Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Fort Lauderdale has something to offer everyone including snowbirds who want gorgeous towering views from their condos, to partying college students on spring break, to the lovers of the arts, to lovers who just want a romantic stroll along the New River.

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1 Skyline of Fort Lauderdale Beach, Florida

Welcome to Fort Lauderdale, a Florida gem with 23 miles of beaches along the Atlantic coast. It is home to 170,000 people in the city and a total of 5.7 million in the metropolitan area. Many of these residents are snowbirds who head south for the winter. It is also a popular tourist destination with over 12 million visitors a year. Who can resist the sun, sand, water and glamor of the “Venice of America?”

3030 Holiday Dr, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316
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2 Greetings From Fort Lauderdale Mural in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

I vividly remember two icons of traveling when I was a kid. One was the postcard. They often looked like this mural on the side of the Tattoo Blues shop in Fort Lauderdale. I always wrote “Wish You Were Here” not because that’s what I really wanted but just to taunt the recipient. The second was “Kodak Film Sold Here.” Ah, I miss those days.

927 Sunrise Ln, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304
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3 Boats of All Sizes on Intracoastal Waterway in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

You will see watercraft of every size cruising or moored along the Intracoastal Waterway of Fort Lauderdale, from the super-mega luxury yachts to the ultra-small aluminum boats. The best way to tour the “Venice of America” is by water taxi. These double-decker vessels will take you past spectacular mansions and hotels, beneath drawbridges and provide wonderful skyline views of downtown. They also make frequent stops at the most popular restaurants, bars and intersections.

2301 SE 17th St, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316
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4 Attractive Woman on Beach in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

It is amazing that a beach can be filled with hundreds of sun tanning people yet it is easy to spot an attractive young blonde like this one who was walking towards the camera. Typically it is men who do the staring. On this day, however, two older women who were sitting in beach chairs where doing the admiring.

201 Florida A1A, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316
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5 Beach in Front of Ritz-Carlton in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

The section of sand in front of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel and the Beach Place outdoor mall are the epicenter for most of the crowds at Fort Lauderdale Beach. So if you like to share your beach time with lots of people, then that is where to pitch your umbrella. If you want something quieter, then walk about a half mile in either direction along Fort Lauderdale Beach Boulevard.

1 N Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304
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Man with Woman Tattoo in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Going to spend a day at the beach always sounds like so much fun but sometimes when you get there it is crowded with people who frankly look better fully clothed. Apparently this man was proud of the woman he had tattooed on his arm. But the tat’s only color is the red lips. I know that didn’t come from being sunburn because he had his suntan lotion within easy reach.

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6 Beach Volleyball in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Beach volleyball is an amazing sport to watch as an Olympic event or among talented, professional athletes. At the other end of the spectrum is the version played by college students during spring break. When they are lucky enough to serve the ball over the net, the volley rarely lasts more than one or two times. Occasionally you see someone like this young man who is competitive enough to jump high and then spike the ball.

21 N Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304
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7 Centennial Sign for City of Fort Lauderdale, Florida

The land now known as Fort Lauderdale was first inhabited by the Tequesta Indians more than a thousand years ago. Most of them died during the Spanish conquest in the 16th century. Although the British began ruling in 1763 until the end of the Revolutionary War, this area was sparsely populated until the first U.S. Fort Lauderdale was built in 1838. It wasn’t until 1911 that the City of Fort Lauderdale was incorporated. 100 years later, this sign along Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd. was part of the centennial celebration. Broward County’s 100th birthday is in 2015.

299 S Atlantic Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316
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8 Chickee Bridge at Bonnet House in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

The bonnet lilies floating in this pond were the inspiration for the name Bonnet House, the former estate of Frederic Bartlett in Fort Lauderdale. Perhaps that is not surprising because when he married his second wife Evelyn, her last name was Lilly. The thatched building is a pedestrian bridge called Chickee. This scene on the museum property is so tranquil that it could have inspired Claude Monet to create an impressionist painting.

900 N Birch Rd, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304
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9 Island Theater at Bonnet House in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

The Bonnet House Museum and Gardens is a beautiful museum that suspends in time the winter estate of an elite, early 20th century family in Fort Lauderdale. It is built on a barrier island with foliage, backwaters and sloughs that look similar to when the Tequesta Indians lived here millenniums ago. This is a reproduction of their Island Theater. The original was built in 1938. The Bartlett’s used to charge their guests two matching seashells to come inside to watch movies.

900 N Birch Rd, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304
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10 Boats at Pier 66 Marina in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Whenever I am on a road trip, I often grumble about the high price of parking at a big city hotel. In Fort Lauderdale, many guests arrive by boat and then moor along the hotel’s attached marina. An example is the Hyatt Regency Pier Sixty-six. You can visit just long enough for a bite to eat at one of their five restaurants or long enough until you sail off to your next destination. You don’t have a boat? No problem. You can rent a sailboat or powerboat or charter a yacht or deep-sea fishing excursion.

