A weekend in ... Fort Lauderdale

BUDGET

Getting there

Choose from more than two dozen nonstop flights on AirTran, Delta or Spirit. One-way rates from $99 require a 21-day advance notice; from $56 during frequent sale periods.

Stay

Alhambra Beach Resort is between the Intracoastal and the Atlantic (a block to the beach) with charming cottage style guest accommodations ranging from $149 for a standard room to $269 for a one-bedroom executive apartment; www.alhambrabeach resort.com, 3021 Alhambra St., 954-525-7601.

Eat

The Southport Raw Bar is the place for fresh seafood served dockside overlooking a marina. Enjoy great prices with baskets from $5.25 to seafood entrees from $9.95-market price; www.southportraw bar.com, 1536 Cordova Rd., 954-525-2526.

Experience

Navigate the miles of inland waterways on a convenient water taxi that makes frequent stops at 13 locations. Many canals are lined with shops, restaurants, mansions and megayachts. Daily tickets for unlimited rides are $13 for adults. After 7 p.m., purchase tickets for $7. Present any same-day ticket at one of the participating restaurants along the route for a 10 percent savings on your dinner tab; www.watertaxi.com.

MODERATE

Getting there

One-way rates from $131 require a two-week advance notice; from $161 with one-week; nonstop AirTran, Delta, Spirit.

Stay

Kira-Mar is just minutes to the beach, but situated directly on a deep-water canal and marina. Nightly rates for the one-bedroom unit with a courtyard and pool view is $189; $375 for the luxury two-bedroom apartment with waterfront views. Rates valid through May; www.kira-mar.com, 77 Hendricks Isle, 954-678-5151.

Eat

Casablanca Cafe, housed in a 1927 Revival house, is considered Fort Lauderdale’s most romantic restaurant. Enjoy appetizers at happy hour or the full menu of Mediterranean dishes ($15-$25). Cool jazz sounds Wednesday-Sunday; www.casablancacafe online.com, 3049 Alhambra St., 954-764-3500.

Experience

The Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum at Big Cypress (20- minute drive) features exhibits and artifacts showing how the Seminole Indians once lived. The 60-acre outdoor living museum gets you up close with nature; $9 adults; www.ahtahthiki.com. During the visit to this Seminole Indian reservation at the Everglades, take a Swamp Buggy Eco-Tour ($15) or an airboat ride ($25); www.swampsafari.net, Clewiston.

SPLURGE

Getting there

One-way, walk-up business class rates from $323; nonstop AirTran, Delta.

Stay

Coastal Living magazine ranks the Pillars Hotel at New River Sound to be “One of America’s Top 25 Coastal Inns.” It’s cozy with 22 individually decorated rooms and known for the finest customer service and amenities. It’s home to The Secret Garden, an under-the-stars private and exclusive restaurant just for hotel guests. From $285-$579; www.pillars hotel.com, 111 N. Birch Road, 954-467-9639.

Eat

Trina Restaurant and Lounge, awarded AAA’s 4 Diamond Award for dining and service, features an a la carte brunch each Saturday and Sunday (6:30 a.m.-3 p.m.) with breakfast entrees from $11-14; $12-$18 lunch entrees and $20 all-you-can-drink bloody marys and mimosas; www.trinarestaurantand lounge.com, 601 N. Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd.; 954-567-8070.

Experience

A gondolier’s code is “See nothing, hear nothing, tell nothing.” Plan a romantic journey in an authentic flower-decked gondola along the scenic inland waterways; from $125/hour (bring your own drinks, ice, music); www.gondolaman.com, 1109 E. Las Olas Blvd., 1-877-9-ANCHOR (1-877-926-2467).