The author of Day Trips from Fort Lauderdale

15 Epic Day Trips from Fort Lauderdale (in 2023)

There are a lot of epic things to do in Fort Lauderdale for travelers and locals alike. But the best part about the city is its unique position as a launching point for day trips from Fort Lauderdale to the rest of Florida’s southern tip.

I lived in Fort Lauderdale for nearly four years. I spent every weekend exploring new places and even earned my captain license so I could sail even more around the area. I’ve carefully selected this list of the absolute best Fort Lauderdale day trips to help you enjoy you find something fun to do near Fort Lauderdale.

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15 Best Fort Lauderdale Day Trips

Shark Valley in Everglades National Park

Outdoor adventure abounds at my favorite region of Everglades National Park.

The author near a gator in Shark Alley
Alligators near the walking path are a common sight to see at Shark Valley!

🗺️ Distance from Fort Lauderdale: 1 hour + 15 minutes | 📍 Google Maps | Shark Valley Website | 👉 Book an Everglades Airboat Tour from Ft Lauderdale

Watch your step along this 14-mile loop in Everglades National Park – and no, don’t let the name fool you, it’s not shark tails you’ll be tripping over. Rather, you’ll need to watch out for Florida’s most famous reptile: the American Alligator. And lots of them!  

Of all the regions to visit in Everglades National Park, Shark Valley is my favorite. Visitors can hike, bike, or take a trolley to an old fire tower for breathtaking view of the Everglades featuring miles of sawgrass peppered with cypress domes and tropical hammocks.

Oh, and don’t forget to snap a picture with yourself near an alligator – just be sure to keep a safe distance!

👉 PRO TIP: If you’re visiting Florida, don’t miss that classic Everglades airboat tour experience! I suggest this airboat tour from Fort Lauderdale with nearly a thousand five star reviews and Viator’s Badge of Excellence. 

Bimini, The Bahamas

Yes, you read that right: The Bahamas. You can take a day trip from Fort Lauderdale directly to another country!

The author in blue water in the Bimini, one of the best day trips from Ft Lauderdale
Swimming pool or Bimini?  I’ll let you decide.

🗺️ Distance from Fort Lauderdale: 2 hour boat ride | 📍 Google Maps | Bimini’s Website | 👉 Book a Day Cruise to the Bahamas from Ft Lauderdale

Balearia Caribbean, a massive ferry docked in Port Everglades, will jet you into the Atlantic Ocean, across the Gulf Stream and onto an island paradise known as Bimini. You will spend the day exploring lush, tropical beaches while splashing into the clearest, blue water north of the Caribbean.

PRO TIP: take motion sickness medication the NIGHT BEFORE if you’re susceptible to sea sickness!


A hidden gem filled with history, nature, and beautiful clear water.

View of lighthouse at Jupiter with water in foreground
Could you climb the lighthouse? 

🗺️ Distance from Fort Lauderdale: 1 hour | 📍 Google Maps | 👉 Book a Clear Bottom Kayaking Tour

Possibly the most underrated day trip from Fort Lauderdale is the town of Jupiter. History buffs will enjoy climbing the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse (first illuminated in 1860). Adventurers can find sport fishing, shark diving, and clear-bottom kayaking tours. 

Nature lovers can explore rare ecology in Jupiter at Jonathan Dickinson State Park and Blowing Rocks Preserve. And families will love the Loggerhead Marinelife Center, where you can spend hours viewing sea turtles as they rehab for life back in the wild.

If you need more ideas for what to do in Jupiter, check out my epic post on the topic!

Biscayne Bay National Park

A unique US national park that can only be explored by boat!

The author on a boat in Biscayne National Park
Some of the 5% land found in Biscayne National Park.

🗺️ Distance from Fort Lauderdale: 1 hour & 15 minutes | 📍 Google Maps | Biscayne Bay National Park Website 

In a park that’s 95% water, there’s only one way to explore: by boat. And that’s exactly what you’ll find when you visit Biscayne Bay National Park’s visitor center in Homestead. Sightseeing cruises and boat tours will bring you to the historic Boca Chita Key & lighthouse.

