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First time in south florida

Laval, Canada
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First time in south florida

Will be down in south florida with my 17 yr.old daughter for 4 1/2 days prior to a cruise sailing out on 01-12. Will be staying at the AQUA in ft.lauderdale for 3 days and would like to drive down to miami on 01-11 early morning to at least get a taste of south beach. Would really appreciate any and all insights as to must (or must not) do and see in ft.lauderdale (3 days) and miami (1 1/2 day). Would like to have a taste of as mush as possible. Sight seeing, people watching, hanging out at beach, decent restaurants and keep in mind I'll be with a 17 yr.old so....bargain shopping ;o) thanks so much for any adice.

cheers from freakin' cold montreal !!!

Fort Lauderdale...
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1. Re: First time in south florida

Bargain shopping for a teen usually is all about Sawgrass Outlet Mall- 400+ It is west of town about a 20-30 minute drive from the beach,but as long as you have a car , you're good. If you needan escape there area few bars and a multi plex theater you can enjoy. Aqua is also fairly close to Galleria Mall and I have found that for whatever reason teens seem to like the PF Chang's restaurant there and there are some trendy shops , but not outlets- usually good sales at Abercrombie and the like though.

For one day, especially if it is a nice day ( and it is dry season then , so unless it is unseasonably cold it will be) I would get an all day Water Taxi pass ( $20 pp) and cruise the canals gawking at the mansions and yachts. You can hop off anywhere that suits your fancy as much as you like. Las Olas Blvd would be one stop you'll like- you can browse the shops and pick one of the many restaurants with sidewalk cafes for lunch or dinner. Most have menus posted so your daughter can decide. what would be to both your tastes. I especially like a little place called Wild East as it has a bunch of tapas style "small plates" for $6 each and it's fun to order a variety of things from the 60 choices., though they have traditional oriental entrees and sushi as well.but every type of restaurant is pretty much found on that street.

Florida
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2. Re: First time in south florida

Hi Pat155032. I think you will enjoy Aqua. I haven't stayed there but I've visited friends who did and they thoroughly enjoyed it. It was recently totally renovated. Take a look at the Plaza Bistro, an alfresco restaurant 3 short blocks north of Aqua and under the same management. It is a stylish open air restaurant with reasonable prices.

I second Lulutoo's recommendation of the Water Taxi. I bring out of town friends on it and everybody loves the ride. Younger people cluster on the beach a few blocks south of where you are staying...more or less north of Las Olas to in front of the Beach Place/Marriot complex. It would only be a 5 to 10min walk from Aqua.

As for Miami, I do not care much for Ocean Drive though most people want to see it. Your daughter might enjoy Lincoln Rd which is a pedestrian street. It has lots of shopping (perhaps expensive though) and lots of outdoor restaurants which are delightful to sit at and people watch. Have fun.

Neptune Beach, FL
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3. Re: First time in south florida

Hi Pat,

Take an Everglades airboat trip, and cruise the Intracoastal with Carrie B to see the big, expensive houses and yachts of the athletes and movie stars, and go to 15th Street Fisheries for a meal and to feed the giant tarpon.

Everglades: http://www.evergladesholidaypark.com/

Carrie B: http://www.carriebcruises.com/

15th Street Fisheries: http://www.15streetfisheries.com/

Enjoy Fort Lauderdale!

Spirit

Edited: 17 November 2012, 21:42
Laval, Canada
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4. Re: First time in south florida

love it...keep it comin'. any thoughts about miami aside from lincoln blvd? what would be the best way of driving there; i mean i expect some traffic but if it takes me 3 hours to drive 20 miles !!! is there a hop-on / hop off in ft.lauderdale or miami?

thanks again.

Florida
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5. Re: First time in south florida

I drive down A1A to South Beach. Take a right on 17th street and a left more or less (sorry for that) around Meridian. One block south is Lincoln Ln which is where there are a number of municipal garages. Lincoln rd is the next street. The garages are best as you do not need to worry about a meter expiring and they are also the least expensive. Take a look at the map on this site: lincolnroadmall.com/map-of-lincoln-road/

If you have any interest in architecture, one of the most beautiful parking garages (don't laugh) anywhere is on Lincoln Rd: www.nytimes.com/2011/01/24/us/24garage.html

Best Wishes

Fort Lauderdale...
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6. Re: First time in south florida

I'm going to stick in a warning to pass on to your teen daughter. Lots of teens get scammed by the many small T Shirt shops that line the beach (and probably those in Miami as well). They are attracted to signs of $10 shirts etc where a sweet talking saleslady talks them into a little "customizing" with a decal or two. Then they are presented with a bill for $40+ for the shirt- and when they protest that it is too high , the saleslady disappears and a muscle bound threatening male comes out to extract the payment ... I know of some adults who have fallen victim as well, but their usual prey is a naive teenager. Warn your daughter not to buy a shirt in those little shops- there may be an honest one in the bunch, but I can't say which one that would be. The CVS drugs at Beachplace has T shirts that are reasonable and it is a safe place to buy one.

Bolton, United...
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7. Re: First time in south florida

I'm pretty sure that the Aqua has it's own restaurant, certainly there is an Al Fresco dining place next door. I'm sure Billbr could fill us in with the details, it would save you a walk to the Plaza. You have to be mad to use the A1a to get to South Beach, use the I95 and it will take you less than an hour if you avoid rush hour times. Lincoln Drive can be pricey as can all South Beach restaurants, beware of cheap meals, the drinks are usually loaded, this certainly applies to Ocean Drive. Cuban Cafes are the way to go if you want a South Beach bargain.

Florida
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8. Re: First time in south florida

Hi Sue, I think you are providing some misinformation. Not only is the drive more interesting taking A1A to south beach Miami but it takes a similar amount of time or is faster. In fact if you use one of the online tools such a Google maps, it will indicate that A1A is faster.

Lincoln Road has a wide variety of restaurants with prices from low to high. There are places for burgers and pizza. I often dine at the Van Dyke Cafe. The food is good, prices are reasonable, and the people-watching is great.

I agree with you on Ocean Drive.

Bolton, United...
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9. Re: First time in south florida

Speaking from experience Billbr, once bitten twice shy. IMO the I95 is the way to go. At least the OP has the option.

Florida
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10. Re: First time in south florida

Hi, I've been stuck on I95 even using the sunpass lanes. There could be traffic and accidents either route. I95 is not pretty.

Does anybody else have thoughts on this?