When we hear the name of the state of Florida, we are immediately drawn to remember the likes of memorable cities like Orlando and Miami. True enough, these cities are grandiose and they deserve all of the acclaim they can get. However, do not be mistaken that Florida is limited to just these cities as the state is just filled to the brim with spots that continuously call to tourists and locals alike. If you are looking for places beyond Orlando and Miami, one city that might suit your needs is Fort Lauderdale. Also known as the Venice of America, this Florida city has every right to be called as one of the top tourists attractions not only in the state, but also in the rest of the U.S.
As a tourist destination, the city of Fort Lauderdale has approximately 561 hotels and motels with nearly 35,000 rooms in between. The BnBs are not included in the count yet. Aside from that, there are over 4,000 restaurants, 16 museums, 132 nightclubs, 278 campsites and 12 major malls to accommodate visitors of all types.
We’re sure you’re excited to travel to the city but before anything else, let’s take a look at what you should to do prepare before visiting Fort Lauderdale.
- 1 How To Get To Fort Lauderdale
- 2 Getting Around Fort Lauderdale
- 3 Budget For Fort Lauderdale
- 4 Best Time To Visit Fort Lauderdale
- 5 Family-Friendly Activities in Fort Lauderdale
- 5.1 Butterfly World
- 5.2 Art and Culture Center of Hollywood
- 5.3 BB&T Center
- 5.4 Everglades Holiday Park
- 5.5 Fort Lauderdale Water Taxi
- 5.6 Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Seminole Indian Museum
- 5.7 Young at Art Museum
- 5.8 AutoNation IMAX 3D Theater
- 5.9 Museum of Discovery and Science
- 5.10 Beaches in Fort Lauderdale
- 5.11 Fort Lauderdale Antique Car Museum
- 5.12 Naval Air Station Fort Lauderdale Museum
- 5.13 Fort Lauderdale Fire and Safety Museum
- 5.14 BlueFoot Pirate Adventures
How To Get To Fort Lauderdale
Getting to Fort Lauderdale is easy as there are several airports in South Florida that can get you to the city. The first and easiest route to take is Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport. If you are looking for cheap flights from major destinations, then you may want to go to this airport. Some of the carriers include JetBlue, Southwest Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Emirates. From here, you can simply catch a taxi or a hotel shuttle to get to the city.
Another accessible airport from the city is the Miami International Airport which is 25 miles south of the city. It is the major airport in Miami and it has scheduled flights to and from major U.S. and international flights. From here, you can ride the Tri-Rail at the airport. It costs about $4 a head to get from here to the city. Alternatively, you can take shuttle vans but these will cost you around $50-70 per head.
Last but not the least, you can get to South Florida via the Palm Beach International Airport. Located at West Palm Beach. While accessible via the cheap Tri-Rail, the problem with this airport is that it only serves the Palm Beach area and nearby cities. However, if you are nearby, you can simply use this airport for an easy route to Fort Lauderdale.
If you are in Florida and are hoping to drive to Fort Lauderdale, you can take a few specific highways instead. The first of which is the Interstate 95, which is the major north-south route along the eastern side of the city. This connects directly to the downtown area of Fort Lauderdale.
The cheapest option to get to Fort Lauderdale has to be via bus commute. There are several bus companies in Florida that will get you to Fort Lauderdale for only a few dollars. Ideally, you may want to ride busses from Greyhound Bus Lines, Keys Shuttle, Megabus, Omnibus la Cubana, and Redroach.
Getting Around Fort Lauderdale
The most efficient way to get around Fort Lauderdale and the rest of the South Florida area is by renting a car from one of the many service providers in the city. Not only is this cheap and convenient, you should be glad to know that the streets of Fort Lauderdale are very easy to visit. You can rent and assortment of cars via providers such as Orbitz, America Car Rental, Alamo Rent A Car, and Enterprise Rent-A-Car. Of course, there are many more providers out there.
You can also commute around the city but of course, this is the least convenient option. Aside from taxis, you can take Broward County Transit and Sun Trolley buses to get around the city. You can also take the Tri-Rale trains which runs through Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. This train system also has access to the three airports near Fort Lauderdale.
Budget For Fort Lauderdale
Fort Lauderdale is filled with attractions to visit and sights to see. Most of your budget will be spent on the tickets and souvenirs at these places. Ideally, you may want to set aside at least $100 for admission tickets and souvenirs. If you want to take part in a few water sports activities nearby, then you may want to save at least $50.
