Greater Fort Lauderdale, the "Venice of America" and "Yachting Capital of the World" is all about enjoying the water. Whether you want to float on top of it, swim through it or dive under it, there's no better place to "make a splash" than Greater Fort Lauderdale.
Following are the Top Ten Ways to Enjoy the Water in Greater Fort Lauderdale, from the area's 23 miles of Blue Wave beaches to the 300 miles of inland waterways and beyond.
10) "Come Sail Away..." - As home to the largest International Boat Show each fall and with 80% of all yachts in the world bought and sold in Greater Fort Lauderdale, it ranks among the top boating destinations. From 200-foot super-yachts to speed boats and classic sailboats, an estimated 42,000 yachts call Greater Fort Lauderdale home, and many of them are available for rent or charter. Visitors can choose to join a sightseeing excursion, rent a small sailboat or powerboat by the hour or day or hire a captain and crew for a multi-day cruise of the Intracoastal Waterway. Visit www.sunny.org for a complete listing of boating opportunities.
9) The (Water) Taxi Stops Here - The easiest way to get on the waterways and explore is via Greater Fort Lauderdale's Water Taxi service. In addition to getting where you want to go in style, every trip includes an entertaining narrative from the Water Taxi captains, touching on everything from local legends to celebrity dish. It also provides an opportunity see some of the most magnificent waterfront mansions and mega yachts in South Florida. A moonlit water taxi ride makes for a romantic pre-dinner excursion en route to downtown Fort Lauderdale's acclaimed restaurant scene. Visit www.watertaxi.com for schedules and additional information.
8) Exploring for the "Jet Set" - Nothing is more exhilarating than speeding across the water on a jet ski made for two. Whether you're zipping through the ocean or on the area's meandering waterways, it's the best way to see...and be seen. There are a number of watersports operators that offer hourly jet ski rentals, as well as RocketMan, a jet propelled jetpack that will make anyone feel like Superman. Visit www.sunny.org for a list of watersports operators.
7) Hover Three Inches Above the Water: Airboat Rides in the Everglades - Alligators may not be as romantic as a leisurely gondola ride, but they have their own special charm...especially when safely viewed from an airboat on the Everglades, one of America's most treasured natural resources. There are several operators in Greater Fort Lauderdale that offer propeller-driven airboat tours that travel as fast as 35 miles per hour as they explore one of the world's most mysterious and fascinating ecosystems. In addition to alligators and other reptiles, including the ornery crocodile, there's the opportunity to marvel at South Florida's exotic flora and fauna. Visit www.sunny.org/nature for a complete list.
6) Explore via Oar: Paddling Around Greater Fort Lauderdale - With 300+ miles of Intracoastal Waterway, inland lakes, rivers and creeks, and 23 miles of scenic coastline as a playground, nothing on the water is more fun than a kayak, canoe or paddleboard expedition. Paddle past mega-yachts and up the New River, slip through the mangrove swamps along the Waterway or hug the shoreline, going from beach to beach. Many companies in the area offer lessons, rentals, excursions, even themed paddling itineraries, including moonlight outings. Visit www.sunny.org for a full listing.
5) Reel Fun: Catching the Big Fish - In Greater Fort Lauderdale, anglers and fishing enthusiasts can hit the ocean for some big game sports fishing or enjoy a day of fresh water fishing in the Everglades. It's an activity that can be fun and relaxing, and it's a great activity for groups or the whole family. There are a number of charters that offer half or full day trips on the ocean, where you can fish for marlin, tuna, dolphin fish - even sharks! The International Fishing Hall of Fame & Museum is a great place to start, especially for beginners. Try your hand at a virtual fishing experience or find out where to find the fishing hotspots. Visit www.igfa.org or www.sunny.org for a list of fishing boat charter operators.
4) "Dive Right In" - Greater Fort Lauderdale is known around the world as one of North America's premier Scuba diving destinations, featuring a multi-tiered natural reef system stretching almost 70 miles and more than 80 wrecks and artificial reefs, some as close as 100 yards offshore. Whether you're a beginner - dozens of dive shops offer lessons - or an expert, it won't take long to discover why the destination is tops for diving. Visit www.sunny.org/scuba for more information and a list of dive operators.
3) "Diving Light": Snorkeling the Reefs - Scuba diving is not for everyone but there's hardly a person alive who wouldn't enjoy the incredible beauty and variety of marine life in Greater Fort Lauderdale. Snorkeling requires no training and almost no equipment; a mask and snorkel will do; flippers help for speed and buoyancy. Explore on your own or take a guided tour of some of Greater Fort Lauderdale's best coral reefs. Visit www.sunny.org/scuba for a full list of dive operators.
2) Ocean Exploration...Just for Kids -Available through many hotels and resorts in Greater Fort Lauderdale, "Funky Fish Kids Day" is a fun and educational way for children to celebrate the destination's water-driven environments. Snorkeling lessons and expeditions, shallow ocean treasure dives, a "liquid playground," scuba camp, and daily coral reef excursions for kids and parents are just a few of the available activities. Customized group programs, birthday parties and other special activities, including a "Beach Hotel Sleepover" package, also are available. Visit www.funkyfishkidsday.com.
1) Swim - Greater Fort Lauderdale's 23 miles of Blue Wave beaches beckon you to jump right in. Swim, paddle, splash, or float. Lie on the beach to heat up, then jump back in to cool off. Go up to the knees or up to the neck. Let gentle waves lap at the feet or catch a wave and ride it to shore. In Greater Fort Lauderdale, "You're in good sands!"
About Greater Fort Lauderdale
From the seagrass to the sawgrass, Greater Fort Lauderdale boasts more than 34,000 lodging accommodations at a variety of hotels, luxury spa resorts, and Superior Small Lodgings reflecting a "beach chic" vibe. Visitors enjoy 23 miles of Blue Wave certified beaches, discover 300+ miles of inland waterways that run from the Intracoastal Waterway to the Everglades, dine at thousands of restaurants and eateries, get immersed in a thriving arts and culture scene and indulge in top shopping. For more info, contact the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau at (800) 22-SUNNY or visit www.sunny.org.
The Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau can also be followed on Twitter at www.twitter.com/visitlauderdale or become a fan on Facebook at www.facebook.com/visitlauderdale or join us on Foursquare at www.foursquare.com/visitlauderdale. To have Greater Fort Lauderdale in the palm of your hand, download the free iPhone applications, Defrost Your Swimsuit and ‘Fork' Lauderdale and Mild to Wild the LGBT mobile site at www.sunny.org/apps.