2301 SE 17th St, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316
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11 Broward Center of the Performing Arts in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

The Broward Center of the Performing Arts has four theaters that host over 200 performances a year including plays, operas, ballets and concerts. Constructed in 1991, it became the centerpiece for the revitalization of the Riverwalk Arts and Entertainment District in downtown Fort Lauderdale.

201 SW 5th Ave, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33312
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12 Great Gravity Clock at Science Museum in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Even before children walk through the front door of the Museum of Discovery and Science, they are mesmerized by this 52 foot Great Gravity Clock in the open-air atrium. As giant balls twist along tracks, they make wheels spin and sounds blare in an orchestra of fun. Inside they find interactive displays that entertain and educate. This venue hosts 150,000 school-age children a year and over half arrive during a school field trip.

401 SW 2nd St, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33312
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13 Riverwalk Promenade in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

A growing trend among cities located along a waterway is to create a promenade that attracts locals and tourists but downtown Fort Lauderdale has done an exemplary job with their Riverwalk district. It features several cultural centers, a historic neighborhood, plenty of bars and restaurants, a large park, shops and this brick walking path that stretches for a mile along the bank of the New River.

300 SW 1st Ave, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301
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14 New River Flowing in Downtown Fort Lauderdale, Florida

The New River, which begins in the Everglades, flows through downtown Fort Lauderdale before reaching the Atlantic Ocean near Port Everglades. The Seminole Indians first gave it the name of “Himmarshee” which means “new water.” Today it is an active waterway for yachts and pleasure boats. On the left is part of the promenade called Riverwalk.

400 SW 1st Ave, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301
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15 Broward County History Mural in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

This is a detail of an 85 x 30 foot mural on the side of the Broward County Governmental Center Parking Garage that illustrates iconic images of Broward County’s history. They include the Wanderer paddleboat, The Stranahan and Company Trading Post plus citrus fruit. In the center is Governor Napoleon Bonaparte Broward, the county’s namesake. Dan Daddona created this outdoor art in 1988.

151 SW 2nd St, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301
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16 Jungle Queen Riverboat in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Since 1935, the Jungle Queen Riverboat has delighted tourists with dinner and show cruises or a delightful 90 minutes of sightseeing along the New River. Other options to see Fort Lauderdale’s waterways are kayak tours and water taxis. Plus as you would expect from an area whose nickname is “Venice of America” you can also experience a ride in a gondola.

801 Seabreeze Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316
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17 Las Olas River House in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

At 452 feet, the Las Olas River House twin towers became the tallest buildings in Fort Lauderdale when the condominium opened along New River in 2004. But it might lose that distinction in 2017 when the Icon Las Olas is completed. Although this new high-rise will also have 42 floors, it is planned to be three feet taller.

333 N New River Dr E, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301
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18 Museum of History in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

The Fort Lauderdale Historical Society maintains a small neighborhood of early 19th century buildings plus an old schoolhouse replica along the Riverwalk. This was the New River Inn when it was built in 1905 using sand from the local beach to create the blocks. It operated 24 guest rooms until 1955 and is now the Museum of History. It is the oldest hotel building in Broward County.

219 SW 2nd Ave, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301
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19 The Lone Sailor Statue in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

The Lone Sailor Statue was first created by artist Stanley Bleifeld in 1987 and erected at the United States Navy Memorial in Washington D.C. This replica in the Esplanade Park near New River in downtown Fort Lauderdale is one of a dozen that have been placed around the U.S. They are a tribute to all of the people who have served in “our Sea Services for securing our democracy.”

400 SW 2nd St, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33312
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20 Rising Drawbridge for Yacht in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

There are about a dozen drawbridges along the intercostal waterways of Broward County to accommodate the passing of enormous yachts. Most of them elevate at scheduled times. This one is a rail bridge operated by the Florida East Coast Railway. It runs parallel to Moffat Avenue and crosses over the New River in the Riverwalk district.

Riverwalk North, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301
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21 NSU Museum of Art in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

The Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale exhibits primarily contemporary art. It houses more than six thousand works. One of its most popular collections is by Pablo Picasso. Frankly, I most enjoyed their section on photography. The museum is located downtown on the campus of Nova Southeastern University, a private research school that has seven satellite campuses.

1 E Las Olas Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301
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22 Water Fountain in Huizenga Plaza in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

This beautiful Spanish water fountain is located in Huizenga Plaza between the NSU Museum of Art on Las Olas Boulevard and the Riverwalk. Formerly called Bubier Park, it also features 18 acres of grass that is ideal for dog walking, flying a kite or just going for a stroll. It is wonderful to have such a large green space in the center of downtown Fort Lauderdale.

