15 Fun Things to Do in Fort Lauderdale, Florida 2022
Fort Lauderdale is a beautiful combination of stunning scenery, vibrant attractions, and kid-friendly activities and will appeal to couples, families, and solo travellers alike.
The area is packed with fantastic beaches and lazy canals, and you can walk the boardwalk on the beach and take in some of the most beautiful views in the region.
As you would expect in sunny Florida, the weather means there are a variety of outdoor attractions here, and one of the best things to do is wander around town at your leisure.
If you want a bit of retail therapy while in town, you can head to Las Olas Boulevard, where you will find various art galleries, as well as great restaurants or laid-back eateries, depending on your preferences.
Of course, no trip to Florida would be complete without a visit to the famous Everglades, and it can be taken to the water in several ways, including airboats, gondolas, and historic boats.
Let’s explore the best things to do in Fort Lauderdale:
1. Bonnet House Museum and Gardens
To taste historic Fort Lauderdale, head to Bonnet House, a period museum that claims to showcase the area’s history and culture. The house was called Bartlett Estate and was built in a plantation style.
The house belonged to Frederic Clay Bartlett and was named after his wife, Bonnet Lily, though it has now been converted into a museum and art gallery stocked with a private family collection of paintings.
In addition to the house itself, you can enjoy the surrounding gardens divided into different areas such as a desert garden, a tropical garden and a hibiscus garden.
Various guided tours are available for visitors, including visits to the orchid greenhouses or private rooms. A local associate professor will show you around the house and grounds and tell you about the history of this fantastic cultural monument.
2. Beaches of Fort Lauderdale
You can’t come to Fort Lauderdale and not visit the beaches, and you’ll find 23 miles of coastline to enjoy here.
The beaches are famous for their pristine sands and crystal clear waters, and unsurprisingly, you can enjoy a wide variety of water sports here.
Some of these include swimming, waterskiing, and surfing, or you can lie on the beach and take in the breathtaking views without lifting a finger.
3. Stranahan House Museum
The Stranahan House Museum is famous for being the oldest structure in Broward County, dating back to 1901. The house used to be a trading post before it became the home of Frank and Ivy Stranahan.
It has been carefully restored for future generations to enjoy. You can take a tour of the home and learn about its incredible cultural and historical significance to the area.
4. Museum of Discovery and Science
If you’re traveling with younger visitors, don’t miss the chance to visit the Museum of Discovery and Science, which spans two floors of fun attractions. Many of the exhibits here are interactive, and the goal is to teach young people all about science excitingly and engagingly.
To that end, just a few of the hands-on features here include a Moon and Mars simulator, as well as a pilot simulation where you can sit in the cockpit and drive your plane.
There is also a fossil dig that will allow you to learn about Florida’s prehistory, as well as a live animal show and an Eco-Discovery Center.
5. Jungle Queen Riverboats
Jungle Queen Riverboats is one of the most famous cruise ships in the world and began taking visitors down the New River in Fort Lauderdale in 1935.
Riverboats have been in operation ever since, and you can take a sightseeing cruise that will take you along from the river, where you can enjoy the local views from the point of view of the water.
Different packages are available depending on how long you want to sail, and you can also enjoy dinner and a show aboard one of these iconic ships.
6. Fort Lauderdale Fire and Safety Museum
The Fort Lauderdale Fire and Safety Museum dates back to 1927 and is an ideal place to learn all about fire safety through the years.
To that end, you’ll find antiques like vintage fire engines and equipment, and the museum is housed in a quaint house built in the Mediterranean style.
Other attractions here include collections of historic uniforms dating back to the 1920s. There is also a special children’s area where younger visitors can partake in fire safety gear.
7. Las Olas Boulevard
Las Olas Boulevard is one of the most well-known places in Fort Lauderdale, and you must come here to see the atmosphere for yourself.
You’ll find a wide range of quirky shops in the area that seem to sell just about anything, or there are more exclusive boutiques if you prefer.
The area is also known for art galleries that you can visit during the day, and at night you will find a lively nightlife that includes a variety of clubs and live music venues.
8. Hugh Taylor Birch State Park
Hugh Taylor Birch State Park is located along the Atlantic Ocean, and if you love wildlife, you shouldn’t miss out on visiting it.
The park is home to a host of local species, such as the gopher tortoise, tortoises, and swamp rabbits, and you can also find more than 200 types of birds here.
In addition to hiking trails perfect for walking or biking, there is a beach area and a lagoon that stretches for over a mile and is filled with fresh water.
