Say what you want about Florida, but it’s an awesome place to vacation.

The “Sunshine State” seems to have a knack for making the most bizarre, off-the-wall headlines, yet the stunning beaches and affordability factor trump all the weirdness.

Orlando and Miami are always the most popular vacation destinations, but there are quite literally dozens and dozens more incredible beach towns wrapped around the oddly-shaped state’s beautiful coastlines.

One that is sometimes overlooked as a destination city and used more as a gateway into Miami is the affordable beach city of Fort Lauderdale.

Digging even deeper into what’s overlooked are 300 miles of scenic canals winding through mansions, mangroves, and even the towering downtown skyline.

Known as the “Venice of America”, here is why Fort Lauderdale should be your next vacation spot:

Miami’s Best Alternative

It seems yanking a welcome mat out from under tourists’ feet is a common theme nowadays.

Now that it’s June, the obnoxious crowds of Spring Break have long subsided, but let’s not forget how Miami changed their ‘tude on Spring Breakers after decades of being a top destination for partygoers.

Beach hotels in Fort Lauderdale

Fort Lauderdale proudly stepped up and embraced those seeking to let loose. Conversely, those who visited didn’t miss a beat embracing the city right back.

Miami is a great place to visit, one of the most recognizable cities in the U.S., but just 30 minutes north lies Fort Lauderdale, which is less crowded, just as beautiful, and more affordable.

Their picturesque beaches, affordable stays, and year-round sun provide all the ingredients for the perfect vacation.

As summer is officially upon us, many beach destinations up their prices, but Fort Lauderdale remains affordable even for a ritzy splurge.

Fort Lauderdale beach

According to GOBankingRates, vacationers can expect to spend just $182 on average, yet there are some great deals to be had outside that price range as well.

Take the beachfront Ritz Carlton, for example. Summer rates are below $400 per night, while these 3 upscale hotels overlooking turquoise waters are even better:

300 Miles Of Scenic Canals

Canal in Fort Lauderdale at sunset

No need to go to Venice, Amsterdam, or any charming European city to get your canal photo-ops or gondola rides.

You can do that right here in the good ol’ US of A, and no we’re not talking about the Venetian in Las Vegas.

Better yet, there are no overtourism concerns or entry fees like the bucket-list city of Venice has implemented.

Florida has so much water, one might wonder why archeologists aren’t looking here for the remains of Noah’s Ark as it truly seems there is never-ending water flow, whether from the ocean, rivers, swamps, or canals.

Fort Lauderdale, specifically, is made for outdoor lovers whether for lounging on the beach, hopping aboard a boat, or going the low and slow route on a kayak.

Then, of course, is the more touristy option. Yes, there are gondola rides here, but not quite what you would see in Venice.

Nobody is dressed in funny hats or striped shirts doing their best Where’s Waldo? impression.

Your best bet is to head to the Riverfront area of downtown for this fun experience day or night.

Riverfront Gondola Tours has nearly a perfect rating holding an impressive 4.9 stars on Google with nearly 1500 reviews.

High rises in Fort Lauderale towering over canals

Cheap Flights For A Beach Getaway

Not only does Fort Lauderdale have affordable hotels, there are plenty of cheap flight options to get here.

Popular budget carrier, Spirit Airlines, is based here. As such, there are dozens of connecting flights all over the country.

Spirit is not alone, however. Other budget airlines, such as Frontier, JetBlue, Allegiant, Sun Country, and even Avelo, also fly here.

Since both Frontier and Spirit both dropped a bombshell last week with their new policies of dropping change and cancellation fees, your trip here just got even better without the worry of plans falling through.

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