Luxury Travel


Luxury Travel

Greater Fort Lauderdale
Florida, USA
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As seen in Charitable Traveller!

Welcome everyone under the sun

Welcome thrill-seekers, chill-seekers, and kids of all ages. Your beach playground awaits in Greater Fort Lauderdale’s 31 diverse communities in Southeast Florida. Here, you’ll enjoy the warm sunshine and smiles of Florida’s most welcoming destination.  Eight different beach villages stretching along 24 miles of Atlantic Ocean coastline await your discovery, each with their own unique personalities and offerings, from lively Fort Lauderdale beach to the more secluded Dania Beach.

Whether relaxing on the beach or exploring 300 miles of scenic Intracoastal waterways, life on the water is as good as it gets here in the world’s yachting capital. Boating opportunities abound, whether you enjoy a sightseeing cruise such as the Water Taxi or charter your own boat and indulge in dockside dining. Tours, lessons, and rentals are available for fishing, kayaking, standup paddleboarding, parasailing, jet sailing, surfing and other water sports. Don’t miss a stroll or fishing along one of the area’s many beach piers. The Fisher Family Pier in Pompano Beach (2,950 meters long) and the International Fishing Pier in Deerfield Beach (3,200 meters long) are the area’s longest.

Experience a breathtaking journey through nature, from enjoying an airboat ride in the world-famous Everglades, to seeing the world’s largest butterfly park, Butterfly World, to exploring Flamingo Gardens, home to 3,000 species of plants and trees and the largest collection of Florida native wildlife. Area eco-tours, boating, snorkelling, and scuba diving, also provide amazing nature encounters.

Fashionistas will discover a shopping paradise, from the boutiques along Las Olas Boulevard to Sawgrass Mills, the nation’s largest outlet mall with 350+ stores and 70+ exclusive, luxury outlets including Burberry, GUCCI, Prada, Tory Burch, and Versace. Other world-class shopping experiences include The Galleria at Fort Lauderdale – accessible by Water Taxi – and Dania Pointe, featuring best-in-class retail, restaurants, entertainment and events complemented by two Marriott hotels.

A thriving dining and nightlife scene invites you to savour every moment. Whether wining and dining on lively Las Olas Boulevard or at one of the area’s many dockside or oceanside eateries, you’ll discover a wide variety of cuisines and creations prepared by award-winning chefs. Thrill-seekers can join the party at chic rooftop gardens and pool decks; kick back on an open-air patio to watch boats glide by or feel the ocean breeze; dance the night away at a nightclub; indulge in craft cocktails at a hidden speakeasy; or explore the Ale Trail or the hopping LGBT+ scene in Wilton Manors – to name just a few nightlife experiences.

Discover next-level arts and culture, from fascinating museums that celebrate the area’s unique heritage to immersive experiences such as the Downtown Hollywood Mural Project. Visit the NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale to see its permanent collection of 7,500 works, explore Fort Lauderdale’s glamourous history at the charming Bonnet House Museum & Gardens or be dazzled by Broadway shows, philharmonic orchestras and performances in opera, theatre, and ballet at Broward Center for the Performing Arts. Other large venues such as the FLA Live Arena and Hard Rock Live welcome world-renowned performers in music, comedy, and more. Outdoor bandshells, amphitheatres, festivals and other special events offer the opportunity to enjoy the arts in gorgeous outdoor settings.

Try your luck at casinos that offer nonstop adventure, wth a variety of table games as well as restaurants and nightclubs. Seminole Casino offers three locations, including the magnificent, guitar-shaped Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood, where you can up your game in the high-limit room. Place your bets on world-class horse racing at Gulfstream Park and Isle Casino Racing Pompano Park and find more gaming at Dania Beach Casino and The Big Easy Casino.

Travelling with your kids? From interactive exhibits at the Art Museum and the Museum of Discovery & Science to a water wonderland with beaches, water parks, and family-friendly boat tours, here you’ll make memories your family will never forget.

You’ll discover accommodations for every preference and budget in Greater Fort Lauderdale, from world-renowned hotel brands, to celebrated beach resorts, to intimate boutique hotels and more. The area continues to grow with 17 new hotels opening up in the last two years alone, providing exceptional choices for unforgettable stays. 

Don't take our word for it - hear it from the locals!

