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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

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

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

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

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

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

Top activities in Fort Lauderdale

Everglades Day Safari from Ft Lauderdale
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Fort Lauderdale to Key West Tour with Optional Add-ons
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Ft Lauderdale to Key West with Optional Activities
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Pedibus Pub Crawl in Fort Lauderdale
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Operators have paid Viator more to have their experiences featured here

Recent reviews from experiences in Fort Lauderdale

Great day on the water
Gina_L, Jan 2023
Fort Lauderdale Water Taxi - All Day Pass
Fun, relaxing , informative , great way to see the intracoastal and find out about Fort Lauderdale.
A great way to see Fort...
Mary_S, Jan 2023
Fort Lauderdale Water Taxi - All Day Pass
A great way to see Fort Lauderdale!
See how the other half live
Samantha_D, Jan 2023
Jungle Queen Riverboat 90-Minute Narrated Sightseeing Cruise in Fort Lauderdale
It was interesting to see part of Fort Lauderdale we would not have seen independently.
Fun history of Fort Lauderdale
Leslie_K, Nov 2022
History Museum, Pioneer House Museum & Schoolhouse Museum
The river area is also fun to visit afterwords.
Evening cruise that was entertaining and easy on the wallet.
Tom_F, Jan 2023
Evening Cruise through Downtown Ft. Lauderdale
I found this tour online with a quick search for things to do in Fort Lauderdale.
Amazing River Cruise Tour!!!
Christopher_H, Jan 2023
Evening Cruise through Downtown Ft. Lauderdale
Was able to see a lot of beautiful views on the water, amazing homes and yachts all along the tour.
Great way to visit Fort...
Costanza_Z, Jan 2023
Fort Lauderdale Water Taxi - All Day Pass
Great way to visit Fort Lauderdale on the water taxi.
Adventurous, interesting and fun!
Laurie_F, Jan 2023
Fort Lauderdale Segway Tour
Also Mike pointed out special restaurants to visit.
Great time on Mini Boat
Daniel_A, Jan 2023
Mini Powerboat Rental
We had an opportunity to see many marvelous mansions and yachts we never would never would have seen any other way.
Awesome Kayak Tour!
Jeannine_B, Jan 2023
Seven Isles of Fort Lauderdale Kayak Tour
My son was visiting from Arizona and wanted to see Fort Lauderdale from a different perspective.
Taylor was a great tour...
Gina_S, Jun 2022
Public Guided Snorkel Tour of Fort Lauderdale Reefs
We were able to see so much during our trip, including a couple of sharks.
great tour!
Jordyn_B, Apr 2022
SUP PUP Paddleboard Tour
Beaches were great guides and we got to see a really cool part of Fort Lauderdale.
A MUST do while visiting Ft. Lauderdale
Jeff_F, Nov 2021
Mini Powerboat Rental
Best way to see Venice.
Great way to see multiple...
Jennie_M, Aug 2022
Fort Lauderdale Water Taxi - All Day Pass
Great way to see multiple parts of Fort Lauderdale along the IWC!
Fun & Easy
Jim_B, Mar 2021
Fort Lauderdale Segway Tour
Great way to see Fort Lauderdale!!
Great cruise
Jeanne_D, Jan 2021
Carrie B Venice of America Fort Lauderdale Sightseeing Tours
Wonderful cruise and informative / humorous narration A nice way to see the waters and homes of Fort Lauderdale
We had a great time on this trip...
achorpenning, Jul 2017
Key West Sail and Snorkel Day Trip from Fort Lauderdale
The only downfall was we spent almost 10 hours traveling.
Excellent trip to see the three...
Debra P, Feb 2017
Everglades Day Safari from Ft Lauderdale
Excellent trip to see the three different eco systems within the Everglades and Big Cypress area.
This was a fun, 1 hour cruise...
Geoff G, Jan 2017
Fort Lauderdale Sightseeing Cruise Tour
Interesting to see how the other 0.
The sightseeing cruise was enjoyable...
John M, Jun 2015
Fort Lauderdale Sightseeing Cruise Tour
The sightseeing cruise was enjoyable and we got to see some of the beautiful homes and yachts in the Fort Lauderdale area.
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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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