Broward County's eastern parts have been mightily colonized in the past few years. These days, condo skyscrapers are more common than thongs on Fort Lauderdale Beach. But there is a stretch of this God-forsaken sprawl just off the Intracoastal Waterway where you can let down your hair, lean back, and feel as if you are miles from civilization. The southern stretch of West Lake, just north of Holland Park and south of Sheridan Street, is a bucolic area of birds and trees. No motorboats allowed. The best way to access it is in your own kayak by following the secret waterway just west of Las Palmas Restaurant on Hollywood Beach. If you don't own a kayak, you can rent one. Try West Lake Park on a weekend and paddle south. (You can also rent at Anne Kolb Nature Center -- 954-926-2480 -- on weekdays, but it's a longer paddle.) A kayak goes for $7 an hour or $13 for four hours. There are also kayak trails nearby and a moonlight paddle.
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