Fort Lauderdale, United States

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The Venice of America

If you thought you had to go to Italy to find a city where picturesque waterways meet world-class art galleries and exquisite food, you'd be wrong. Located in the south-west of Florida, fringed by the Everglades National Park - which just happens to be the largest subtropical wilderness in the US - Fort Lauderdale has more than shaken off its 'Spring Break' tag over the last few decades, and is now one of America's classiest cities.

Aside from the fact that it basks in glorious sunshine all year round, Fort Lauderdale has an awful lot going for it, and the easiest way to discover this is by taking a stroll along the beachfront, known as The Strip. Here you'll find perfectly maintained stretches of golden sand lapped by warm, turquoise water and lined by a huge number of fantastic bars, cafes and restaurants. Previously seen as something of a party destination, the area is now considerably more refined, although those who want to let their hair down can still take advantage of the many exciting activities on offer - such as snorkelling, jet-skiing and parasailing.

Culture vultures, meanwhile, will love strolling along the banks of the city's extensive canal network while also taking the chance to explore some of Fort Lauderdale's top museums. Among these is the Fort Lauderdale Historical Society, while the Museum of Science and Discovery is home to the world's largest indoor atlantic coral reef and also contains exhibits on the Everglades and the aerospace industry (remember that Florida's Space Coast is the launch site for Nasa's rockets).

Anyone who has ever been to the States before will know that food is a big deal in America, and it will therefore come as no surprise to hear that Fort Lauderdale boasts a varied culinary scene, with restaurants serving up just about every type of cuisine you can imagine, while portion sizes are suitably impressive too. Valentino Cucina Itialiana is one of the best places to go for some Italian grub, while those who want to experience a real American burger whilst stateside will be able to do so at places like Johnny V's.

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