With sunkissed beaches, outdoor cafes, shopping galore and exciting attractions just minutes away, it's easy to trade airport blues for sunny hues.
Here are some ways to play, in under three hours, before your flight home.
Only two miles north of Port Everglades, you can experience the landscaped beachfront promenade with its signature white wave wall and brick paved path. Across the street, visit luxury hotels and Gallery at BeachPlace for casual fun, shopping, dining. Distance from the Port: 2.5 miles, approx. $16 taxi.*
las olas boulevard
Downtown Fort Lauderdale, lasolasboulevard.com
Stroll, people watch, sip a latte at an outdoor cafe or shop the chic boutiques along Las Olas Boulevard, a sophisticated mile of fashion, art and sidewalk cafes. Stop by the Stranahan House, a preserved 1900s house furnished with antiques of the era. Or "follow the red brick road" of Riverwalk, the landscaped park, to the Arts & Entertainment District. Distance from the Port: 3.9 miles, approx $16 taxi ride.*
riverwalk arts & entertainment district
Downtown Fort Lauderdale, 954-468-1541, riverwalk-ae.com
The heart of downtown Fort Lauderdale pulses with shopping, dining, waterfront parks and cultural attractions -- the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, Museum of Discovery & Science/Autonation 3D IMAX, Florida Grand Opera, Fort Lauderdale History Center, Museum of Art | Fort Lauderdale, Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival, and Stranahan House. All are along brick-lined Riverwalk, a meandering promenade that runs along the New River. The 22-block district includes chic Las Olas Blvd for fashion, dining and nightlife. Distance from the Port: 3.1 miles, approx $16 taxi ride.*
boat tours: intracoastal waterway & millionaire's row
fort lauderdale water taxi
Closest docks to Port Everglades are the Hilton Fort Lauderdale Marina and Hyatt Regency Pier 66. $25 unlimited all day, $15 after 5pm, includes deals at 50+ attractions/restaurants.
jungle queen riverboat
Bahia Mar Yachting Center on A1A. Daily, fully narrated sightseeing cruises down the "Venice of America," Fort Lauderdale's historic New River. See Millionaire's Row, and exotic birds, monkeys, lemurs and an alligator exhibition at the Island Village. Sightseeing cruises depart twice daily. Dinner cruises depart at 6pm. Prices start at $23.27. Distance from Port: 2 miles*
954-463-3440, anticipation.com/riverfront Las Olas Riverfront. 90-min sightseeing cruise. Every 2 hrs from 11am-3pm. Adults $23, Kids 4-16 $13, Under 4 free, 65+ $21. Distance from Port: 3 miles.*
bonnet house museums & gardens
900 N. Birch Rd., Fort Lauderdale 954-563-5393,bonnethouse.org This 35-acre estate, nestled between the beach and Intracoastal Waterway, was once home to artists Frederic and Evelyn Bartlett. Learn about Fort Lauderdale history, art, nature and a true love story. Open: Tues-Sat, 10am-4pm, Sun 11am-4pm, Last tour begins at 3:30pm. Closed Mon and Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's Day. Adults $20, seniors $18, children 6-12, $16, under 6 free. Distance from the Port: 4.2 miles.*
3750 S. Flamingo Rd., Davie
(954) 473-2955, flamingogardens.org
60-acre botanical gardens and Everglades wildlife sanctuary. Exotic & native plants & Florida's "Champion" trees. Bird of Prey Center & free-flight walk-through aviary, alligators, flamingos, bobcat, black bear & Florida panthers. Open 9:30am-5pm daily. Adults $19.95, children 3-11 $12.95. Narrated tour by tram & Wildlife Encounter shows are included. Distance from the Port: 15 miles.*
sawgrass mills mall
12801 West Sunrise Blvd., Sunrise
More than 300 designer outlets, specialty shops and restaurants await. Don't miss The Colonnade Outlets at Sawgrass, with high-end luxury fashion, including Coach, David Yurman, Florida's first Prada Outlet, Bloomingdale's -The Outlet Store, Saks Fifth Avenue Off Fifth, Burberry and Salvatore Ferragamo. Dining scene includes Grand Lux Cafe, The Villagio, P.F. Chang's China Bistro, Cheesecake Factory and more. Allow at least three hours to experience this shopping mecca. Distance from the Port: 16 miles.*
3291 W. Sunrise Blvd., Fort Lauderdale
Largest outdoor/indoor flea market in the U.S., featuring more than 2,000 vendors selling new merchandise plus amusement rides, plants and farmer's market. Open Mon, Tues, Weds, Fri, 9am-5:30pm, Thurs, Sat, Sun, 7:30am-5:30pm. Distance from the Port: 8.4 miles.*
2414 E. Sunrise Blvd., Fort Lauderdale
For more shopping adventure just off of Fort Lauderdale beach, The Galleria Mall offers 120 stores on three levels, including Neiman-Marcus, Macy's and Red Door Spa. Dine at Truluck's, Seasons 52, Blue Martini, P.F. Chang's and Capital Grille. Distance from the Port: 6.8 miles.*
hooray for hollywood
Beach: Sheridan St. and Hollywood Blvd. Rent a "funcycle" or six-man bike and cruise along this 2 1/2 mile paved Broadwalk, lined with cafes and shops.
Downtown: Browse art galleries, boutiques and sidewalk cafes. Explore ArtsPark at Young Circle, the 10-acre site for festivals and events. Hollywood Trolley is a fun way to get around, Weds-Sun, 10am-10pm, $1 per ride/per person. Distance from the Port: 10.8 miles.*
*Broward County taxi rates: $4.50 for the first mile, $2.40 each additional mile, 40¢ per minute wait time. $2 port fee for transfers between FLL Airport and Port Everglades.