Top Recommended Layover Activities:
NE 6th Ave, NE 6th Ave to SW 6th Av, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301 · 954-761-5346
Hailed as “Florida’s Most Beautiful Mile,” this popular downtown sector is known as a historic district, replete with numerous dining, shopping and cultural venues. It is also flanked by some exceptional scenery. The site of the Museum of Discovery and Science and the Fort Lauderdale Historical Society Museum.
2. Water Taxi
651 Seabreeze Blvd, Radisson Bahia Mar, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316 · 954-467-6677
Bright yellow skiffs and old-port boats shuttle passengers to 20 different locations along the Intracoastal Waterway and the New River. Thursday night they offer a pub crawl pass for $15 – the boat leaves at 7pm, and the pass includes up to three drinks on-board and discounts at various stops along the way. The $16 South Beach shuttle runs on Saturdays – it leaves Bahia Mar at 8:30am, and you can spend five hours visiting SoBe before the boat returns at 7pm. Reservations are required for both the pub crawl and the Miami trips.
3. Museum of Art
1 E Las Olas Blvd, corner of Andrews Ave and Las Olas, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301 · 954-763-6464
Designed by Edward Larrabee Barnes, this is the largest art exhibition space in Florida, and is considered an architectural masterpiece. The permanent collection features 20th century American and European paintings and sculptures by Dali, Warhol, Matisse, and Picasso. Known for having the largest American collection of artwork from Copenhagen, Brussels, and Amsterdam, this museum also houses a notable collection by celebrated American impressionist William Glackens.
4. Museum of Discovery and Science
401 SW 2nd St, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33312 · 954-467-6637
The entire family will enjoy this interactive museum featuring exhibits on ecology, health, and outer space. Focusing on the local environment, displays include a real coral reef with sea creatures and tropical fish and a replica of an oak forest complete with mosses, lichens, and air plants that grow without soil. The museum also houses an IMAX theater with a five-story 3-D screen that shows a changing roster of amazing films.
5. South Florida Museum of Natural History
481 S Federal Hwy, Dania Beach, FL 33004 · 954-925-7770
Formerly the Graves Museum, this stellar facility pays particular attention to the sciences - marine biology, minerals, and paleontology. Other exhibits trace Florida’s history from 12,000 years ago to the times of the Tequesta Indians in the 1700s. This museum also showcases numerous aspects of African, Egyptian, Mediterranean, and pre-Columbian American culture. Gift shop.
Top Weekend Getaways And Day Trip Excursions:
1. Flamingo Gardens
3750 S Flamingo Rd, 16.5 Miles W in Davie, Davie, FL 33069 · 954-473-2955
Botanical gardens, a one and a half-acre free-flight aviary featuring wading birds, a crocodile lagoon, river otter and bobcat habitats, wetlands, and a citrus grove make this lush tropical setting a fascinating place to visit. Visitors can choose to take a narrated tram tour or to walk a lovely paved path to see the grounds. There is also a small museum housed in the original home of the previous owners, which includes period furniture. Several cafes and shops are conveniently located within the grounds.
2. Hugh Taylor Birch State Park
3019 E Sunrise Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304 · 954-564-4521
This 180-acre park lies on a barrier island between the Atlantic Ocean and the Inland Waterway. Popular for its tranquil beaches and swimming, salt water fishing, and surfing on the north shore. The area includes freshwater lagoons, mangrove swamps, and a hardwood coastal hammock. The park also boasts a nature walk, an exercise course, canoe rentals, picnic areas, and a concession stand. The Terramar Visitor Center is open only on weekends. Fridays at 10:30am, there is a ranger-guided tour of the beach hammock nature trail.
3. John U. Lloyd Beach Statem Park
6503 N Ocean Dr, Hollywood, FL 33301 · 954-923-2833
Four miles south of Fort Lauderdale, this 251-acre park offers a surprisingly peaceful respite from the hustle and bustle of the surrounding urban area. Uncrowded beaches, lovely views, shady picnic spots, and sea-turtle nesting areas attract visitors year-round. Manatees and abundant bird life can be found in the northern part of this park. A boat ramp to the Intercoastal Waterway is also available at the park. Reservations are required for the sea turtle program, which is offered at 9pm Wed and Fri nights during June-July. Canoe and kayak rentals, bait, and picnic supplies are available at the park’s full-service Loggerhead Cafe.
