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12 Best Things to Do in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Nicknamed the “Venice of America,” Fort Lauderdale is a fun-in-the-sun city located on the Atlantic Coast, considered a haven for nature enthusiasts and beach lovers. Not only is Fort Lauderdale home to a wealth of outdoor adventures and beachfront hotels, but it also boasts a vibrant arts scene and a range of cultural attractions. From glitzy yachts and millionaire mansions to natural landscapes and a picturesque canal system, read on to discover the best things to do in Fort Lauderdale.

Relax on Fort Lauderdale Beach Fort Lauderdale Beach
Credit: Fort Lauderdale Beach by Daniel Dudek-Corrigan via Flickr

Relax on Fort Lauderdale Beach

What Is It? It may be an obvious first stop on your Fort Lauderdale itinerary, but it must be said. The beaches in Fort Lauderdale are stunning and are one of the best beach destinations in Florida.

Why Do It? It boasts 23 miles of expansive shoreline, backed by a pedestrian area lined with hotels, restaurants, and shops. More laid-back than nearby Miami, you’ll find the same sugary sands and crystal clear water. 

Good to Know: Sunseekers will find an array of activities to enjoy here, from sunbathing to surfing, swimming or beachcombing.

Take a Stroll Along Las Olas Boulevard Las Olas Boulevard and A1A Fort Lauderdale
Credit: Las Olas Boulevard and A1A Fort Lauderdale by © Felix Mizioznikov | Dreamstime.com

Take a Stroll Along Las Olas Boulevard

What Is It? A shopper’s paradise, Las Olas Boulevard is a street that runs through the center of Fort Lauderdale from the Central Business District to Fort Lauderdale Beach. 

Why Do It? Lined with trendy restaurants, upscale boutiques, international art galleries and buzzing nightclubs, this area lures travelers in with its landscaped green spaces and Mediterranean architecture. 

Good to Know: Whether you’re window shopping or just soaking in the vibrant atmosphere, this commercial street is the perfect place for an evening stroll.

Visit the Aviaries at Butterfly World Butterfly World
Credit: Butterfly World by butterflyworld.com

Visit the Aviaries at Butterfly World

What Is It? Located in Coconut Creek, Butterfly World puts you up close to more than 20,000 winged creatures in a range of aviaries and gardens that cover nearly 10 acres. 

Why Do It? Take the kids to this fascinating attraction, where you can walk among over 50 species of colorful butterflies as you’re surrounded by a lush canopy of exotic plants and flowers. It’s considered one of the best kid-friendly attractions in South Florida

Good to Know: A tranquil space outside of the city, you can spot hummingbirds and lorikeets as well as you explore the 30-foot Tropical Rainforest Aviary, featuring waterfalls and observation decks.

Enjoy the Landscapes of Hugh Taylor Birch State Park Hugh Taylor Birch State Park
Credit: Hugh Taylor Birch State Park by © Jillian Cain | Dreamstime.com

Enjoy the Landscapes of Hugh Taylor Birch State Park

What Is It? An oasis of tropical hammocks, Hugh Taylor Birch State Park is the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. 

Why Do It? An 180-acre estate with freshwater lagoons, beach access, nature trails and picnic areas, it is a great place to take the entire family on a sunny afternoon.

Good to Know: For a unique look at the area, hop on a canoe or kayak and paddle through the park’s coastal dune lakes or go fishing along the seawall.

Win Big at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Hollywood
Credit: Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Hollywood by Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino

Win Big at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino

What Is It? Perfect for a rainy day or an evening of adults-only fun, the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino offers a place for you to place your bets and win big. 

Why Do It? With the flashing lights of slot machines and a buzzing casino-floor ambiance, you’ll be lured in by the chance to beat the odds. 

Good to Know: After you’ve hit it big, you can also visit one of the several on-site lounges that offer live entertainment throughout the week.

Drive Past Millionaire's Row Millionaire's Row in Fort Lauderdale
Credit: Millionaire's Row in Fort Lauderdale by © Gynane | Dreamstime.com

Drive Past Millionaire's Row

What Is It? A must-see on any first trip to Fort Lauderdale, Millionaire’s Row is the quintessential look at the wealth that surrounds this city. 

