RedWeek Travel Guide: Fort Lauderdale, Florida

published on April 13, 2023 by

Fort Lauderdale is one of Florida’s most vibrant vacation destinations. Year-round, pristine beaches beckon with miles of sand and sparkling water, while the dynamic city offers an exciting array of arts, entertainment and culture. Check out some of the best things to do on a Fort Lauderdale vacation below.

Things To Do In Fort Lauderdale

  • Hit The Beach: Make no mistake — the beach is the main attraction in Fort Lauderdale, 365 days every year. With white sand, sunny skies and crystal-clear waters, Fort Lauderdale Beach is perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and a variety of water sports such as surfing, paddle-boarding, kitesurfing and jet skiing. You’ll also want to stroll the promenade here, which features boutiques, restaurants and a vibrant atmosphere. Other great beach-y options in the area include Pompano Beach (a favorite for snorkelers), Deerfield Beach (great for families) and Hillsboro Beach (home to a classic lighthouse). 
  • Bonnet House Museum and Gardens: This historic home and estate dates back to the 1920s and today offers a taste of old-school Florida elegance. Beautifully preserved and open to the public, the Bonnet House features art exhibits, beautiful gardens, and a glimpse into the lifestyle of the wealthy residents of “Roaring Twenties” Fort Lauderdale.
  • Everglades National Park: Greater Fort Lauderdale is the gateway to the Everglades National Park, a unique ecosystem that is home to a variety of incredible wildlife, including alligators, panthers, and manatees. Take an airboat tour or kayak through the wild mangrove forests for an adventure like no other. And the Observation Tower at Shark Valley is one of the highlights of an Everglades visit, giving visitors a panoramic view of the park’s diverse landscapes from 70 feet up. 
  • Intracoastal Waterway: Fort Lauderdale has a reputation as the “Venice of America.” In fact, much of Fort Lauderdale and neighboring communities, residential areas, even downtown business districts, have more canals than streets. The famed Intracoastal Waterway passes right through the city — it’s ideal for an unforgettable kayaking journey. 
  • Museum of Discover and Science: A fully interactive museum, the Museum of Discovery and Science is perfect for families with children. The hands-on exhibits here are STEM-inspired and imagination-sparking. Kids will travel back in time to prehistoric Florida when dinosaurs roamed the earth, get to know some very playful otters and learn about the science behind aviation. The museum is also home to an immersive IMAX theater. 

Where To Shop In Fort Lauderdale

  • Las Olas Boulevard: This is definitely your first stop during a Fort Lauderdale shopping spree. Las Olas Boulevard is a charming street lined with boutiques, art galleries, and sidewalk cafes. 
  • Riverwalk: Fort Lauderdale prides itself on being a truly pedestrian friendly destination — and this tropically inspired waterfront park in the heart of downtown Fort Lauderdale is the perfect place for leisurely stroll or bike ride, stopping to browse the many local shops. 
  • Sawgrass Mills Mall: Go big at Sawgrass! This is the largest outlet mall in the United States, with over 350 stores and a wide range of upscale designer brands (Michael Kors, Gucci, Prada and beyond), complemented by more budget-friendly outlets.
  • Fort Lauderdale Swap Shop: For a Fort Lauderdale shopping excursion the whole family will love, try this unique attraction, which features a drive-in movie theater, a vintage flea market, and a classic amusement park with rides, games and much more. 

Fort Lauderdale Restaurants

  • Sistrunk Marketplace: Freshly opened in September 2020, Sistrunk Marketplace has it all. The expansive venue boasts a 24,000-square-foot indoor food hall with something for every taste from submarine sandwiches to sushi. It’s also the home Khoffner Brewery, of one of Florida’s best craft breweries.  
  • The Foxy Brown: Ask a local for brunch recommendations in Fort Lauderdale and they’re likely to send you to the Foxy Brown. This cozy spot serves comfort food with a twist — dishes like Banana Bread Grilled Cheese, S’mores Waffles and Chicken and Waffle Sliders. 
  • Shooters Waterfront: For a great meal accompanied by great views, Shooters won’t disappoint. An eatery located on the Intracoastal Waterway, its menu is filled with fresh, catch-of-the-day seafood, a raw bar and a terrific selection of creative cocktails. 

Where To Stay

  • Marriott’s BeachPlace Towers: Voted one of RedWeek’s Top Picks for 2023, this Fort Lauderdale resort’s oceanfront location delivers spectacular views of the Atlantic and the Intracoastal Waterway. Choose from studio, one- bedroom or two- bedroom retreats and take advantage of large outdoor pools and whirlpool hot tubs. 

Start planning your Fort Lauderdale vacation with RedWeek now. 

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