Ft. Lauderdale, located on the southern Pacific Florida coast, has been nicknamed the "Venice of America" for its extensive and intricate canal system. Although the city only has about 170,000 residents, Ft. Lauderdale is part of the greater South Florida metropolitan area, which stretches from Miami to West Palm Beach and has about 5.5 million residents. Today, Ft. Lauderdale has become a popular destination for wild Spring Breakers, retiree "snow-birds" and those beach going vacationers.

WHAT TO DO

Why do most people come to Florida? To escape cold winter weather and go to the beach. There are a ton of great beaches close to Ft. Lauderdale. Because the Gulf Stream travel particularly close to shore in this part of Florida, the water tends to be fairly warm year-round, which makes it a excellent place to tan and take a dip.

For decades, the Ft. Lauderdale beach was associated with wild spring break party seekers from the movie Where the Boys Are. Today, beach goers in the city are more diversified, and the beach is a great family destination for the day. Ft. Lauderdale has also spent large sums of money on developing its main beach and today it features shops, restaurants, sidewalk cafes and entertainment venues.

Visitor's to Ft. Lauderdale can also enjoy boating, fishing, surfing, jet skiing, windsurfing, snorkeling, scuba diving and volleyball. If you want to know what it feels like to reel in a huge fish, deep-sea fishing can be a great way to spend a day in Florida. There are several companies in Ft. Lauderdale that offer fishing charters complete with instruction and equipment. Plus, you get to keep whatever you catch, so you may be able to cook up some super fresh sea food for dinner that night.

GETTING THERE

The city is home to Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport (FLL), which is probably your best bet if you are looking for a flight to Ft. Lauderdale. Also nearby is Miami International Airport and Palm Beach International Airport. The Ft. Lauderdale airport is close to town and can be easily traveled to and from by taxi or airport shuttle.

And if you decide to go to the airport by car you can pay for the Ft.Lauderdale airport parking before you get to the airport. Or you can reserve a Ft.Lauderdale airport shuttle to get you to the airport.

WHERE TO STAY

There are a variety of hotels in Ft. Lauderdale to chose from. Usually the closer to the beach, the more expensive, but an ocean view is probably worth the extra couple of bucks. If you are on a tight budget, there are also a few Florida hostels, to stay in.