Overview | What to Do | Other Attractions | Get Around | Eat & Drink | Stay in Touch | Shopping | Where to Stay
Fort Lauderdale is a thriving city located on the Atlantic coast of South Florida. Nicknamed the "Venice of America" due to its intricate canal system, Fort Lauderdale has developed an enormous yachting subculture with more than 42,000 resident yachts and 100 marinas. It offers the same beautiful beaches that tourists are drawn to in South Florida, only without the high prices characteristic of Miami. Downtown Fort Lauderdale's booming nightlife, amongst which are the bars and nightlife of Las Olas Boulevard, won't disappoint those looking for pulsing beats and tasty drinks. There are over 160 cruises departing from Fort Lauderdale to all Caribbean destinations. Find the best cruise here.
Port Everglades, named after the Everglades National Park, is located in Boward County—about three minutes from Fort Lauderdale—adjacent to the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) (see map). It is one of the busiest container ports in the U.S., hence it features the largest cruise terminal in the world, and is the homeport of Royal Caribbean Cruise Line's Oasis of the Seas and the Allure of the Seas, the world's two largest passenger cruise ships. English is the official national language, but because of the high population of Latin American immigrants, Spanish and Creole are spoken widely. The national currency is the US Dollar (USD), but you can exchange money at the airport, one of the various hotels, or a bank. There are many ATMs located throughout the city and in the cruise terminal.
The Bonnet House Museum and Garden capture a piece of Florida's history as well as the life of acclaimed artist Frederic Clay Bartlett. The beautiful architecture of the 1920's plantation-style home is complemented by the tropical gardens that surround the waterfront property.
How to Get There: The Bonnet House is about 6 miles north of Port Everglades. If you're planning on driving, assume it will take you about 15 minutes to get there (see map).
South Beach has a little something for everybody. Relax on the beach, take your pick of the numerous restaurants lining Ocean Drive, and shop up and down Washington Avenue, and end the day at one of the countless bars. From Art Deco-style hotels like the Colony Hotel, to opulent ones like the Setai, South Beach unites the old with the new, and the classic with contemporary luxury.
How to Get There: South Beach is located slightly over 30 miles south of Port Everglades. Take a 40-minute drive to hang out at this world-renowned location (see map).
Las Olas Boulevard
Las Olas Boulevard is a must-see destination. This trendy strip has boutiques, restaurants, cafes and art galleries that are perfect for family time during the day and bar hopping at night.
How to Get There: The active hotspot can be reached in about 10 minutes by car as it's about 3 miles north from Port Everglades (see map). For a night out somewhere closer to the port, this is one of your better options.
Everglades National Park
Everglades National Park is the largest subtropical wilderness in the United States. Designed as a World Heritage Site, the International Biosphere Reserve and Wetland of International Importance, The Florida Everglades National Park is known to people across the world. It contains rare and endangered animal species such as the Florida Panther, Manatee, American Alligator and American Crocodile, as well as many unique plant species.
How to Get There: The park is 73 miles southwest from Port Everglades and can be reached in an about an hour and half by car (see map).
Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino
Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino is more than just a hotel and casino; it's an entertainment destination. With over 15 shops, a variety of excellent restaurants, bars and active nightclubs, not to mention the table games, slots and poker room, the Hard Rock certainly lives up to its name.
How to Get There: Located only 15 minutes southwest of Port Everglades (see map).
Hollywood Beach won't disappoint. Tourists looking for a lovely beach flock to this family-oriented oasis with beautiful rock-free sand. There's a lifeguard on duty, but try to exercise caution while swimming regardless. Rent a bike or stroll down the boardwalk where you'll find restaurants, bars, and all kinds of interesting shops worth visiting.
How to Get There: The beach is located about nine miles south of Port Everglades; it's approximately 19 minutes by car depending on the traffic (see map).
Las Olas Beach
Las Olas Beach is the South Beach of Fort Lauderdale. The fashionable and trendy strip is perfect for people watching during the day, and/or bar hopping at night. Don't be surprised if you see a giant yacht or a celebrity walking by; it's just that kind of place! In addition to its nightlife and prestige, the cleanliness of this beach makes it the perfect spot for any summer activity.
How to Get There: The beach is located a mere 3 miles away from Port Everglades (see map). You can try to walk there, or take a ride there in eight minutes.