4. Jungle Queen Riverboat Tours
801 Seabreeze Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316 · 954-462-5596
The Jungle Queen Riverboat Company actually has several boats and offers three distinct tours. The Sightseeing Cruise is about 3 hours - this takes you up the New River, and includes a stopover at the “Jungle Queen Indian Village.” The Miami Bayside Cruise is 8 hours, with a stopover at Bayside for some shopping and dining. The Bar-B-Que and Shrimp Dinner Cruise lasts about 4 hours - this includes a trip up the New River, with an island stopover for an all-you-can-eat shrimp and ribs dinner and a show. Reservations are required.
5. Sawgrass Recreation Park
5400 US 27 N, 2 Miles North at the Jct of I-75, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33332 · 954-389-0202
Fun way to learn about the Everglades. Visitors take a narrated airboat tour where the guide points out native flora and fauna. Next is the alligator and reptile exhibit. Then, travel through reconstructed Seminole villages where Indian guides explain tribal customs and history. Finally you’ll visit the vanishing species exhibit, which includes birds and a Florida panther. The entire tour lasts about two hours. Afterwards, you may visit the gift shop or cafe for refreshments. Fishing licenses, guides, and boat rentals are also available.
6. Florida Renaissance Festival
401 S Powerline Rd, Quiet Waters Park, Deerfield Beach, FL 33342 · 954-776-1642
This remarkable annual event truly re-captures the look and feel of the Renaissance. More than 100 merchants and artisans offer wares such as handblown glass items, hammered pewter, wooden toys, pottery, and clothing. Hundreds of performers on 12 stages, as well as sword fighters, minstrels, and jousting knights. You can also participate in challenging games of chance and skill, such as archery and a human chess game. There are human-powered rides and a Kid’s Kingdom, too. A highlight is the King’s Feast - tickets for this event include festival admission, 5-course banquet, special entertainment, souvenir, and reserved seating at the 5pm Jousting Tournament.
7. Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show
Six Locations (See description), Fort Lauderdale, FL · 954-764-7642
A popular event for more than 40 years, the world’s largest boat show encompasses six different locations: Bahia Mar Yachting Center, Broward County Convention Center, Hyatt Regency Pier 66, Swimming Hall of Fame, Marriott Portside Marina, and Las Olas Marina. Come and experience two-and-a-half million square feet of exhibits including fishing topics, watercrafts, clothing, artwork, accessories, and numerous special events. Park in one location and utilize numerous public transportation options to reach the other venues.
8. Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival
1314 E Las Olas Blvd, # 007, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301 · 954-760-9898
Fifteenth annual installment of this popular event. In the festival’s beginning, it took place of a period of only one week. The popularity and significance of this event has grown so much that it now lasts one month, and is the world’s longest film festival featuring more than 100 films and 250 screenings.
9. Seminole Tribal Fair and Rodeo
6300 Stirling Rd, Hollywood Seminole Indian Reservation, Hollywood, FL 30024
More than 25,000 visitors attend this popular annual event. Festivities include dancers, performers, and artisans from more than 100 tribes across the Americas. This festival showcases Seminole culture, with contests that put talent, archery, clothing, log peeling and fine arts- and crafts-making to the test. Events include Wyatt Earp gunfighters, Seminole ballet, rodeo, alligator wrestling, and a panther show.
10. Winterfest Boat Parade
3109 E Sunrise Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304 · 954-767-0686
A time-honored tradition commemorating the birth of Christ via a night’s cruise up the Intracoastal Waterway to Pompano Beach and back. Participating in this yuletide event are numerous private boats, yachts, and showboats, each of which is decorated with hundreds of thousands of holiday lights, special effects and decorations.
11. Butterfly World
3600 W Sample Rd, Tradewinds Park, Coconut Creek, FL 33073 · 954-977-4400
Adults and children of all ages will enjoy walking through a screened-in aviary that looks like a tropical rain forest and is filled with some two thousand caterpillars and multicolored butterflies. Outside the aviary are extensive gardens, including a rose garden, a small pond, a gift shop, and a pavilion containing mounted specimens of exotic insects and butterflies from around the world.