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Vivid descriptions evoke what makes South Florida unique - Local experts show you the special places - Thorough updating keeps you on track - Practical information gives you the tools to explore - Easy-to-use format puts it all at your fingertips
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Stay in grand historic hotels, restored Art Deco jewels, golf and tennis resorts, seaside hideaways - Dine in elegant restaurants, culinary hot spots, ethnic eateries, fish houses, and Old Florida favorites - Check out hundreds of detailed reviews and learn what's special about each place
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Savvy advice helps you decide where to go and when - Driving and walking tours guide you from glamorous Palm Beach to laid-back Key West, from Chic Miami to the silent waterways of the Everglades- Hit all the best beaches - Listen to salsa, jazz, and reggae - Explore boutiques, crafts galleries, shell shops, bathing-suit emporiums, and cigar stores
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Pleasures and Pastimes
Warm weather and lots of sand make beaching a major South Florida activity. But if life's a beach, how do you find the one that suits you? Beaches in South Florida, from the Keys north to Jupiter, seem to have a personality all their own. At South Beach in Miami, young in-shape model types often arrive on their in-line skates. Since shedding its rowdy spring break image, Fort Lauderdale Beach has been reclaimed by families and many foreign visitors. With volleyball and basketball courts, and a wide promenade for in-line skaters, it's also known as Workout Beach. Families from as far South as Miami-Dade County visit Boca Raton's Red Reef Park beach for snorkeling. It's an ideal place to introduce children to snorkeling because the reef is so close to shore; the deepest water around the reef is 8 to 10 ft.
Although the state owns all beaches below the high-tide lines, even in front of hotels and private resorts, gaining access to them can be a problem along much of Florida's coastline. You must pay to enter and/or park at most state, county, and local beachfront parks. Where hotels dominate the beach frontage, public parking may be limited or nonexistent.
Except in the heart of the Everglades, you'll never be far from one of South Florida's golf courses. Palm Beach County, the state's leading golf locale, has 150 courses. Many of the best courses allow visitors to play without being members or hotel guests. During the winter season, you should reserve tee times in advance. Ask about golf reservations when you make your lodging reservations.
Scuba Diving and Snorkeling
South Florida, and especially the Keys, attracts most of the state's divers and snorkelers. A multitude of dive shops schedule drift-, reef-, and wreck-diving trips all along the coast. The low-tech pleasures of snorkeling can be enjoyed throughout the Keys and elsewhere where shallow reefs hug the shore.
Opportunities for saltwater fishing abound from the Keys all the way up the southeast Florida coast. Many seaside communities have municipal fishing piers that charge a modest admission to anglers (and usually a lower rate to spectators). These piers generally have a bait-and-tackle shop. It's also easy to find a boat-charter service that will take you out into deep water. Some of the best are in Islamorada,
Marathon, and Key West in the Florida Keys, but popular charter fleets are also located at Fort Lauderdale's Bahia Mar docks, at the Hillsboro Inlet in north Broward County, and at the Boyton Beach inlet in Palm Beach County. Depending on your taste, budget, and needs, you can charter anything from an old wooden craft to a luxurious waterborne palace with state-of-the-art amenities.
For freshwater anglers, there's 448,000-acre Lake Okeechobee, the third-largest natural lake in the United States home to bass, bluegill, speckled perch, and succulent catfish (which the locals call "sharpies"). In addition, parts of the Everglades in Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties are famed as the "river of bass." The best fishing here is found in the "flats," where canals turn into shallow, vegetation-filled marshes, a haven for bass. Many fishing camps on the fringes of the Everglades have guides for hire.
Table of Contents
+TABLE OF CONTENTS=
On the Road with Fodor's
The Gold Guide: Smart Travel Tips from A to Z
Destination: South Florida
New and Noteworthy
Pleasures and Pastimes
Festivals and Seasonal Events
Miami and Miami Beach
Fort Lauderdale and Broward County
Palm Beach and the Treasure Coast
The Florida Keys