of the amazing properties that sit on the river then use the informative Water Taxi service that runs the whole length of Hollywood and the waterways of Dania and beyond. There is a boardwalk that runs for a couple miles from South Hollywood allowing the perfect cycling conditions, with hire points at regular intervals.
You’d be mad not to take advantage of being so close to the Everglades and the best way to see them is by airboat. Guides will point out alligators, manatees and all sorts of strange creatures at the Sawgrass Recreation Park. Florida is one of the few states where gambling is legal and so many people will head to Gulfstream Park for some betting action whether that’s on horse racing or on the casino tables.
Take your pick from all of the major chain hotels either in the city centre or Hollywood Beach. You will pay a premium for a room with a view in somewhere such as The Diplomat on Ocean Drive which has a 33rd floor bar and an amazing swimming pool as well as a very good restaurant. A cheaper option, The Crown Plaza 5 minutes south has an infinity pool which offers some superb sunset views from the poolside bar.
Hyde Beach Kitchen, just off is a seriously good seafood restaurant and cocktail bar with a local right on the beach that will earn anyone trying to impress their partner significant brownie points, whilst further up South Ocean Drive is the highly recommended GG’s Waterfront Grill and Billy’s Stone Crab Shack which not only offers superb stone crab, unsurprisingly, as well as superb sunset views. If you want to sample some of the best craft beers in the area then Hollywood Ales brews on the beach at the junction of Polk Street and North Surf Street, which also does some decent food, whilst a minute’s walk away is the always busy Taco Beach Shack. You’ll find the excellent Hollywood Pale Ale in many bars and restaurants up and down Ocean Drive.