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Florida's Newest Contender: Fort Lauderdale

Florida may seem an unlikely destination for a midsummer escape, but low season means great deals on restaurants, hotels, and airfare with JetBlue and Song competing to offer the best price. And a flurry of development has made Fort Lauderdale the state's newest contender. The Mediterranean-style Atlantic Hotel (601 N. Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd.; 866/837-4274; www.luxurycollection.com/atlantic; doubles from $249), part of Starwood's Luxury Collection, is the first of many condominium-hotel projects to have popped up on the beachfront stretch of A1A. In the works: St. Regis and W hotels, and the Q Club, which is managed by Hilton. When you're not taking a dip, stroll down East Las Olas Boulevard, where you'll find Johnny V (625 E. Las Olas Blvd.; 954/761-7920; dinner for two $90) serving New American cuisine (blue corn-crusted calamari); boutiques such as Shop 603 (603 E. Las Olas Blvd.; 954/467-0900) selling terry-cloth dresses; and for your sweets, Kilwin's (809 E. Las Olas Blvd.; 954/523-8338) cools down window-shoppers with dozens of ice cream flavors. DON'T MISS Las Olas Art Center (600 S.E. Second Court; 954/463-8833) features artists from around the globe and, on the second floor, local craftsmen at work.
—Hillary Geronemus

>>Made in the Shade

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