Take a 30-minute holiday and Visit Lauderdale, Florida in this episode of Charitable Travel’s TIPs! Join us as we speak to Tracy Vaughan and Paul Mason of Broward County Tourist board, for an insider’s guide to the region and all it has to offer.

Rebecca Miles: Hello and welcome to Charitable Travel’s Travel Insider Podcast. My name’s Rebecca Miles, and I’m a travel journalist and the host of this podcast series that’s otherwise known as TIPs. Today we aim to not just give you lots of great travel tips, but we also want to transport you from wherever you are right now.

Perhaps you’re walking through the park, or maybe you’re squashed into a crowded commuter train, transport you to a place that will inspire you. Today we’re traveling to Greater Fort Lauderdale, a city on Florida’s, southeast Atlantic coast, and the county of Broward.

Easily accessible with its own international airport, Greater Fort Lauderdale is 45 minutes north of Miami. and an hour south of West Palm Beach and has great train links with the rest of Florida. Home to a diverse, welcoming community and more than 300 miles of canals, as well as a stunning stretch of beach, Greater Fort Lauderdale is well loved for its active outdoors lifestyle, enjoyed with a hint of luxury. But also, within Broward County is the Everglades, covering two thirds of the region.

So where else could you be enjoying some glamorous al fresco dining downtown one minute, and up close and personal with all the gators, birds and wildlife in the everglade the next. Joining me to share the secrets of Greater Fort Lauderdale and Broward County are Paul Mason and Tracy Vaughan from the Broward County Tourist Board.

So, let’s hand things over to the pair of them to tell us more about what we should do on a visit to Fort Lauderdale on our next holiday stateside.

So, thanks so much for joining us, Paul and Tracy. Tracy let’s start with you. Can you set the scene for us? Tell us about your downtown location and what’s on your doorstep, please.

Tracy Vaughan: Absolutely. Yes, I am here in downtown Fort Lauderdale and just steps away from our main street called Las Olas, which translates into the waves and is known as our street that takes you from the beach to our entertainment and restaurant district. Along Las Olas, you’re going to find lots of restaurants, some interesting shopping cause it’s all local restaurants and stores that are there.

So, it’s beautiful area, certainly for our visitors to experience. And behind Las Olas, is actually the new river which is has a wonderful river walk. It’s such a beautiful area to go to and on the new river you’re going to find the water taxi, which actually is the first stop of our water taxi.

And if you think about our water taxi, think about your hop on, hop off bus, but instead of having buses, we have boats. It’s a great way to experience our whole area. Actually, you can pick up the water taxi right there along the new river and it can take you out to the beach area, both south of our county and north of our county as well. And what’s so wonderful about it’s, you’re kind of getting a behind the scenes view of where people live because along the way, as you’re on the new river, you get to the intercoastal, but there’s waterways all along there as well, we have over three new miles of waterways and you’re going to see beautiful homes, the beautiful yachts. Quite amazing, quite a great experience to have and such a good way just to get around and experience all of our entire county essentially. So that’s kind of an overview of what we can see from here in, in downtown.

Rebecca Miles: That’s fabulous. So those canals sound incredible. Do you say there’s 300 miles of them?

Tracy Vaughan: Yes, 300 miles of canals. So, it’s quite spectacular. Like when you fly in you can kind of see how all these canals connect all the way out west. I mean, we’re big county and quite frankly in the western side of our county is everglade. But, these canals, they do travel back into the western side of our, our counties, and I should mention that, you know, we’re the yachting capital of the world, and you’ll go by these homes and you’ll see these beautiful boats and yachts behind the homes, but Bec, you’ll see that throughout because we are connected by these, these waterways. And we’re also known as the NIC of America. With all those waterways, we’re certainly known for our water.

Rebecca Miles: Amazing. So, people just get around by boat much more than they do buy a car or on land?

Tracy Vaughan: Well, I mean, it’s certainly an option. It’s certainly an option for a lot of folks here.

It’s, you know, you live here, and you’ll want to have a boat some form of, it doesn’t have to be big yacht, can be a little power boat, a paddleboard. There’s lots of ways to get around. I mean, quite frankly, I’m a big fan of getting around on the waterways and a kayak.

Rebecca Miles: Oh, wonderful. So if you’re visiting it’s easy to rent something to get on the water on?

Tracy Vaughan: Absolutely. Lots of options for being able to rent kayaks, jet skis as well. You can take a tour where you’re going around on a jet ski, so it’s quite interesting. So, lots of ways to, to experience our waterways, absolutely.

