About Fort Lauderdale and Broward County
Collegians of the 1960s returning to Fort Lauderdale would be hard-pressed to recognize the onetime "Sun and Suds Spring Break Capital of the Universe." Back then, Fort Lauderdale's beachfront was lined with T-shirt shops, and downtown consisted of a lone office tower and dilapidated buildings waiting to be razed. Not anymore!The beach and downtown have since exploded with upscale shops, restaurants, and luxury resort hotels equipped with enough high-octane amenities to light up skies all the way to western Broward's Alligator Alley. At risk of losing small-town 45-rpm magic in iPod times—when hotel parking fees alone eclipse room rates of old—Greater Fort Lauderdale somehow seems to meld disparate eras into nouveau nirvana, seasoned with a lot of Gold Coast sand.The city was named for Major William Lauderdale, who built a fort at the river's mouth in 1838 during the Seminole Indian wars. It wasn't until 1911 that the city was incorporated, with only 175 residents, but it grew quickly during the Florida boom of the 1920s. Today's population hovers around 165,000, and suburbs keep growing—1.75 million live in Broward County's 31 municipalities and unincorporated areas.As elsewhere, many speculators busily flipping property here got caught when the sun-drenched real-estate bubble burst, leaving Broward's foreclosure rate to skyrocket. But the worst is far behind us. By the time the city began celebrating its centennial in 2011, it had resumed the renaissance that began before the economic crisis. The 20-mile shoreline—with wide ribbons of golden sand for beachcombing and sunbathing—remains the anchor draw for Fort Lauderdale and Broward County, but amazing beaches are now complemented by show-stopping hotels, an exploding foodie scene, and burgeoning cultural scene.
Copyright © Mon Feb 20 09:58:32 EST 2017 by Fodor's Travel, a division of Random House, LLC. All rights reserved.
Things You Can't Miss
Explore the cool breezeways, eclectic architecture and myriad al fresco dining options. Browse the boutiques and galleries.
Andre Jenny / Alamy
The garden at this beautiful waterfront house, built in the 1920s, boasts a huge collection of orchids and a troop of Costa Rican squirrel monkeys.
Amy Cicconi / Alamy
Butterflies flit in a three-acre tropical garden, and hummingbirds fly free in an aviary. Investigate the miracle of metamorphosis at the research center.
Danita Delimont / Alamy
Review TSA's latest airline regulations and air travel rules, and be prepared the next time you fly.
Mary Schwalm/AP Photo
Hop on at the Las Olas Riverfront Dock and cruise past Fort Lauderdale’s mega homes and yachts. Hop off to explore or dine at any of many stops.
R A Rayworth / Alamy
Preparing for a long-haul flight? See what nutritious foods you need to help avoid jet lag.
These unforgettable international locations offer much more than pretty beaches.
Chris Caldicott/Age Fotostock
Savings at Best Western, Hilton, Days Inn, Sheraton, Motel 6, La Quinta, and more
Shared Trips to this Destination
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