Other points of interest within Biscayne Bay National Park are the hiking trails on Elliott Key, Stiltsville (an old prohibition town in the water), Jones Lagoon, and Fowey Rocks lighthouse.

 🍊 LOCAL TIP: after a day on the water, I highly recommend visiting Robert Is Here in Homestead. This unique market offers the rarest selection of tropical fruit, homemade jams, sauces and some of the best milkshakes you’ll ever slurp on.

Rent a Sailboat & Explore the Ocean

My favorite activity near Fort Lauderdale has to be sailing! But you don’t need your captain’s license to get on the water.

The author of Day Trips from Fort Lauderdale
The ocean is always a sail away in Fort Lauderdale!

👉 Rent a Sailboat via Sailo!

As a Captain and sailor myself, I must say this is the ultimate day trip in Fort Lauderdale.  For most, you come to Fort Lauderdale to enjoy the water – what better way to do so than to hop on a boat? 

The easiest place to find and rent a boat is on Sailo.

Sailo is sort of like Airbnb but for boats, and Fort Lauderdale is one of their busiest hubs with many different vessels to choose from.

Don’t worry, you can also hire a captain with the boat if you don’t feel comfortable sailing on your own!  If sailing isn’t for you, try a fishing charter, sunset cruise, wildlife paddle, or a city booze cruise. Regardless, in some capacity, you definitely need to get out on the water!

Alternatively, if hiring a boat isn’t in the budget, you could always join one of my top suggested Fort Lauderdale boat tours.

West Palm Beach

Whether you want a beach day or a museum-hopping experience, West Palm Beach makes for a fun escape.

A yellow stingray near West Palm Beach
A yellow stingray spotted while snorkeling at Blue Heron Bridge in West Palm Beach

🗺️ Distance from Fort Lauderdale: 45 minutes | 📍 Google Maps | 👉 Browse Top Rated West Palm Beach Tours

Visitors can find tons of things to do in West Palm Beach for a fun day trip. Some of the many popular tours include half day fishing aboard Miss Blue Heron or snorkeling at the world famous Blue Heron Bridge. The bridge is a unique site for wildlife viewing as snorkelers frequently spot rare species like manta rays and seahorses!  

Seeking a beach day? Head to Ocean Reef Park just north of town – it’s my favorite spot to soak up the sun when visiting for the day.

For those more inclined to explore a museum, the city has plenty of those too. The Norton Art Museum is the best of the bunch with art galleries and sculpture gardens spread throughout the property.

🛎️ Looking for a place to stay in Fort Lauderdale? I wrote up a detailed guide on the best area to stay in the Fort Lauderdale area.

Key Biscayne

A beautiful natural escape that’s located surprisingly close to the city.

View of the lighthouse and shoreline at Key Biscayne
The top of the lighthouse is one of the best views in South Florida.

🗺️ Distance from Fort Lauderdale: 45 minutes – 1 hour | 📍 Google Maps 

Just south of Miami lies Key Biscayne – a surprising escape to nature from the big city. Locals and tourists alike flock to the island to view wildlife, relax in turquoise waters and secluded beaches, and enjoy water sports like paddling or sailing. 

You can rent a bike to explore the island more thoroughly before climbing a 19th century lighthouse in Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park. And honestly, the scenic drive is worth the trip alone with stunning views of Biscayne Bay, the Atlantic Ocean and downtown Miami. 


Miami is a day trip that needs no introduction, but that offers more to do than you might know!

A car in front of the colorful Wynwood Walls
The scenery in Wynwood is always changing. (photo: pio3 / Depositphotos)

🗺️ Distance from Fort Lauderdale: 30 – 45 minutes | 📍 Google Maps | 👉 Book a Wynwood Arts District Walking Tour

Contrary to prevailing opinion, Miami offers more things to do than just nightlife. Miami’s Frost Museum of Science has one of the world’s most amazing aquariums. Art districts like Wynwood offer some fantastic walking tours for an affordable, and safe, exploration of the streets of Miami.

