Before you start researching far-flung destinations across the world to add to your travel wish list, look closer to home with Greater Fort Lauderdale. This South Florida hotspot is famous for its 24 miles of beaches, distinct neighborhoods, arts and culture scene, and lively events—not to mention it’s booming with no signs of slowing down. 

It’s been reported that Fort Lauderdale has the fastest-growing downtown in the state, and tourists visiting downtown last year was 83% higher than before the pandemic. Plus, the city’s hospitality scene is as vibrant as ever, with hotels like Four Seasons Hotel And Residences Fort Lauderdale and restaurants like Val+tino creating massive buzz. Check out why Greater Fort Lauderdale should be at the top of your travel bucket list this year. 

Nature Abounds

Tree Tops ParkOne of the perks of vacationing in Greater Fort Lauderdale is that you will always find a wealth of outdoor adventures awaiting you. There are plenty of water sports to seek out and parks ready to explore. From Tree Tops Park, a 23-acre boardwalk surrounded by a restored freshwater marsh, nature trails, and an equestrian center, to Flamingo Gardens, a 60-acre botanical garden and wildlife sanctuary, become one with nature.

Passengers get an up-close look at an alligator on an airboat ride through Sawgrass Recreation Park.

Greater Fort Lauderdale is a great launching point to visit one of the nation’s greatest wonders: Everglades National Park, which comprises an intricate blend of salt and freshwater wetlands, hardwood hammocks, and pine rocklands, fostering a diverse range of flora and fauna. Spend time hiking, camping, or experiencing the “River of Grass” on an exciting airboat tour. 

Beaches & Beyond

Pompano Beach Family

A vacation to Greater Fort Lauderdale wouldn’t be complete without experiencing the amazing 24 miles of beaches, which attracts families, honeymooners, and everyone under the sun looking for white sands, blue skies, and warm water. 

There are eight beach towns to spend the day at during your stay, including the family-friendly town of Lauderdale-By-The-Sea, Florida’s Beach Diving Capital. It’s a popular lobster diving destination, attracting recreational divers in search of crustaceans every year. Pompano Beach is growing by the minute with things to do downtown, and its beach is even better. It features eight dive sites with stunning coral reefs, so it’s a must if you’re an avid snorkeler or diver. 

Not only does Greater Fort Lauderdale have some of the best beaches on the East Coast, but it also has idyllic weather that you can’t beat, with a year-round average of 77 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s the perfect location to warm up in the winter or to cool off in the water during the summer months. Plus, the climate instantly boosts mood and immunity, so it’s a win-win for you. 

Endless Shopping 

Everyone Under The Sun Shopping

For moments when you need a reprieve from the outdoors, consider checking out Greater Fort Lauderdale’s excellent shopping experiences, like Las Olas Boulevard, Galleria Fort Lauderdale, and Sawgrass Mills in Sunrise—the largest outlet mall in the U.S. Spend an afternoon perusing nearly 350 shops grabbing a bite, or simply people-watching.

Culinary Goodness 

Olive and Sea

Greater Fort Lauderdale’s standout qualities don’t end with surf and sand — there’s a whole dining scene waiting to be explored with 10-plus new restaurants (and counting!) recently opened. You’ll find everything from Detroit-style pizza at Emmy Squared Pizza, farm-to-table breakfast experiences at Ol’Days, and beautiful waterfront gems with seafood and Mediterranean selections at Olive & Sea. Be sure to book a reservation at oldie but goodies too, such as Italian powerhouse Louie Bossi on Las Olas to Oceanic in Pompano Beach to various gems inside the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood and its Guitar Hotel. In the mood for a drink and apps? There are tons of rooftop oases to check out and happy hour spots that will impress. 

Sports Buzz

Florida Panthers on the ice rink

For sports fanatics, you’ll find a range of activities to enjoy during your stay, like various golf courses to perfect your game. Greater Fort Lauderdale is also home to hockey favorite Florida Panthers and InterMiami’s global icon Lionel Messi. 

This year, the city will welcome the world’s first pickleball stadium, dubbed The Fort in Snyder Park, which will offer 43 professional pickleball courts, 14 of which will be weatherproofed so players won’t have to worry about the weather. You’ll also have access to bocce, cornhole, table tennis, and a golf simulator.