Beyond the swanky beachfront hotels, expensive restaurants and trendy nightclubs, you’ll find that the Greater Fort Lauderdale area offers a myriad of family-friendly and affordable activities that will truly make your vacation a trip to remember. And thanks to South Florida’s sub-tropical climate, just about everything is available year round!
Fort Lauderdale Beach
It won’t cost you a dime to set foot on this impressive stretch of real estate, which has been certified a Blue Wave Beach by the Clean Beaches Council of Washington DC since 1999. There are lots of activities such as kayaking and jet skiing to keep you busy, along with beachfront shops and plenty of sidewalk cafes to chase away your hunger.
International Swimming Hall of Fame/Fort Lauderdale Aquatic Complex
A block away from the beach is the Swimming Hall of Fame, containing the largest collection of aquatic memorabilia in the world and a fully automated video experience where you can watch programs such as vintage Olympic Games footage. Admission is $8 for adults, $4 for students, and free for kids under 6 and active military. Public swimming at the state-of-the-art Aquatic Complex is just $5 per adult and $4 for students, seniors, and military members.
Fort Lauderdale Riverwalk
Stroll through the heart of Fort Lauderdale on this one-mile brick pathway that meanders along lush tropical foliage and the picturesque New River. Points of interest along the way include:
- The Museum of Discovery and Science and IMAX Theater: Experience innovative exhibits and hands-on fun at the museum. Admission is $14 for adults, $12 for ages 2 to 12, and children under two are free. Click here for IMAX rates and combo deals. Obtain a special coupon for $3 parking here (a huge savings over area garage rates).
- Fort Lauderdale History Center: Tour historic buildings such as the 1905 New River Inn. Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for students. On the first Sunday of every month between October and May, they offer a free walking tour of the New River area where the first settlement was established in the 1800’s.
- SunTrust Sunday Jazz Brunch: Settle down on your lawn chairs or blankets to enjoy this free outdoor concert series on the first Sunday of every month from 11am to 2pm in Esplanade Park, 400 SW 2nd St., Fort Lauderdale (across from the Museum of Discovery and Science).
- Broward Center for the Performing Arts: Free behind-the-scenes tours are offered every Monday at 1pm and on the first Sunday of the month during the Sun Trust Sunday Jazz Brunch at 12:00 noon, 12:45pm, and 1:30pm. Further information: (954) 765-5831.
- Carrie B Cruise Tours: The 112 foot paddlewheel boat features fully narrated tours of the New River, Intracoastal Waterway, and Port Everglades. The price is $22.95 for adults, $12.95 for ages 3 to 12, and kids under 3 are free. A $2 off coupon is available at the Great Locations website. Print the coupon and purchase tickets at the pier to avoid the $2.50 per ticket fee levied by the independent reservations website.
- Las Olas Boulevard: Accessible by Riverwalk, Water Taxi, and Sun Trolley, you’ll find a dazzling array of higher-end boutiques, cafes, and art galleries perfect for sightseeing and window shopping.
Hop aboard Fort Lauderdale’s Sun Trolley to get to many area attractions for only fifty cents or for free, depending on the route. The trolley is a “wave and ride” system—simply wait somewhere along the route, wave to the driver, and they’ll pick you up!
This is a unique way to get around as well as sightsee, and your all-day pass entitles you to unlimited rides in Fort Lauderdale and Hollywood: $20 for adults, $17 for seniors, and $13 for kids. Purchase after 5pm and the kids’ price kicks in for everyone! With Cruise and Save Discounts, show your same-day water taxi ticket for a discount at participating restaurants along the route.
International Game Fish Association Fishing Hall of Fame and Museum
Admission ($10 for adults and $5 for ages 3 to 16 and seniors) includes the museum, Journeys Theater, a wetlands walk where you can see live alligators, a fishing simulator, and a kids’ discovery area. Click here for a $1 off admission coupon. Bank of America/Merrill Lynch debit or credit cardholders can show their non-expired card and valid photo ID for free admission on the first full weekend of every month.
Dania Beach and the Dania Fishing Pier
Discover a more laid back atmosphere on this Blue Wave Certified Beach. There’s no entrance fee, but parking will run you $1.50 per hour. Walk out onto the 974 foot fishing pier for breathtaking vistas of the shoreline. Admission wristbands, at $2 to sightsee and $3 to fish, let you come and go all day. Fishing pole rental is available for $10. When hunger strikes, I recommend an outdoor table at the Quarterdeck restaurant located on the pier.
Hollywood Beach and the Hollywood Broadwalk
(No, that’s not a typo.) This spectacular Blue Wave Certified Beach is bordered by the famous 2.5 mile Broadwalk and bicycle path as well as plenty of stores, restaurants, three oceanfront parks, and the Hollywood Beach Theater where you’ll enjoy free concerts! For just $1, the Hollywood Trolley transports you between the beach and downtown.
Arts Park at Young’s Circle
Enjoy a range of free events from art activities for children to weekly movie night at this ten acre circular park. There’s even free parking in downtown Hollywood!
This is a guest post by Deidre from Dania Beach, FL
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