9. NSU Art Museum
The NSU Museum of Art was built in 1986 and had a mission to showcase the best of 20th-century art from the region. The museum sits at over 75,000 square feet, and the building itself is a work of art as local artist Edward Barnes designed it.
There are over 6,000 items stored in the museum that tells the story of the art scene in South Florida, and you will also find pieces from legends such as Pablo Picasso and various artists from Cuba.
There are both static and rotating exhibits here, so the museum always has a fresh selection of galleries, no matter when you visit.
10. Fort Lauderdale Beach Park
Fort Lauderdale Beach Park is one of the best green spots in the city and is located near the Bahia Mar Resort. You will find cozy picnic areas, shower areas, and a playground for the younger visitors in the park.
If you want to do something active, there are also volleyball courts and basketball areas, and there is also a navigation ramp to take to the surrounding water easily.
11. Fort Lauderdale Antique Car Museum
The Fort Lauderdale Antique Car Museum was the brainchild of Arthur O. Stone and had a wide variety of Packard Motor Company vehicles on display.
If you love vintage cars, this is an attraction not to be missed, and you can find cars dating from 1900 onwards. In addition to the 22 Packard cars, you will also find a wide variety of memorabilia such as car ornaments, lamps and custom gear knobs.
You can take a guided tour of the museum if you want to know the history of the cars here or enjoy the nostalgia with a self-guided walk through the centre.
12. Everglades Holiday Park
If you come to Florida, you can’t leave without taking a trip to the iconic Everglades.
One of the best places to see the unique flora and fauna found here is at the Everglades Holiday Park, where you can see incredible attractions, such as live alligator shows, or take an adrenaline-pumping trip on an airboat.
One of the best trips here takes you along the grassy river, where you can see wild alligators and other resident wildlife.
13. Broward Center for the Performing Arts
Located in downtown Fort Lauderdale is the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, which is a one-stop shop if you want to experience some culture while in town.
Here you will find a large theatre that hosts more than 700 shows per year and includes all genres such as ballets, musical concerts, operas and even Broadway musicals.
14. Naval Air Station Fort Lauderdale Museum
To learn all about the history of WWII veterans from Fort Lauderdale, look no further than the Naval Air Station Fort Lauderdale Museum.
The building dated from 1942 and used to be a naval complex before becoming this exciting and attractive museum. Here you will find replicas of soldiers’ barracks, as well as galleries dedicated to the history of those who served in this area.
15. Gondola Tours by Las Olas
Las Olas Gondola Tours is owned by a team of dads and daughters who have lived in the area for years and know every part of Fort Lauderdale’s outstanding canals.
Locals will tell you that one of the best ways to observe flora and fauna found here is from the water, so with this in mind, take a tour and relax as you ride through some of the picturesque canals that divide the city.
You can choose from various experiences, including a memorable sunset cruise, and vacation packages are also available.
Frequently Asked Questions: Fun Things to Do in Fort Lauderdale
What is Fort Lauderdale best known for?
How far is Fort Lauderdale to Disney?
Yes, the driving distance between Fort Lauderdale to Walt Disney World is 209 miles. It takes approximately 3h 34m to drive from Fort Lauderdale to Walt Disney World. Which airlines fly from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport to Orlando Airport?
Is the water clear in Fort Lauderdale?
With smooth sands and warm, clear waters, Fort Lauderdale beaches are perfect for relaxing against a picturesque backdrop. With a warm climate for many species of flora and fauna to flourish, Fort Lauderdale’s parks are beautiful natural oases.
Is Fort Lauderdale better than Miami?
The Bottom Line. Both cities offer the things people love about South Florida: beautiful weather, beaches, great food, and rich culture. But while Miami is more culture-rich and walkable with quality schools, Fort Lauderdale offers a quieter lifestyle, less congestion, and more affordable housing options.
Is Fort Lauderdale safe to visit?
Having (mostly) moved past the days of spring break debauchery, Fort Lauderdale is a relatively safe place to visit. But you still shouldn’t let your guard down. Vehicle burglary is quite common, so make sure to lock your car doors and close the windows all the way.
Is Fort Lauderdale family friendly?
Like a more manageable Miami, Fort Lauderdale makes an excellent family vacation destination if you’re looking for world-class beaches, a diverse dining scene, and plenty of off-the-sand things to do, too (think boat tours, eco-excursions, farmers markets, and kids’ museums).
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