Think Disney World is going to be the highlight of your trip to Florida? Well, think again. As nature’s playground, Fort Lauderdale is fast becoming the South Coast jewel, drawing travelers from around the world to seek its wonder.
Hosting all the best spoils the sunshine state has to offer, including white sandy beaches, world-class restaurants, and unique wildlife, to name a few, can make it challenging to narrow down what to explore during a short stay.
To help you out, we’ve listed the top-rated things to do in Fort Lauderdale that are sure to make your visit unforgettable.
Things to do in Fort Lauderdale
1. Fort Lauderdale Beach
Some say the best things in life are free, and in Fort Lauderdale, that's true.
With swaying palms and crystal clear waters, it’s easy to see why Fort Lauderdale beach has been rated as the number one beach in the area!
Sometimes referred to as the ‘less chaotic version of Miami beach,’ Fort Lauderdale beach is perfect for those wanting to get some vitamin D in a gorgeous location while avoiding crazy beach parties.
For active beachgoers wanting to do more than just lounge about, the Fort Lauderdale Beachfront Park gives visitors access to facilities such as volleyball, basketball courts, a playground, and a picnic area with tables and grills.
The Pedestrian Walk alongside the coast also offers bike rentals with Broward B Cycle, where you can explore the seemingly endless coast on two wheels and check out some of the top-rated hotels and restaurants.
Keen to try something more adventurous? Then try out some surfing lessons with EZ ride surf school to make the most of the waves.
2. Las Olas Boulevard
For a unique shopping experience, check out the architecturally unique and eclectic shopping and dining district on Las Olas Boulevard. Lit up with sparkly lights and electric energy, the shopping area has two world-class museums, over 30 dining options, 10 international art galleries, and 75 shops. The street is packed with waterside cafes and stores, but if that doesn’t light your fire, then another great way to explore is by going on a Gondola Cruise or even charter your own yacht for the day.
If you enjoy people watching, then make your way to the Intracoastal Waterway or follow the red brick pathway to discover the Riverwalk, landscaped park, and the Arts and Entertainment District.
Avid foodies and party-goers can join a “Cycle Party” and go on a tour of Las Olas Boulevard on a quadricycle. This activity allows you to savor east coast food and beer without the guilt as you cycle off those calories!
Cost: Boulevard exploration is free.
3. Hugh Taylor Birch State Park
Labeled as a ‘hidden treasure’ by many travelers is the Hugh Taylor Birch State Park. The green oasis is colored with abundant flora and fauna, which wraps the entire area and has plenty of activities to keep you entertained all afternoon. Rent a canoe or stand up paddleboard in the park's lagoon to enjoy a different view of the surrounding natural wildlife or take a leisure bike ride along the paved park drive.
The more adventurous visitors can hike the maritime tropical hardwood hammock ecosystem, one of the last of its kind in the county, which hosts a diversity of animals, including 200 bird species, turtles, and gophers.
If hiking is too strenuous, simply relax and enjoy a picnic on the lawns. The park also has easy beach access via a tunnel that brings you under the highway and onto the beachfront. The Bonnet House Museum & Gardens is also within walking distance and provides the perfect duo of activities to fill up an entire afternoon.
Cost: A small park entrance fee of $2 for pedestrians or cyclists is charged and is open every day from 8 a.m to 7.00 p.m. The museum entry is $20 for a self-guided tour and is open from Tuesday to Friday from 11 am to 3 pm.
Saturday and Sunday, the museum is open from 11 am to 4 pm.
4.Everglades Holiday Park
If you’re familiar with Crocodile Dundee and you’re hoping to see alligators in their natural habitat, then hop aboard an airboat in the Everglade Holiday Park and get close and personal with the ferocious creatures. Located in some of the most amazing wetlands in the country, you will find many wild animals making their home in the park, including turtles, tortoises, panthers, pythons, and pigs. Still, the star of the show is the alligators. The sharp-toothed beauties can be witnessed in action in a show hosted by the crew of Animal Planet’s ‘Gator Boys Alligator Rescue’.
If you’re feeling adventurous, you can brave a nighttime adventure airboat tour at the park, where the brave-hearted may have the opportunity to hold a baby alligator!
Everglades Holiday Park is open every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Cost: Adult ticket prices are $34.99 for a 60-Minute Airboat Tour, Gator Boys Alligator Presentation, and two group photos.
Things To Do in Fort Lauderdale When It Rains
5.Museum of Discovery and Science
Fort Lauderdale does not disappoint with the number of activities available to do come rain or shine! For example, the Museum of Discovery and Science offers an afternoon filled with interactive activities that are incredibly entertaining for kids. As one of the largest museums of its kind across the entire state, Fort Lauderdale’s Museum of Discovery and Science is an interactive sight to behold. Here you can take a seat in the IMAX theater and enjoy multiple rides or you can take a virtual stroll through the Florida Everglades airboat adventure, and you can even go 65 million years back in time to see Prehistoric Florida.
The museum is also filled with animals such as river otters and has exciting displays like a Dinosaur Boneyard exhibition and a World War II cockpit simulation. This is a great option for a fun excursion for the entire family.
It’s open from Tuesday to Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm and on Sunday from 12 pm to 5 pm.
Cost: $24 for adults and $19 for children; however, a current promotion will see you paying $10 on Tuesday until the end of May.
6. Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino
Other rainy day activities for ‘older kids’ include visiting the guitar-shaped building where you can spin the tables and enjoy the resort’s world-class entertainment, fine dining, and lively casino games!
The bright yellow bridge in Sunrise boulevard welcomes you to the Swap Shop and Thunderbird drive-in theatre, which holds the title as the world's largest daily flea market in the world with the “world's largest" 14-screen drive-in movie theater.
With more than 2000 eager vendors selling anything from clothes, trinkets, fruits, and savories, it will be hard not to find something you like. You can also check out the showcase of modern and vintage Ferraris on display.
Moving to Fort Lauderdale
With a list of seemingly endless activities available in Fort Lauderdale accompanied by warm weather and good employment prospects, it wouldn’t be surprising if you decided to make your visit a permanent one!
Although housing prices in Fort Lauderdale are expectedly at the higher end of the price scale, additional closing costs could be negotiated during a sale. Housing programs to support first-time buyers can reduce purchasing costs if needed.