Fort Lauderdale Beach Walking Tour (Self Guided), Fort Lauderdale

For decades known primarily as a destination for raucous college students to celebrate Spring Break, today's Fort Lauderdale Beach is a bit calmer and less chaotic version of its former self. Just as before, the neighborhood offers a wealth of opportunities for recreation, relaxation and enjoyment, and is punctuated with an array of shops, restaurants, sidewalk cafes and entertainment venues. The latter include the Bahia Mar Marina – “the Yachting Capital of the World”, the Elbo Bar and many other iconic locations. If you want to see what else, other than sugary sands and crystal clear water, Fort Lauderdale Beach has to offer, follow this self-guided walk!
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Fort Lauderdale Beach Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Fort Lauderdale Beach Walking Tour
Guide Location: USA » Fort Lauderdale (See other walking tours in Fort Lauderdale)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 5
Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.9 Km or 3 Miles
Author: christine
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Bonnet House Museum and Gardens
  • Elbo Room
  • International Swimming Hall of Fame
  • Bahia Mar Marinas
  • Willard Van Orsdel King House
1
Bonnet House Museum and Gardens

1) Bonnet House Museum and Gardens (must see)

Bonnet House Museum and Gardens is a historic house museum. It consists of the main house, an art studio, a music studio and a guest house. The gardens include native plants, forest, an orchid house and beachfront access to the Atlantic Ocean. A particular plant that can be found on the grounds is the bonnet lily, from which the house gardens gained their name.

The property was originally purchased in 1895 by attorney Hugh Taylor Birch. In 1919, Birch gifted the land to his daughter Helen and her new husband. Helen married Frederic Clay Bartlett, an artist who is known for his vast art collection. The plantation home was built in 1920 as a winter residence for the couple off a design created by Bartlett himself. He used vernacular architecture in his design with materials and inspiration having been gained from the local environment.

Sadly, Helen died soon after the buildings were completed. Bartlett then married Evelyn Fortune Lilly who helped to make the estate what it is today. Among her contributions to the land was wildlife. She brought approximately 40 monkeys to live onsite in the tropical forests. She also refurbished the home with many of the decorative elements and art that are still found on the grounds. It was Evelyn who gave the estate to the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation.

Bonnet House Museum and Gardens appears on the National Register of Historic Places. Visitors can take self-guided tours Tuesday through Sunday. The house and gardens are located on a coastal island south of Hugh Taylor Birch State Park.

Why You Should Visit
- To see five distinct ecosystems in one location
- To enjoy the art studio that was once used by Frederic Clay Bartlett

Tips
Admission to Bonnet House Museum and Gardens is $20 for adults and $16 for children ages six to 12. Visitors are welcome to picnic onsite with a paid admission.

Operation hours: Tuesday – Sunday: 9:00 – 16:00.
2
Elbo Room

2) Elbo Room

Sitting on the corner of Las Olas Boulevard and Fort Lauderdale strip since 1938, the Elbo Room is a legendary dive and live music bar, much loved by students as a Spring Break destination. The place also gained popularity around the country for numerous movie appearances, including the award-winning 1960 film “Where The Boys Are”, starring Connie Frances and George Hamilton, which made it a true landmark.

College students from all over the U.S. came flocking to Ft. Lauderdale and this place in particular during Spring Break to bask in the sun and meet the partner of their dreams. This phenomenon continued through the 1980s, when a change in local laws made the it somewhat less Spring Break friendly. The living memory of this iconic spot is now represented by displays of customer photos from the past years.

As a mainstay in Ft. Lauderdale for more than half a century, the Elbo Room is as much historical as it is old. Naturally for a beach bar, it has personality which changes with the eclectic clientele and the bands playing. The latter are mostly really good, and are richly complemented by the great ocean view, cold beer and strong cocktails.

There is always something for everyone, and if you like loud music, legendary bars and history, you will love the Elbo Room, no doubt. It's just the matter of catching it at the right time. No trip to Ft. Lauderdale Beach is complete without a visit to Elbo Room!
3
International Swimming Hall of Fame

3) International Swimming Hall of Fame (must see)

The International Swimming Hall of Fame is dedicated to the history of swimming. The building has a location on the Harbour Isles that looks over New River Sound.

Visitors to the International Swimming Hall of Fame will find a 7,500 square foot building filled with swimming memorabilia. Included are Olympic medals swimsuits, photography and swim-related art from such notable artists as Norman Rockwell and LeRoy Neiman.

The museum offers a screening room where visitors can learn about water safety or watch such classics as "Million Dollar Mermaid" or "Tarzan the Ape Man." It also includes a tribute to Ronald Reagan and John F. Kennedy who were champion swimmers in their younger years.

Those inspired by the International Swimming Hall of Fame may take interest in the pools. The International Swimming Hall of Fame Complex includes two 50 meter pools, a diving well and a training pool.

The International Swimming Hall of Fame was established in 1962. Originally, it was merely a shrine that accompanied an Olympic sized pool.
Operation Hours: Monday -Friday: 9:00 - 17:00; Saturday: 9:00- 14:00.
4
Bahia Mar Marinas

4) Bahia Mar Marinas

Bahia Mar Yachting Center is located on the Harbour Isles of Fort Lauderdale. Bahia Mar is a prime location for watching boats, but it is also much more. This full service resort area has virtually anything a visitor in Fort Lauderdale could want for fun and relaxation.

Visitors can hop on a riverboat for views that can only be seen on water. Cruises may offer all-you-can-eat buffets, provide live entertainment or tour the nearby luxurious homes.

Visitors can also rent boats so they can experience the beauty of the water. Deck boats for small families through large groups are offered.

Most vacationers will simply enjoy walking through the marina and admiring the beauty of the boats. They can also go shopping at one of the unique boutiques, take part in some deep sea fishing or go on a pirate adventure. Nearby Fort Lauderdale Beach Park offers a great way to end the day.
5
Willard Van Orsdel King House

5) Willard Van Orsdel King House

The Dr. Willard Van Orsdel King House is a historic U.S. home in Fort Lauderdale. It was built in 1951 and is an architectural example of the Mid-century modern design movement. The three bedroom home was designed by William F. Bigoney to be bright but cool in the subtropic environment. A large central room with two walls of windows is the central axis of the building. It was built in the beginning of the post war development boom in Fort Lauderdale.

The King House is one of the few remaining buildings designed by pioneering Fort Lauderdale architect William Francis Bigoney Jr. (1921-1996). Bigoney studied under Walter Gropius, founder of the bauhaus design school. Bigoney is one of Fort Lauderdale's most notable modernist architects. Bigoney was a civic leader in the city and played a key role in the creation of the Riverwalk project. In 2000 the city named him an "Honored Founder".

Dr. King was a world renowned Entomologist, specializing in mosquito control. Dr. King received his Doctorate from Tulane University in 1915. He is credited with being the first person to use aerial spaying to control mosquito populations and reduce the spread of mosquito-transmitted diseases. He was head of mosquito operations at the Orlando Lab and was awarded the Legion of Merit for meritorious service.

The house was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places in 2006.
Sight description based on wikipedia

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