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Introducing Fort Lauderdale

After years of building a reputation as the destination for beer-swilling college students on raucous Spring Breaks, Fort Lauderdale now angles for a slightly more mature and sophisticated crowd – think martinis rather than tequila shots, jazz concerts instead of wet T-shirt contests (don't worry, there's still plenty of carrying-on within the confines of area bars and nightclubs).

Few visitors venture far inland – except maybe to dine and shop along Las Olas Blvd; most spend the bulk of their time on the coast, frolicking at water's edge. It's understandable. Truly, it's hard to compete with beautiful beaches, a system of Venicelike waterways, an international yachting scene, spiffy new hotels, top-notch restaurants and gay hot spots.

The city's Port Everglades is one of the busiest cruise-ship ports in the world, with megaships departing daily for the Caribbean, Mexico and beyond. So if you get tired of life on land, hop aboard.