At first glance, Fort Lauderdale presents itself as an urban beach city with the glitz and glam of celebrities and a luxurious lifestyle. But soon you will see a wide range of top things to do in Fort Lauderdale. Nature, wildlife, and marine life as seen in the Everglades National Park, several Florida State Parks, stunning gardens and nature preserves are ready to be explored. The Spanish influences in culture, cuisine, architecture, art, and music are waiting to be enjoyed. The beach life, with its beauty and water sports, is calling for adventure. Beyond the borders of Fort Lauderdale lies the Bahamas. A one day Bahamas cruise Fort Lauderdale is an excursion worth the taking. An in-depth look at the offerings of Fort Lauderdale will leave you amazed and ready to embark on your destination vacation.
A foundation of historic mansions and wealthy waterfront homes of the Gilded Age make Fort Lauderdale a destination of the rich and famous. The canals and lagoons are intermingled with the beachfront neighborhoods to give it the moniker of “Venice of America.” Luxury yachts line the canals and marinas; boating and sports fishing is a huge attraction. The history of Fort Lauderdale is central to the foundation of Florida starting with the first settlers, to skirmishes and wars with the Seminoles, to the Army setting up camp with Major Lauderdale leading the way by establishing a fort at New River near the Stranahan trading post. As time marched on the Industrial Revolution entered the scene with Henry Flagler developing the East Coast Railway that opened up Florida to further development.
With development came tourists who traded the cold winters of the north for the warmer climate of Florida and the first “snowbirds” were born. Port Everglades is the third busiest port in the world and is a cross road between North American, South America, the Caribbean, and the world. At once known as a Spring Break destination for college students, it has now grown beyond that and attracts people from all over the world. Fort Lauderdale has blossomed into a destination in its own right and no longer is in the shadow of Miami. What Miami has to offer can be found in Fort Lauderdale with its own attractions and top things to do in Fort Lauderdale.
Fort Lauderdale truly has something for everyone. Take your trip one step further by enjoying a Fort Lauderdale to Bahamas day trip while you are in the area. A one day Bahamas cruise Fort Lauderdale is a trendy attraction and definitely one of the top things to do in Fort Lauderdale. One of the ways to get to Bahamas is the Fort Lauderdale to Nassau ferry. A better option is a charter flight with Bahamas Air Tours to the authentic Out Islands. So much to see and experience such as pink sand beaches, swimming pigs, Green Turtles, Nurse Sharks, island hopping, fishing, and cultural celebrations. Watch the stunning sunsets, feel the island breezes, taste the tropical drinks and relax on the beach.
1.Venice of America
The waterfront city of Fort Lauderdale is likened to Venice in that there are neighborhoods with canals connecting them to the Intercoastal Waterway and ultimately the Atlantic Ocean. Just like Venice is a city built on water, Fort Lauderdale has this same romantic appeal. Luxurious homes line the canals, and extravagant yachts fill the slips and marinas. The network of canals is extensive running approximately 165 miles, all within the city limits! In fact, of the top things to do in Fort Lauderdale, exploring the canals by boat is high on the list.
Don’t have a boat but want to navigate the canals; try the water taxi service. The water taxi can connect you to restaurants, marketplaces, museums, beaches, shopping, entertainment, tours, outdoor attractions, and hotels; this is an ideal Fort Lauderdale tour. A boat ride on the canals is one of the top things to do in Fort Lauderdale. There are three established routes, but the service also includes whistle stops where you can hail the water taxi to stop. Enjoy the scenery as you travel between stops; this is a much easier way to travel to waterfront destinations. The water taxi has special partnerships that offer discounts at restaurants, bars, attractions, and boutiques. For up-to-the-minute information, download their app to your phone so that you can be sure of the next departure.
The history of these scenic canals dates back to the early 1900s when Governor Napoleon Bonaparte Broward decided to drain the Everglades in search of more inhabitable land. He had dredges clean out the north and south New River canals. Water drained from the Everglades creating farmland and residential areas. Fifteen years later Port Everglades was dredged and opened up an anchorage for large ships. Broward was one of the several industrial pioneers who opened up Florida and Fort Lauderdale to become what it is today – a mecca for the rich and famous and a destination for vacations the world around.
