Fun Things to Do Inside and Outside of the City The Atlantic Ocean is why most visitors head south to Fort Lauderdale, the popular beachfront destination between ritzy Palm Beach and sexy Miami Beach.
Fort Lauderdale Beach Travel
More than 7 miles of warm, golden sand beaches separate the ocean from scenic coastal route SR A1A. Hotels, local restaurants and bars, both swanky and not so, are neighbors to shops selling everything from designer wear to touristy souvenirs. Busy Port Everglades also attracts its fair share of cruise passengers to Greater Fort Lauderdale—3.8 million in 2016; the cruise port was ranked No. 2 worldwide.
A 2-mile-long section of the city's ocean coastline is fronted by a pedestrian promenade and what locals call the “wavewall,” a flowing, serpentine wall cut by decorative entranceways to the beach and water. A fiber-optic lighting system embedded in the wall creates a glowing neon stripe when the sun retreats.
Fort Lauderdale Water Tours
There's a good reason why Fort Lauderdale is known as the Venice of America and the Yachting Capital of the World. The city's 300 miles of navigable waterways—the Intracoastal Waterway, the New River and the canals that cut away from these liquid highways like side streets veering off a main thoroughfare—create a lacy honeycombed grid where boats replace cars as the means of transportation.
The best way to experience this unusual road system is first-hand on a boat tour; several companies offer sightseeing cruises along the Intracoastal and the New River. Captains provide narration about the city's history and development as they steer past opulent multimillion-dollar mansions and the mega yachts casually parallel parked in front of them.
Another way of navigating this watery maze of channels, especially if you want to get from point A to point B, is to hop aboard a water taxi. These diminutive bright yellow vessels are easily recognizable as they scurry about Fort Lauderdale.
Ships of a much larger size also make use of the city's water highways. Millions of eager cruisers flock to Fort Lauderdale each year to begin Caribbean travel or trips to the Panama Canal, the Bahamas and other exotic locales. Port Everglades, one of the world's busiest ports, serves as the departure point for these cruise vacations.
Water Activities in Fort Lauderdale
If you're into water-based recreation, Fort Lauderdale's got you covered. Offshore reefs—both natural and artificial—are well-known by scuba divers and snorkelers. Coral reefs plus an assortment of submerged freighters, tugs, planes and shipwrecks attract colorful marine life and those eager to discover it. Fishermen and boaters also are in for a treat. Charter boats for deep-sea sportfishing and drift fishing take anglers out into the Atlantic in search of game fish.
Things to Do in Downtown
As for its history, Fort Lauderdale had its beginnings in the late 19th century when Frank Stranahan established a trading post along the New River. That location, now at the heart of downtown Fort Lauderdale, is part of The Riverwalk Arts & Entertainment District, which encompasses many of the city's cultural institutions as well as major attractions, shops and restaurants. The district extends east from the Broward Center for the Performing Arts and includes such city highlights as the Museum of Discovery and Science, an interactive must-see for children; Himmarshee Village, known for its nightlife; History Fort Lauderdale's restored early 1900s buildings; the 20th-century works at the NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale; and the Historic Stranahan House Museum.
An integral (and very popular) part of the arts and entertainment district is the Riverwalk, a brick-lined promenade along the New River. Referred to as a “linear park,” the lushly landscaped walkway is a great place for an evening or weekend stroll.
In its earliest days, getting to Fort Lauderdale's beach meant arriving by boat. When the first road was built connecting the city to the ocean, it was fittingly named Las Olas (“the waves” in Spanish). From the Riverwalk you can connect to Las Olas at the Stranahan House and fun things to do. The boulevard is still one of the main roads to the beachfront, though it now is also the city's principal shopping avenue.
Fort Lauderdale, FL
AAA’s in-person hotel evaluations are unscheduled to ensure the inspector has an experience similar to that of members. To pass inspection, all hotels must meet the same rigorous standards for cleanliness, comfort and hospitality. These hotels receive a AAA Diamond designation that tells members what type of experience to expect.
The sales tax in Broward County is 6 percent. A tourist development tax of 5 percent is levied on rental accommodations.
(954) 828-5700; Sheriff (954) 764-4357
Time and Temperature
Broward Health Imperial Point, (954) 776-8500; Broward Health Medical Center, (954) 355-4400; Holy Cross Hospital, (954) 771-8000.
512 N.E. 3rd Ave. Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301. Phone:(954)462-6000
Airline tickets, information on flight reservations and flights are available at
Hertz, at the airport, offers discounts to AAA members; phone (954) 764-1199 or (800) 654-3080.
The Amtrak station is at 200 S.W. 21st Terr. For trip information and reservations phone (800) 872-7245.
The bus terminal serving the destination is Greyhound Lines Inc., 515 N.E. 3rd St.; phone (954) 764-6551.
Cabs are plentiful. Fares are metered and are $4.50 for the first mile and $2.40 for each additional mile (plus 40c per minute during stops). The largest company is Yellow Cab, (954) 565-5400 or (954) 777-7777.
Broward County Transit, (954) 357-8400, provides transportation to all sections of Fort Lauderdale and its outlying areas. Buses also are available between the downtown area and the beach. Sun Trolley offers many routes that service the downtown and beach areas; for information phone (954) 761-3543.