Greater Fort Lauderdale is packed with tons of attractions from the shore to the suburbs. Whether you want to embrace the great outdoors at the many parks and natural wonders—the grand dame of them all being the Florida Everglades—snorkel or sunbathe along 24 miles of beautiful beaches, or eat and drink your way around world-class bars and restaurants, Greater Fort Lauderdale has plenty to offer in every neighborhood.
Get your bearings and soak up the sights on a tour of your choosing—by yacht, Water Taxi, paddleboard, gondola, or bike. See why the city is dubbed the “Venice of America” while cruising along a small stretch of the 300 miles of inland waterways running through the are and eyeing mansions and superyachts on the iconic Millionaires’ Row along the way.
The Florida Everglades and its sawgrass-filled swampland comprise two-thirds of Greater Fort Lauderdale, and the best way to see a sliver of its 1.5 million acres and resident alligators is by airboat. For the more adventure-driven, kayak or canoe along one of the dozen trails running through the national park.
In Fort Lauderdale, Hugh Taylor Birch State Park is known for paddleboarding—particularly through coastal dunes. Rent your board at Park & Ocean, the concession area, where you can take a seat for lunch and craft brews once you’ve worked up an appetite. If you’re in town around the full moon, there’s even a kayak tour complete with glow sticks helping light up the way.
Up in Pompano Beach, head to Hillsboro Inlet Park for views of the historic lighthouse followed by dinner at Cap’s Place, the state’s oldest restaurant. Originally a speakeasy from the 1920s, the beach shanty (which has drawn everyone from the Rockefellers to George Harrison) is only reachable by boat shuttle, and the menu varies depending on the catch of the day.
There are tons of unique things to do in Fort Lauderdale, from sea turtle walks at night in the summer with the Museum of Discovery & Science to see loggerheads laying eggs to a Cruisin’ Tikis’ floating tiki bar on the New River. This isn’t the only off-the-wall bar the city has to offer, either. Play retro arcade games while sipping craft brews at Glitch Bar by the railroad tracks in Flagler Village or head to the historic Wreck Bar for an underwater burlesque mermaid show in a space designed to look just like its name suggests—a sunken ship.
Dining and nightlife in Greater Fort Lauderdale range from toes-in-the-sand to sophisticated. Spend Sunday afternoon watching the boats drift by over Caribbean-style music on the dockside lounge of GG’s Waterfront Bar & Grill in Hollywood or hit the slots before taking a seat at one of the upscale eateries at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood, where you’ll find a Vegas-style pool party day and night at DAER.
For Old World glamor served up alongside contemporary craft cocktails, add The Wilder to your list. And for panoramic views of Fort Lauderdale’s skyline, take a seat at the swanky Rooftop @1WLO that sits above Las Olas Boulevard. Over in Pembroke Pines, about 20 minutes from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, spend the day browsing the 75-plus boutiques and stores at the open-air Shops at Pembroke Gardens, where dining options range from casual, health-focused Carrot Express to The Brass Tap, where you can drink your way around the globe choosing from more than 300 craft beers.
Even if you’re on a budget, there are plenty of free events and attractions around Greater Fort Lauderdale, including beachside yoga, local live music, and NHL practice sessions for the Florida Panthers hockey team. From museums and galleries to shopping, sports, and resort spas, Greater Fort Lauderdale offers tons of ways to zen out, indulge, or make the most of a rainy day—which, luckily in the Sunshine State, is not too much of a concern.