If you haven’t yet experienced Fort Lauderdale Beach, on Florida’s southeastern coast, here’s what you need to know: This is the kind of place where locals get to live like they’re on vacation. And from the consistently balmy temps and 300+ days of sunshine a year to the 24 miles of turquoise coastline and a lively promenade, there’s always something to do outdoors. The question isn’t usually why you’d visit, but when.
To answer that, know that there’s a good excuse to plan a trip any time of year. Whenever you need to clock some beach time, to get away from the daily grind, to spend less time with your coworkers and more time with dolphins and manatees, that’s when to get yourself to Fort Lauderdale Beach. So set that flight alert, dig out that swimsuit, and get ready for some serious outdoor adventure — on the water, in the water, and on the sand.
First things first: Clear your itinerary and make time to explore that sparkling ocean. Off the coast of Fort Lauderdale Beach, you’re bound to spot marine life — Atlantic bottlenose dolphins, sea turtles, and stingrays all call this area home. You’re also bound, should you choose, to feel a bit like an adrenaline junkie.
For a memorable way to begin your Fort Lauderdale Beach vacay...
For a memorable way to begin your Fort Lauderdale Beach vacay (and a very rad story to tell your friends), check out flyboarding or electric surfboarding, no waves—or experience—necessary.
The flyboard, which launches you up to 30 feet in the air strapped to a water-propelled jetpack, is guaranteed to make you feel—and look!—like Iron Man. And the electric surfboard? It hits speeds up to 24 mph.
Whichever one you choose, with Aqua Flight, you can perfect your extreme-watersports skills, sending you home with the best souvenir: bragging rights.
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Getting around the city by boat is easy to do...
Getting around the city by boat is easy to do—Fort Lauderdale is known as the “Venice of America” and the yachting capital of the world, thanks to its many scenic waterways.
Strolling beside them is nice, but there’s nothing quite like a day on the canals in a mega power yacht. With 300+ miles of navigable waterways, there’s an endless amount of time you can spend exploring. Be sure to go past the impressive estates on millionaire’s row and the skyscrapers downtown.
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You can have a sport-fishing adventure only a mile and a half offshore...
One of the cool things about Fort Lauderdale is you can have a sport-fishing adventure only a mile and a half offshore. Migratory pelagic fish like sailfish, marlin, dolphin, tuna, and wahoo frequent these waters every day of the year.
Fish Lauderdale can take you and up to five of your buddies on their 42-foot yacht. Best part: Newbies are welcome—the captain will teach you all the techniques you need. They also have all the necessary equipment, so just show up ready to keep an eye out for dolphins frolicking in the wake of the boat. It’s also common to come across barracuda, snapper, and grouper.
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Kayaking should be on your Fort Lauderdale Beach short list...
Kayaking should be on your Fort Lauderdale Beach short list. During manatee season (mid-November to mid-April), there’s a very good chance you’ll spot one of these gentle giants on a morning paddle. Just make sure you let them decide how close they want to get to you. Respect is the name of the game.
Don’t worry, though, if you visit outside of manatee season—there’s plenty to see all year long. Sunrise Paddleboards offers great kayak tours, lessons, and rentals, so you can take an excursion any time you’d like into the area waterways.
Photo: Jeff Stamer / Shutterstock
To scope out even more marine life, go below the surface. Water temps are comfortable year-round here in the Atlantic, and Broward County is home to 76 artificial reefs absolutely teeming with life. The Greater Fort Lauderdale area also happens to have the highest number of warm-water shipwrecks in the Western world. With a GoPro and some goggles, what’s not possible in the water?
Off the coast of Fort Lauderdale Beach lie several dive sites...
Off the coast of Fort Lauderdale Beach lie several dive sites worth any trip. One crowd-pleaser is Hog Heaven, which includes an 180-foot barge purposefully sunk as part of the Florida Artificial Reef Program. Scuba-certified divers can flipper-kick their way through it to check out the resident coral and its marine inhabitants. Nearby, you can also see part of an airplane wing and a radio tower. Safe to say, it’s a diver’s playground.
