Fort Lauderdale: By JUNKET
Did you know Fort Lauderdale was the original Spring Break destination? Or that it is home to the only coral reef found in the continental United States? Or that it is considered the far western tip of the Bermuda Triangle?
Join us for a Fort Lauderdale Junket Experience to see this South Florida gem of a city like never before. Once the domain of the wild spring break party scene, this perennially-sunny seaside village has matured into a sophisticated beach destination with upscale cultural elements and exciting attractions that allure a wide variety of vacationers. From the delectable seafood and yacht shows at Coconuts Waterside Grill to the eclectic shopping on Las Olas Boulevard to the natural beauty of the Everglades, Fort Lauderdale is a city that continues to surprise.
Fort Lauderdale’s Haunts, History, and Hotspots
Join the party as we dive into the unbelievable stories detailing Fort Lauderdale’s intriguing and lively diversions, its historic and haunted past, and the notable figures who shaped its creation. Professional storytellers will share shocking local legends and little-known ghost stories about this cool coastal city.
Tag along with expert local guides as they introduce you to a fascinating side of Fort Lauderdale that few have ever seen, and enjoy a rare opportunity to learn the sordid details and secrets about the city’s history you won’t find anywhere in the guidebooks.
Discover some of the city’s terrifying locations and bizarre tales on the celebrated Fort Lauderdale Ghosts tour. This mesmerizing tour introduces you to a spine-tingling collection of the most haunted locations in the city where you will:
There’s a Junket for everyone – Pick yours.
Fort Lauderdale History
The Story of Fort Lauderdale: From Military Stronghold to Spring Break Escape
Famous for boats and beaches, Fort Lauderdale is one of Florida’s most family-friendly tropical destinations, rich in history and tradition. The area that would eventually become a year-round getaway for sun and fun was previously inhabited by the Tequesta Indians for thousands of years.
The arrival of Spanish explorers in the 16th century brought infectious diseases such as smallpox to the native population, which contributed greatly to their decline. By the time the Spanish ceded Florida to the British in 1763 under the terms of the Treaty of Paris, ending the Seven Years’ War, most of the indigenous people had evacuated to Cuba.
In 1838, three forts named for U.S. Major William Lauderdale were constructed on the banks of the New River, an attempt to secure the east coast of Florida during the Second Seminole War.
The area remained largely undeveloped, with a small group of settlers living along the New River until an attack by warriors of the Seminole tribe prompted them to abandon their settlement and flee to Key West. No attempt by Americans to reoccupy the area was made until the end of the 19th century.
In 1893, Frank Stranahan arrived in the New River area to operate a ferry for the stage line traveling the new Dade County road. He established an overnight camp and trading post to serve travelers as well as local Seminoles eager for supplies. He called his camp Fort Lauderdale in memory of the fortifications that once lined the river banks.
Stranahan and his wife, Ivy, built a large house and general store on the New River that still stands today. A city was designed around the camp in 1895 and the railroad arrived a year later. Fort Lauderdale began to develop as a shipping and commercial center and residential resort.
In 1935, the city began holding an annual National Collegiate Aquatic Forum, which was designed to attract vacationing college students; this would be the beginning of Fort Lauderdale’s popularity as a destination for spring break vacations. Its extensive beaches and interlacing waterways gave rise to recreational boating facilities and a busy marine industry.
Spring Break Capital of the Country
“It’s where the boys are.” – Time Magazine, 1960
Beach communities began to grow in popularity after World War II, and by the 1960s, Fort Lauderdale was the spring break capital of the country. It attracted the notice of the rich and famous, with well-known celebrities and wealthy residents establishing homes along the banks of the New River, a neighborhood known as Millionaires’ Row.
Some notable names who made Fort Lauderdale their home include Hollywood stars such as Nick Nolte, Burt Reynolds, Zsa Zsa Gabor, and Lucille Ball, singing artists Sonny and Cher, McDonald’s owner Ray Kroc, and gangsters like Bugsy Siegel and Al Capone.
Fort Lauderdale Today
Explore the Venice of America
Often overlooked in favor of Orlando’s theme parks and Miami’s vibrant nightlife, Fort Lauderdale is a lively tropical destination without the packed beach scene of some larger resort towns. Known for its snow-white beaches framed by aquamarine waters, tempting ocean-to-table restaurants, and picturesque mansions that line its waterways, Fort Lauderdale is a charming beachfront getaway that caters to travelers of all tastes.
A true boaters paradise, Fort Lauderdale is the home of hundreds of mega-yachts that take advantage of the city’s winding canals and the New River. Fort Lauderdale is known as the yachting capital of the world, and its riverfront dining and promenades, as well as the International Boat Show, give visitors countless opportunities to view the fabulous yachts of the rich and famous.
“Fort Lauderdale is a city on the move.”
– Mayor Dean Trantalis
This upscale yachting lifestyle is made possible by over 300 miles of manmade inland canals that traverse through the city, giving Fort Lauderdale the nickname “Venice of America.” Hop on a water taxi to catch a glimpse of some of the most luxurious mansions in the country or rent a watercraft for a romantic cruise around the winding inlets. The Intracoastal Waterway is connected to Fort Lauderdale’s canals and lagoons, and its deepwater port of entry, Port Everglades, is the deepest harbor in Florida.
Fort Lauderdale’s famous beaches are some of the busiest nesting sites for sea turtles in the world, with their pristine sand and sparkling waves begging you to indulge in some rest and relaxation. Feast on mouth-watering dishes of shrimp, seasonal stone crabs, and fresh fish at one of the city’s decadent beachfront restaurants, such as Sea Level, for the best catch around.
A scenic stroll along the Riverwalk offers a quiet waterfront view amid lush tropical landscaping. The winding walkways lined with swaying palm trees link enchanting boutiques, art galleries, alfresco dining, and historic museums such as the Stranahan House, as well as the trendy shopping opportunities of Las Olas Boulevard. This picturesque promenade is one of the city’s improvement projects that has transformed Fort Lauderdale from a former wild party town into a flourishing, walkable city with world-class cultural amenities.
Iconic Fort Lauderdale
In addition to the Junket Fort Lauderdale Experience, the city shines with a wide array of entertainment and activities, from natural wonders and one-of-a-kind museums to exciting cultural experiences. Some of our favorite Fort Lauderdale attractions include:
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