We were staying at The Sunterra Resort Fort Lauderdale Beach and not too far from Stop 3 on the All Day Water Bus. Stop 1 is at Shooters on Oakland Boulevard and the last stop, Stop 20, is at The Broward Performing Arts Center. The bus travels on the Intracoastal Waterway and the New River. It is open to the air on warm sunny days and can lower its windows on rainy days. It runs from 9:00am to 12:30am seven days a week. Some buses can hold as many as 72 people. Your $5 ticket will allow you to get on and off all day at scheduled stops. If you plan on using it all week or all month there are special rates available.
The "captians" love to give an unofficial tour as t he bus travels along. In fact it’s a cheaper tour and more fun than if you pay a lot more for a water tour and you can get off and on when and where you want. Stop 2 is a whistle stop. We were told not to whistle to attract the water bus because no one will hear. You have to make a dramatic signal. Stop 3 is at the Double Tree Suites. You have to cut through the lobby. The bus stops behind that hotel. Hugh Taylor Birch State Park, The Bonnet House and the Galleria are at Stop 3. Stop 4 is near Shula’s On The Beach and The Sheraton Yankee Clipper Resort.
The "captains" take great pleasure knowing who owns what yacht or mansion along the waterway and how much they paid for it. Barbara Striesand bought her mother a house near Stop 4 and Nick Nolte owns the house next to it. One house in that area opens the entire east side of the house with garage doors. What a way to enjoy the waterfront.
At Stop 4 there’s a great ocean front restaurant, Casablanca Café. They offer a two for the price of one lunch M-F. Stop 5 is where the action is. Big yachts come in here. John Forsythe’s house is nearby. You know, Charlie’s Angels. Stop 6 is temporarily closed. Stop 7 is the base stop for the water bus. Here you can switch to the southern route. This is also the location of the Bahia Mar Marina, one of the biggest marinas in southeast Florida. The captain’s love to explain who owns what yacht, who used to own it, how they got their money, what they paid for the yacht and why (one owner buys yachts as a tax write off), where the yacht was made, how big it is and lots more great information. The Radisson Bahia Mar is at this stop also.
Stops 8, 9, 10 and 11 are on the southbound route. More yachts and mansions if you can handle it.
At this point the water bus starts up the New River. It's hard to distinguish one river or channel from the next because there are a lot of canals and rivers off from the Intracoastal Waterway. In fact there are around 180 miles of waterways in Fort Lauderdale. It is known as the Venice of Florida. The former home of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnez is near the mouth of the New River. It is now owned by the daughter of Oscar Meyers. A gorgeous pink mansion is nearby. It is owned by Miss Cleo, the psychic, and of course we heard about what she's getting sued for now and why. I used to enjoy hearing her advice when every other ad on television belonged to her, but I would never think of calling her. Then there’s the former home of Farrah Fawcett and Lee Majors. He got the house when they split and it's on the market but it won’t sell. When our captain told us why, everyone booed: You can’t sell a house without a faucet.
Money is all important if you’re planning on living on the New River. One resident, the third richest man in Fort Lauderdale, is Wayne Huiznga. The captains are intimately familiar with everything he owns, everything he ever owned, including businesses, houses, yachts, sport teams, ETC, and they loved to recite the list for us.
Stop 12 is convenient to the Shops on Las Olas Boulevard. See my write up under Birds in Flight. Stop 13 is near the Stranahan House, the oldest house in Fort Lauderdale.. More about that in Birds in Flight, also. Stop 17 is at the Downtowner Saloon. Stop 18 is at the Las Olas Riverfront. There are lots of great restaurants here and some shopping. It is on the beautifully landscaped Riverwalk and convenient to The Discovery and Science Museum. If you want to go to Shirttail Charlie’s, Stop 19 or Stop 20, beware of the fact the captains don’t like to go west of the draw bridge because it stays down too long and puts them behind schedule.