In the continental United States, Florida has the only extensive shallow coral reef formations on its coasts. These reefs extend from just north of West Palm Beach to the Dry Tortugas, slightly to the west of Key West. The Florida Keys are among the 6,000 coral reefs in the system found between Key Biscayne and the Dry Tortugas. Below are a few diving companies that operate out of Ft. Lauderdale and the Florida Keys.
Sea Experience is the only dive boat and dive shop in South Florida located in a Resort Hotel and Marina.
How to Get There: Conveniently located 4 miles north of Port Everglades (see map), you can either stroll there or take a nine minute cab ride.
South Beach Divers
South Beach Divers operates out of South Beach and is one of the go-to scuba sources in the area because it is a PADI 5 Star Facility in the heart of Miami.
How to Get There: It's about a 40-minute car drive to get there. Located in South Beach, the scuba center is 30 miles away from Port Everglades (see map).
Captain Slate's Atlantis Dive Center
Captain Slate's Atlantis Dive Center operates out of Key Largo, and is considered to be the premier dive, snorkel and glass bottom boat operator.
How to Get There: The drive will take about an hour and half (see map).
The Airboat Tours at Sawgrass Recreational Park
The Airboat Tours at Sawgrass Recreational Park are an exciting way to experience Florida's most symbolic and beautiful ecosystem. Enjoy a 30-minute airboat ride filled with pre-historic reptiles and stories about the Seminole Tribe that populated the everglades for thousands of years!
How to Get There: Their website suggests using the directions provided by them as the directions provided by the web tend to be highly inaccurate from their experience. You can check them out here. Do keep in mind that the tours are located about an hour and a half away from Port Everglades.
Las Olas Gondola Tours
Las Olas Gondola Tours are perfect for a romantic evening amongst the canals of the "Venice of the Americas." Explore what the city has to offer in an authentic Italian gondola, and then pick one of the exquisite restaurants to top off the night.
How to Get There: Conveniently located three miles or nine minutes north of Port Everglades (see map), the tours are a great way to rekindle the romance with a special someone.
Duck Tours are one of the best ways to see Ft. Lauderdale with the whole family. This 90-minute excursion will show you the best landmarks on land and sea, with the charismatic captains that have made Duck Tours so popular.
How to Get There: Located just 2.8 miles and seven minutes away from Port Everglades (see map), Duck Tours are a great way to get to know Ft. Lauderdale in no time.
The Club at Emerald Hills
The Club at Emerald Hills is the host course for the Doral and the Honda Open qualifying tournaments, it has also been previously selected as one of the host sites for the US Open. The 7,368-yard, par 72 course is a serious challenge with its undulating hills and greens, contoured bunkers and many water hazards.
How to Get There: The course is located 8 miles southwest of Port Everglades (see map) making it not only a reputable place to golf, but also very convenient since it's only a 15-minute drive.
Fairmont Turnberry Isle
Fairmont Turnberry Isle is a Fort Lauderdale Golf Resort that features two championship courses to choose from the 6,472 yard, par 70 Miller Course and the 7,047 yard, par 71 Soffer Course.
How to Get There: Located about a half hour away from Port Everglades, this course is 14 miles south of the port (see map).
Doral Golf Resort
The Doral Golf Resort offers five courses, one of which is the famed Blue Monster. The TPC Blue Monster at Doral is home to the WGC Championship, a regular stop on the PGA Tour. Its 18th hole is roundly regarded as of the best holes in golf. This is a 7,125-yard, par 72 course.
How to Get There: The Doral Golf Resort is located about 33 miles southwest of Port Everglades, or about a 40-minute drive south (see map).
The port is surrounded by an industrial area and busy highways that are not pedestrian friendly despite the nearby hotels and restaurants. Areas such as Las Olas are safe for walking, but unless you are planning to stay in the area, you may require transportation to get there and back.
Taxis are metered but are readily available at the port. Fares to Downtown Ft. Lauderdale from the port are approximately $18, depending on the destination, and $10-$15 to and from Ft. Lauderdale International Airport (FLL).
Local public buses provide service from the North port section of Port Everglades. It's a bit of a hike from the cruise terminal, so it may not be the best option for arriving to and leaving from the port. However, if you are trying to get around the city or make the short trek down to Fort Lauderdale, public transportation is readily available, including TriRail, which services the tri-county area of Fort Lauderdale-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach County.
Most major car rental car companies either have offices at Port Everglade or offer shuttle services to their off-site locations. The Fort Lauderdale International Airport - Rental Car Center has an enormous facility where most rental car companies are represented, and shuttle service to and from the port.