Rebecca Miles: Gorgeous. Paul let’s turn to you for a moment. I’d like you to tell me a bit more about the coast, please. You’re, you know, you’re right up against that Atlantic Ocean. You’ve got eight beach villages, is that right?

Paul Mason: We actually have 31 beach towns and inland communities that down along the Atlantic Ocean, and of course Intercoastal waterways. But yes, there are eight main actual beach communities. You can go from Deerfield, which is our furthest, most northern part of the beach, all the way down to Hallandale, which is our southern part of Broward County and the Greater Fort Lauderdale region each have their own very distinct vibe to them as well as lots of activities that you can do in each one.

To give you a couple of examples, Hillsborough, it’s just three miles long, in terms of length and 900 feet wide, that’s all it is. It’s nestled between the Intercoastal Waterway and the Atlantic Ocean, and one of the things that we love most about Hillsborough is its historic lighthouse. You could take a tour and you could actually see during, from March through October, sea turtles nesting.

That’s the, the great thing about Hillsborough as well is it’s, it’s very quiet. It’s a very calm, relaxed, relaxed community. Pompano, I was just there on Monday, got to walk around the pier. The name Pompano was named after the Pompano fish and the actual pier is shaped like a fish. And divers especially love Pompano as well, you can actually literally go diving and see 18 shipwrecks, including the SS Copenhagen, which ran aground in 25 feet of water in 1900. You also walk literally just a hundred yards off the beach and see beautiful coral reef as well.

Rebecca Miles: Fantastic. You don’t expect to find Coral Reef on that sort of coast. That’s brilliant.

Paul Mason: Well, and actually we’re very, very fortunate with that. We’re, I mean, literally one of the questions that I know we’re going to talk about later on is, is our water sports and sports in general, and that’s what makes us such a unique sporting destination is all of the different types of water activities we have, as Tracy mentioned earlier, as well as other sports activities.

Even our communities like Lauderdale by the Sea, it’s got that old Florida vibe. You’re not going to see a lot of high rises in, in Lauderdale by the sea. It’s, it’s the older hotels that make up what the old Florida used to be that are still very, very much in existence and thriving right on the beach.

Then of course we have Fort Lauderdale, which is the heart of the greater Fort Lauderdale region. It’s known for our, our swanky restaurants and shops, and of course some very beautiful hotels, which of course dot the coastline as well.

And then of course Dania Beach, which I actually really enjoy because it’s very quiet, it’s really known for its solitude – terrific restaurants as well. And then last but not least, I’d love to talk about Hollywood, which is also known for its walkable path, or what we call the broadwalk here, not the boardwalk, so you have to make sure you use that R in there. And it’s a great mix of 30 architecture modern hotels; Margaritaville and the Costa, as well as restaurants like Gigi’s. And one of my favourites La tub, which is a, it’s a hamburger joint, right on the intercostal.

Rebecca Miles: Oh fabulous, Margaritaville sounds fabulous.

Paul Mason: It is! It’s right on the Boardwalk, Jimmy Buffet and of course, Margaritaville, the song, that’s where it comes from – they have a variety of restaurants on property, and it’s literally right in the centre of the Broadwalk in Hollywood beach.

Rebecca Miles: lush. Fabulous. And now I understand you as well love your sports memorabilia and history. Why is Greater Fort Lauderdale such a good place to be for sports fans?

Paul Mason: Well, one of the things that Tracy had mentioned, and I alluded to it as well, a few minutes earlier, is that it’s, it’s water sports, water sports, and water sports for the most part. I mean, if you want to go fishing, we are the place to go fishing. It’s a fisherman’s paradise here you can hook Pompano, as we talked about earlier, mackerel, Jackson and even sometimes shark. You can do that off of our piers and our waterways or out in the ocean on a yacht if you’d like.

One of the things that’s near and dear to Tracy’s heart is cycling and of course skating. We have so many trails and areas that you can cycle on. It is one of the things that we are known for. And incidentally, we were voted among the top 10 places to skate by rollerblading here in Greater Fort Lauderdale. There is other, some great scenic bicycle routes as well, which Tracy also talk about if she would like the Hollywood Broadwalk is one of them. The Fort Lauderdale Beach Boulevard, Elmar Drive in Lauderdale by the Sea, and Rio Vista as well.

