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Things to do in Fort Lauderdale

Things to do in  Fort Lauderdale

Welcome to Fort Lauderdale

Sandwiched between the sizzling beach scene of Miami and the glitz-and-glamour of Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale offers respite for travelers seeking the simple pleasures of a Florida vacation: sunshine, shopping, and wholesome family fun. Although it has a past reputation as a spring-break party destination, the city has come into its own over the past couple decades, with a renovated waterfront, a burgeoning culinary scene, and daydream-worthy beaches bringing rightful attention to the “Venice of America.” Experience all the area has to offer with a hop-on hop-off water taxi or a sightseeing cruise down the Intracoastal Waterway, featuring views of popular attractions such as Millionaires Row, Hyatt Regency Pier 66, the 17th Street Causeway, and the Las Olas Riverfront. Round out your day with a post-cruise shopping trip or a Segway tour down the boardwalk. Practically in Fort Lauderdale’s backyard, the 1.5 million–acre (607,000-hectare) Everglades National Park promises a full day of family fun. Board an airboat to scout for sightings of alligators, roseate spoonbills, and egrets on a swamp tour through the aptly named ""River of Grass;"" or take a nature walk through palmetto-lined trails. Other easy day trips include snorkeling in Key West or fishing in Pompano Beach, making Fort Lauderdale a convenient base for your South Florida vacation.

Top 15 attractions in Fort Lauderdale

Fort Lauderdale Beachfront

Thanks to more than 23 miles (37 kilometers) of pristine sand, visitors to the Fort Lauderdale beachfront are spoiled for choice when it comes to water sports and sunbathing spots. Spend the day swimming, windsurfing, deep-sea fishing, or more—or stay on land playing volleyball, jogging, or just kicking back in a lounge chair.More

Riverwalk Fort Lauderdale

Riverwalk Fort Lauderdale is a linear public park located by the New River in the historic downtown district of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Its tropical landscaping and winding pathways link some of the city’s best attractions.More

Intracoastal Waterway Fort Lauderdale

Stretching 3,000 miles (4,800 kilometers) between the United States' Atlantic and Gulf coasts, Fort Lauderdale's Intracoastal Waterway provides easy access to maritime activities and on-shore attractions along the 300 miles (483 kilometers) of inland canals that wind through south Florida's unmistakable sky-high resorts and Everglades ecosystem.More

Las Olas Boulevard

You can spend a full day strolling up and down this eclectic South Florida district, which is filled with art galleries, boutiques, and al fresco dining options. The 10 blocks that span all the way to the ocean are lined with palm trees and Mediterranean architecture, and set the stage for a relaxing day or night in Fort Lauderdale.More

Sawgrass Recreation Park

Located only 30 minutes outside downtown Fort Lauderdale, Sawgrass Recreation Park offers guided airboat rides through the marshy, humid swamp waters of the Florida Everglades. Visitors can spot alligators and other marshland animals, such as pythons, black leopards, and the endangered Florida panther living in the wild.More

Everglades National Park

Sandwiched between the sizzling beaches of Miami and the white sands of Key West, the 1.5 million-acre Everglades National Park stands in stark contrast to its seductive neighbors—but don’t make the mistake of passing it by. Visit the park and discover for yourself the spectacular swampy weirdness that draws over one million visitors every year and constitutes a one-of-a-kind destination for nature lovers.More

Historic Stranahan House Museum

The Historic Stranahan House Museum is the oldest surviving structure in Fort Lauderdale. It was built in 1902 as a trading post by Frank Stranahan, the founder of the city, and used by Stranahan’s wife, Ivy, as a school house. Over the decades it has also served as a post office, community center, and town hall. Today it’s a historic attraction that’s open daily for guided tours.More

Las Olas Beach

With soft, white sand and clean, calm waters ideal for families and people who like to wade and relax in the ocean, Las Olas Beach is the quintessential Fort Lauderdale beach. The beach offers great sunbathing, and you can also rent beach umbrellas and chairs.More

NSU Art Museum

The NSU Art Museum is located on Fort Lauderdale’s Las Olas Boulevard, a key part of the vibrant art district. Visitors can view more than 6,000 works in the museum’s international collection, which has a strong focus on South Florida and Caribbean culture, with artwork by Cuban artists, William Glackens, and northern European CoBrA artists.More

Hugh Taylor Birch State Park

The Hugh Taylor Birch State Park, which spans 80 acres (73 hectares) of land, is a ruggedly beautiful park in the middle of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. There’s something for everyone here: paved paths for bicyclists, several nature trails for hikers, and more than 200 plant species. A freshwater lagoon is a great place for canoeing or kayaking, and you can fish here, too.More

Everglades Holiday Park

Everglades Holiday Park is a classic (if a bit kitschy) introduction to the Florida Everglades and its wild inhabitants. Geared toward the whole family, the 29-acre (11.7-hectare) park has been entertaining and educating visitors for almost 40 years and is also the home of Animal Planet’sGator Boys TV show.More

Sawgrass Mills

Shop until you drop at Sawgrass Mills, the largest outlet and value retail destination in the country. Just outside Fort Lauderdale, the shopping center features more than 350 stores, with plenty for both high-end fashion lovers and bargain hunters. A movie theater, a family fun area, and lots of dining options round out the experience.More

