Travel Rankings & Advice

Tips on What To Do in Fort Lauderdale

For a bit of sun and surf, Fort Lauderdale Beach is the way to go. If it rains, head indoors and explore the Museum of Discovery and Science. Writers and recent visitors both suggest jumping on a Water Taxi to get to know the city from a unique view.

  • To best understand Fort Lauderdale's reputation as the 'Venice of America,' you need to get out on the water." -- New York Times
  • Devote some time to downtown Fort Lauderdale's Riverwalk district, home to many museums, shops, restaurants, and galleries." -- Away.com
  • Plan to spend at least an afternoon or evening cruising Fort Lauderdale's 300 miles of waterways the only way you can: by boat." -- Frommer's


Fort Lauderdale's gold sand beach draws plenty of sun-starving crowds each year. Be sure to check out the traveler-recommended promenade, which is backed by a line of hotels, restaurants and shops. Recently renovated, the promenade is especially popular with runners and bikers.

There are also pleasing shores outside the city limits. Travel sites recommend the quiet and quaint Lauderdale-By-The-Sea farther north, or the cool sands of Miami Beach.

  • Take your pick of beaches for every taste, including Fort Lauderdale Beach and its brick-lined promenade, family-friendly Pompano Beach, and Lauderdale-By-The-Sea, with its seaside village and popular fishing pier." -- Away.com
  • Why Go? The clean, wide, riptide-free beaches are the best in South Florida, … Shorts and flip-flops are the only outfit you'll need." -- Concierge.com
  • The Fort Lauderdale Beach Promenade … looks fantastic. It's especially peaceful in the mornings, when there's just a smattering of joggers and walkers; but even at its most crowded on weekends, the expansive promenade provides room for everyone. Note, however, that the beach is hardly pristine; it is across the street from an uninterrupted stretch of hotels, bars, and retail outlets. " -- Frommer's


If you've had your fill of the beach, visitors can also check out the nearby Everglades. Experts suggest a trip to Everglades Holiday Park, a 40-minute drive west of Fort Lauderdale. Meanwhile travelers recommend heading to Sawgrass Recreation Park for a ride on an airboat.

Some writers also suggest a trip to Butterfly World, near Pompano Beach, to see live butterflies and birds of various sizes and colors. For more wildlife, consider the Flamingo Gardens west of Fort Lauderdale in Davie, Fla.

  • Nature fans head to such spots as Everglades Holiday Park, where strange contraptions known as airboats skim across shallow waters for a look at that vast 'river of grass' heralded by authors and closely guarded by environmentalists." -- Travel Channel
  • Witness more than 10,000 butterflies at Butterfly World, the world's largest butterfly park." -- Away.com
  • Why Go? Everglades Access: Just minutes from luxury hotels and golf courses, the rugged Everglades tantalize with alligators and other wildlife." -- Fodor's


Fort Lauderdale is not a shopping mecca, especially when compared to its southern neighbor Miami. However, travel writers say the discounts to be had at the outlet mall, Sawgrass Mills, are worth taking a look. According to experts, Las Olas Boulevard in downtown Fort Lauderdale also has a handful of high-end shops and galleries.

  • Fort Lauderdale's retail landscape hasn't yet caught up with its revitalized restaurant scene. … However, the off-price palace of Sawgrass Mills more than makes up for the shortage: It's said to be the largest discount mall in the country, and even reluctant shoppers should pick up some bargains." -- Concierge.com
  • If you're looking for unusual boutiques, especially art galleries, head to quaint Las Olas Boulevard, located west of A1A and a block east of Federal Highway/U.S. 1, off SE 8th Street, where there are hundreds of shops with alluring window decorations … and intriguing merchandise such as mural-size oil paintings." -- Frommer's


Fort Lauderdale is only a 30-minute drive north of exciting Miami, but on its own it hosts a much tamer nighttime scene. However, several swanky options are actually about 10 miles south in Hollywood, Fla.

  • A visit to Fort Lauderdale simply must include a lunch or dinner sail aboard the venerable Jungle Queen Riverboat, one of the state's oldest attractions. As you float by, homeowners come out on their lawns to wave, proving once again the joys of a small town that's small, but significant." -- ref="http://guides.travelchannel.com/fort-lauderdale">Travel Channel
  • You can grab a quiet cocktail with mellow music or a beachfront beer as the sun goes down and not worry about what designers you're wearing." -- Concierge.com

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