And other things that we’re known for, which we’re very, very excited about is our champions that play here. We have the Florida Panthers, which play at Florida Live. It’s a HL hockey team and we did very well last year. That’s located right out in Sawgrass Mills. I’m off of Sunrise, another one of our communities as well, and very close to the Everglades. So, we have a professional hockey team here.

We also have the Miami Dolphins now. Yes, they are in Miami Dade, but it’s literally touching us right on Broward County. And of course, a lot of our fans will stay in Fort Lauderdale and our region and go to one of the games as well.

We also have the soccer team, it’s the Inter Miami Club, and the biggest part is Formula One, which we have a lot of the teams that come here to perform at Formula One and compete. They actually started this past year in May, and they’ll be with us for another nine years.

Rebecca Miles: Oh, fabulous and there’ll be a great buzz when they’re in town then.

Paul Mason: Oh, it’s amazing. And, and one of the two other things I also want to mention about our sporting too, and Tracy already talked about it a little bit, but we of course, are known as the yachting capital of the world.

It’s all about our yachts and the 300 miles of waterway. And as she said, we are the Venice of America and the yachting capital of the world. So, you can do a lot of sporting off of that as well. Jet skis throughout our intercoastal and our waterway, as well as the ocean.

And last but not least, I would be remiss in my duties if I didn’t speak about our golfing. We have some of the best championship golf courses here and we regularly host the PGA, the USGA and the FSGA events.

Rebecca Miles: Wow, lots going on. So, for visitors arriving in Fort Lauderdale, where’s best for them to find out about the all the cycle paths, the walking paths, the, where should they head to?

Paul Mason: Well, you can go to our, our website, visit, which of course will mention a lot of this as well. And, Tracy, did you want to talk about that as well?

Tracy Vaughan: Yeah absolutely, the website, is the place to go to learn about all that we have. So, and it’s recently been revamped and it’s great. It’s very user friendly and so cool.

Rebecca Miles: Excellent. We’ll check it out. Tracy, Fort Lauderdale, Greater Fort Lauderdale is a huge cruise destination as well, isn’t it? Not just for sort of visiting yachts, but also visiting cruise ships. What can visitors expect when they arrive by ship?

Tracy Vaughan: Well, we are in fact a big cruise destination here and people come in, fly in here or drive in.

Most of our international travellers obviously are flying in and it’s so convenient. Our airport and our port are side by side. So, when you fly in, you actually can see the ships. We’re the third largest port in the world actually. We’re not only a cruise port, but a, a cargo port as well.

So, it’s big business here, needless to say, on both ends. But, yes, and so we, but we aren’t just such a great destination itself, so it’s wonderful for our travellers to come in and make themselves, plenty of time to arrive here and do a pre and a post-cruise stay. We highly encourage that, our port is right in the heart of Fort Lauderdale, very close to our beach.

One of our main roads that leads to the port is 17th Street and along 17th Street there’s plenty of hotels there. Quick, easy access to the port, and most of those hotels are going to provide you transportation to the port. But you’re also just very close too, I mentioned downtown Fort Lauderdale, you’re, you’re literally a 15-minute drive into downtown, to the beach and there’s lots of properties that are right along the beach.

So, it’s just a great opportunity for people as they’re coming into cruise to certainly take some time here and post-cruise trips. A lot of times we’ve suggested our, our travellers that are taking their crew, you know, keep that shopping option until you get back because we have Sawgrass mills, one of the largest outlet malls in the country.

And you know, it’s just great like, then you just come here and you actually, you know, spend a little bit, few more days and you go and, and, and shop before you leave. And we see a lot of people doing that. We are so pleased to have our port here. It’s such a wonderful port. We have eight different cruise lines that are currently, that cruise out of there. And we’re getting a new one starting in. Disney is moving service to here. So, we’re very excited about that. They’re going into Terminal four and it’s being renovated now to certainly look like the Disney brand. So, we’re very, very excited about that.

We’ve recently had Princess Cruises and have announced their largest ship ever. The Sun Princess is going to be sailing out Port Everglades in the fall of 2024. So just lots of exciting things happening here. In 2023, the Ascent Celebrity, which is an Edge class ship, will be spending its inaugural season operating out of Greater Fort Lauderdale.

Wow. Okay. Yeah,

Rebecca Miles: Wow, okay! Definitely plenty to get out on the water. Then also what I, what I’m loving about the sound of the place is the, this understated luxury. Tracy, how does that play out on a day-to-day basis for visitors?

