Fun Things To Do In Fort Lauderdale Before/ After A Cruise

We get asked all the time about, 'What are the fun things to do in Fort Lauderdale before/ after going on our cruise?' Here's everything we highly recommend below that you could do in a day, or just choose a couple depending on your schedule. We hope you enjoy it as much as we do! 

Half-day Things to Do

  • Explore the beaches. Fort Lauderdale has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, so be sure to spend some time relaxing on the sand, swimming in the ocean, or playing beach volleyball.
    • Fort Lauderdale Beach is the beach we visit and you see in all of YouTube videos. It's mostly all locals, very family friendly, and not nearly as hectic as other beaches. There's tons of available parking along A1A, and if you park near/in Hugh Taylor Birch State Park there's a delicious cafe there if you want a quick bite.
    • Las Olas Beach is in the heart of the hotel zone with tons of shops, cafes and restaurants. Parking is hard to find so coming by Uber is perfect, but you can find some parking behind the hotels. This beach is almost always packed with tourists and there's rarely a dull moment.
    • Fort Lauderdale Beach Parks Playground has the most available parking, beach volleyball, is nearest to shops and restaurants, and because it's so touristy the beaches are cleaned regularly and the water is relatively more shallow there which is great for kids. 
    • Lauderdale-by-the-Sea Beach is only a few minutes up from Fort Lauderdale but is 100% worth it! It's a small beach town with a really cool vibe, lots of delicious restaurants (we LOVE Taco Craft) and home to some of the best snorkeling! The beach is super family friendly and beautiful!
    • Pompano Beach is about 15 min north of Fort Lauderdale but has a beautiful pier, fun beachy vibe, and lots of cafes/ restaurants (Beach House is our favorite). 
  • Visit Las Olas Boulevard it's a great place to find upscale shops, boutiques, art galleries, deliciously good restaurants (Louie Bossi's is our favorite). Take a walk along the New River which cuts through downtown Fort Lauderdale, it's unbelievably pretty! If you're there on a weekend keep an eye out for supercars, they're everywhere! If you're in a car/bike/scooter be sure to ride along Las Olas all the way to the beach, you'll cross through the 'Venice of the US' and see beautiful multi-million dollar mansions and super-yachts!
  • Hop on the Water Taxi it's the best way to explore the Intracoastal! Plus, for those that don't know, Fort Lauderdale is the 'Yachting Capitol of the World' meaning you'll see more yachts here than anywhere else! The water taxi is more than just a taxi, it's like a fun excursion cruising down the intracoastal where the crew shares fun facts about waterfront homes and yachts. It has 15 stops and takes roughly 2 hours to complete without getting off. We highly suggest waiting for the double-decker taxi, there are only two, but it's worth the wait sitting high up. We also suggest going after 5PM, the rates are almost half-off, it's not as hot and you'll get to see the Intracoastal during the day and during sunset, which is gorgeous! 
  • Visit the Everglades. The Everglades is a unique ecosystem that is home to a variety of wildlife. You can take an airboat tour, go hiking, or canoeing in the Everglades.
  • Visit a museum. Fort Lauderdale has several museums, including the Fort Lauderdale History Museum, the Stranahan House Museum, and the International Swimming Hall of Fame.

Full-day Things to Do

    • Alligator Reef
      • It's two-hour drive to Islamorada, but well worth it! By far our most favorite place to visit in Florida, hands down! It's an abandoned lighthouse in crystal clear water (no alligators, just the name of the reef) and it's home to some of the best snorkeling in the world! 
      • Bimini, Bahamas
        • Take the day ferry, you'll need your passport. The island is small surrounded by Caribbean blue waters with tons of white sandy beaches. Highly recommend you rent a golf cart to explore the island. Checkout the ferry schedule here and use code 'Friends15' to get 15% off.
        • Peanut Island
          •  Imagine Bimini but in Florida. Tiny island in the intracoastal with white sandy beaches, crystal clear water and tons of great spots for snorkeling. 

      Places to Eat

      • Taco Craft
        • Favorite dish
          • taco platter: carne, crispy shrimp, chicken pastor
      • Louis Bossi
        • Favorite dish
          • Spaghetti w/ 1 meatball
      • Greek Islands
        • Favorite dishes
          • Lamb shank, gyro, chicken skewer, extra taziki
      • Beach House
        • Favorite dishes
          • Hot dog, BRG burger, salmon, wings, shrimp n' grits
      • Wild Thyme
        • Favorite dish
          • Brunch platter for two

        Misc Info

        • Parking apps
          • If you have a car you'll need to download these apps to pay for parking.
            • PaybyPhone – mostly used in Fort Lauderdale
            • Park Mobile – mostly used in Miami
        • Alligators
          • The Everglades are your best bet to see an alligator. Tours are best, but if you want to possibly see one for free go to this location 30 minutes before sunset and there's a good chance you'll see a couple.

        We hope this gives you some ideas for things to do in and near Fort Lauderdale before or after your cruise. Have a great time!


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