6 Exhilarating Things to do in Fort Lauderdale

With over 23 miles of Atlantic beaches, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, is the Venice of America. Bring your suntan lotion when you vacation here because the city receives more than 3,000 hours of sunlight each year. August is typically the hottest month with an average temperature of 90.2 degrees Fahrenheit. This western point of the Bermuda Triangle is visited by approximately 12 million visitors in 2012 annually with almost 20 percent of them coming from another country. The city named after a series of forts built during the Second Seminole War offers visitors many outstanding things to do in Fort Lauderdale.

1. Swim at the International Swimming Hall of Fame

The world’s largest collection of aquatic memorabilia is housed at the International Swimming Hall of Fame. Over 40 exhibits focus on the history of all areas of swimming including diving, water polo, and synchronized swimming. See swim artifacts dating from the 15th century along with more modern training equipment. Visitors can watch a series of documentaries in the Huizenga Theater highlighting the greatest swimmers of all time. Over 2,000 display photographs make the greatest moments in swimming history come alive. Mark Spitz, Greg Louganis, and Natalie Coughlin have all trained in this wave-shaped building offering public swim times. Eat in the small café and buy gifts at the gift shop before leaving this location. Prices are $8 for adults and $4 for students.

  • Best for: Couples, families.
  • Season: Open year-round, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sundays they are closed.
  • Address: 1 Hall of Fame Drive Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33316

2. Ride an Airboat through the Everglades at Sawgrass Recreation Park

Climb aboard an airboat for a 30 minute guided tour through the Everglades at Sawgrass Recreation Park located just 22 miles east of the Fort Lauderdale. See a 1,000-pound alligator along with snakes and other reptiles that are being brought back to health by the experts at this location. Holding a baby alligator is one of the scariest things to do in Fort Lauderdale. Watch the video to see how the Everglades were first formed. Be sure to attend the American alligator show to learn more about this magnificent animal. After your airboat ride, consider renting one of the john boats to enjoy a fishing expedition. Shop at the craft stall and enjoy a cheeseburger at the grill. Tickets cos $22.95 for adults and $12.95 for children under 13.

  • Best for: Couples, families, children.
  • Season: Open year-round, a boat leaves every 20 minutes from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. A final boat leaves at 5 p.m. but they recommend their guests be there no later than 4 p.m. You can also visit the exhibits at night.
  • Address: Everglades Wildlife Management Area, 1006 US-27, Weston, Florida 33327

3. Hike in Hugh Taylor Birch State Park

Hiking along the Coastal Hammock Trail inside the Hugh Taylor Birch State Park is among the best things to do in Fort Lauderdale. Most people can complete this easy hike in about 20 minutes although it may take much longer as you will want to stop and admire the scenic views often. Hikers will enjoy seeing one of the last remaining native maritime tropical hardwood hammock ecosystems in the world. This ecosystem is home to more than 250 species of birds. See this ecosystem from a different vantage point by renting a canoe or kayak. After hiking the trail, enjoy fishing on the Intracoastal Waterway within the park’s boundaries. This park’s one-way drive is immensely popular with bikers and inline skaters making it one of the best things to do in Fort Lauderdale for exercise. The only cost is $6 per vehicle.

  • Best for: Couples, families, children.
  • Season: Open year-round, from 8:00 a.m. until sundown.
  • Address: 3109 East Sunrise Boulevard Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33304.

4. See the Ghosts at Stranahan House Museum

A visit at night to Stranahan House Museum along with a ride on the New River may leave you believing that ghosts are very real. This home was built by Frank and Ivy Stranahan who were responsible for many early developments in Fort Lauderdale. Some claim to see Frank who killed himself in this house while others claim to see a little girl who died in the doorway after paying a visit to Miss Ivy. Still, others claim that Miss Ivy lives within this house playing hostess to visitors. Even if you do not take the ghost tour, visiting this architecturally unique house is one of the best things to do in Fort Lauderdale. Consider timing your visit to enjoy a Victorian Christmas here.

  • Best for: Couples, families, children.
  • Season: Open year-round, Monday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., guided tours taking place at 1, 2 and 3 p.m. They are closed on all major holidays and do not allow self-guided tours of the house.
  • Address: 335 Southeast 6th Avenue Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33301.

5. Go on a Simulated Ride to Mars at the Museum of Discovery and Science

Visitors to the Museum of Discovery and Science can take a simulated ride to Mars. Before entering the museum, see what time it is by looking at the Great Gravity Clock located at the museum’s entrance as it is one of only three in the world. Step inside a special tunnel to feel how hard winds blow during a hurricane. Watch the river otters playfully annoy each other in their exhibit area. See a live animal show in the 100-seat Keller Science Theater. Climb inside a garbage truck to learn more about how workers dispose of waste. Walk along the Evergreen’s Nature Trail. Consider letting your child attend one of the day camps held here during school holidays. Prices are $16 per adult and $13 per child under 12.

  • Best for: Couples, families, children.
  • Season: Open year-round, Monday – Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 6 p.m.
  • Address: 401 Southwest Second Street Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33312.

6. See a Show at the Mai-Kai Restaurant

things to do in fort lauderdale


Visitors have been enjoying the lively shows at the Mai-Kai Restaurant since 1956. This restaurant imports dancers and flame-throwers from Polynesian islands to perform nightly before sold-out crowds. Owner Mireille Thornton creates a new show annually, but the main character for each one is a young Polynesian girl living in the early 1900s. The audience is even invited to get on stage during these lively shows. Guests can choose to dine in one of eight themed dining rooms each representing a different island. Dine on dishes from the Orient or choose the fabulous duck instead. In order to make sure everyone finds something they want to eat here, this restaurant every offers a small Chinese menu with meats prepared in a Chinese oven over oak wood. Main entrees range from $7.00 to $47.00.

  • Best for: Couples, families, children.
  • Season: Open year-round, Tuesday through Friday from 5 p.m., Saturdays from 4:30 p.m and Sundays from 4 p. m.
  • Address: 3599 North Federal Highway Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33308.

It can be very difficult to decide among the many different things to do in Fort Lauderdale. Therefore, we have made this list of the top fun things to do in Fort Lauderdale allowing you to make the most of your time in this city set in the Florida Everglades. Take a dip in the pool, go on an airboat ride, hike through the unique ecosystem, haunt for ghosts or see a show. After you start doing the things on this list, you will want to come back to Fort Lauderdale very often.

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