A peaceful ride by water taxi is one of the many top things to do in Fort Lauderdale. For example, spend the morning at the Fort Lauderdale Beach Park; catch the water taxi at Stop #7. Relax and enjoy the ride as you head toward the famous Las Olas Boulevard. Exit at Stop #1 where you will be right at the Riverwalk and have access to many activities and entertainment for the evening. Everything on Las Olas Boulevard will be at your fingertips – all accessible by a Fort Lauderdale tour on the water taxi. In fact, you could get off on Stops #1A, #2 and #3 depending on your pleasure.
2. Segway the Riverwalk
One of the great Fort Lauderdale attractions is the Riverwalk. The beautiful park space runs along the Tarpon River, and there is much activity going on. Of course, you can easily walk along the river and enjoy the riverside, shops, boutiques, restaurants, cafés, and clubs. Alternatively, you can take an adventure on one of several top things to do in Fort Lauderdale such as paddleboarding, kayaking, or Eco-boat tours on the water. Try out the guided bicycle tour or quadracycle, which is ideal for small groups. There are eTrikes and larger Cycle Party carts for up to 10 people.
Of all the ways to get around the city, an exciting ride on a Segway is one of the top things to do in Fort Lauderdale. This gyro-transportation is great fun once you get the hang of it. Training and a one- or two-hour tour come with the package. At the helm of a Segway, the Fort Lauderdale tour will take you through the Riverwalk district, museum district, historic district and the entertainment district. Visit “Venice of America,” see mansions and yachts of the rich and famous.
There are artworks on display throughout the Riverwalk. If you are looking for an active experience, there are workout stations along the route, or you can sign up for cardio or Pilates class as well. You can also find photography classes and dog training classes offered throughout the year. The first Sunday of the month you can enjoy the Sunday Jazz Brunch, a free concert on the lawn of Riverwalk Park.
Everything at the Riverwalk is within walking distance. Its central location will allow you to see and experience a great portion of Fort Lauderdale.
3. Fort Lauderdale Beaches
When planning your Fort Lauderdale vacation, you will be thinking about beaches; some of the best beaches in Florida are right here in Fort Lauderdale. Heading to the beach will be one of your top things to do in Fort Lauderdale. Don’t forget the Bahamas beaches which you can experience on a one day Fort Lauderdale to Bahamas excursion.
Fort Lauderdale Beach
What was once the college student gathering spot has had a makeover and now attracts a more chic clientele. Fort Lauderdale Beach is great for people watching. There is a paved promenade which is ideal for a stroll, jog or rollerblading. There are plenty of shops and dining opportunities as well.
Las Olas Beach
At the intersection of Las Olas Boulevard and South Fort Lauderdale Boulevard, you will find Las Olas Beach. This stretch of beach has hotels, shops, and restaurants. The beach is beautiful and well kept. Ideal for people watching, swimming, relaxing, and water sports.
North of Fort Lauderdale, this little beach town was named for all the deer that once roamed the fields in the area. The beach itself boasts a fun family atmosphere with several amenities such as great restaurants nearby, plenty of parking and a stunning beach and waterfront.
South of Deerfield lies Hillsboro Beach on a coastal island called Deerfield Cay.Named after the Earl of Hillsboro who had received a land grant from the King of England during a time when Florida still belonged to Britain, this section of beach is called the Hillsboro Mile, even though it is just over 3 miles long. The beach has many attractions including views of the lighthouse, nesting sea turtles, and yachts entering the Hillsboro Inlet.
Next up is Pompano Beach, named for a fish found in the area. The beach is big and clean. It is a family-friendly area with special amenities for kids such as a splash pad and playground. Recently upgraded with new plantings, benches, many outdoor showers, and BBQ grills it is one of the best beaches in Florida. There are chairs and umbrellas available for rent as well. The reef is not too far offshore, so it is a great place for snorkeling and diving. There are plenty of other activities as well: volleyball, kayaking, boating, sailing, fishing,
Lauderdale-By-The-Sea is a small quiet beach that is clean and free of crowds. There are gazebos if you need some shade. There is plenty of parking. It is close to shops and restaurants as well. Lauderdale-by-the-Sea is another hot spot for divers and snorkelers with the reef just 100 yards offshore.
