Pencil in a half day for the entire family in Fort Lauderdale. Unlike many port cities, Fort Lauderdale is in the business of fun. Within just a few miles from Port Everglades are all the attractions you've heard about because they're synonymous with the city. So grab a rental car and let's go.
Now while a half day may not allow time to experience all the great things out there, plan to pace yourself and spend an hour or so at one attraction and the same amount of time at the next and so on. Fort Lauderdale is a tourist-friendly city that offers something for every member of the family, so list a few things that are on everyone's must-do list and choose accordingly.
Fun on the beach — Photo courtesy of Sunny.org
In either direction are 23 miles of spectacular picture-perfect beaches known for their glamour, people watching and natural beauty. Best known and close to Port Everglades to the north is Fort Lauderdale Beach. Once known as a spring breaker's haven, this beautiful blue wave beach has cleaned up its act. It's now a world-class beach destination that attracts millions of sun worshipers.
To the south of the airport is the extraordinarily beautiful John U. Lloyd Beach State Park. This nature lover's state park is located between the Atlantic Ocean and inland waterway and next to the Blue Wave award-winning beach. The park can also be reached by boat.
Fort Lauderdale waterways — Photo courtesy of Sunny.org
An unforgettable experience for the entire family - and the ideal first-hand glimpse of Fort Lauderdale itself - is an afternoon exploring the fascinating waterways. There are over 300 miles of scenic nautical roadway to explore. Visitors enjoy the calming adventure that offers a glimpse of this amazing city that no road or highway can.
One of the most spectacular ways to enjoy the waterways is on the Jungle Queen Riverboat. The Sightseeing Cruise is about three hours and takes you up the New River. You'll go past the fascinating Millionaire's Row and through downtown Fort Lauderdale and a bit of the Everglades. Then, you'll have a stopover at Jungle Queen Indian Village, a tropical island environment with macaws, rare plants, birds and even alligator wrestling. Reservations are required.
Or, perhaps for a more unplanned and whimsical adventure, climb on board the Water Taxi. Board at any number of stops and purchase tickets onboard, with cash or credit card. Then choose stops of interest, whether they are attractions, shopping or dining.
Boomers! — Photo courtesy of Dale Mack
If anxious kids are begging for lots of fun and games, then head to Boomers! Inside and out, Boomers! is equipped to entertain in its huge, glittering facility. Spend hours in the musical arcade with every game imaginable. The fun is out of this world!
Try the challenging rock wall, the Flame Thrower, the Sidewinder, bumper boats and the always-popular batting cages. There are two amazing and challenging tracks for go-karts, a miniature golf course, laser tag and the Family Ride Park.
Remember to leave time for a bite to eat at one of countless family-friendly restaurants that dot the city. For a truly unforgettable and fun eating experience, head to Hollywood to La Tub. This restaurant is known for its famous hamburgers: it was even voted for Best Hamburger in GQ Magazine.
The restaurant is set along the Middle River and stationed in a former garage. Guests sit among a number of old bathroom fixtures that are scattered around and surrounded by flowers and plants. And if it's not hamburgers you want, decide from the menu of chicken, salads, great sides, desserts and a list of great beers and cocktails for Mom and Dad.
A half-day stay in Fort Lauderdale is but a mere sample of the many options of this stellar port city.