Tuesday, July 28, 2015

By Jessie Festa
Fort Lauderdale, Florida, isn’t the first place most
people think of when it comes to backpacking and solo travel destinations;
it’s more likely the first place they think of when it comes to 24-hour
beach parties and drinks with umbrellas in them.
However, I recently spent a solo weekend exploring the offerings of this
beachfront, high-rise-resort-filled city.
Why Fort Lauderdale? In addition to the obvious perk of being an easy beach
getaway from the east coast, the spring break hot spot has matured in recent
years.
Now, in addition to its hook-up bars and party spots, you’ll find that
the art scene is burgeoning, the culinary offerings are exciting, and the beer
(yes, there’s definitely still beer) is better than what comes out of a
can.
Here are my recommendations for things to do in Fort Lauderdale when
you’re traveling on your own—whether you want to stay that way
or not.
Where to stay Find a hotel with a pool and a BBQ area and you’ll be
making friends in no time.
(Photo: Jessica Festa)When traveling solo, staying at a hotel with lots of
communal amenities can be an easy way to make friends.
One inexpensive option in Fort Lauderdale is the Hotel Deauville, which has a
shared kitchen and a BBQ area (both of which will also help you save money on
food), plus a heated pool, a washing machine, and a TV room.
What’s more, it’s a block from the beach and is outfitted with
Wi-Fi, lockers, and air conditioning.
Four- to six-person dorms are $35 to $37; private rooms with bathrooms start
at $80.
How to get aroundAs long as you stay near Fort Lauderdale Beach you can pretty
easily get around by bike.
That being said, there are a few attractions and activities that are a little
farther, for which you’ll need a vehicle.
If you don’t want to rent a car, opt for the inexpensive Sun Trolley,
which takes you around downtown, and the bus, although this can be quite slow.
Related: How Solo Travel Changed My Life (And How It Can Change Yours
Too)Where to drink At Funky Buddha Brewery I started out drinking solo but
soon made new friends playing a colossal-sized game of Jenga.
(Photo courtesy of Jessica Festa)Even those who who aren’t big beer
drinkers (like myself) will find something to savor at Funky Buddha Brewery.
In addition to a variety of traditional styles and flavors (Floridian
Hefeweizen, Hop Gun IPA, and Doc Brown Ale, for example), the five-year-old
brewery is known for its unusual, seasonal creations, such as its
Chocolate-Covered Cherry Porter, Blueberry Cobbler Ale, and Nib Smuggler
Chocolate Milk Porter.
What makes this such a great solo traveler spot isn’t just the
bold-flavored beer, but the games: a full-size bocce court, a foosball table,
two corn hole set-ups—and not a wet T-shirt contest in sight.
I ended up getting into a game of giant Jenga and easily made some new
friends from South Africa, New Jersey, and Florida.
 Where to eat Funky Buddha is also a go-to destination for an
inexpensive meal, thanks to the food trucks that park outside its premises
each day (check its Food Truck Calendar to know which trucks will be around on
what days).
Some that regularly make an appearance include Conch Shack, Legend’s
BBQ, Diablo Dogs, and BC Tacos.
Delicious desserts and cocktails at Sweet Nectar Charcoal Grill &
Spirits.
(Photo courtesy of Jessica Festa)I also recommend walking on the shopping
street Las Olas (aka "The Style Mile"), where there are a number of non-chain
restaurants, cafés and wine bars, as well as galleries, boutiques and
local businesses.
One that I found really enjoyable as a solo traveler was Sweet Nectar
Charcoal Grill & Spirits.
They serve innovative southern-style tapas with globally inspired sauces,
starting at $6.
My personal menu favorites were the chorizo-stuffed dates with melted Swiss
cheese and roasted red-pepper sauce, and the "Lobster Popcorn," a
movie-theater box of fresh popcorn topped with deep-fried lobster and served
with a side of lemon-truffle honey.
Save room for dessert.
The homemade bread pudding topped with peanut-butter-fudge ice cream is
absolutely enormous and could be a meal in itself (albeit not a healthy one).
