You'll love the soft sand and lapping waves of the long Atlantic beaches if it's your first time on Florida's Gold Coast. Fort Lauderdale's Riverwalk bars and cafes come alive during the evening, while along the coast, glitzy Palm Beach is the place to spot celebrities.
Florida's famed Gold Coast runs north from Miami, along 75 miles of soft sandy beaches and the ocean-side cities of Fort Lauderdale and Boca Raton to the glittering enclave of West Palm Beach. The Intracoastal Waterway, which runs along the coast, is dotted with billionaires' winter homes hidden away on the beachside. Inland from the coastal conurbation, you can escape into the tropical wilderness of Big Cypress Swamp to spot herons, alligators and maybe even a black bear.
The Blue Flag beach in Fort Lauderdale is the place to catch some rays before pottering around the Museum of Art, packed with pop art. Hire a motorboat and chug along the Intracoastal Waterway to Palm Beach, where you can take in the Beaux Arts interiors of the Flagler Museum. Cool off with an ice-cold beer around the hotel pool at Breakers Palm Beach. Amuse yourself at the Kennedy Space Center on Space Coast and clamber around a Space Shuttle flight deck there.
Lounge on golden Dania Beach before exploring the galleries and shops in the town's colourful Art and Antique District. Later, head to Dania Jai Alai to catch a game of jai alai, a speedy and ferocious version of lacrosse. If you fancy getting back to nature, rent a canoe for the afternoon and paddle across the lagoon at Fort Lauderdale's Hugh Taylor Birch State Park. Spend your dollars at the discount outlets of nearby Sawgrass Mills or splash out on designer labels in Palm Beach's chic Worth Avenue.
The US's third busiest airport, Miami International Airport flies more than 33 million passengers a year. Located seven miles north of downtown Miami, a taxi takes you there in around 30 minutes.