Fort Lauderdale

This section was contributed by a reader, Kyla Steinkraus. You can tell someone else wrote it because it's actually well written. Thanks, Kyla!

Usually the first thing that pops into a parent's head when she thinks of Florida is Disney World. The second thing? A giant headache. This year, escape the headache-inducing crowds and commercialism and head south to Fort Lauderdale for a family vacation steeped in natural wonder and adventure.

With over seven miles of sun-dappled beaches, 300 miles of intercoastal waterways, plenty of restaurants, unique shopping districts, and a plethora of family-friendly activities on and off the water, Fort Lauderdale is fast earning a reputation for high-class fun in the sun. Centrally located, Fort Lauderdale is also a great starting point for exploring South Florida's natural wonders, including snorkeling the vibrant coral reefs of John Pennekamp State Park and gator-spotting in the marshes and swamplands of the Everglades.