Related: The Best Beach Road Trips From Coast to CoastWhere to recover
Giant banyan trees in Hugh Taylor Birch State Park.
(Photo courtesy of Jessica Festa)When I travel solo, sometimes I really do
need to be, well.
solo.
For that, I love spending a few hours hiking, cycling, and generally enjoying
the outdoors.
In Fort Lauderdale, I found a bit of solitude at Hugh Taylor Birch State
Park, where you can easily while away a full day hiking or biking.
You can also rent kayaks, canoes, banana boats, paddle boards, jet skis and
surf boards through M.
Cruz Rentals—or even try the company’s Segway tour, which takes
you to some of the hidden natural sites of the park.
Rentals cost extra, of course, but the park entrance fee is only $4 for a
single-person vehicle (bike rentals when I visited were $12.
50 for an hour or $25 for four hours).
There’s a two-mile loop trail that takes you along the Intracoastal
Highway, where you can picnic and see manatees, view an enormous banyan tree
and a huge beehive, and ride on a rail trail.
There are also some hiking trails and the chance to see lizards, turtles and
birds.
Where to get some culture Fat Village Art Walk.
(Photo courtesy of Jessica Festa)Try to visit Fort Lauderdale on the last
Saturday of the month, when you can partake in the Flagler Arts and Technology
(FAT) Village Art Walk.
Not only are there food trucks and artisanal vendors selling cheap and
delicious eats, but businesses and galleries stay open late to put on art
exhibitions and offer free wine, beer, and nibbles.
It’s a lot of fun — not to mention completely free —
with music blasting into the streets, and warehouses-turned-studios offering
everything from flamingos made out of soda cans to exhibitions inspired by the
cosmos.
No map is needed.
Simply wander the blocks around around NW Fifth Street and NW First and
Andrews Avenues and keep an eye out for open garage-style doors packed with
art and tucked-away courtyards tricked out with bars, food, and vendors.
Related: 15 Best Beach Towns for Partying
Where to Take a Deep Breath Before
Heading Home Exploring the Bonnet House gardens.
(Photo courtesy of Jessica Festa)Whether you think you’re interested
in historic homes or not, the Bonnet House Museum and Gardens is a treat.
It feels like you’re in a different world from Fort
Lauderdale’s beach area—and a different time period.
The 1920s estate (the home of artist Frederic Clay Bartlett, who married the
daughter of Hugh Taylor Birch of state park fame) is part art museum, part
ecological reserve.
When I went I simply wandered the 35-acre grounds and gardens with my camera,
taking photos and stopping to sit by the water and watch the birds.
They have a really impressive orchid collection (you can take even take
orchid-care classes), a desert garden, enormous lizards, swan lakes, al fresco
artworks, and three cheeky monkeys that roam around.
Admission to the house and gardens is $20 ($10 for the gardens only).
Watch: Salud! Make the Perfect Tequila in Six "Easy" Steps Let World
traveling club Travel inspire you every day.
Hang out with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.
 Watch World traveling club Travel’s original series "A Broad
Abroad.
"&#xA0;</b>
Here are my recommendations for things to do in Fort Lauderdale when you're
traveling on your own—whether you want to stay that way or not.
.
What makes this such a great solo traveler spot isn&#x2019;t just the
bold-flavored beer, but the games: a full-size bocce court, a foosball table,
two corn hole set-ups&#x2014;and not a wet T-shirt contest in sight.
I ended up getting into a game of giant Jenga and easily made some new
friends from South Africa, New Jersey, and Florida.
&#xA0;Where to eat&#xA0;Funky Buddha is also a go-to destination for an
inexpensive meal, thanks to the food trucks that park outside its premises
each day (check its Food Truck Calendar to know which trucks will be around on
what days).
Some that regularly make an appearance include Conch Shack, Legend&#x2019;s
BBQ, Diablo Dogs, and BC Tacos.
Delicious desserts and cocktails at Sweet Nectar Charcoal Grill &amp;
Spirits.
(Photo courtesy of Jessica Festa)I also recommend walking on the shopping
street Las Olas (aka "The Style Mile"), where there are a number of non-chain
restaurants, caf&#xE9;s and wine bars, as well as galleries, boutiques and
local businesses.
