Called the “Venice of America,” Fort Lauderdale boasts a network of yacht-filled canals lined with marinas. Just 23 miles (37 kilometers) north of Miami, this sophisticated city ditched its rowdy spring-break reputation years ago and has become a buzzing cosmopolitan base for experiencing Florida. Here’s how to see this city in one day.
Morning: Take a Water Taxi
See the sights of Fort Lauderdale from its famous waterways. While many cities offer hop-on hop-off bus tours, this Florida town offers the same service via water taxis, with routes that include stops at various scenic points. Tickets are usually valid for 12 hours, so you can use it throughout the day, allowing you to jump off for a drink and bite to eat before hopping back aboard. Or join a more structured tour aboard a grand paddle steamer along the New River and Intracoastal Waterway. Landlubbers can tour the town via Segway or bike or on foot.
Afternoon: See the Everglades
Located about 30 minutes away from Fort Lauderdale, the Everglades are a unique Floridian landscape where you can spot local wildlife such as alligators, fish, turtles, and wading birds while on an airboat tour. Glide across the grassy water, reaching speeds of up to 40 miles per hour (64 kilometers per hour) in this subtropical ecosystem. At Sawgrass Recreation Park, which features exhibit areas where rescued reptiles and mammals such as turtles, iguanas, and snakes live, you can learn about the park’s conservation efforts. Or join an afternoon food tour and stroll down Las Olas Boulevard, known for its restaurants, bars, and boutiques, stopping for tastings while window-shopping.
Night: Evening Cruise or Pub Crawl
End your day on a riverboat cruise, such as the popular Jungle Queen, which includes a stop on land to enjoy a buffet dinner and live entertainment. Travel down Fort Lauderdale's New River, sailing past the lavish homes of Millionaire's Row. Some cruises include dinner aboard the boat, or you can simply grab cocktails instead of a meal. Alternatively, join a party bike pub crawl for happy hour and pedal around Fort Lauderdale, stopping at bars along the way. It’s a fun, safe, and social way to explore the city’s nightlife scene.