Where to take out-of-towners in South Florida


A reader recently asked me about outdoor destinations in South Florida. He said he often drew a blank when visitors asked him where to go besides the beach.

I drew up an extensive list for him, but I didn’t include some Sun Sentinel readers’ favorites, and they made sure to tell me.

So here are some more recommendations for outdoor places to take your out-of-town guests, along with places to eat that are nearby (a suggestion from Barbara Woodward of Boca Raton).

3750 S. Flamingo Road, Davie, flamingogardens.org

“How could you have forgotten Flamingo Gardens?” wrote Elizabeth Kostecki of Davie.

Flamingo Gardens is definitely a South Florida classic. The lush sanctuary is a refuge for native vegetation and history amid the cookie-cutter developments and shopping centers of western Broward. There are botanical gardens, habitats for wildlife and of course, a pond of flamingos that you can feed. Make sure to check out the Wray Home Museum, a historic home from 1933, so you can get a feel of old-time South Florida.

Where to eat: Michael Mayo, moderator of the Sun Sentinel’s Let’s Eat, South Florida Facebook group, recommends Pho 79, 6451 Stirling Road, Davie. He ordered the tai pho (eye round beef noodle soup) and Vietnamese iced coffee. He also likes the cheese pizza at Antonio’s Pizza-Rant13718 W. State Road 84, Davie: ”Good melding of sauce and cheese, crust was thin and had that satisfying mix of crunch and chew.”

901 S. Federal Hwy, Hallandale Beach, carouselclub.com

The Carousel Club opened in April on the grounds of the racetrack and shopping/dining center, and has become a go-to destination for the young cocktail crowd. There’s an open-sided covered patio and courtyard spaces as well as lounge seating under tree canopies and deck umbrellas. The club is hosting special events all summer, including a “Twilight Funhouse” on July 23 and 30 and Aug. 6, 10 pm to 3 am, that will include aerialists and stilt-walkers. If you buy a shot, you get a free beer. Free admission.

Where to eat: Gulfstream Park has more than 20 restaurants and retailers. Off property, “Let’s Eat, South Florida” diners recommend these Hallandale Beach restaurants: Etaru111 S. Surf Road; Icebox Cafe219 NE Third St., and Jaffa701 N. Federal Highway.

watertaxi.com

The water taxi is a really fun way to show guests the Intracoastal Waterway and its yachts, mansions, high-rises and colorful personalities. There are 11 stops and you can get on and off wherever you like; stops include Las Olas Boulevard, 15th Street Fisheries restaurant and Fort Lauderdale’s beach. The taxi can also take you to Hollywood. They are offering several summer promotions, including “Christmas in July,” July 22 to 24, with Christmas music, caroling and appearances by Santa Claus ($25 for adults, $10 for kids). Also, buy tickets from July 22 to 29 for the taxi’s Holiday Lights tour in December ($30 now, $45 later).

Where to eat: 15th Street Fisheries1900 SE 15th St., Fort Lauderdale, is a South Florida favorite on the Intracoastal Waterway, and there are so many options on Las Olas Boulevard, including Big City Tavern609 E. Las Olas, for burgers, The Camino817 E. Las Olas, for margaritas and quesadillas, and Louie Bossi’s, 1032 E. Las Olas, for Italian.

3080 Sheridan St., Hollywood, ygfarmersmarket.com

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Reader John Underhill of Plantation suggests that I include this fresh food landmark. The market overloads the senses with brightly colored vegetables and fruits, the scents of mom-and-pop food stalls and densely packed shoppers milling under the massive tin roof. Arts and crafts, clothing, pet products, jams, cheeses, flowers, artisanal breads: You’ll head home with bags full of locally made and locally grown products and feel good about supporting small businesses. Open Saturdays and Sundays, 10 am to 8:30 pm Parking is $10 for three hours.

Where to eat: Eat at the market. Vendors sell an assortment of homemade foods from their native countries, including the Bahamas, Italy, Grenada, Ethiopia, El Salvador, Colombia, India and Peru.

1150 G. Harold Martin Drive, Fort Lauderdale

“Don’t forget the Friday night Starlight Musicals at Holiday Park,” wrote Bev Hoppe of Fort Lauderdale. “No matter how hot the thermometer says it is, there is always a great breeze to keep you comfortable!”

These free concerts in the park are a great way to meet up with friends at the end of the work week. The concerts take place every Friday night, 7 pm to 10 pm, through Aug. 12. Music includes country, rock and R&B.

Where to eat: Bring a picnic basket and cooler (alcohol is allowed). Or purchase food and beverages at the park. There are also many great restaurants nearby. Legacy, 903 NE Fifth Ave., is really good for upscale Italian; then there’s a casual cafe I love, JB&C (Juice Bar and Cafe), 924 N. Flagler Dr. (Try the Hemp Power Smoothie, a yummy combination of bananas, cacao powder and almond butter).

Keep sending your ideas for where to take South Florida visitors; I’m at AskLois@sunsentinel.com.

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