For food, you should have at least $30 for food and drinks per day. There are an assortment of restaurants in Fort Lauderdale that range from luxury to budget prices. Although there are a selection of restaurants available, you may want to set your eyes on Big City Tavern, China and Jalisco in the downtown area. In the bay area, be sure to dine at Dos Caminos, Monster Subs and Trina.
For accommodation, you should not have any major problems as well as there are many cheap hotels and BnBs located all over the city. The accommodations at the beach are the more expensive fare and can set you back by at least $50 per night. If you want to save up and have access to the best spots in the city, then you should book rooms at the downtown area which are generally around $20-40.
If you want to save up on transportation, you may want to rent a car instead which you can net for $6 a day, not inclusive of gas. This is the cheaper option as compared to taking public commute around the city and it’s also more convenient, allowing you to travel at your own leisure.
Best Time To Visit Fort Lauderdale
The best time to visit Fort Lauderdale is from the months between December and April. The weather and temperature during these months are perfect for exploring the city at a leisurely pace. However, do take note that while the weather is great, the prices at hotels are not. You may want to book your rooms in advance to avoid those pesky winter prices.
Aside from the weather, you can also partake in a few amazing events during these months. There’s the Christmas on Las Olas and Seminole Hard Rock Winterfest Boat Parade in December. Then in April, there’s the Las Olas Wine and Food Festival to get your taste buds overflowing with joy.
These are the most important things you should know before visiting Fort Lauderdale. Now, let’s take a look at what you can actually do in the Venice of America.
Family-Friendly Activities in Fort Lauderdale
Fort Lauderdale is one of the famous places in Florida because of the countless activities and attractions that it has to offer. And you shouldn’t miss it too. It has a lot of things to do and visit to offer to everyone. Whether you have senior citizens traveling with you or young children, Fort Lauderdale, Florida has something for you. Here are some of the best things to do in Fort Lauderdale that we suggest, especially if you’re traveling with kids.
A lot of us love to see and learn more about butterflies, especially kids. I mean who doesn’t love seeing them? They’re beautiful and colorful plus their life cycle is interesting too.
Hence, exploring the butterfly World is one of the most ideal things to do in Fort Lauderdale for families. Located about 15 miles north of downtown Fort Lauderdale, you’ll see a fascinating exhibit filled with, as the name suggests, butterflies from around the world. Apart from that, you can also enjoy a walk through a tropical rainforest-like aviary. There are exotic insects on display too.
2Art and Culture Center of Hollywood
Going to the Art and Culture Center of Hollywood is also one of the best things to do in Fort Lauderdale for families. This is because it has nearly everything you need for entertainment and learning. It has countless art exhibits, a theater, plus, you can get to see lots of music and dance performances that are perfect for people of all ages. There’s a lot of things to enjoy for everyone in the family.
BB&T Center is the go-to venue for trade shows and political rallies are often held here as well. But this place can be used for a lot more entertainment. In fact, it also offers family-friendly activities at times. You can watch a concert here, a circus, or even ice shows. Sports events, such as basketball and hockey tournaments, are also held here. And don’t worry, there are food courts too and plenty of parking space. Keep an eye out on their calendar here so you can see who or what’s on.
4Everglades Holiday Park
Everglades Holiday Park is also a family-friendly place. Located in the heart of Everglades (hence the name), this place offers lots of exciting things to see and do for everyone in the family as well. You can try their airboat tour that finishes with an impressive alligator presentation, by the Gator Boys Alligator Rescue Team, where you can get to see tricks and stunts plus learn more about the importance of the preservation and conservation of America Alligators. You can also fish in the glades and catch largemouth bass. Everglades Holiday Park is open everyday throughout the year so you don’t have to fret much plotting your schedule.
5Fort Lauderdale Water Taxi
If you’re looking for unique things to do in Fort Lauderdale for families, riding the Fort Lauderdale Water Taxi is what we can recommend. Explore 300 miles of the Fort Lauderdale’s waterways and enjoy the sights of the city. But the best part of it is that you have a friendly captain and crew to help you out if you need more information about the city. You can also ask them for recommendations of where to eat and what else the city has to offer. Fort Lauderdale Water Taxi is also used as a mode of daily transportation and you can use it to get to your next destination to get to know the city more.
6Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Seminole Indian Museum
We all know that museums are attractions that are perfect for people who want to get to know a certain place’s past. It is, of course, great for families who are traveling with kids as it is a very educational activity. One of the must-visit museums that Florida has is the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Seminole Indian Museum.
