REFLECT THE DESTINATION’S TOTAL TRANSFORMATION AND FAMILY APPEAL
Parents and Kids, Chic Couples and Convention Goers Fill Beaches Once Inhabited by College Kids on a Shoestring Budget
Photo: FLL Spring Break 1966
FORT LAUDERDALE, FL – As the City of Fort Lauderdale celebrates its 100th birthday this March, the 23 miles of Blue Wave beaches that make up the shoreline of Greater Fort Lauderdale will be bustling, though not with what most Americans think of as “Spring Breakers.” Fifty years ago this was the Spring Break capital of America, as some 300,000 college kids descended on the destination. Today, the story of Greater Fort Lauderdale is one of total transformation, and how things have changed.
“In contrast to 50 years ago, today’s Spring Breakers have a new mindset and think of us in a much different way,” said Nicki E. Grossman, president of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau. “They are coming to Greater Fort Lauderdale for our affordable luxury, beach chic vibe, trendy dining, great shopping, AND spectacular beaches. Once here, they realize that from the sawgrass to the seagrass we have it all – easily accessible and always enjoyable.”
What does the Greater Fort Lauderdale Spring Breaker of today look like? They are apt to be chic couples in the mood for golf or luxury spas, opera, ballet or Broadway shows, and staying in luxury resorts like the W Fort Lauderdale, recently named the trendiest hotel in America. Or, they might be convention goers; the Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center, celebrating its 20th anniversary, welcomes 580,000 attendees from around the world each year. Or they might be cruise passengers enjoying a mini-vacation before or after their voyage from the city’s Port Everglades, one of the busiest cruise ports in the world.
What is certain is that a large number of this year’s spring visitors will be far too young to be thinking about beer and bikinis – because Greater Fort Lauderdale is the ideal escape for families with younger children. Offering great value, families will find welcoming accommodations in every price category, from cozy guesthouses and B&B’s (known as Superior Small Lodgings) to the most popular hotel brands, as well
as diverse dining experiences. With child-friendly attractions and activities, all kinds of watersports, special events throughout the spring vacation season, and, of course, the beaches, this is “the place to go” for a memorable family break from school, according to AOL Travel’s recent story 2011 Spring Break: Where to Go and Where to Avoid.
On March 27, visitors can attend Fort Lauderdale’s birthday party, an all-day outdoor event in the center of the city’s Arts and Entertainment District. But that is just the beginning of things to do. From free outdoor concerts to fun and educational experiences at the Museum of Discovery & Science, Butterfly World and Flamingo Gardens to airboat rides at Billie Swamp Safari in the Everglades, canoeing, jet skiing, snorkeling and Scuba diving, and even leisurely Water Taxi rides or Jungle Queen Riverboat cruises through the Intracoastal Waterway and downtown Fort Lauderdale.
Springtime special events include Cirque Dreams Broadway at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, the Las Olas Wine and Food Festival, the Coral Springs Festival of the Arts, the 16th Wine & Culinary Celebration, and “Vatican Splendors – Art and Faith” a major touring exhibition at the Fort Lauderdale Museum of Art are other indications Greater Fort Lauderdale has transformed itself, and redefined Spring Break.