A Spring Breaker's Guide to Fort Lauderdale
These dudes know how to spring break.
Photo by Christina Mendenhall
Welcome to Fort Lauderdale! How was the flight in from [insert boringly shaped state here]?
We hope the humidity didn't catch you off-guard. It's a very wet heat down here in South Florida. Also, it's one of the hit-and-run capitals of America. But we don't need to talk about that right now.
Back to you! You're here for one reason and one reason only: to party. And, child, you've come to the right city. Fort Lauderdale is a great place to let loose and slap back a few Bud Light Platinums. Some locals even affectionately refer to our city as "Fort Liquordale." We affectionately refer to these locals as "douchebags."
But back to the partying. That's why you came, after all -- that and to befriend a manatee.
Where do I start? You might be asking. Fort Lauderdale is a sprawling city of almost 200,000 people, so you'll need some direction. How about we start with the beach? That's a big reason why you came to Fort Lauderdale, we're sure. After all, a spring break with no beach is like manatee with no human best friend (you'll tell the manatee before gently kissing it).
You're coming at a good time, because most scientists agree the South Florida we know and love will look like Waterworld in about 15 years -- which is either good news or bad news depending on whether or not you're Kevin Costner.
Alcoholic beverages are prohibited on the beach. But this law is enforced about as sternly as that one about ripping the tag off your mattress. As long as you're being discreet and substituting glass bottles with plastic cups, you should be fine. But if you want to obey the law, just walk across the street to one of Fort Lauderdale Beach's many beach bars. Here you'll find the beer always cold and the bouncers always violent.
Also, this isn't South Beach, so you'll want to cover up those nipples. Unless you're a man, in which case, set your inoffensive nips free!
Parking along Fort Lauderdale Beach is difficult during peak hours. Avoid the most popular lots closest to the beach and instead sell your car and buy one of these.
Seriously, these things exist, and you can book some time on one in Fort Lauderdale. But if the bank still refuses to give you a loan after your gnarly PowerPoint presentation on the seven reasons why you need a jetpack, just valet at the Bahia Cabana (3001 Harbor Drive). It's easy, relatively cheap, and you can grab a few cocktails and conchs before you get all sandy.
Once you've had enough beach for the day, you'll want to head inland to see the sights and smell the smells of downtown Fort Lauderdale.
But how will you get there? Because unfortunately the makeshift saddle you've tied around your new manatee friend will get you only so far.
Uber is still technically illegal in Broward County. Though, like most illegal things in Fort Lauderdale, people use the hell out of it. But you're a law-abiding spring breaker, so let's explore other options.
Public transportation in Fort Lauderdale is like Pauly Shore. It doesn't work and hasn't been cleaned since 1993. Also, loitering around Fort Lauderdale's bus terminals is an offense punishable by slap, so that's out of the picture.
Cabs are still legal and plentiful around Fort Lauderdale, but they sometimes won't answer your calls and other times don't show up at all. That's no way to treat someone (Ashley!), and this is spring break not homecoming '09 (Ashley!), so let's rule that out.
If you're looking to burn off a few of those daiquiris while consuming a few more daiquiris, the bar crawl on wheels known as Cycle Party is a great option. Their new single-seat tours mean you don't even need friends!
The faster you peddle, the more you can drink!
Photo via Cycle-Party.com
But those looking to cover greater distances will want to hop on the Fort Lauderdale Water Taxi. An all-day ticket on this charming Fort Lauderdale fixture will cost you $26, but it's hands down the prettiest way to get around Fort Lauderdale (if we exclude a piggyback ride on NBC 6's Kelly Blanco).
On the Water Taxi you don't have to worry about getting a designated driver, you can hit up all the classic downtown drinking spots, and you get to tour Fort Lauderdale's network of canals, a system so impressive, it has earned Fort Lauderdale the nickname of "The Venice of America." Which is a vast improvement over previous nicknames: "Florida's Foreskin" and "Your Favorite Porn Star's Hometown."
If it's a spring break hookup you're after, well, you've come to the right place. The people of Fort Lauderdale are notoriously beautiful. It's a side effect of living in a city that considers bathing suits to be business casual.
But be sexually responsible during your escapades. As you might have noticed by the uncomfortable bus bench ads around town, Broward County has an STD problem. In fact, it has the second-highest concentration of syphilis, chlamydia and gonorrhea among all of Florida's counties. Second, of course, to those horny coyotes in Miami-Dade.
STD ad or heavy metal band?
So make sure to grab a fistful of free condoms from the Out of the Closet on Sunrise Boulevard before you head out for the night. And no, you can't give them back the next day when you didn't get laid. We had, uh, a friend try to do this once. Yeah. A friend.
All in all, your goal this spring break should be the same as everyone's goal on spring break: to not die.
Follow our advice, keep your head on a swivel, and do not -- we repeat -- do not forget to wear sunscreen. A hangover lasts a day, but skin cancer, that shit's with you for life.
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