Hollywood Beach & Boardwalk
The centerpiece of Hollywood Beach is the boardwalk which is 2 miles long. It is ideal for a stroll with stops along the way for coffee or lunch. Stay at one of the small inns located along the beach. Hollywood Beach has the small village ambience and is very inviting. There is also a dog beach for your 4-legged friend.
Dania Beach Waterfront and Fishing Pier are very popular for this small little beach. It is a great quiet getaway with family or friends. The pier offers great fishing and fabulous restaurants serving very fresh seafood. Dania Beach is great for panoramic views, swimming, fishing, kayaking and picnicking.
4. Gateway to the Bahamas
Known as the gateway to the Caribbean, one of the top things to do in Fort Lauderdale is take a one day trip to Bahamas! Yes, the proximity of Fort Lauderdale to Bahamas makes it ideal for a Bahamas Day trip. The Fort Lauderdale to Bahamas flight time is approximately one hour with Bahamas Air Tours. Your flight will leave Fort Lauderdale, or other south Florida location, early in the morning and return mid-evening giving you a full day of adventure in the Bahamas.
Read more about my experience on the Miami to Bahamas Day Trip.
Fort Lauderdale and Miami may be fabulous, but the Bahamas Out Islands are even better. Pink sand beaches! Exotic wildlife encounters with famous swimming pigs, Green turtles, Nurse Sharks, Abacos parrots, flamingos and more. Underwater cave systems, reefs, and blue holes are ready to be explored; diving and snorkeling are popular sports. Your day trip to Bahamas from Fort Lauderdale will be eye-opening and memorable.
Experience another culture a mixture of Lucayan Indians, African slaves and British Loyalists. Enjoy the celebrations of the Junkanoo, an event of costumes, parading, feasting, and dancing. Enjoy the sounds of Rake ‘n Scrape music. Taste the fish fry, conch salad, and exotic tropical drinks. All of this and more make up the top things to do in Fort Lauderdale.
Most of us can go to the beach on the mainland, but to go to a pristine, deserted beach on a small tropical island is something of which most folks only dream. It is now possible to do a one day Fort Lauderdale to Bahamas cruise by plane affording you the luxury, privacy, and adventure found on a tropical island. This is one of the top things to do in Fort Lauderdale Bahamas – be a trend setter, go to Bahamas!
A one day cruise to Bahamas is ideal if you have a one-day layover with nothing to do or you can tack it on to the beginning or end of a cruise. You see, cruise ships cannot visit the Bahamas Out Islands because the depth of the water cannot accommodate a large ocean liner. So, take the opportunity while you are in town; a visit to Bahamas is one of the fabulous Fort Lauderdale attractions. The Fort Lauderdale to Nassau ferry is one option, another is a flight to the Bahamas, saving time as the Fort Lauderdale to Bahamas flight time is only one hour.
The quaint villages steeped in history are interesting and tell the stories of early explorers searching for new lands and the fabled Fountain of Youth. Columbus landed in the Bahamas and declared it “Baja mar,” or shallow waters, giving this archipelago of islands their name. Pirates, rum runners, and smugglers all find their place in Bahamian history. Woven into history, are the tales of British Loyalists who escaped to the islands to restart their lives anew as farmers and plantation owners. The colonial architecture still stands today. A tour of these villages is one of many top things to do in Fort Lauderdale.
A Bahamas day trip is perfect for couples, family, friends, or corporate events. Many business travelers are attaching leisure trips to their business trips; this is called bleisure. Maybe you want to celebrate a special occasion or take a quick getaway to refresh and renew. The islands have plenty of attractions such as world-class golf, bonefishing, big game sports fishing, boating, island hopping, diving, free diving, snorkeling, kayaking. The Bahamas are considered the sailing capital of the world and is a boater’s paradise. There are international airports that bring in travelers from around the globe. No Fort Lauderdale tour is complete without a one day cruise to Bahamas.