Tracy Vaughan: Yeah, you know, it’s very interesting here. I think we just traditionally have not been known as that luxury destination. We have destination to the north of us and to the south of us that maybe have more of that reputation, but we certainly have it here and it’s, we consider it to be a casual luxury. And the fact that we are the yachting capital of the world. I mean, it tells you, you know, there’s yachts here which certainly resonates luxury, but it’s really understated.

But there’s so many activities and things to do here that have that feel of, of that luxury. I mean, we have our Broward Centre for Performing Arts where you can go and see Broadway shows and opera and ballet and, and concerts, and that’s right along that new river that I was talking about earlier in downtown.

What’s so cool about it is people actually arrive to the centre in their boats or in their yachts, which you might want to call them.

It’s in our little entertainment district and close by, is also the NSU Art Museum. Beautiful, beautiful museum. It’s so wonderful, and the Museum of Discovery and Sciences in that area as well. But you really get this sense of this opportunities to, to enjoy our arts and our culture, that it’s just really understated and it’s all very accessible. I think sometimes you go into these areas that are kind of known for the luxury and, and you may be intimidated to some degree, but here you just, it really is casual and it’s comfortable. But there are opportunities, obviously, you know, for some fine dining, rooftop dining, al fresco dining. So, it’s all here, but it’s kind of understated and, and we love it for that reason because we like to think, you know, we’re everyone under the sun we welcome everyone. We want everyone to feel comfortable here and find your place here. And we really feel like we do that. We do it well.

Rebecca Miles: That’s good to hear. Where in particular do you like to go for dinner? Where do you seek out?

Tracy Vaughan: I, it’s interesting because, I’m very fortunate where I live, I have things right around me that I can literally walk to and I love anything where I can sit outside and that al fresco dining, and so much of that is near body or water, whether it’s the intercoastal, the waterways, or actually, you know, Beachside. So, I’m a big fan of having that opportunity. So, I have a place near me that’s called Shooters. That’s right on the, intracoastal you can get there by water taxi. So, it’s very, very cool and in that little district, that little area where it is, there’s lots of little places that, you know, little local restaurants that you can go there, but then you can walk out the door and there’s options to go hear some entertainment and so forth.

So, but there’s lots of these places all over. It’s hard, it’s hard to nail that one down. And as I mentioned earlier, there’s lots of restaurant, all of our communities do, and I think what’s really interesting here, because we are such a diverse community, the options for different types of food is incredible.

Whatever you’re looking for, you’ll find it here and throughout the county – and I love that, you know, small places that run by locals cooking with where, you know, wherever they may have come from. So, lots of different ethnic food here that’s just absolutely incredible. And again, it’s almost like that understated. It’s not like showing off, it’s just this is real.

Rebecca Miles: That sounds great. So, it’s just sort of naturally inclusive, naturally. Everyone’s welcome.

Tracy Vaughan: Yes. Absolutely.

Rebecca Miles: Paul. Now, you’re so close to the Everglades, aren’t you, in Fort Lauderdale. How do you recommend seeing the best of that delicate ecosystem?

Paul Mason: Now one of the great things about, our region and I think we’ve alluded to it as well a little bit earlier, is that literally you can be in saltwater and then 20 minutes later you can be in freshwater with the Everglades. That’s how close it is.

So, the best way to see the Everglades and, and, and one of the things, it’s, it’s one of my favourite parts of living here in Fort Lauderdale. My family just came down a few weeks ago and one of the things that we did right away, the first thing they wanted to see were the Everglades and, and how do we get around the Everglades?

We took them on an airboat ride. Now that’s just one part of the Everglades. But again, one of the reasons why the Everglades are so popular and why we want people to go on experiences you’ll never see anything like it, it is an ecosystem unlike anywhere else in the world, the wildlife you will see in the wilderness, wilderness you won’t find anywhere else in the United States.

So, it is a must when you are here. So, as you know, we are the gateway to the Everglades. We have several parks that do provide services such as airboat rides, and you have a chance to see some of that wildlife and wilderness that we spoke. Possibly seeing alligators and Florida Panthers, which for lot of Florida panthers are, that is their natural home right in the Everglades.

We also, you know, work with companies such as Everglades Holiday Park, and Sawgrass Recreation Park, where you can get around and enjoy those airboat rides, a seminal village, a live alligator show, and reptiles and birds of prey exhibits. You can also do camping and boating and fishing in the Everglades as well.