Why Do It? Most commonly seen on a boat tour, you’ll catch a glimpse of the glitzy multi-million dollar mansions and yachts that dot the waterways, stretching from Tarpon Bend all the way out to the Intracoastal Waterway. 

Good to Know: Drive past the homes of famous celebrities, CEO’s and even billionaires, as Millionaire’s Row offers a picturesque backdrop of the Fort Lauderdale skyline.

Get Hands on at Museum of Discovery and Science Museum of Discovery
Credit: Museum of Discovery by Museum of Discovery

Get Hands on at Museum of Discovery and Science

What Is It? The perfect indoor activity for little ones is a day trip to the Museum of Discovery and Science.

Why Do It? It offers a wide range of interactive, hands-on exhibits that will keep your kids engaged for hours. 

Good to Know: You can take a simulated airboat ride along the Everglades, learn about Florida’s weather patterns at the Storm Center, and test your pilot skills on a DC-9 commercial airliner, as you’re sure to have a full day of fun and adventure at this fascinating attraction.

Explore the Bonnet House Museum & Gardens Bonnet House Museum & Gardens
Credit: Bonnet House Museum & Gardens by Ilyse Whitney via Flickr

Explore the Bonnet House Museum & Gardens

What Is It? A vibrant mix of history, art, and architecture, the Bonnet House Museum & Gardens is a plantation-style house built on 36 acres of lush tropical vegetation. 

Why Do It? Once the winter retreat of the Birch/Bartlett family, you can admire the collections of art and personal treasures and then meander through five distinct ecosystems featured here, from mangrove wetlands to maritime forests.

Good to Know: You can also soak in the beautiful views of the largest collection of orchids in the Southeast United States.

Admire Artwork at NSU Museum Fort Lauderdale NSU Museum Fort Lauderdale
Credit: NSU Museum Fort Lauderdale by osseous via Flickr

Admire Artwork at NSU Museum Fort Lauderdale

What Is It? A must-see for art enthusiasts, the NSU Museum Fort Lauderdale features a diverse collection of exhibits.

Why Do It? Discover more than 6,000 works of art, including the largest collection of post-war and avant-garde works from Copenhagen, Brussels, and Amsterdam in the United States. 

Good to Know: Showcasing contemporary and 20th-century art, you can also explore pieces of art from Latin American artists, in addition to African, Native American and Oceanic Tribal Arts.

Take an Airboat Through Sawgrass Recreation Park Sawgrass Recreation Park
Credit: Sawgrass Recreation Park by Sawgrass Recreation Park

Take an Airboat Through Sawgrass Recreation Park

What Is It? If you’re looking to take an airboat ride through the Florida Everglades, then this is the place to do it. 

Why Do It? Sawgrass Recreation Park is home to a wide variety of native flora and fauna, where you can spot a variety of wildlife that includes birds, fish, and of course, alligators. 

Good to Know: Those brave enough to traverse this unique Florida ecosystem can get up close and personal with some of the natural habitats of our fiercest creatures.

Cruise the Waterways on Jungle Queen Riverboat Jungle Queen Riverboat
Credit: Jungle Queen Riverboat by Jungle Queen Riverboat

Cruise the Waterways on Jungle Queen Riverboat

What Is It? It’s probably the most famous boat tour in Fort Lauderdale.

Why Do It? The Jungle Queen Riverboat offers a wild ride through the “Yacht Capital of the World,” delighting visitors since 1935. It’s a historic sightseeing tour, which cruises past Millionaire’s Row,

Good to Know: You’ll also have the chance to choose from tours that allow you to explore the lush foliage of a tropical isle filled with native wildlife or have dinner and live entertainment in addition to your cruise.

Explore the Stranahan House Stranahan House
Credit: Stranahan House by stranahanhouse.org

Explore the Stranahan House

What Is It? The oldest residence in Fort Lauderdale, the Stranahan House is now a living testament to life in Florida back in the 1900s. 

Why Do It? Ohio businessman Frank Stranahan originally built this pine pioneer home, where visitors can still see some of the period Victorian furniture and decorative pieces on display. 

Good to Know: Aside from its historical significance, it is a beautiful property to explore with its wide verandas, bay windows, and tropical gardens.

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