Benefits of a Bahamas Day Trip by Plane
- Quicker Journey Time: There will be more time spent in Fort Lauderdale Bahamas, not on the boat!
- Travel Further Into The Islands: Bahamas Air Tours takes you further into the Bahamas than a cruise boat would be capable of in a day. Your trip from Fort Lauderdale to Bahamas will be an authentic experience.
- The Day Trip Is An Excursion: There are many activities to enjoy that are not available on a cruise liner.
- Swimming Pigs: Cruise ships cannot access tours go to the swimming These Out Islands are too far away for cruise ships to reach, and the water is too shallow to accommodate the cruise ship.
- Quiet Small Out Island, Authentic Bahamas Experience: Culture, cuisine, Bahama’s life, all waiting for you.
- Small Groups: No boarding with throngs of people like on cruise ship; just your small intimate group.
- Personal 5-Star Customer Experience from a small family-owned company
- Pickups Available across Southern Florida: Not limited to just one port in Fort Lauderdale. Bahamas Air Tours cover Miami, Palm Beach, Vero Beach, and Orlando as well.
- No Sea Sickness: A common problem during rough seas, eliminated by flying.
- All-Inclusive Pricing: Fees, taxes, excursion, transfer all included in the price. No hidden fees
- Private Charter: Perfect for GROUPS, special occasions, corporate hospitality.
5. Old Fort Lauderdale Village
It is probably a little-known fact that Fort Lauderdale got its recent beginnings as an actual fort – in fact, three forts, all named Fort Lauderdale. Top things to do in Fort Lauderdale include exploring the vivid history that is central to the development of Florida.
Florida was occupied by several First Nation tribes since time began, but as Spanish explorers and others began to encroach on their land conflicts ensued. By 1821, Spain traded Florida with the U.S. to pay a $5M debt, making Florida a U.S. territory. By 1830 about 70 people were living in the New River settlement including William Cooley. He had established himself as a farmer and traded peacefully with the Indians. However, there was a “move the Indians” campaign backed by the government. The government pressured the Seminoles to move further west. The Seminoles, feeling cheated, planned an attack and on December 28, 1835, and ambushed a band of soldiers moving to Fort King as reinforcements. There were only three white survivors. The Dade Massacre kicked off the Second Seminole War that lasted until 1842.
In 1838, three years into the Second Seminole War, Major William Lauderdale appeared on the scene to protect and defend the New River settlement. He built the first of three forts, thus, the name Fort Lauderdale. By 1842, only a few pioneer families remained in the area as the Fort was abandoned. Fast forward fifty years when Henry Flagler’s East Coast Railway would make it to Fort Lauderdale on the New River, bringing with it organized development. The growth of the area took off fast, and Fort Lauderdale was incorporated in 1911 and was named the county seat by 1915.
Today, this site is home to the Old Fort Lauderdale Village comprised of the New River Inn and several restored buildings including a school and two homes that are adjacent to the Inn, a great Fort Lauderdale tour. The Flagler railway adjoined the property on the east with the New River to the south giving easy access to Fort Lauderdale through two avenues of transportation. The Inn, a plantation style house, and the first Broward County building on the National Registry of Historic Buildings serves as a museum of the history of Fort Lauderdale. The museum showcases artifacts of the Seminole tribe, as well as railroad, military and pioneer artifacts. The King Cromartie House built in 1909 has been restored and features a home of that period. Ivy Cromartie arrived in Fort Lauderdale in 1899 as the first school teacher. In 1976, Fort Lauderdale Historical Society built a replica of the 1899 schoolhouse under the direction of Mayor Virginia Young. The schoolhouse is complete with period furnishings. The Philemon Bryan house, built in 1905 of concrete blocks, is typical of the Colonial Revival period. The restored house is now home to the Fort Lauderdale Historical Society.