32 E Las Olas Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301
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23 Colorful Sailboat Sculpture in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

This colorful sailboat sculpture that features a scene from the Grand Canal in Venice is the work of artist Ilea Haber. It is one of several painted sailboats sponsored by Art in Public Places that you’ll find along the Riverwalk in Fort Lauderdale. On the left is the band shell at Huizenga Plaza. It is the scene of frequent outdoor concerts.

32 E Las Olas Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301
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24 People Riding Pub Crawl Quadracycle in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

All vacations are short, so when you are visiting Fort Lauderdale and can’t decide whether to spend the day sightseeing, at the beach, sipping cocktails or maintaining your exercise regime then Cycle Party has the perfect solution for you. You and 14 other people can climb aboard their quadracycle and peddle your way towards different beaches and pubs while seeing a few of the sights along the way.

1 E Las Olas Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301
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25 The WaterGarden Condominiums in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

The WaterGarden, which is located on New River Drive East, is an example of the luxury condominiums that are available in downtown Fort Lauderdale. Much of Florida’s real estate was hit financially hard during the Great Recession. However, it appears that the condo market in Broward County is on the rebound. Sales have been increasing despite rising prices while the inventory has been decreasing. And several new towers are under construction.

347 N New River Dr E, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301
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26 Downtown Skyline of Fort Lauderdale, Florida

This view of the downtown skyline from the Embassy Suites is a small sample of the 175 high-rises in Fort Lauderdale. Unlike most cities, the majority of these towers are residential instead of commercial space. There are also 560 hotels with about 35,000 rooms.

1100 SE 17th St, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316
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27 Beach Chair and Umbrella Mural in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

In the summer of 2009, Mimi Botscheller, an instructor from the Art Institute of Florida, led a group of students to paint this colorful mural on particleboard along Fort Lauderdale Beach Boulevard. This beach chair and umbrella is a small detail of the 174 foot artwork designed by Alfonso Frontera. He was a participant in the class called Art in Public Spaces. This mural is now gone.

545 S Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316
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28 College Students Party at Beach in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Fort Lauderdale’s reputation as the mecca for college students during spring break started in the mid-1930s. It really became popular when the book and then the movie “Where the Boys Are” hit the market in 1958 and 1960 respectively. By the 1980s, about 350,000 students swarmed the beach during their winter vacation. That number dropped by 90% after tough laws were enacted in 1989. But judging from this scene in 2015, the numbers are on the rise again.

17 S Atlantic Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316
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29 College Boys Watching Girl in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

In a ritual as old as spring break itself, these three young men stood on shore while watching two cute girls playing catch with a football in the surf. I overheard the boys discuss their game plan, practice their opening lines and debate who was going to talk with which girl. Suddenly it all became a moot point when two other guys swooped in and introduced themselves to the girls.

17 S Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316
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Old Man Filming at Beach in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

In spring the beaches at Fort Lauderdale are crowded with young people in small bathing suits who are sunning and swimming and having a great time. Then there are those, like this old man, whose idea of a great time is filming all those young people in their small bathing suits.

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30 College Students Watching At Beach in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

The throngs of college students who descend on Fort Lauderdale Beach during spring break can be a bit overwhelming. So some introverts just sit down and watch as the majority cavort, party, socialize, drink, swim, play catch and get sunburned.

17 S Atlantic Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316
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31 Flashing Lights of Night Life in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

After the sun sets and the beaches in Fort Lauderdale become deserted, the crowds of young people fill the bars and clubs where the drinks are flowing, the music is loud and the lights become a kaleidoscope of colors. Perhaps the most famous night-life venue of “Fort Liquordale” is the Elbo Room. This landmark of southern Florida first opened its doors in 1938. It was featured in the 1960 movie “Where the Boys Are” with Connie Francis and George Hamilton.

241 S Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316
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32 Las Olas Boulevard Store Fronts in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Las Olas Boulevard, which means “the waves” in Spanish, is a one-mile thoroughfare in Fort Lauderdale lined with shops, art galleries, jewelry stores, bars and restaurants. The street was built in 1917 but underwent an extensive renovation starting in 2002. It is now a quaint, tree-lined neighborhood that is an extension of downtown.

945 E Las Olas Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301
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33 Yellow Porsche 911 GT3 Parked in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

It is not surprising to learn Florida is ranked second in the United States (behind California) as having the most expensive cars. Over 75,000 of them are sold in the Sunshine State every year. But high-performance sports cars like this bright yellow Porsche 911 GT3 parked in front of an art gallery on Las Olas Boulevard still turn heads. Its base price is $130,000. Of course it is essential you have all 475 horsepower under the hood in order to look cool while you are stuck in endless traffic jams.

