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A popular cruise departure point, as well as a stop for many transatlantic and longer cruises, Fort Lauderdale, FL is no stranger to cruisers. Whether you are looking to spend a day before or after a cruise, or while in port, our pick for the Best Things to do in Fort Lauderdale on a Cruise is sure to have something to keep you occupied while you are spending the day in the Venice of America.

Best Things to Do in Fort Lauderdale on a Cruise

Visit Las Olas

This trendy Ft. Lauderdale locale offers plenty of shopping and dining opportunities, not to mention art galleries, historic homes, and the Riverwalk. Whether you choose to stroll the area by foot, wave down a Sun Trolley, or hop on a Water Taxi, Las Olas is a must visit destination and one of the Best Things to Do in Ft. Lauderdale on a Cruise. You can spend the day window shopping at some high end boutiques and art galleries then stick around for some lunch or dinner. Whether you decide to dine at the casual Mango’s, the popular Royal Pig, or our pick La Bonne Crepe, you are sure to please your palette.

Best Things to Do in Ft. Lauderdale on a CruiseBest Things to Do in Fort Lauderdale on a Cruise – Las Olas

While in the area, you might want to check out the NSU Art Museum which houses over 6,000 works of art influenced by the diverse South Florida culture or the Stranahan House. This oldest residence in Fort Lauderdale is now a museum and offers daily guided tours. If you want more shopping while in Ft. Lauderdale, check out the Sawgrass Mills, a large indoor outlet mall housing more than 350 stores.

Best Things to Do in Fort Lauderdale on a CruiseBest Things to Do in Fort Lauderdale on a Cruise – Stranahan House

Explore the Intercoastal Waterways

Las Olas is just one of the many attractions in Ft. Lauderdale located off the Intercoastal Waterways. There is no better way to get a glimpse of this “Venice of America” than cruising on the river. The Water Taxi’s Ft. Lauderdale route offers several hop on, hop off locations with pickups every 30 minutes allowing you to customize your day in Ft. Lauderdale. Sit back and enjoy the sights or hop off to explore Las Olas, the Riverwalk, Ft. Lauderdale Beach, and more.

7 Reasons to Take a Jungle Queen Riverboat CruiseBest Things to Do in Fort. Lauderdale on a Cruise – Millionaire’s Row

If you prefer a more structured tour of the New River, you should consider a Jungle Queen Riverboat Cruise. Sailing the waterways for more than 80 years, these experts offer a variety of sightseeing cruises, some of which include a stop at their private tropical isle or dinner and a show. These fully narrated tours will showcase Millionaire’s Row with homes of the rich and famous, mega yachts, and plenty of other sights to behold. If you need an excuse to book this cruise, check out our 7 reasons to take a Jungle Queen Cruise.

Oasis of the Seas Western Caribbean Cruise ReviewBest Things to Do in Fort Lauderdale on a Cruise – Jungle Queen

Take a Ride on the Wild Side

No visit to Ft. Lauderdale would be complete without exploring the Everglades. Everglades National Park is the largest subtropical wilderness in the United States and is home to several species of birds, fish, and of course, alligators. You could plan a visit to this 1.5 million acre sanctuary on your own to explore on a number of hiking, biking, and kayaking adventures, but we suggest taking an airboat ride.

Best Things to Do in Ft. Lauderdale on a CruiseBest Things to Do in Fort Lauderdale on a Cruise – Airboat Ride

Sawgrass Recreation Park and Everglades Holiday Park are two of the more popular area attractions. At Sawgrass Recreation Park, you can take in some animal exhibits showcasing alligators, Florida panthers, and 15 other species of animals in addition to a daytime or nighttime airboat ride. If you plan to be in the area for a few days, you might want to purchase an Adventure Pass which includes admission to a number of other area attractions including Jungle Island and the Perez Art Museum. At Everglades Holiday Park, you can witness a Gator Boys show, a popular Animal Planet television hit, along with some awesome animal encounters. For a full description of an airboat ride at Everglades Holiday Park, see our review of this popular shore excursion.

Relax at the Beach

Fort Lauderdale Beach is one of the most popular beaches in all of Florida, so naturally it should make your list of the Best Things to Do in Ft. Lauderdale. While less of a party scene than the beaches in Miami, Ft. Lauderdale Beach is equally beautiful and offers a relaxing way to spend a pre-cruise or post cruise day. This sandy stretch of coastline is marked by the famous wave wall and paved promenade with multiple public access points from the Fort Lauderdale Beach Park to Oakland Park. The area also boasts several bars, restaurants, and hotels. The Ft. Lauderdale Beach Park offers some other fun in the sun options including a kid’s park and sports courts. Ft. Lauderdale Beach is conveniently located less than 2 miles from the cruise port and nearby several area attractions, so you might even want to consider a beachfront pre-cruise hotel stay at one of many fine hotels including W Fort Lauderdale or Westin Beach Resort and Spa, among others.

Best Things to Do in Fort Lauderdale on a CruiseBest Things to Do in Fort Lauderdale on a Cruise – Ft. Lauderdale Beach Park

Mai Kai Revue Show

If you are looking for a little nighttime fun in Fort Lauderdale, how about dinner and a show at Mai Kai. Since its opening in 1956, this Polynesian dinner show has become a legend with locals and tourists alike. The South Pacific décor, tropical drinks, and cuisine set the scene for the 90-minute revue show featuring song and dance from the Polynesian culture. With show times available on Fridays at 7pm and 9:30pm and on Saturdays at 6:30pm, 9:30pm, and 11:30pm, this might be the perfect activity for those arriving to Ft. Lauderdale the day before their cruise. Dinner is served before the show and can be purchased a la carte or as a three course dinner and show for $47 per person. Reservations are recommended. If you prefer to just take in the show, the current price is $13.95. After experiencing a taste of the South Seas, you are sure to agree this is one of the Best Things to Do in Ft. Lauderdale on a cruise.


How do you spend your pre-cruise or post cruise days in Fort Lauderdale? What tops your list of Best Things to Do in Ft. Lauderdale on a Cruise? Drop us an anchor below to share your favorite activities near the popular Port Everglades.

Best Things to Do in Fort Lauderdale on a Cruise

About the Author

DB & The Princess

Welcome Aboard!We are Don and Heidi, the husband and wife travel team behind We took our first cruise vacation together 10 years ago and have been hooked ever since.Follow along as we share our travel tips, cruise reviews, information on ports of call, and the latest cruise news to help you plan the ultimate cruise vacation. Are you ready to embark on your journey to “sea the world, one port at a time”? Read More...

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