Also located in Everglades, this museum is filled with information and artifacts about Florida’s Seminole Indians. You will not just be able to go back in time but you can also learn parts of their culture. You can learn more about their spiritual Green Corn Ceremony and Catfish Dance. You can also get to know how to play their lively stickball game and learn so much more in their 1890’s culture. What’s even more fun is that the museum has interactive displays that kids will surely love.
7Young at Art Museum
Just several miles away from downtown Fort Lauderdale, you can find Young at Art Museum that artsies in the family will surely love. It features innovative exhibits and lots of room for learning arts. Kids can play drums in the African Village or even learn the Japanese art of origami in the museum’s Global Village exhibit and so much more. The best part is that it is a nice place for adults too. There are paint and wine activities or you can enjoy the hands-on exhibits with the kids too. It’s definitely one of the best things to do in Fort Lauderdale for families that you shouldn’t pass on.
8AutoNation IMAX 3D Theater
Watching movies is a classic family bonding activity. But if you’re in Fort Lauderdale, you might be in for an upgraded movie night with the family. This is because you can get to see your most-awaited movie in high-quality 3D. In addition to that, the sound is much clearer which will make you really immersed in the movie. Of course, the seats are comfortable. It’s a great activity on rainy days or if you just want to watch your most-awaited movie’s premier. Take a look at AutoNation IMAX 3D Theater’s movie schedule here to see what’s on.
9Museum of Discovery and Science
If you’re already in the AutoNation IMAX 3D Theater, why not see the Museum of Discovery and Science’s exhibits after the movie? The AutoNation IMAX 3D Theater is located inside the museum so you don’t have to worry about getting there. Some of the highlights in this museum include a replica of an oak forest that is complete with lichens, mosses, and air plants. You can also experience a hurricane without getting hurt! Yes, with the Museum of Discovery and Science’s hurricane simulator and other innovative and impressive exhibits, you and your family will surely enjoy this place.
10Beaches in Fort Lauderdale
Of course, your Florida vacation won’t be complete without getting to experience its waters. And yes, hitting the beach is also one of the best things to do in Fort Lauderdale for families. Since it is in Florida, Fort Lauderdale has several beaches to boast of too. There are beaches that are secluded, there are ones that are great for party-goers, and there are beaches for adventure-seekers and watersports lovers too. Fort Lauderdale has beaches for everyone.
11Fort Lauderdale Antique Car Museum
If anyone in the family loves cars, going to Fort Lauderdale Antique Car Museum is one of the best things to do in Fort Lauderdale for families too. Founded by Arthur O. Stone, this museum is dedicated to showcasing and preserving the history of the Packard Motor Company, a company that produces some of the finest cars in the world. Here, you can get to see a collection of pre-war Packard cars and other memorabilia on display. There are Packard automobiles from 1900 to the 1940s on display as well. The Fort Lauderdale Antique Car Museum is open daily.
If anyone in your family is fascinated with WWII, visiting the Naval Air Station Fort Lauderdale Museum is one of the must-try things to do in Fort Lauderdale for families. This museum preserves the history and honors the heroes of WWII. One of the highlights of this museum is the recreated soldier’s barracks that also honors former President George HW Bush who once trained at the station. There are thousands of military artifacts for you to admire and discover. You might get to get insights about the war as well. And who knows, visiting this place might inspire your kids to become a soldier. And have we mentioned that the admission is free too?
13Fort Lauderdale Fire and Safety Museum
Fire is one of the things we fear the most, especially if you’re a parent. It doesn’t just cause damages to properties but it can also cause trauma. Or worst, it could cost our lives. Hence, why not start educating the kids in your family at a young age? You can do that by visiting the Fort Lauderdale fire and Safety Museum. Here you can get to see historic fire engines and pieces of equipment. There are photos, videos, and uniforms on display that tell the story of Fort Lauderdale’s firefighters in the 1920s. But probably the highlight of this place is that it has a learning center for children that teaches fire prevention and safety through presentations and hands-on activities. With this, kids will surely have a better understanding of fires, its causes, damages, and prevention of it.
14BlueFoot Pirate Adventures
Touring with BlueFoot Pirate Adventures is also one of the top things to do in Fort Lauderdale for families. This is because you won’t just get to go on a cruise riding a cool pirate ship but you’re also in for some treasure hunting and more exciting activities on board. Every cruise lasts for more than one hour so be sure to plan your trip ahead. Bear in mind that is cruises often fill up fast so be sure to make reservations in advance.