Unique Waterway Adventures Abound In Greater Fort Lauderdale

GREATER FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Sept. 26, 2006 – It’s not called the “Venice of America” for nothing. Greater Fort Lauderdale is home to more than 300 miles of inland waterways, which stretch from the area’s 23 miles of Blue Wave Beaches all the way to The Everglades and nearly everywhere in-between. Getting around on the waterways and finding fun adventures on and along the water is easy, even for you landlubbers out there. A new interactive waterways map including helpful details on waterfront hotels, restaurants and attractions in the area is now available online at www.sunny.org/gettingaround.

For visitors arriving on their own boats, the canals and waterways of Greater Fort Lauderdale beckon to be explored. For the rest of the more than 10 million annual visitors to the area, there are varied opportunities to getting around on the waterways. One of the most popular ways is via the Water Taxi (www.watertaxi.com), which operates regular routes throughout the destination. Residents and visitors alike utilize this thoroughly enjoyable method of transportation in Greater Fort Lauderdale for sightseeing and just getting from A to B. And at $10 for an all day pass, Water Taxi is one of the best deals around. The larger Jungle Queen Riverboat and Carrie B Cruises combine waterway tours with dinner included.

Skilled gondoliers from Stork’s Café (www.storkscafe.com), a charming waterfront eatery, lead private tours along Greater Fort Lauderdale’s inland canal system on hand-carved wooden boats crafted by Italian gondola-makers. Stork’s Gondola tours, which can accommodate up to six persons per gondola, start at the historic Himmarshee Canal and proceed to the majestic New River. Stork’s Café can arrange a romantic meal while on board, along with Italian melodies and spectacular scenery. Private tours of 30 and 60 minutes are available.

Luxury yacht charters are available for half-day trips, dinner cruises, groups and special events. Need a floating ballroom? Charter One (www.charteronenow.com) has two different size yachts depending on the occasion. For those with some boating experience, numerous companies offer powerboat and sailboat rentals by the hour, half-day or day. For those seeking a sunset coastal excursion or a party cruise, Tropical Sailing (www.tropicalsailing.com) offers several options aboard sailing catamarans.

At the other end of the spectrum, paddlers will find canoe and kayak tours, lessons, evening paddles and rentals. Kayak tours that take you close to waterfront mansions with manicured lawns along the Intracoastal Waterway or through the mangroves at John U. Lloyd Park can be arranged by adventure operators such as Full Moon Kayak Company (www.fullmoonkayak.com) or Adventure World (www.abcadventureworld.com).

For most visitors and residents alike, nothing tops a trip up or down the New River. The New River, narrow, meandering and lined with yachts, flows through the heart of Fort Lauderdale carrying with it the area’s history of Seminole Indian wars and development. On either side are historic landmarks and towering office buildings.

Popular Las Olas Boulevard, with its elegant shops and haute restaurants, runs parallel to the river. Downtown Fort Lauderdale’s Riverwalk Arts & Entertainment District (www.riverwalk-ae.com) offers a number of waterfront restaurants, shopping and entertainment options, such as the Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale (www.moafl.com), the Broward Center for the Performing Arts (www.browardcenter.org) and the Museum of Discovery & Science (www.mods.org), to name a few.

Beyond downtown Fort Lauderdale and the residential canals there are other ways to explore the destination by water. In the Everglades, the Seminole Indian Tribe operates Billie Swamp Safari (www.semtribe.com/safari), located on 2,200 lush acres on the Seminoles’ Big Cypress Reservation. Explore this unique, wildlife-filled environment -the “River of Grass” – by airboat or “Swamp Buggies,” large amphibious vehicles that drive through the swamp waters. You can even sleep in an authentic Seminole Chickee Hut – on land, of course!

For more information on Greater Fort Lauderdale contact the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau, 100 East Broward Boulevard, Suite 200, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301, visit www.sunny.org or call 800-22-SUNNY (in the U.S. and Canada). Travel agents call 1-800-356-1662.

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