One that I found really enjoyable as a solo traveler was Sweet Nectar
Charcoal Grill &amp; Spirits.
They serve innovative southern-style tapas with globally inspired sauces,
starting at $6.
My personal menu favorites were the chorizo-stuffed dates with melted Swiss
cheese and roasted red-pepper sauce, and the "Lobster Popcorn," a
movie-theater box of fresh popcorn topped with deep-fried lobster and served
with a side of lemon-truffle honey.
Save room for dessert.
The homemade bread pudding topped with peanut-butter-fudge ice cream is
absolutely enormous and could be a meal in itself (albeit not a healthy one).
Related:&#xA0;The Best Beach Road Trips From Coast to CoastWhere to recover
Giant banyan trees in Hugh Taylor Birch State Park.
(Photo courtesy of Jessica Festa)When I travel solo, sometimes I really do
need to be, well.
solo.
For that, I love spending a few hours hiking, cycling, and generally enjoying
the outdoors.
In Fort Lauderdale, I found a bit of solitude at Hugh Taylor Birch State
Park, where you can easily while away a full day hiking or biking.
You can also rent kayaks, canoes, banana boats, paddle boards, jet skis and
surf boards through M.
Cruz Rentals&#x2014;or even try the company&#x2019;s Segway tour, which takes
you to some of the hidden natural sites of the park.
Rentals cost extra, of course, but the park entrance fee is only $4 for a
single-person vehicle (bike rentals when I visited were $12.
50 for an hour or $25 for four hours).
There&#x2019;s a two-mile loop trail that takes you along the Intracoastal
Highway, where you can picnic and see manatees, view an enormous banyan tree
and a huge beehive, and ride on a rail trail.
There are also some hiking trails and the chance to see lizards, turtles and
birds.
Where to get some culture Fat Village Art Walk.
(Photo courtesy of Jessica Festa)Try to visit Fort Lauderdale on the last
Saturday of the month, when you can partake in the Flagler Arts and Technology
(FAT) Village Art Walk.
Not only are there food trucks and artisanal vendors selling cheap and
delicious eats, but businesses and galleries stay open late to put on art
exhibitions and offer free wine, beer, and nibbles.
It&#x2019;s a lot of fun &#x2014; not to mention completely free &#x2014;
with music blasting into the streets, and warehouses-turned-studios offering
everything from flamingos made out of soda cans to exhibitions inspired by the
cosmos.
No map is needed.
Simply wander the blocks around around NW Fifth Street and NW First and
Andrews Avenues and keep an eye out for open garage-style doors packed with
art and tucked-away courtyards tricked out with bars, food, and vendors.
Related: 15 Best Beach Towns for Partying
Where to Take a Deep Breath Before
Heading Home Exploring the Bonnet House gardens.
(Photo courtesy of Jessica Festa)Whether you think you&#x2019;re interested
in historic homes or not, the Bonnet House Museum and Gardens is a treat.
It feels like you&#x2019;re in a different world from Fort
Lauderdale&#x2019;s beach area&#x2014;and a different time period.
The 1920s estate (the home of artist Frederic Clay Bartlett, who married the
daughter of Hugh Taylor Birch of state park fame) is part art museum, part
ecological reserve.
When I went I simply wandered the 35-acre grounds and gardens with my camera,
taking photos and stopping to sit by the water and watch the birds.
They have a really impressive orchid collection (you can take even take
orchid-care classes), a desert garden, enormous lizards, swan lakes, al fresco
artworks, and three cheeky monkeys that roam around.
Admission to the house and gardens is $20 ($10 for the gardens only).
Watch:&#xA0;Salud! Make the Perfect Tequila in Six "Easy" Steps Let World
traveling club Travel inspire you every day.
Hang out with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and&#xA0;Pinterest.
&#xA0;Watch World traveling club Travel&#x2019;s original series "A Broad
Abroad.
"&#xA0;</b>
Here are my recommendations for things to do in Fort Lauderdale
when you're traveling on your own—whether you want to stay that way or
not.

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