Museum of Discovery and Science

More than 200 interactive exhibits await families at this Fort Lauderdale museum, which is dedicated to curiosity and exploration. With the largest captive live Atlantic coral reef habitat, an IMAX theater, an Everglades Airboat Adventure, and an FA-18 cockpit 7D simulator, the museum offers children and their parents a day of exploration.More

Flamingo Gardens

Founded in 1927, Flamingo Gardens pays homage to Florida’s native jungle ecosystem with more than 3,000 plant and flower species. The vast botanical garden contains rare tropical plants along with pristine sections of native Florida wilderness, an animal rehabilitation center, aviary, and onsite museum.More

Hollywood Beach

Florida’s Hollywood Beach is best known for its red-brick boardwalk and panoramic seaside views. Located in the coastal city of Hollywood between Miami and Fort Lauderdale, this sandy stretch of coast is an ideal spot for people watching, sunbathing, and swimming.More

Trip ideas

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Recent reviews from experiences in Fort Lauderdale

Fun, fun, fun!
MARIA_M, Mar. 2023
Evening Cruise through Downtown Ft. Lauderdale
Highly recommend it, if you want to see beautiful homes, a nice sunset, and dance with new friends.
This was an awesome tour!...
Diane_B, Mar. 2023
Evening Cruise through Downtown Ft. Lauderdale
Can’t wait to visit again to take another cruise with this company, going to try day tour next time😊 Thanks again Luke and Erik for providing a fun evening!
Chandranie_S, Mar. 2023
Jungle Queen Riverboat 90-Minute Narrated Sightseeing Cruise in Fort Lauderdale
Such a nice way to see Fort Lauderdale and beautiful properties.
Great relaxing way to see the riverfront.
Peggy_D, Mar. 2023
Jungle Queen Riverboat 90-Minute Narrated Sightseeing Cruise in Fort Lauderdale
Highly recommend for a nice relaxing way to see the riverfront.
Worth the Trip
Angela_B, Mar. 2023
Fort Lauderdale to Key West Tour with Optional Add-ons
It was a great way to see the Florida Keys, for a day trip, on our trip to Fort Lauderdale.
Fort Lauderdale in comfort
Ian_S, Mar. 2023
Fort Lauderdale Water Taxi - All Day Pass
Very efficient staff, a very interesting dialogue of the surroundings, great way to see things, easy to get on, easy to get off, a must do when you come to Fort Lauderdale.
Great day out
jg2829, Feb. 2023
Fort Lauderdale Water Taxi - All Day Pass
Great way to see Fort Lauderdale from the waterways.
Kim_B, Mar. 2023
Jungle Queen Riverboat 90-Minute Narrated Sightseeing Cruise in Fort Lauderdale
My husband and I were visiting Fort Lauderdale for the first time and this excursion was a delightful way to see some of its beauty from a great prospective.
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All about Fort Lauderdale

When to visit

Boasting festivals and ideal beach weather in April and May, it's no wonder Fort Lauderdale is a famous spring break destination. Join springtime crowds lounging at the beach and jamming at Tortuga Music Festival if you visit in April. Meanwhile, fall promises a low-key vacation full of cultural events, including Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival.

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People Also Ask

What is Fort Lauderdale best known for?

In the past, Fort Lauderdale had a reputation as a spring-break party destination, but it’s transformed into a more upscale vacation spot, with a renovated waterfront, thriving culinary scene, and postcard-worthy beaches. Known as the “Venice of America,” Fort Lauderdale boasts a maze of canals that you can explore by water taxi.

Does Fort Lauderdale Beach have a boardwalk?

No. But between Miami and Fort Lauderdale, you’ll find the Hollywood Beach Boardwalk, a 2.2 mile-long (3.5 kilometer) brick-paved pedestrian promenade crowded with joggers, skaters, and bicyclists along the Atlantic Ocean. It's a 30-minute drive from Fort Lauderdale and lined with boutiques, restaurants, seaside cafes, bars, and activities.

Does Fort Lauderdale have good nightlife?

Yes. Although Fort Lauderdale doesn’t have a bustling club scene like neighboring Miami, it does have rooftop bars, dinner cruises, and music venues. Head to Las Olas Boulevard for the Elbo Room, a go-to joint for locals and tourists for 75-plus years. Other hot spots include Rhythm & Vine, America's Backyard, and Capone’s.

How do I spend a day in Fort Lauderdale?

Get to know the city by hopping aboard a water taxi to cruise the Fort Lauderdale canals, taking in the scenic views. Then, stroll down Las Olas Boulevard, lined with restaurants, bars, and boutiques. Or head to Fort Lauderdale Beach to soak up some sun, windsurf, and play volleyball.

Where do tourists go in Fort Lauderdale?

Located about 30 minutes away from Fort Lauderdale, the Everglades are perhaps the most popular tourist attraction for those visiting southern Florida. At Sawgrass Recreation Park and Everglades National Park, book a guided airboat ride and travel through the marshy, humid swamp waters, spotting alligators and other creatures.

What can you do for free in Fort Lauderdale?

Enjoy the sun and sand free of charge—all eight Fort Lauderdale area beaches are public with no fee. Some cultural attractions, such as the Naval Air Station Fort Lauderdale Museum and the African-American Research Library and Cultural Center, are free. The Anne Kolb Nature Center is free on non-holiday weekdays.


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