From dining to fishing to cruising at sea, Grand Strand, the lifestyle magazine of Myrtle Beach, poses a very good question to its readers in their August 2021 feature. Why leave one great beach town to visit another?
Because variety is the spice of life.
And with numerous and affordable direct flights from Myrtle Beach to Fort Lauderdale, any time of year is a great time to visit the tropical splendor that is so uniquely Florida.
Fort Lauderdale, Florida, has been a famed destination for travelers from around the world for decades. Its sugar sand white beaches, aquamarine water, temperate climate, tourist-friendliness and distinctly tropical ecosystems make it an otherworldly, quick getaway from the Grand Strand. How quick? You can fly to Fort Lauderdale (FLL) non-stop from Myrtle Beach (MYR) in about in about an hour and 45 minutes—faster than it would take you to drive to Florence or Charleston. If you’re a dedicated road warrior, the drive takes just over 10 hours. Looking for another get-there option? Amtrak offers travelers a 15-hour train ride from Florence to Fort Lauderdale on its Silver Meteor, with private, but pricey, sleeper car accommodations available.
Why Fort Lauderdale?
Besides the aforementioned beaches and oddly beautiful water, this part of Florida’s coastline is night and day different from the Grand Strand. As a billionaire’s playground and medium-sized city, just 30 minutes north of another famed Florida city, Miami, Fort Lauderdale has been dubbed the “Yachting Capital of the World.” The hundreds of mega-yachts that call Fort Lauderdale home, some of which are more than 300 feet in length and valued at more than $30 million, are easy to see and gawk at via the multiple water taxis that shuttle tourists and locals from one bar to the next along many miles of canals and The New River. Want a closer look? The five-day, 62nd Annual Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show (October 27-31) will host an estimated 125,000 visitors there to explore and buy from among the hundreds of yachts and boats of all sizes.
Another nickname, “Venice of America,” is part of the city’s official seal. The city boasts some 165 miles of inland waterways (300 miles in the greater metro area), filled with watercraft as small as kayaks and canoes to jet skis, ski boats, cruisers, and sailboats to the yachts for which the city is so famous. On the banks of these canals you’ll find small bungalows and jaw-dropping mega-mansions, many owned by the world’s wealthiest, such as late Blockbuster founder Wayne Huizenga, whose 21,000-sq foot, 10-bedroom, 18-bath mansion recently listed for sale at $27 million.
The greater Broward County metro area boasts nearly 2 million residents and easily that many tourists in the high season, but getting around is not terribly difficult. A bicyclist’s paradise, you’ll find nary a hill as you navigate the flatlands, and bikes are easy to rent. Even the waterways are bustling with private and public boat traffic.
Though the Caribbean cruise boat industry has its headquarters north of Fort Lauderdale near the Space Coast, countless public water taxis cruise the inland waterways with the boat captains acting as tour guides, pointing out areas and attractions of interest. The “hop on, hop off” all-day ticket (around $30) allows for the most fun. There are frequent stops restaurant and bars, as well as the trendy dining district of Las Olas and the Galleria Mall. Most water taxis also sell beer, wine, soft drinks and snacks. Additionally, tour boats, guided historical excursions and ocean-going trips are all readily available. Several sailing schools offer instruction for the novice to experienced sailor.
Read the full article in grandstrandmag.com/feature/theveniceofamerica