Bayside Marketplace is the perfect combo of high-end shopping and scenic views of Biscayne Bay. And let’s not forget the food: Miami is a culinary haven for Latin America with Versailles in Little Havana as the best display of this influence.

And, ok, I must say that Miami’s nightlife is pretty epic too. Check out the nightclubs, restaurants, bars, breweries and salsa clubs spread throughout neighborhoods like Brickell, Little Havana, and Wynwood.

And if you want to explore further in the area, see my guide to the best day trips near Miami.

Miami Beach

Fancy beach bars, designer boutiques, and vibrant nightlife are all on the menu at Miami Beach.

The author sitting on a sign near Miami Beach Florida
There’s more to do in Miami Beach than just party! 

🗺️ Distance from Fort Lauderdale: 45 minutes – 1 hour | 📍 Google Maps

Miami Beach is the postcard image you see of South Florida: art deco, the rich and famous, gorgeous stretches of sand, and wild nightlife.

South Beach is the epicenter of the action. Sip a margarita at one of the bars and restaurants here before sinking your toes into the white sand across the street.

A block away check out Collins Avenue, where you can find shops, fancy restaurants, art deco hotels and the night clubs that make South Beach so famous.

🏖️ Local Tip: for a more relaxing day trip to Miami Beach, plan your beach day for South Pointe Park.  The crowds tend to avoid this spot – making it a locals’ favorite.

Key Largo / The Florida Keys

Key West is a bit too far, but there are some lesser-known Florida Keys that make for the perfect excursion from Fort Lauderdale.

A woman dives near Key Largo
Key Largo is home to the only natural coral reef in the United States

🗺️ Distance from Fort Lauderdale: 1 hour & 45 minutes | 📍 Google Maps | 👉 Top Suggested Snorkeling Tour

Many people conflate all of the Florida Keys with Key West, but there’s so much more to be explored. The Florida Keys is made up of multiple, and distinct, cities spanning the length of 100+ miles. Key Largo is the first of the bunch, and one of the best day trips from Fort Lauderdale.

Home to the only coral reef in the continental United States, you’d be remiss if you didn’t go snorkeling, scuba diving, or climb aboard a glass bottom boat during your Key Largo visit.

After your boat tour, be sure to stop at Sharkey’s, a local watering hole with some delicious Caribbean-style bites like fresh fish, conch chowder and key lime pie.

🚗 Local Tip: if you’re wanting to visit Key West, I recommend you plan on staying for a few days, and book one of Booking’s top Key West hotels for your stay.

Fort Myers Beach

Watch rare tortoises while swinging in a hammock, or go hunting for sand dollars.

Aerial view of the long boardwalk at the Fort Myers Beach on a sunny day
Fort Myers beach is a great place to find sand dollars! (photo: Gage Goulding / Shutterstock)

🗺️ Distance from Fort Lauderdale: 2 hours | 📍 Google Maps 

Surprisingly, the Gulf of Mexico is closer than you think. Fort Myers Beach is definitely one of the best day trips from Fort Lauderdale for wildlife viewing!

On your way over to Fort Myers Beach, make a stop at Big Cypress National Preserve, one of the best things to do in South Florida, to catch a glimpse of the rare Florida panther.

Once in Fort Myers, our favorite stop is Lovers Key State Park, where you’ll see endangered gopher tortoises while hiking through tropical hammock. Keep your eyes peeled for dolphins and manatees as you paddle through mangrove channels. And finally, sift for sand dollars along the state park’s white sand beach. Great fun for the whole family!

Big Cypress National Preserve

This incredible preserve is a great place to reconnect with nature.

An air boat in Big Cypress National Park

🗺️ Distance from Fort Lauderdale: 30 – 45 minutes | 📍 Google Maps | Big Cypress National Preserve Website | 👉 Book an Everglades Swamp Walk

Speaking of Big Cypress National Preserve, this place is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream. It’s one of the few places left in Florida that encapsulates what natural Florida used to look like. And honestly, you could spend days camping, hiking, paddling, wildlife viewing and birding in the park. Oh, and if you’re lucky, you might just encounter the elusive Florida Panther.

