Honeycombed with some 300 miles of navigable waterways, Fort Lauderdale is the home port for about 44,000 privately owned vessels, but you don't need to be a boat owner to ply the waters. For a scenic way to really see this canal-laced city, take a relaxing boat tour or simply hop on a Water Taxi, part of Fort Lauderdale's water-transportation system. See why the city is called the "Venice of America."
Carrie B Harbor Tours. Board a 300-passenger day cruiser for a 90-minute sightseeing tour on the New River and Intracoastal Waterway. Cruises depart at 11, 1, and 3 daily November through May and Thursday–Monday between June and October. The cost is $22.95. Book ahead online for discounts. 440 N. New River Dr. E, off Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, FL, 33301. 954/642–1601. www.carriebcruises.com..
Fort Lauderdale Duck Tours. Quack, quack! The famous 45-passenger amphibious Hydra-Terra tours, which first gained popularity in Boston, have arrived in Fort Lauderdale. Ninety-minute tours include lots of of land/water family fun, cruising and driving through Venice of America neighborhoods, historic areas, and the Intracoastal Waterway. Several tours depart daily and cost $32 for adults and $18 for kids. Schedule varies and ducks sometimes don't run in low season, so check ahead of time. The website shares its booking engine with the Duck Tours South Beach, so be sure to book for the correct location! 17 S. Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd., at Beach Pl., Fort Lauderdale, FL, 33316. 954/761–4002. www.fortlauderdaleducktours.com.
Jungle Queen Riverboat. The kitsch Jungle Queen riverboat seats more than 550 and cruises up the New River through the heart of Fort Lauderdale, as it has since 1935. It's old school and totally touristy but that's half the fun! The daily sightseeing cruises at 11:30 and 1:30 cost $21.95, and the 6 pm all-you-can-eat BBQ dinner cruise, which runs Wednesday to Sunday evenings, costs $44.95. Bahia Mar Yachting Centre, 801 Seabreeze Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, FL, 33316. 954/462–5596. www.junglequeen.com.
Water Taxi. A great way to experience the multimillion-dollar homes, hotels, and seafood restaurants along Fort Lauderdale's waterways is via the public Water Taxi, which runs every 30 minutes beginning at 10 am and ending at midnight. There are more than a dozen regularly scheduled pickup stations in Fort Lauderdale, including Las Olas Riverfront, the Shops of Las Olas, Bahia Mar, Hugh Taylor Birch State Park, and Gallery ONE near the Galleria Mall. An unlimited day pass serves for both a tour and a means of transportation between Fort Lauderdale's hotels and hot spots, though Water Taxi is most useful when viewed as a tour. It's possible to cruise all afternoon while taking in the waterfront sights. Captains and helpers indulge guests in fun factoids about Fort Lauderdale, white lies about the city's history, and bizarre tales about the celebrity homes along the Intracoastal. A day pass is $26. Water Taxi also connects Fort Lauderdale to Hollywood, where there are seven scheduled stops. Fort Lauderdale, FL. 954/467–6677. www.watertaxi.com.