Also on site is the Hoch Heritage Center which is an enormous archive of thousands of pertinent artifacts, newspapers, photographs, letters, postcards, diaries, and manuscripts. The Heritage Center is available to authors and other professionals who wish to research to support their works.
There is much history that crossed different cultures of the area. For history buffs, this attraction is one of many top things to do in Fort Lauderdale.
6. Stranahan House
In 1894, Frank Stranahan arrived at the Fort Lauderdale settlement to run a ferry across the river. He purchased ten acres and built a house that was the first trading post in the area. He respected the Seminoles and had positive business dealings with them. He married Ivy Cromartie, Fort Lauderdale’s first teacher in 1900. As time went on, Stranahan’s entrepreneurial spirit led him to add a bank, post office, and hotel to the building.
He built another three houses on the New River site completing the project in 1901. The final house still stands today and is Broward County’s oldest surviving structure. Both Mr. & Mrs. Stranahan had positive relationships with the Seminoles. Mrs. Stranahan devoted her life to teaching the Indian children. The Stranahan’s were civic minded and were involved in many projects in the area to help further establish Fort Lauderdale. Stranahan’s fortunes also grew until the Great Depression. Frank was in ill health and deeply depressed, and he eventually committed suicide by drowning in the river near their home.
Mrs. Stranahan kept on with her life and had many accomplishments to her credit. She founded Friends of the Seminoles, the Broward County chapters of the Red Cross and Campfire Girls. The Fort Lauderdale Historical Society acquired the Stranahan House in 1975 with a goal to restore it to its 1915 layout. By 1984, with the restoration complete, the Stranahan House was open to the public as a museum. While visiting the New River site of the Old Fort Lauderdale, be sure to take in a guided Fort Lauderdale tour of the Stranahan home for a glimpse into life at the turn of the 20th century.
7. Bonnet House Museum & Gardens
The history of the Bonnet House began in the late 1800s when the land was purchased by Hugh Taylor Birch of Chicago. He presented the property to his daughter, Helen, upon her marriage in 1919 to Fredric Clay Bartlett, an artist from Chicago. Bartlett designed the plantation-style house, and construction was completed in 1921. The lavish home fit in perfectly with the Gilded Age where money was abundant, and nothing was spared. The couple used the Bonnet House as their winter residence, becoming one of the first Florida snowbirds! Unfortunately, Helen passed away in 1925 of breast cancer and the Bonnet House lost its appeal.
In 1931, he married Evelyn Fortune Lilly, also an artist. Together they returned to Bonnet House and began to embellish it with their artistic flair. Throughout the house, murals were painted by Bartlett showcasing his artwork. His wife also learned to paint and became a recognized, prolific artist.
Your Fort Lauderdale tour of the grounds features a spectacular garden that showcases native barrier island habitat and examples of all five ecosystems found in Florida. The gardens feature orchids, one of Mrs. Bartlett’s favorites. It has also become a sanctuary for migrating birds and marine life such as manatees. She also had a pet monkey and brought about 40 monkeys to live on the grounds. You may still see monkeys today. The estate includes several outbuildings beside the main house; there is an art studio, music studio, and guest house. You will notice the buildings are all painted a soft yellow to mimic the yellow Bonnet lily, present in the on-site lake. The lily was also the inspiration for the name of the house.
For a taste of history and culture of the Gilded Age be sure to visit the Bonnet House Museum & Gardens, one of the top things to do in Fort Lauderdale.
8. Flamingo Botanic Gardens
There is something attractive and exotic about big pink birds – maybe because there are not a lot of other pink birds in the world, and certainly not this size. And this attraction ranks high on the list of top things to do in Fort Lauderdale. The Flamingo Botanic Gardens has merged the beauty of blooms and birds to present a fabulous scenic garden well worth visiting. In fact, this Fort Lauderdale tour is of one of the oldest botanical gardens and attractions in South Florida and is celebrating its 90th anniversary in 2017.