👉 Ever Heard of a Cypress Slog? It’s a term you’ll commonly hear in these parts, and it’s essentially hiking through the mud. Dirty? Obviously. Fun? Extremely! This suggested Everglades Swamp Walk tour combines slog hikes with airboat tours throughout Big Cypress and the Florida Everglades. It is definitely a full yet fun day trip for the family!

Delray Beach

One of my favorite beaches, both for the sand and for the many dining and drinking options.

The author walking along a path to Delray Beach
The city has made a great effort to preserve their beaches!

🗺️ Distance from Fort Lauderdale: 35 minutes | 📍 Google Maps | Delray Beach Website

Delray Beach mixes the flair of South Florida with the vibe of Florida’s north Atlantic towns. The beach itself is gorgeous – free of the towering condos often found along Florida’s coasts.

For more fun after the beach, head up to Atlantic Avenue. Foodies and drink aficionados will enjoy the wide array of gastropubs, taquerias, breweries, and local seafood joints. End the day at the Tin Roof for karaoke and live music before heading back to Fort Lauderdale!

👉 Read Next: The Best Fort Lauderdale Beaches

Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino

A building that is just as unique from the inside as it is from the outside.

View of the exterior of the Seminole Hard Rock guitar-shaped casino and hotel
I can honestly say this is Fort Lauderdale’s most interesting day trip.

🗺️ Distance from Fort Lauderdale: 20 minutes | 📍 Google Maps | Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Website | 👉 Book a Stay in the Guitar

I had to include the Hard Rock Casino in my list of day trips from Fort Lauderdale because this place is an architectural wonder. The world-famous building is literally a guitar jetting upwards from the urban sprawl.

And yes, the inside is equally as astounding as the outside, resembling a city rather than a hotel. Inside you’ll find high end shops, restaurants, art galleries, night clubs, concert venues and even a lagoon with island bungalows.


Find family fun at Orlando’s theme parks, or an alternative city break to Miami.

View of Orlando skyline at sunset with palm trees
Who can resist a trip to this place? 

🗺️ Distance from Fort Lauderdale: 3 hours | 📍 Google Maps | Visit Orlando’s Website

Sick of the sun, sand, and salt? Consider an excursion to Orlando!

Orlando is a quick three hour drive up Florida’s Turnpike, where you can explore any of Disney World’s theme parks, SeaWorld, Universal Studios, and many more fun things to do in Orlando.

Orlando definitely makes for one of the lengthier Fort Lauderdale excursions, but Orlando is totally worthwhile as one of your day trips from Fort Lauderdale. Alternatively, consider booking one of these Orlando resorts in Orlando and crashing for the night.

📚 Related Reading: If you’re spending more time in Orlando, be sure to check out our local writer Katie’s epic post rattling off all the best Orlando day trips!

FAQs About Day Trips from Fort Lauderdale

What are the best day trips from Fort Lauderdale?

The best day trips from Fort Lauderdale include taking a ferry to Bimini, The Bahamas, exploring the vibrant city of Miami, and visiting Shark Valley, my favorite part of Everglades National Park.

What are some fun day trips within 1 hour of Fort Lauderdale?

Some fun day trips within 1 hour of Fort Lauderdale include the seaside town Jupiter, the city of Miami, and the beach town West Palm Beach.


Which of these day trips from Fort Lauderdale are you most excited for? Which tour seems like the most fun?

My favorite excursion from Fort Lauderdale is Jupiter while my favorite activity is sailing (I may be biased though). But let me know what you think in the comment section below! 

Have fun on your Fort Lauderdale day trip!

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  1. Thank you for this article! I did a simple google search for hiking in Broward County, and this popped up. It’s a perfect starting point for me.

    1. Excellent! Although Broward County has few hiking locations, a day trip from the urban sprawl into the Everglades or other nearby parks is a great way to spend your time in the outdoors! Just bring lots of bug spray, sunscreen, and water!


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