806 E Las Olas Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301
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34 Wavy Wall Along Beach in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

The Fort Lauderdale Beach area is a long island formed by the Intracoastal Waterway and the Atlantic Ocean. It’s reached by crossing one of several draw bridges. Starting here at the Fort Lauderdale Beach Park and heading north along the main boulevard is a low, white wavy wall that separates the sand from the walkway. This broadwalk is perfect for a stroll. And when you are ready for the shops, hotels and restaurants, you just need to cross the street.

1100 Seabreeze Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316
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35 Mother with Baby Playing in Sand in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

When families want to enjoy a day at the beach without the crowds, they often take their children to Fort Lauderdale Beach Park like this mom who is playing with her baby in the sand. They appreciate all of the amenities like restrooms and showers plus the playground and picnic tables.

1100 Seabreeze Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316
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36 Florida AIDS Walk Banner in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

On March 22, 2015, the 10th Florida AIDS Walk & Music Festival was held in Fort Lauderdale. These men holding the banner led a procession of people who participated in the 5K walk. The annual event raises awareness of HIV and AIDS and is a successful fundraiser for several Southern Florida groups who are dedicated to education, prevention, testing and treatment initiatives.

600 Seabreeze Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316
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37 Palm Trees along Beach in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

A beach lined with palm trees is an iconic sight in Florida and is a common visual used in marketing materials for the Sunshine State. Most of these trees are either a royal of coconut palm but about twenty species are common. In fact, there are about 2,500 types of palm trees across the world and the majority could thrive in the Florida’s warm and humid climate.

441 Florida A1A, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316
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38 International Swimming Hall of Fame in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

It seems totally appropriate that the International Swimming Hall of Fame would be located just a few blocks from Fort Lauderdale Beach. Since it was established in 1965, it has inducted and honored the best athletes in not only competitive, marathon and synchronized swimming but also water polo and diving. In addition to exhibits that tell the history of these sports, the museum also has a giant pool that is over 164 feet long.

1 Hall of Fame Dr, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316
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39 Lifeguard Tower on Beach in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Since 1926, the Fort Lauderdale Ocean Rescue has been committed to public safety. Today, there are 20 lifeguard towers positioned along the three miles of sand at Fort Lauderdale Beach and this number is increased with temporary stations during the peak season. Each year, they help with about 2,000 medical emergencies and save over 100 victims from drowning.

801 Seabreeze Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316
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40 People Walking Along A1A in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

A1A is a state road that runs for over 338 miles along Florida’s Atlantic coast. For the short distance that it is also called Fort Lauderdale Beach Boulevard, pedestrians can often move faster than cars. It is here where you will find countless bars, night clubs, restaurants, cafes, souvenir shops and hotels all that face the beach across the street. It is a fun place to visit but I would not want to spend my vacation there.

101 Florida A1A, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316
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41 Classic Convertible Car at Galleria Mall in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

If you love to shop then you will love the dozen shopping malls in Fort Lauderdale. At the high end is The Galleria Mall on Sunrise Boulevard. It has 120 stores and is anchored by Neiman Marcus, Macy’s and Dillard’s. Just make sure to park your classic convertible out front for everyone to gawk at. This red beauty is a Pontiac Grand Ville, a very low production car from the early 1970s.

2430 E Sunrise Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304
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42 Superyacht at Hilton Marina in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

This superyacht docked at the Hilton Marina is just one of the 45,000 yachts in Broward County. That’s one yacht for every 39 residents. There are over 100 marinas available to accommodate them all and most are located within the Intracoastal Waterway.

1881 SE 17th St, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316
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43 Young Couples on Speed Boat in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Every young guy dreams of driving his dad’s powerboat as fast as he can along the Intracoastal Waterway while three girls are lounging across the bow in their bikinis. Life is good in Fort Lauderdale.

Las Olas Bridge, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301
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44 Port Everglades Near Atlantic Ocean in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

This calm water in the foreground used to be called Lake Mabel until 1913 when a passageway for small boats was created from the New River to the Atlantic. Then in 1928, the mouth of the harbor to the ocean was greatly expanded to form Port Everglades. Today the busy seaport processes over 22 million tons of cargo and about 3.5 million cruise ship passengers. It has been called the “World’s Top Cruise Port” by an industry publication.

8010 N Ocean Dr, Dania Beach, FL 33004
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45 Cruise Ship Leaving Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Over 3.5 million passengers a year board cruise ships that leave from Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale. Together with commercial and pleasure watercraft, all of this traffic amounts to $26 billion in economic activity. As an example, nearly $100 million worth of bananas passed through in containers during 2014.

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