The gardens themselves contain over 3,000 species of rare, exotic plants along with species native to Florida. The garden prides itself on their award-winning collection of Florida Champion trees; they have the largest in Florida with the tallest standing over 100 feet. The Gardens also contain the Everglades Wildlife Sanctuary giving a home to permanently injured animals and birds that cannot return to the wild. The sanctuary houses a wide range of animals including alligators, black bears, panther, bobcats, otters, and turtles. In the bird department, there are of course the outstanding flamingos, birds of prey such as eagles, falcons and hawks, a rookery for a host of seabirds, and an aviary for 45 species of birds and a special parrot aviary housing several species of parrots.
There are five unique ecosystems represented throughout the gardens. Also on site is the Wray House Museum, one of the oldest homes in Broward County. It has been restored to showcase a typical 1930s home. There are many family artifacts and mementos of the time. Make time to visit the Flamingo Botanic Gardens on your Fort Lauderdale vacation. These nature exhibits are some of the top things to do in Fort Lauderdale.
9. Butterfly World
The delicate, intricate beauty of butterflies are seen and experienced in Butterfly World, the world’s largest butterfly house and one of the top things to do in Fort Lauderdale. What started as a hobby of one man, Ronald Boender, and grew from his passion for butterflies and establishing and maintaining their habitat blossomed into a campaign that re-established butterflies across the continent and saved several species from extinction.
Butterfly World contains butterfly aviaries and beautiful garden habitat along with bird aviaries. At any given time there are 50 species of butterflies making up the 20,000 in the aviaries. The park is laid out with a variety of attractions that keep you looking for the next butterfly among the plants, flowers and water features. More than just butterflies, this Fort Lauderdale tour features many tropical birds as well. Butterfly World is also a butterfly farm and research facility collaborating with researchers and labs around the world with the goal of saving the butterfly. Open seven days a week; Butterfly World is family friendly and completely stroller and wheelchair accessible.
10. Las Olas Boulevard
A popular Fort Lauderdale attraction is Las Olas Boulevard which is the heart of Fort Lauderdale and stretches from the beach on the east toward the commercial district on the west. Nestled along the boulevard are neighborhoods with the famous canals, the popular Riverwalk along the New River, and a variety of shops, restaurants, and bars. A Fort Lauderdale tour of this trendy area known for an active, entertaining nightlife is a must.
Some notable celebrities have lived along the boulevard in their opulent mansions the likes of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz; Sonny and Cher; Gloria Vanderbilt and others. Take a boat tour through the neighborhoods, see celebrity homes and stunning yachts. The boulevard has links to the top things to do in Fort Lauderdale and is situated close to the Hollywood International Airport and Port Everglades, convenient for travelers from around the world. Picture yourself strolling the boulevard enjoying the Fort Lauderdale life.
11. Fort Lauderdale Auto Museum
If you enjoy looking at cars, try one of the top things to do in Fort Lauderdale – visit the Fort Lauderdale Auto Museum. Located inside the Xtreme Action Park, this museum is an extension of the Dezer Auto Museum in Miami and part of the largest auto collection in the world. There are cars and car-related artifacts that you won’t find anywhere else. There are five different collections represented at this museum including Havana Nights, Roaring 30’s, Hollywood Movie Cars, Military Salute, and Microcars.
Each of these collections has signature pieces such as the 1930s $2M Rolls-Royce, or the “Back to the Future” DeLorean. The museum features a large selection of James Bond 007 cars, motorcycles, boats, and other memorabilia. Make a day of it visiting the museum and then enjoying the fun at Xtreme Action Park – it’s all under one roof! While on your Fort Lauderdale tour keep your eyes open for hot, high end sports cars cruising the streets as well.
12. Extreme Action Park
If you are looking for some action, check out Xtreme Action Park designed with family fun in mind. This indoor entertainment venue has many of the top things to do in Fort Lauderdale all under one roof, offering good old-fashioned fun. In fact, a trip to Xtreme Action Park will be a Fort Lauderdale tour just in itself!
You can choose from go-carts, bowling, video arcades, roller skating, rope climbing, laser/paintball, escape rooms, and a new 3D interactive video theater with enough sensory action to leave you exhilarated. There are go-cart races for kids and adults. The challenging ropes course has 20 platforms, and over 40 obstacles; try your skills at swinging around. There is a food court on site that serves family favorites, and for adult thirst quenching there is also a bar on site. This action-adventure venue has plenty of challenges and fun for kids and adults alike.
