When you live in the Sunshine State, there’s no need to set off for a far-flung destination for your next getaway. In Greater Fort Lauderdale, visitors can experience the unique vacation itinerary of a place that allows them to watch the sunrise over the Everglades, cheer on a rodeo in the afternoon, and dip their  toes in the water along the miles of beaches. Whatever your ideal Florida staycation looks like this summer, Greater Fort Lauderdale has something for everyone under the sun.

Where to stay

Conrad Fort Lauderdale BeachFor luxe stays, look no further than Fort Lauderdale beach, with lodging options like the W Fort Lauderdale, Pelican Grand Beach Resort, The Ritz-Carlton, Fort Lauderdale, Conrad Fort Lauderdale Beach, and many more. 

Another waterfront accommodation is The Diplomat Beach Resort in Hollywood, which offers Florida resident discounts. This family-friendly property includes a swimming pool, beach access, restaurants, and a kids’ club. Also in the area is the Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort, which offers special discounts for Florida and Georgia residents. It features a broken flip-flop sculpture, restaurants and bars, a spa, and the Parakeets kids club.

Riverside Hotel

To stay closer to downtown Fort Lauderdale, the historic Riverside Hotel sits right on bustling Las Olas Boulevard, perfect for walking to dinner or exploring the city’s Riverfront. Newer hotels in downtown include the Hyatt Centric Las Olas, Fort Lauderdale, which is home to the speakeasy Room 901, as well as The Dalmar, known for its rooftop bar, Sparrow.

If the staycation is on the west side of Greater Fort Lauderdale, the AC Hotel Fort Lauderdale Sawgrass Mills/Sunrise is just steps away from Sawgrass Mills, an outlet mall shopaholics truly need multiple trips to experience fully.

Things to do
Everglades Holiday Park

For the outdoors-loving crew, make a reservation to ride an airboat and explore the River of Grass at Everglades Holiday Park. The fast-paced swamp buggies give visitors a chance to watch alligators sunbathe in the afternoon, egrets fly overhead, and water droplets resembling marbles balance on miles of lily pads. Everglades Holiday Park is also home to the Gator Boys alligator shows, perfect for photo opportunities.

For a slower-paced outdoor activity, visit Butterfly World in Coconut Creek, the butterfly capital of the world. Here, more than 20,000 birds and butterflies call the park home. Be sure to wear a brightly colored outfit; if you stay still long enough, a butterfly may land on your shoulder.

Museum of Discovery and ScienceDuring hotter days, head inside for air-conditioned experiences. The Museum of Discovery and Science is known for its life-size Megalodon mouth visitors can walk through, a pool of playful otters, and the new Magna-Tiles exhibit. Close by at the NSU Art Museum, there are more than 7,500 works in the permanent collection as well as traveling exhibits throughout the year. On the first Thursday of the month, entry is free.

Where to eat

El Camino

If visitors aren’t quite sure what kind of cuisine they’re in the mood for, simply take a walk down Las Olas Boulevard in downtown Fort Lauderdale. The main thoroughfare has a variety of menus from Mexican food with an impressive tequila bar at El Camino to courtyard dining for Italian dishes at Louie Bossi Ristorante Bar & Pizzeria, an array of meats at Fogo de Chao, or innovative vegetarian and vegan meals at Planta Queen.

Many restaurants offer experiential dining, too. At the Wreck Bar at the B Ocean Resort Fort Lauderdale Beach, the iconic mermaid shows take place from behind the glass. Throughout the week, shows range from children’s programming to family-friendly shows, and burlesque shows. 

15th St Fisheries

At 15th Street Fisheries in Fort Lauderdale, the waterfront restaurant features a gathering place for schools of tarpon waiting for diners to throw shrimp as treats. Other popular waterfront restaurants include Aruba Beach Cafe in Lauderdale-By-The-Sea, Oceanic and Beach House in Pompano Beach, Rustic Inn, and a Fort Lauderdale classic, Shooters.

Summer is the ideal time to visit Greater Fort Lauderdale, thanks to the savings during August and September’s Dine Out Lauderdale celebration. Participating restaurants from all around offer discounted prix fixe lunch and dinner menus from $35 to $75 per person. Plus, check out the calendar of cooking classes, wine pairing dinners, and other culinary experiences to write home about.