Greater Fort Lauderdale’s beaches may draw a lot of attention, but there is plenty to do when you’re ready to take a break from basking on the sand. In between the more frequented sites lie plenty of hidden gems and attractions—some of which are so off-the-beaten-path, you’ll need a boat to find them.
Take Deerfield Island Park, the region’s only island park. A free shuttle ride off the coast, the park is lined with trails where you’re sure to spot some of South Florida’s infamous flora and fauna (think gopher tortoises and lime-green iguanas). There are plenty of other Greater Fort Lauderdale attractions for families, like the Museum of Discovery & Science in downtown Fort Lauderdale, home to more than 200 interactive exhibits (including flight simulations and live animal habitats); Butterfly World, the world’s largest butterfly park, filled with more than 20,000 live butterflies from around the globe; and the 60-acre Flamingo Gardens, where you can find some of Florida’s largest and oldest trees and discover fascinating wildlife—plus a historic home-turned-museum from the 1930s.
Out in Davie, explore cowboy country with a trip to the Bergeron Rodeo Grounds for an authentic rodeo or horse show, or learn how to line dance at Round Up. Soak up the local art scene at monthly art walks like the Downtown Hollywood Artwalk (held the third Saturday), or head to Fort Lauderdale’s MASS District, where live music, street performances, and local artists come together the last Saturday of the month for Village Shops at FTL Artwalk.
In Hollywood, you’ll find a mix of attractions from the Yellow Green Farmers Market, where more than 350 vendors put crafts and artisanal goods on display inside an expansive metal warehouse, to the more adrenaline-inducing beachside FlowRider surf simulator at Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort. Step inside the Art and Culture Center/Hollywood for vibrant exhibits and a community gallery. Fort Lauderdale’s northern neighbor, Pompano Beach (home to some of the widest beaches in the area), sports the Pompano Beach Fishing Village, a beachfront dining, shopping, and entertainment area off the boardwalk, plus reefs near the coast that are easy to snorkel to and from the beach.
Birders and history lovers can explore Snake Warrior Island Park, part of the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail and home to archeological islands that are significant to the historical Native Americans of the area.
From parks and nature to museums and sites showing off the best of South Florida’s past and present, everyone from couples to kids will find plenty to stay entertained in Greater Fort Lauderdale.