Located on the southeastern coast of Florida, Fort Lauderdale is known for its beautiful beaches and popular boating canals. With an average year-round temperature of 75 degrees and abundant sunshine, it’s also a sought-after tourist destination. If you’re planning a trip to this city, this informative travel guide will give you an itinerary of places to eat and things to do, as well as where to fly into and where to stay after you arrive.

Early Morning: Get Started With Breakfast

Before you head out and enjoy everything Fort Lauderdale has to offer, you need to fill up with a hearty and appetizing breakfast.

O-B House (Old Fort Lauderdale Breakfast House) is a fun cafe with a bright and vibrant decor. Here you’ll find a breakfast menu filled with some of your traditional favorites. If you brought your appetite, check out the Vacationer Breakfast, which comes with two eggs cooked to order, a freshly baked muffin, and a cup of fresh fruit topped with a dollop of organic yogurt. You can also choose the famous oven-baked pancakes, which are 8-inch buttermilk pancakes baked in a cast iron skillet and served with real maple syrup. For something a little lighter, go for the parfait and enjoy granola layered with strawberries, blueberries, and organic yogurt.

A stop at St. Barts Coffee Company is a great way to get your morning started right. When you need to wake up, you’ll find a coffee menu that includes cappuccinos, frappuccinos, espressos, lattes, and more. There’s even a Wake Up! smoothie that comes with banana, a shot of espresso, milk, and frozen yogurt. To fill up, consider a fresh omelet. Your options include ham and cheese, spinach and feta, roasted pepper and herb, and three cheese, or you can build your own. The menu also offers breakfast sandwiches, granola, pancakes, waffles, and French toast.

If you have special dietary needs or restrictions, Fresh First offers a menu filled with gluten-free, vegan, and vegetarian options. You’ll find traditional items, such as the egg sandwich, veggie omelet, and western omelet. However, there are also options like the Keywest Tofu, an organic tofu scramble with avocado, green onion, tomato, ginger, cilantro, and lime served with soft flax crackers or a vegan waffle. Other choices include cinnamon-infused vegan pancakes, vegan buttermilk waffles, and the Amazonian Açaí Bowl.

Antique car museum
The Antique Car Museum in Fort Lauderdale.

Midmorning: Tour a Museum

Once your breakfast has filled you up, it’s time to head out and tour the area. Fort Lauderdale offers a great selection of museums that are worth exploring. NSU Art Museum has over 6,000 pieces on display with an emphasis on contemporary projects from the 20th century. Some of the highlights at the museum include a collection of ceramics by Pablo Picasso, the country’s largest collection of drawings and paintings by American realist William Glackens, and North America’s largest collection of work by CoBrA artists from Copenhagen, Brussels, and Amsterdam.

The Museum of Discovery and Science offers a place where adults and children can explore the fun of science. The EcoDiscovery Center is one of the most popular exhibits in the museum. Here you can watch the North American river otters as they playfully splash around in their tank, see what it feels like to stand in hurricane force winds, take an airboat ride simulator through the Everglades, and learn about the importance of the Everglades and how you can help conserve and protect this area. Young children will also enjoy exhibits about space, minerals, and the human body.

If you’re interested in swimming or diving as a sport, you can’t miss the opportunity to see the International Swimming Hall of Fame and Museum. When you tour the museum, you’ll explore the history of swimming, starting back in 3000 B.C. You can also learn more about Johnny Weissmuller and Mark Spitz and their success at the Olympic games, as well as view an original Olympic flag from the 1920 games in Antwerp, Belgium. Additionally, you’ll discover interesting facts about other water sports, such as diving, water polo, marathon swimming, and synchronized swimming.

Noon: Relax With Lunch

When the afternoon rolls around, you’re likely ready for another meal. For a great selection of sandwiches and an even better selection of beer, head to Riverside Market Cafe. You’ll find classic sandwiches like a tuna melt and a Reuben. However, you’ll also find unique twists on old favorites. The egg salad sandwich comes with hard-boiled eggs served on a lightly toasted croissant and drizzled with a cayenne pepper dressing. When you’re looking for something to help you wash down your sandwich, Riverside Market has over 650 craft beers and at least 20 drafts.

Coconuts is a relaxed waterfront hangout that offers excellent seafood and comfort food. Stop by for lunch, and you’ll find menu options that include a lobster roll, fish tacos, chicken sandwich, mahi-mahi sandwich, and a burger. If you’re feeling extra hungry, there’s also a coconut shrimp platter, jambalaya, or barbecued ribs. Or you can choose the Comfort Bowl, which comes with pasta shells, Sriracha cheese sauce, and your choice of chicken, sausage, or lobster.

Hugh taylor birch state park
Hugh Taylor Birch state Park.

Afternoon: Get Outside

When you’re done with lunch, it’s time to head back outside to enjoy more of Fort Lauderdale.

No trip to the area is complete without a stop at the beach, and Fort Lauderdale Beach is the best option in the area. Plan a few hours at this beach, and you’ll enjoy 7 miles of lovely white sand. Along with simply relaxing, the beach is also a great place for windsurfing, volleyball, snorkeling, and fishing. There’s a beachfront promenade lined with palm trees that’s perfect for walking or rollerblading. On the other side of the road, you’ll find cafes, restaurants, shops, and entertainment venues.

Hugh Taylor Birch State Park is a fascinating spot that’s a short walk from the beach. You can rent a canoe and explore the mile-long freshwater lagoon, or you can head to the seawall to do a little fishing. If you want to learn more about the local plants and wildlife, go for a hike on one of the two short trails or take your bicycle down one of the paved park roads. You’ll also find pavilions that have water and electricity and are available to rent, as well as picnic areas that overlook the water.

