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Things to Do in Fort Lauderdale: Before or After Your Cruise

Fort Lauderdale is a popular location for Carnival cruises to depart from. In addition to being home to warm, sunny weather, cruises from Fort Lauderdale can take vacationers to The Bahamas, the Caribbean, Mexico and even Bermuda!

When planning a cruise, it’s easy to overlook the port city you’ll be starting and ending your cruise from. However, your port city can be much more than just the place you climb aboard your cruise ship — it can even be a bonus vacation!

If you are planning a cruise that starts in Fort Lauderdale, it’s worth looking into staying a few extra days before and/or after the cruise itself. With so much to eat, see and do, you can make the most from your time off by taking advantage of all the Fort Lauderdale has to offer.

view of fort Lauderdale beach

Here are a few of the best ways to spend time in Fort Lauderdale before or after your cruise vacation.

Shopping in Fort Lauderdale

Fort Lauderdale is a vibrant city and is also a popular location for Floridians who want a weekend getaway or daycation. As a result, there are lots of places to go for excellent shopping.

If you forgot to bring that great outfit you were planning to wear on your cruise, you can take advantage of one of Fort Lauderdale’s many shopping centers. Try the upscale shopping mall or the outlet shops which boasts more than 350 distinct stores — more than enough for even the most ardent shopaholics!

Las Olas Boulevard

Anyone who spends time in Fort Lauderdale will inevitably find themselves on Las Olas Boulevard. This is a lively and popular street packed with restaurants, art exhibitions and galleries, and lots of stores perfect for window shopping (or actual shopping, if you feel like treating yourself).

las olas boulevard in fort lauderdale, florida

Las Olas Riverwalk

This open-air mall is located near the heart of Downtown Fort Lauderdale and offers world-class views of the city’s most luxurious yachts sailing down New River. Of course, there’s also plenty of shopping available here as well.

nighttime at riverwalk in fort lauderdale, florida

Downtown Hollywood

If you want to get a taste of old-school Florida, Downtown Hollywood is a solid bet. Not only are the stores friendly and lively, but the surrounding ambiance will make you understand why Floridians have so much pride in the history of their state.

Cuisine in Fort Lauderdale

As a metropolitan city, Fort Lauderdale has a wide variety of restaurants and cuisines to choose from.

Perhaps the most popular and exciting area to eat in Fort Lauderdale is the Riverwalk Arts & Entertainment District. As the name suggests, this beachfront district is packed with incredible food. Make sure to head here before (or after) your cruise!

Sightseeing in Fort Lauderdale

In addition to offering incredible shopping and dining, Fort Lauderdale is also well-known for excellent sightseeing and tourist attractions. Here are just a few of the many you can choose from.

Fort Lauderdale Beach

Near many of the resorts and hotels, Fort Lauderdale Beach has plenty of bright sand and sparkling water for you to enjoy. The beach offers incredible views of the ocean, and you might even be able to see your cruise ship in the distance!

beach at fort lauderdale, florida

The International Swimming Hall of Fame

If you like museums, the International Swimming Hall of Fame is worth a visit. In addition to historical images and records, the complex has a research library for anyone who wants to learn on their vacation.

Stranahan House

The Stranahan House is the former home of Frank Stranahan, an Ohio businessman who had a successful barge ferry business at the turn of the 20th century.

Everglades Holiday Park

Florida is well-known for the Florida Everglades, and Everglades Holiday Park is the perfect place to get a taste of what it’s all about. Just keep an eye out for gators!

man kayaking the florida everglades

The Bonnet House

The Bonnet House is recognized as a landmark by the National Register of Historic Places, and it’s easy to see why. The massive 36-acre estate has a bevy of artwork and landscaping that will make you wish you were a member of the Bartlett family!

Hugh Taylor Birch State Park

This 180-acre park is a tranquil spot to enjoy an afternoon and is a great way to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the city itself.

hugh taylor birch state park sign

It is definitely worth making the most out of your vacation. If at all possible, take a few days before and after your cruise to explore and enjoy the incredible city of Fort Lauderdale!