So that’s something to also keep in mind. There are private tours and that kind of adventures that are also available, so lots of ways to get around. One of the things that I prefer though, I would always recommend to anyone that is coming to our region to definitely do an airboat ride, to feel the air in your face as you’re, as you’re moving through the waterways. It’s just amazing, you know, but you make sure you have to bring your earplugs, and if you don’t have them, they’ll provide them for you. But that’s an experience like nothing else. They, they talk about the history of the Everglades and, and how the ecosystem actually works. So, it’s not just about, you know, adventure and, adventure touring and all of that. It’s also a bit of education as well.

Rebecca Miles: That’s cool because it is, as you say, it’s such a unique place, isn’t it? It’s unlike anywhere else.

Paul Mason: Yeah, unlike anywhere else in the world. Or in the United States at least!

Rebecca Miles: Not bad, now you’ve spoken previously about that hard to put your finger on feeling of Greater Fort Lauderdale. Can you try and describe what it is for you about the various communities that make the place so vibrant?

Paul Mason: It’s funny, when we spoke about this earlier prior to the interview, it’s that the vibes are so different everywhere. It’s so hard to put your finger on just one vibe. And honestly, that’s why we are really everyone under the sun. That’s what we’re all about here. You’ll see it in all of our information. Everyone under the sun.

We welcome visitors from all over the world, not just domestically here in the States, or not just Europe and England, but everywhere. Everywhere in the world. One of the great things about our region is how many multicultural residents we have. We have over 180 languages that are spoken right here. So, if you think about that, that vibe and it’s, it’s amazing. So just that alone and all of the cultures that are here, that live here, work here and thrive here. That in itself is a vibe that can offer, you know, anything that anyone could possibly want right here in our region.

So whatever culture, whatever, creed, origin, ethnicity, and how you identify yourself, you’ll find here as well. One of the other great things too about our vibe is our LGBTQ plus presence. We are the capital of LGBTQ Plus community here in Florida. And hundreds of LGBTWQ+ owned and operated hospitality businesses including hotels, bars, clubs, and restaurants in our, our own, CVB here, we do have someone that represents this community and represents it all over the world. We have an incredible pride event here, that happens once a year, annually. So again, we’re very, very open to everyone under the sun, and that vibe carries through every community that we have.

Not just in our culture and in the languages that we all speak and the different backgrounds that all have here, but also in the types of beach communities that we have. Some are more relaxed; some are more vibrant and exciting. With a little bit of a nightlife, you have a great restaurant presence, as Tracy mentioned earlier, as well as a luxury presence, which in the past we weren’t really known for, but now we are.

So, you, you have those different vibes – if you want sports and yachting we have that vibe too. So tough to put it on just one, put my finger on one point of it. It’s literally 180 different types of vibes in the language that we speak, and over 140 cultures that live here. So, think about that as a vibe and that’s how much we have.

Rebecca Miles: That’s brilliant. It’s great to hear how important that is to you as well. It’s really makes it sound so welcome. It’s brilliant.

Paul Mason: You know, you just said you have the water sports, the beaches, the Everglades, a cosmopolitan lifestyle with luxury, professional sports and world class shopping all in one place. It is everyone under the sun.

Rebecca Miles: Now, Tracy, tell me about these tiki boats please. They have a special place in Fort Lauderdale’s history, don’t they?

Tracy Vaughan: They do. They’re so interesting. So, we do have these tiki boats. They look like a tiki, interesting story behind it – a couple here. The gentleman was retiring, and his wife was like, I want a tiki in the backyard.

And they happened to live in of these waterways and, and he thought about it, and he was an engineer when he thought about it, he thought, well this is going to take up too much space in the yard so I’m going to put in the waterway and so he did. And its coastguard approved anything with, you know, any water or vehicle would need to be. And so, you know, they decided to put a motor on it, and he said, you know what? This, we can go, when I talked about the Al Fresco dining, well we can 15th Street Fisheries, on our tiki, and cruising along their, in these other boats and yachts. And people are like, wait a minute, where did you get that? What is it? Yes. What, what is this? And so, he was encouraged because people were like, well, we want one. Well, he had, you know, built this himself. So, he did that. He started building them and selling them, and it became a franchise. And they’re actually all over the country now. Different cities around the country with waterways and rivers. You find these tiki boats there. But it’s such a cool way to experience here.