Scooter and motorcycle rentals are very popular in the Ft. Lauderdale beach area. It's a fun way to get around town and enjoy the sun while getting doing it. There are several scooter rental companies in the Ft. Lauderdale area, listed below are a few option.
- American Eagle Rentals have both motorcycles and scooters for rent. They are located about six minutes, or 1.6 miles southwest of the port (see map).
- Fun Rentals has scooter, bicycle, ScootCoupes (similar to a go-cart), electric bike and even boogie board rentals. Located just seven minutes from Port Everglades, it's 2.7 miles north of the port (see map).
- Hot Scooter Rentals offers scooters, motorcycles (including the 3-wheeled Cam-Am Spider), bicycles and electric cars. The rental is located about 4.6 miles from Port Everglades, or about a 13-minute drive (see map).
Port Everglades to/from Airport
Port Everglades is the only port in the U.S. that is adjacent to a major airport, making it easy to fly and cruise on the same day. The taxi fare from Port Everglades to Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) is about $10. If you and your party are arriving via Miami International (MIA) and are going straight to Port Everglades, a taxi or shuttle is going to be your best option.
Garlic Crab had been one of the most famous foods in Fort Lauderdale for more than 60 years. A secret family recipe created the craze that attracts both, locals and tourists alike to this day. You can get them at The Rustic Inn Ft. Lauderdale Crabhouse, located about 7 miles southwest of Port Everglades (see map). Alternatively, you can get some Garlic Crab at almost any restaurant found on Las Olas.
Sex On The Beach is a fruity concoction made with vodka, peach schnapps, cranberry and orange juice. Some say that the cocktail has its origin a little north of Ft. Lauderdale in West Palm Beach, although some dispute this claim. Regardless, this is one tasty drink. You can get it at the world famous Elbo Room that was made a pop-culture landmark after Where the Boys Are, the classic 1960's movie, was filmed there. This is a wild party spot, so you don't want to take your kids here. The Elbo Room is located 2.6 miles north east of Port Everglades (see map), and it will take you about six minutes by car to get there.
Free Wi-Fi Internet is available at all Starbucks and McDonald's locations in the area. There are also several Internet Cafes located in Downtown and Fort Lauderdale Beach.
Where to Shop
Las Olas Boulevard is the perfect destination for upscale shopping in independently owned boutiques carrying specialty brands such as Tommy Bahama. Located about 2.7 miles north of Port Everglades (see map), you can reach it in about eight minutes.
Sawgrass Mills Mall is the second largest mall in Florida, and sixth largest in the U.S. With almost two and a half million square feet of restaurants, shops and outlet stores, make sure to bring comfortable shoes walking for walking around. Located about 20 minutes east of the port (see map), it makes for a great shopping outing.
Blown Glass with marine themes can make for great souvenirs. You can stop by Seldom Seen Gallery, located about five miles north of the port (see map), to get a few. While there, check out the eccentric gallery, it also carries sculptures, jewelry, ceramics and furniture.
Painted Sea Shells also make for nice and inexpensive gifts. There are plenty of small boutiques where you can find them, including on Las Olas Boulevard, but you can also check along the A1A on the beach.
Camp Shirts are some of the best souvenirs you can get. They are the perfect cruise shirts that can slightly dress you up for dinner, while being casual enough for deck-wear. Tommy Bahama has a wide variety of camp shirts made from quality fabrics. There are two locations that are within walking distance of each other (see map),
Renaissance Fort Lauderdale Cruise Port Hotel is one of the closest hotels to Port Everglades, located just a half a mile away (see map). The hotel is also a short drive from Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport, Dania Beach, and other attractions like the Riverwalk & Galleria Mall.
The Hilton Garden Inn Ft. Lauderdale Airport-Cruise Port is a three star hotel with room both in the budget and luxury categories. Located 5.5 miles from Port Everglades (see map), the hotel offers complimentary breakfast, shuttle service to and from Port Everglades, and parking for the duration of your cruise.
The Courtyard Fort Lauderdale Airport and Cruise Port Hotel is newly renovated with an impressive lobby and spacious room. The hotel is only 13 minutes away from Port Everglades, as well as, Fort-Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (see map). It offers complimentary high-speed Internet in every room, and shuttle service to Port Everglades.
The Harbor Beach Marriott Resort & Spa is located about two miles northeast of Port Everglades, six miles northeast of Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (see map). It is not only close to many of the attractions in the area, such as Los Olas Blvd., Las Olas Riverfront Hotel at which to extend your vacation. Cruise packages are available for pre and/or post cruise stays.