13. Museum of Discovery and Science
For hands-on, interactive fun, head to the Museum of Discovery and Science (MODS). This Fort Lauderdale tour takes you through the main exhibits which include To Fly, Living in the Everglades, Powerful You, and Eco-discovery Center. There is also an IMAX Theater which gives you a 6-story view of both 2D and 3D movies. Each exhibit has unique interactive stations and activities. For instance, To Fly has a 7D theater, a wind machine so you can fly with wings, flight simulators for all the major large aircraft, air traffic control tower simulator, a Mars Rover simulator and a Max Flight full-motion simulator. This museum is not so much about history as it is about innovation and technology giving you hands-on adventures as you visit the exhibits. This museum has some of the most simulating and stimulating top things to do in Fort Lauderdale. Open seven days a week; this attraction is ideal for families; you must meet height requirements for some of the simulation rides.
14. Fort Lauderdale Arts: NSU Arts Museum and Street Art
For a glimpse into the world of art stop by the NSU Arts Museum where a Fort Lauderdale tour will take you through art exhibits with over 7,000 pieces in the permanent collection ranging from post-World War II, avant-garde and European Cobra artists plus the largest holdings by William J. Glackens. The museum also features multicultural works, women artists, Latin American and Cuban modern and contemporary art, and African and Oceanic Tribal Arts. It is easy to see how this Museum is attractive to a wide range of art lovers. Musical performances are held throughout the year as well. There is a café and museum store on site for your convenience. You will experience some of the top things to do in Fort Lauderdale in the world of art right in this museum.
A joint project by Broward College and Florida Atlantic University, the “This is a Canvas” project is a street art exhibition. Selected individual and team artists exhibit their artistic skills on rotating street canvases throughout the cycle period. Faculty and professional artists choose who can display their work. The goal is to give folks a venue to display their work as well as the opportunity to hone their skills.
15. International Swimming Hall of Fame
As the name suggests, this attraction is about all things swimming and aquatic sports. Established in 1965, the International Swimming Hall of Fame promotes swimming as a lifelong sport and essential skill. It also showcases the great swimmers of the past.
The museum includes artwork related to swimming dating back to ancient times as well as the Henning Library – a collection of archives, handbooks, bulletins, newsletters, personal scrapbooks, and memorabilia devoted to aquatic sports. The Hall of Fame honors athletes in the following categories: swimming, water polo, synchronized swimming, diving, coaches, and contributors. A Fort Lauderdale tour of the facilities will yield two pools and a diving well, plus spectator seating. If you are a swimming and water sport enthusiast, the Swimming Hall of Fame may be on your list of top things to do in Fort Lauderdale. The property is on a lovely west facing peninsula with a backdrop of the Atlantic Ocean to the east.
16. Naval Air Station Fort Lauderdale Museum
On the National Register of Historic Places, the Naval Air Station Fort Lauderdale Museum showcases Fort Lauderdale’s involvement in World War II, Korean War, and Viet Nam War. Conveniently located at the Fort Lauderdale Airport it is well worth a visit and one of the top things to do in Fort Lauderdale.
Fort Lauderdale’s participation in World War II began unknowingly in 1939 when a British cruiser chased the German freighter Arauca into Port Everglades. She remained in port until Germany declared war on the U.S. in 1941, upon which the United States seized the Arauca. As the war tension grew, Fort Lauderdale was under imposed blackouts. German U-boats were within sight of the Fort Lauderdale shoreline, and allied vessels were torpedoed. By 1942, the Merle Fogg Field was converted to the Naval Air Station Fort Lauderdale where thousands of seamen served a Fort Lauderdale tour of duty and were trained as pilots including former President George H. W. Bush.
The first World War II Medal of Honor recipient hailed from Fort Lauderdale, 2nd Lieutenant Alexander R. Niniger, Jr. He received the honor for his actions on January 12, 1942, during the Japanese invasion of Abucay, Bataan, Philippines.
