Known as the “Sunshine State,” Florida averages 230 days of sunny bliss. One of my favorite spots in Florida to soak up the sun is the Greater Fort Lauderdale area (consisting of 31 cities and municipalities in Broward County). South Florida tempts visitors with warm sunshine, inviting beaches, a great local restaurant and bar scene, historical spots, nature preserves and so much more! Here are 7 things to do in Greater Fort Lauderdale, Florida!
1. Hit the Beach:
With twenty-three miles of sandy beaches and welcoming blue ocean waters, hitting the beach is a must when visiting the Greater Fort Lauderdale area! The area consists of eight separate beaches, each with their own vibe. My personal favorite beaches are Hollywood, Hallandale, Fort Lauderdale and Dania Beach. Whether you want to build a sand castle, frolic in the ocean, meander along the tide or relax under an umbrella, the beaches of Greater Fort Lauderdale are the perfect spot to relax and unwind!
2. Visit Dania Beach Pier:
As the area’s least crowded beach, Dania Beach is the perfect spot for those who seek a quieter beach experience. The Dania Beach Fishing Pier welcomes visitors to enjoy the beautiful ocean scenery with a stroll along the pier. Fishermen and fisherwomen can try their luck at catching fish from the pier as well…just keep a watchful eye out for the dozens of pelicans patiently waiting to steal your catch!
Before you leave the pier, grab a drink and a bite to eat at the pier’s restaurant, Quarterdeck.
The Dania Beach Fishing Pier is open from 6am to Midnight, seven days a week. A fee of $2 per spectator and $3 per fishermen/fisherwoman is charged. Metered parking is available.
3. Explore the Riverwalk Arts & Entertainment District:
If you are looking for arts, history and entertainment, the Riverwalk Arts & Entertainment District should be your first stop! Whether strolling along the canal, hopping onto a Water Taxi or Sun Trolley, enjoying the green space of the parks and public spaces, or visiting the museums, gardens or historical societies, visitors can spend an afternoon at Riverwalk learning about Fort Lauderdale’s arts and culture scene.
My husband and I took a casual stroll along the canal, snapped a few photos and stumbled upon a group of large wild iguanas (I think the correct term for a group of iguanas is a mess of iguanas!) sunbathing on the rocks and swimming in the canal. The “mess of iguanas” captivated me, so I stood there watching them for quite some time! I have visited the area dozens of times (my aunt lives in the area) and I have never seen the larger iguanas until this most recent visit to Riverwalk!
4. Stroll Los Olas Boulevard:
Stretching more than ten blocks, Los Olas Boulevard welcomes visitors to stroll palm tree lined streets, shop in one of the seventy-five boutiques and stores, peruse numerous art galleries and museums and dine at over thirty restaurants. The shops and restaurants of Los Olas are just a short stroll from the above-mentioned Riverwalk District, which makes it convenient for visitors to spend the entire day exploring this area!
5. Visit Hollywood:
With a quieter downtown featuring numerous shops and restaurants, an up-and-coming art scene including an impressive Downtown Hollywood Mural Project and ArtsPark at Young Circle, and one of my favorite beach promenades, Hollywood Beach Broadwalk, I tend to spend most of my time in the Hollywood area.
Featured by USA Today as one of America’s top ten nostalgic promenades, the two-and-a-half-mile long, brick-lined pedestrian Hollywood Beach Broadwalk is the perfect pathway to enjoy the entertainment and beautiful natural surroundings of Hollywood Beach. A few of my favorite spots at Hollywood Beach are Nick’s Bar & Grill (great calamari and frozen drinks), Riptide Tiki Bar (located at the Riptide Hotel), Hollywood Beach Marriott Hotel (rent beach chairs and an umbrella for the day at A & A Beach Services, even if you aren’t staying at the hotel) and the Crown Plaza Hollywood Beach has an awesome infinity pool overlooking the intracoastal waterway.
Frozen drinks at Nick’s Bar & Grill
The Hollywood Trolley transports visitors and locals alike to/from Hollywood Beach and Downtown Hollywood. The trolley departs from over a dozen stops throughout Hollywood and costs $1 per ride/per person, children under 5 are free.
*The Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino is also located in Hollywood.
Enjoying a drink at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
6. Explore the Food Scene:
With plenty of food options for every type of foodie, from locally caught fresh seafood, upscale dining, ethnic foods and casual local hotspots, the culinary scene of Greater Fort Lauderdale will entice your taste buds! A few of my favorite restaurants include Nick’s Bar & Grill, Joe’s Tiki Bar & Grill, Le Tub, Taverna Opa, G & B Oyster Bar, Acquolina Weston, Martorano’s and Il Mulino.
Oysters at Coconuts/ G & B Oyster Bar
7. Watch the Sunset:
I truly feel grateful for every sunset I witness as it means I’ve been granted another day on this wonderful planet! While sunsets are wonderful anywhere you catch them, a Floridian sunset just seems to be a little more magical! Whether you watch the sunset at the beach, from an outdoor deck at a restaurant or from the balcony of your hotel room, be prepared to witness one of nature’s most beautiful and colorful phenomena!
Looking for more activities in the Greater Fort Lauderdale Area? Check out several area nature preserves like the Anne Kolb Nature Center or Mizell-Johnson State Park, head inland to explore the Everglades National Park, book a deep sea fishing expedition, shop till you drop at Sawgrass Mills (the largest outlet and retail shopping destination in the United States) or visit Gulfstream Park for live horse racing, a casino, restaurants and shops.
A getaway to the Greater Fort Lauderdale area is a fun family-friendly vacation, a relaxing girl’s getaway or the perfect romantic escape! I’m sure you will agree that we all could use a little fun in the sun with our toes in the sand!
To plan your trip to the Greater Fort Lauderdale area, please visit www.sunny.org.
What is your favorite Florida beach? Let me know in the comments below!
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