Six people. It’s got, it’s a little bar. Just as you would imagine to have in your backyard – a little bar with, with the bar stools, it’s the bring your own whatever beverage and snacks that you might want, you bring those with you. Six people. You go out for a couple of hours; you decide where you want to go. It’s just such a fun way – So if you got a group of friends or you’re here with your family and you just want to create your own bespoke experience of being on our waterway. It’s such a fun way to do it.

They did tell me that this fun story, they have a client that’s a regular, that has a group of girlfriends, and he literally picks them up at her home takes them to, I mentioned shooters earlier, takes them to shooters with a happy hour and that’s their whole thing. They, they bring their own and then they Uber home, but it’s like a regular, you know, girls get together once a month and this is what they do, and it’s like, how fun is that? I mean, it’s just such a unique, and you just create your own experience. So, we highly encourage it. They’ll pick you up where you like along the waterway, but they do have a, a regular pickup in downtown as well.

Rebecca Miles: Oh, fabulous. Yeah, that sounds just, as you say, perfect fun, what a unique experience. So, lastly Paul, if one of your oldest friends was visiting, how would you spend your ideal day together in Greater Fort Lauderdale? Where would you go? What would you do? Where would you, what would you eat? What would you want to see?

Paul Mason: It’s, it’s, it’s an interesting question because I think everyone has different types of friends… It depends on the friends. I, have friends of mine that would be very happy going shooters as said earlier and just sitting there all day and enjoying themselves,

Rebecca Miles: I meant more for a shake, showcase this, it’s more about what’s available… beyond shooters!

Paul Mason: Exactly, But you know, the typical time that we have with friends that come to visit us, and of course, Things that I could definitely tell you I’m a north easterner, but when I moved here, I found a whole bunch of new friends I never knew I had from the Northeast that wanted to come down and, you know, spend time in the area, which is really, it’s fantastic.

I think one of the main parts of a day would be literally showing them the beaches and enjoying that part of it. I know that my friends, one of my best friends from home came down with his wife and family and we took him to Hollywood, and we walked on the, on the broadwalk and had a great time, and later on in the morning we went to the beach after we had breakfast and just enjoyed the beach atmosphere.

Later on in that day, and one of the things that I highly recommend is strolling around Las Olas and enjoying that. You can have a, a great bite to eat as, as Tracy had mentioned earlier around Las Olas, whether it be for lunch… And then of course there are some great shops, which of course, people love to shop, at least that’s what I’m told by my wife and family, such a cliché, sorry!

Tracy did mention that as well, you know, if it’s a rainy day here, you can go up to Sawgrass Mills Mall, which is the second largest attraction here in Florida. So, you know, and just walk around and, and enjoy the mall and, some of their higher end stores as well as the, the regular stores that you’ll find anywhere – but here they’re outlets.

So, at the end of the day, my favourite thing to do is just that I love the beach. I love giving a chance to go out in the water. Taking, you know, a, a boat on, on the in Intercoastal and going up and down and seeing those beautiful million-dollar homes and, and all of the beautiful hotels that that thought both the in Intercoastal as well as the ocean.

So that is something that I enjoy doing as an ideal day. And then of course, at night, finishing up with something that I love called the Ale Trail, which I kind of alluded to I think a little bit earlier, where we actually have an ale trail where you can take a look at the map and, and follow it and we actually are, are getting quite well known for our craft beer and micro-breweries here.

So, you can enjoy that and have a card and make sure that you, you get notified or, notice for your stop at that bar. And then last but not least, and Tracy, I would be remiss if I didn’t ring up Jackson’s for ice cream at the end of the day. Jackson’s is in Dania Beach and it’s, right off of Route One. It’s, I believe established in 1956, and it’s known for its incredible ice cream, which is all made right there on premise. It is a huge, huge tourist destination as well as locals love it. Great menu. And of course, the scenery, it’s like old Americana with license plates and things hanging from the ceiling and the walls.

So, it’s, it’s a lot of fun. And if you, you know, are with, with friends that have come into town, I highly recommend that, especially if they have kids.

Rebecca Miles: Oh yeah. And who doesn’t live a bit of ice cream.

Paul Mason: Oh my God. It’s, it’s the best. And, and quite honestly, you know, for an ideal Day, beach, a little bit of water sports and finish it off with a nice restaurant and some ice cream at.

Rebecca Miles: Perfect. Tracy, how about you? How would you spend your Dream Day in greater Fort Lauderdale?