Tip: Looking for a solid outfitter? Sea Experience takes certified divers out to this site year-round. Snorkelers and glass-bottom boaters are catered to as well.
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Log some more time underwater with a snorkel sesh...
Log some more time underwater with a super-accessible snorkel sesh: The reef at Vista Park is easy to get to and still full of all those wild Florida rewards. It’s about 1,000 feet off the shore, and the coral reef is shallow—perfect for sea fans and lots of tropical fish.
You might see parrotfish chomping on the coral or stingrays happily flapping by. Lobsters like to hide among the coral, as do parrotfish, angelfish, and snapper. It’s a rainbow parade down here, for sure.
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SEABOB sea scooters are an extremely fun way to roam the ocean...
SEABOB sea scooters are an extremely fun way to roam the ocean. The steam-powered, eco-friendly underwater scooters—which look somewhat like a miniature jet ski—allow you to dive down more than 100 feet at up to 10 mph. (Imagine holding onto a dolphin and going for a ride.)
Aqua Flight tour guides will have you mastering this wild sport within minutes, no matter your skill or age. Every time you come up for air, there’s bound to be a very wide grin on your face.
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It’s sort of like water bumper cars...
It’s sort of like water bumper cars, but definitely try to avoid any run-ins with your friends. At Las Olas Paddle Boards, choose between a red Whaly boat or a white Exhilarator, and take the one-hour Las Olas Isles loop in your vessel-for-one in search of dolphins, tarpon, iguanas, and sharks.
These power boats only fit one human, but you can bring your doggo along, if you like.
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Wake up early and greet the day at Hugh Taylor Birch State Park...
Wake up early and greet the day at Hugh Taylor Birch State Park, a wide, white-sand stretch of beach between the Atlantic Ocean and the Intracoastal Waterway, where you can take a two-mile trek through hardwood hammocks. Then, perhaps a beach jog or an ocean swim?
Or better yet, both. Bonus points if you stumble upon a seashell or sand dollar along the way.
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On two wheels, there’s always a breeze...
On two wheels there’s always a breeze. Scenic bike paths in the area include Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd., Las Olas Blvd., and beach neighborhood streets like N. Birch Rd. and Bayshore Dr., just to name a few. Grab yourself an adorable cruiser at the Fun Center Fort Lauderdale or rent an electric bike with Broward B Cycle to see a whole lot in a short amount of time.
For shades of green, head through the aforementioned Hugh Taylor Birch State Park—Fort Lauderdale’s “Central Park”—on paved trails and past mangroves, keeping your eyes peeled for gopher tortoises and flycatchers.
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Yoga can certainly be a calming experience no matter where you are...
Yoga can certainly be a calming experience no matter where you are, but yoga al fresco? Now that has the potential for exponential relaxation.
Beach Yoga & Fitness offers beach yoga classes at the NE 9th Street beach entrance—feel the sand between your toes with the ocean right in front of you, breathing in tandem with the waves. Namaste!
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Pack a picnic lunch and make a beeline for Fort Lauderdale Beach...
Pack a picnic lunch and make a beeline for Fort Lauderdale Beach. It’s dotted with volleyball nets, but just remember the early bird gets the worm: Go in the morning to stake your claim. Major volleyball tournaments are scheduled throughout the year, too, if watching the pros set, spike, and serve (and sand-dive) is more your speed.
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Take an easy-breezy walk along the brick Fort Lauderdale Beachfront Promenade...
Take an easy-breezy walk along the brick Fort Lauderdale Beachfront Promenade, cruising down the coastline, seeing and being seen. The palm-tree-lined pathway, stretching for seven miles next to A1A, is a people-watching extravaganza.
Beyond the fashion show, you’ll spot a two-mile-long wave wall and runners, skaters, and bikers, morning, noon, and night. Across the street are plenty of cafes, shops, and restaurants, so when you’re ready to take a breather, sit down for lunch or grab an ice cream to go.
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