The Naval Station was decommissioned in 1946 and became Broward County International Airport and later the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. The West Prospect Field became another Fort Lauderdale Airport known as the Executive Airport. It is home to Bahamas Air Tours, and the eleventh busiest general aviation airport in the United States. Some of the barracks were converted into a high school and Junior College of Broward County and were used as such from 1949 to 1963. By the 1970s the buildings began to deteriorate, and the effort to preserve history began.
This fascinating museum is open on Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
17. Fort Lauderdale Fire Museum
Although only open on weekends, the Fort Lauderdale Fire & Safety Museum is a must see Fort Lauderdale tour. The restoration of Fort Lauderdale’s Fire Station #3 was established to preserve the heritage of fire and safety as well as to educate the community. Fire Stations #3 is home to several firetrucks, and the interior of the station has been restored to exhibit the sleeping quarters, mess hall, meeting room, and clinic. The station is open for youth education programs that include a firetruck demonstration and hands-on activities. If you are a firefighting enthusiast or just like big red trucks, this is an ideal stop while checking off the top things to do in Fort Lauderdale.
18. Fort Lauderdale Antique Cars Museum
Just minutes from the Fire & Safety Museum, is another of the top things to do in Fort Lauderdale, the Fort Lauderdale Antique Car Museum. Its goals are to preserve the history of the Packard Motor Company. Home to 22 Packard cars and several collections of automobile memorabilia from gear shift knobs to spark plugs to auto clocks to hood ornaments; this is a great attraction for history buffs and car aficionados. The museum includes an automobile library which is a collection of brochures from many car companies through the decades. Another focal point is the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Room & Library that showcases artifacts from life and times of this U.S. President.
Fort Lauderdale Travel Guide: How to get around
Getting around on your Fort Lauderdale tour can be an attraction in and of itself as there are many modes of transportation from which to choose. We have mentioned the water taxi as a great way to get around and see the city all at once. Don’t forget their app so you can see where the water taxi is and you can plan your next adventure.
Look for the red and yellow Sun Trolley, a great way to see the city and get to where you are going. The trolley is free, and there is a Sun Trolley Tracker app so you can see where the trolleys are. The trollies run regular routes, but you can also hail them as you would a taxi.
Looking for a little more action, try Broward Bicycle, a bike sharing program. Locate a B Station and pick up a bike. Ride it to your destination where you turn in the bike at another B Station. When ready, grab another bike and ride to your next destination. The goal is to show riding bike is fun, and it is good for you.
Port Everglades is the third largest seaport in the world and can accommodate the world’s large cruise ship, Harmony of the Seas. Cruise ships are in port regularly ready to take passengers on a Caribbean cruise. The port is also used for international trade and is tenth largest in the U.S. for trade.
Hollywood International Airport, conveniently located in Fort Lauderdale with easy access to hotels, attractions, restaurants and more. Visitors from around the world fly into Hollywood International Airport daily.
Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport was built in 1941 to train Navy pilots during World War II. Today, it is home to Bahamas Air Tours, your connection for Fort Lauderdale to Bahamas day trips to experience the authentic Out Islands with quiet, pristine beaches, exotic wildlife, and exciting cultural adventures.
Of course, there are all the typical ways to get around Fort Lauderdale such as a car, bus, train, and Uber. You will find Fort Lauderdale easy to navigate to the top things to do in Fort Lauderdale.
Top things to do in Fort Lauderdale
Fort Lauderdale, a destination vacation filled with adventure, historical intrigue, celebrities, natural beauty, culture, and art is waiting for you to explore. Its name “Fort” holds much significance in the area and can be traced throughout the city. Known as the gateway to the Caribbean and the Bahamas, Fort Lauderdale is an ideal jumping off point for your tropical getaway. Bahamas Air Tours can help you plan your one day trip from Fort Lauderdale to Bahamas, where the adventures are more spectacular than what you will find elsewhere. Isn’t it time you found some island time – come to the Bahamas as one of the top things to do in Fort Lauderdale.