What is more romantic than a multi-day cruise to exotic islands and tropical destinations? Or frolicking on sun-drenched beaches, trying delicious delicacies not available at home and making memories to last a lifetime? A half day spent in the world-class port city of Fort Lauderdale could well be the perfect complement to that romantic cruise and add that special touch to an already perfect holiday.
Sunrise at the beach — Photo courtesy of Sunny.org
Fort Lauderdale prides itself on its unique and sophisticated manner of putting out the welcome mat for the millions of visitors that pass through each year. Once known primarily as a spring break haven, the city came together to put a new face on the "Venice of America" (as some have called it) and rid itself of what had become a tarnished image of endless partying and a lack of the world-class edge that it sought for.
Today, the Venice of America has been transformed, and visitors from all over the globe arrive to enjoy its Blue Wave certified beaches; top-name, world-class hotels; famous restaurants; high-end shopping; historical museums; and welcoming atmosphere.
For a romantic half-day stay, an absolute must is a visit to the beach. Best known is Fort Lauderdale Beach, just north of Port Everglades and a quick ride from the port by cab or rental car. This world-famous destination is an ideal setting to catch some rays, swim in the ocean and snap some photos. The fabulous beachfront area is known for its cleanliness and the variety of shops, amazing dining options and abundance of parking available in the area.
Casablanca Cafe — Photo courtesy of Phillip Passar
For an ideal romantic meal just steps from the beach, it's got to be Casablanca Café. This restaurant's location could not be more ideally suited right on the beach, with the most amazing views of the Atlantic Ocean.
This Fort Lauderdale Beach treasure is artfully housed in an authentic two-story Spanish home and exudes romance. The lunch menu is certainly as enticing as their dinner options, with calamari fritters, delicious steamed mussels and clams or perhaps Escargot with Attitude. Also available are soups, salads, sandwiches and enticing entrees such as Linguini Del Mar, Tropical Florida Mahi, Hibachi Grilled Salmon and Fish & Chips.
With only a half day to explore, head north on A1A just a few blocks to the magnificent and historic Bonnet House Museum & Gardens. Built in 1920, this breathtaking estate is on the National Register for Historic Sites, and it's a remarkable tribute to a bygone era. Once the home of artists Frederic and Evelyn Bartlett, this is the perfect romantic setting.
The plantation-style home reflects the Bartlett's penchant for European art and architecture. The estate overlooks a lagoon and comprises 35 acres of lush botanical beauty, wetlands, a fruit grove, lily pond, walking trail, boathouse, shell museum and a theater surrounded by a moat. Swans, monkeys and other wildlife live on the property. What a perfect backdrop for the perfect romantic day!
So pencil in a half day of a romantic adventure, and experience all that Fort Lauderdale has to offer for couples. Bon voyage!
Nature at its finest, at Bonnet House — Photo courtesy of Sunny.org