Dinnertime: Enjoy Ocean Views With Your Meal

After you’ve spent time enjoying the outdoors around Fort Lauderdale, you’ve likely worked up an appetite. For a special treat, head to one of the restaurants that offer a lovely view of the water to go along with the delicious food. S3 is an upscale restaurant that serves coastal and New American cuisine. You can start your meal with charred Brussels sprouts, macaroni and cheese, or Gulf shrimp. For your main course, consider the wood-fired short ribs, the roasted chicken, or the fresh catch of the day.

OCEAN2000 has a beautiful upscale dining room and outdoor veranda with sweeping views of the Atlantic Ocean. If you stop by for dinner, you’ll find a menu that offers New American cuisine with a Latin twist. Start your meal with the Florida conch chowder or blue crab cake. When you’re ready for the main course, you’ll find options that include seared sesame chili ahi tuna, blue cheese-crusted filet mignon, and roasted organic chicken. If you want to add a side to your dinner, you get to choose from grilled asparagus, lobster macaroni and cheese, mashed Yukon Gold potatoes, and sweet potato and jicama succotash.

Las olas beach
Las Olas Beach in Fort Lauderdale.

Fort Lauderdale Airport Guide

If you’re flying into Fort Lauderdale, you’ll likely land at Fort Lauderdale–Hollywood International Airport. This airport is 4 miles south of downtown Fort Lauderdale. It’s a hub and the largest base for Spirit Airlines, handling most of the airline’s international and domestic flights. It’s also a hub for Silver Airways, IBC Airways, and Tropic Ocean Airways, as well as a focus city for Allegiant Air, JetBlue Airways, Norwegian Long Haul, and Southwest Airlines. Top destinations from the airport in the United States include Atlanta, New York, and Chicago, while top international destinations include Toronto, Nassau, and Cancun.

Fort Lauderdale–Hollywood International Airport offers plenty of services to help make your time there more comfortable. You’ll enjoy free wireless internet access in all terminals and concourses. If you’re hungry, you’ll find restaurants in all four terminals. You can go for something quick from Urban Market or sit down and enjoy a full meal at Casavana Cuban Restaurant. If you’re looking to get in a little shopping, you’ll find options that include Hoffman’s Chocolates, Coastal Expressions, and Tropical News.

After you arrive at the airport and you’re ready to head to Fort Lauderdale, you’ll find several ground transportation options. Broward County Transit (BCT) bus Route 1 provides efficient transportation from the central terminal to downtown Fort Lauderdale. There’s a taxi stand at the airport where you can get a ride from 10 taxi companies. If you prefer your own vehicle, the airport also has 12 on-site car rental companies in the Rental Car Center next to Terminal 1.

Bonnet house
The Bonnet House.

Where to Stay in Fort Lauderdale

When you arrive in Fort Lauderdale, you’ll want to find a comfortable place to stay so you can enjoy your stay. You’ll find plenty of hotels in Fort Lauderdale that will give you all the amenities you need for a relaxing getaway. From luxurious to budget-friendly, you’ll also find a hotel that fits perfectly within your travel budget.

Luxury Hotels in Fort Lauderdale

When you’re interested in a stay that’s unforgettable, the luxury hotels in Fort Lauderdale offer some of the best amenities and service.

The Ritz-Carlton, Fort Lauderdale is directly on the beach and offers stunning views of the sparkling blue water. You’ll choose from rooms that have an Intracoastal Waterway view, partial ocean view, or full ocean view. You can start each morning out on your private balcony before heading down to enjoy breakfast at Burlock Coast Seafare & Spirits. When you’re done, relax by the outdoor pool, take a walk on the beach, or unwind with a treatment at the spa.

The Pillars Hotel is an upscale hotel in a converted Caribbean-Colonial mansion that overlooks the Intracoastal Waterway. Here you’ll enjoy elegant rooms that come with free wireless internet access, Nespresso machines, and flat-screen televisions. When you’re hungry, there’s a fine dining restaurant that’s only available to hotel guests and members of the hotel’s private dining club. You can dine in the sophisticated dining room or choose one of the outdoor tables on the water. The hotel also offers a tropical courtyard, outdoor pool, and luxury yacht charter.

Budget-Friendly Hotels in Fort Lauderdale

If you’d prefer a budget-friendly option for your stay, check out some of the affordable hotels in Fort Lauderdale. Travelodge Fort Lauderdale is just 2 miles from Fort Lauderdale Beach and 3 miles from shopping at Las Olas Boulevard. You can relax in casual rooms that include a desk, free wireless internet access, and cable television. A coffee maker, microwave, and mini-fridge are also available upon request. In the morning, take advantage of the complimentary continental breakfast before heading out to explore the area, or simply relax on the patio deck by the outdoor pool.

If you’re looking to stay within walking distance of the beach but want to leave some money in your travel budget to explore other attractions in the area, consider a stay at Best Western Plus Oceanside Inn. Just 100 yards from the beach, you can enjoy rooms that come with flat-screen televisions, free wireless internet access, microwaves, coffee makers, and mini-fridges. You can start your morning right with the complimentary full breakfast. The hotel also offers an outdoor pool, guest laundry facilities, and business center.

Whether you’re planning a trip to Fort Lauderdale to relax on the beach or check out some of the other exciting attractions this city has to offer, GoDoTrip is here to help. You’ll discover everything you need to know about the best attractions, how to get where you’re going, and where to stay so you’ll enjoy a perfect trip.