Tracy Vaughan: Well, Paul alluded earlier that, biking is very important to me. I’m a cyclist and regularly, most days I get up early and take a ride. Along our scenic highway, A1A that hugs, hugs the Atlantic Ocean so that I can see the sunrise.

And I’ve been doing this for quite some time here and I never tire of it every day it’s different. I caught it this morning. It’s just amazing. I love it and it’s just such a great way to start your day. And I was thinking about it when I was riding this morning that it’s amazing to me too how many mornings I can get up and do it. I don’t go out when it’s raining and storming! But it’s the motivation that gets me up in the morning, see the sunrise.

But I was thinking about it. You can do it almost every single day. I mean it, you know, we do get rain obviously. That’s why it’s so beautiful here in green and beautiful. We have over 3,000 hours of, of sunshine every year here. And so, I feel so fortunate because we are an outdoor destination year-round.

And so that’s how my day starts and if I was spending all day with a friend and hope they’d want to bike with me and go catch that sunrise.

Rebecca Miles: What time do you typically need to be up to catch the sunrise then?

Tracy Vaughan: Well, right now it, you know, it varies. Right now, the sun’s rising a little after 7:00 AM. So, I go out, I typically go out a little bit after six and so it just depends what time I’m catching at because, you know, earlier, it was rising of six 30 and so forth, so I make a six o’clock. So, I’m either catching it on the front end or the back end of my ride, but I’m catching it for sure.

Rebecca Miles: Where’d you head to after seeing the sun?

Tracy Vaughan: Well, you know, the thing about, you know, if it’s on the weekend, and Paul mentioned this earlier, but, you know, you got to go jump in some salt water , and unfortunately right here, close to where I live, Lauderdale by the sea, it, it does have shore diving, but I go snorkelling and I would go, it’s about a hundred metres off and you, you come to the first reef.

So, it’s easy, you know, if you love to snorkel and be in the water and can do that. It’s just such a refreshing way – a great way to start the day, right? And you know, I got to fuel up and so forth. And there’s a great little restaurant called The Alchemist. It’s over in Maynard that Paul mentioned earlier, which is what Maynard is known as our LGBTQ community.

But it’s such a wonderful community with so many wonderful places to eat. But the Alchemist is known as a kind of a great place to go for that morning coffee. And they have some wonderful breakfast, and brunch type foods are definitely going to fuel up and go there. And I am just a big, you know, I love the outdoors and I love the flora here.

And so, I would want to take my friends out to Flamingo Gardens of just such a unique place. They have over 3,000 species of plants and trees. And they had the largest collection of Florida wildlife as well. So, it’s just such a great experience and it’s just a way just to kind of chill out and, and just be amongst nature, but you’re still right here in this community and it’s just a cool way to spend an afternoon leisurely.

And what’s really too, because I live here, there’s a lot of interesting nurseries out there. And I just like to go and walk through the nursery – I would drag somebody with me and buy some plants. I’m about that, but yeah. You know, like just wrapping up the day, I mentioned earlier the alfresco dining and, and some really cool areas.

Pompano Beach. Paul touched on that as well, but it’s just a great, there’s that pier there, there’s several restaurants that are right on the beach, and there’s some little, there’s some little shops in there as well, so it’s just a great place just to take a walk about. And then have a nice dinner and you can go have dinner at one of the restaurants and then have an after-dinner… There’s a little new rooftop bar there that opened up the last six months in one of our hotels. And again, it’s overlooking the ocean. It’s high up that you can now look to the west and see the sunset. It’s, it’s actually a true, a Hilton, so it’s, that hotel just opened up about six months ago. So, it’s, it’s the rooftop bar that sits on top of that, that hotel. It’s very, very, very cool. And it’s a large space too, so quite interesting, and sometimes they have music there. So, it’s just a great to close out, fun, relaxing, kind of day.

Rebecca Miles: So, from sunrise to sunset for you.

Tracy Vaughan: Absolutely.

Rebecca Miles: Oh, fabulous. Well, thank you both Paul and Tracy so much for joining me today. It’s been great talking.

Paul Mason: Oh, thank you very much.

Tracy Vaughan: Thank you.

Rebecca Miles: To find out more and book your next holiday to Greater Fort Lauderdale, visit For more information on Greater Fort Lauderdale, visit and follow them on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter under the handle @VisitLauderdale.

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