10 Best Non-Touristy Things To Do In Fort Lauderdale, Florida - Updated 2023

non touristy things to do in fort lauderdale
| 5 min read

Fort Lauderdale is a city that forms part of the Greater Miami area. The city has a history of being involved in conflict, and has also seen some time as a base during the World War. Today, it is known for its beaches and its generally warm climate. Transportation options are good, including some buses, cabs, and trams. Plenty of accommodation options are available as well, including kid-friendly hotels in Fort Lauderdale. Renting a car is still the recommended way of moving around. Some of the sights here include the many parks, resorts, and the eponymous beachfront that faces the Atlantic. If you’re not down for the usual beach town fare, we’ve also selected other more non-touristy things to do here in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

1. Explore flora and fauna at Secret Woods Nature Center

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

This little park along the New River is a great place to connect with nature, right in the city. Trails cross through the dense forest, giving you a better view of all the animals, including butterflies, and plants all around. An amphitheater, classroom, and exhibit hall are available for education purposes, along with plenty of nature-oriented programs. You can also rent out the function hall in the center for your own events, like weddings, meetings, or conferences.

Secret Woods Nature Center

Address: 2701 W State Rd 84, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33312, USA

Website: Secret Woods Nature Center

Opening hours: 9am - 5pm (daily)

Price: Free

2. Learn about Native American tribal life at Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Native American life is rich in history, as shown by the over 180,000 artifacts housed in the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum. The museum is nested in the heart of the Everglades, in the Seminole Indian Reservation. On-site tours and programs help spread awareness of this culture. There are also performances and artworks that showcase the very best of the Seminole. The name of the museum implies learning and memories, two great things you will get from your next trip here.

Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum

Address: 34725 West Boundary Road, Big Cypress Seminole Indian Reservation

Website: Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum

Opening hours: 9am - 5pm (daily)

Price: 10 USD

3. Ride on an Everglades airboat at Museum of Discovery and Science

Museum of Discovery and Science (Fort Lauderdale, Florida)
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Tamanoeconomico used under CC BY-SA 4.0

The Museum of Discovery and Science is an institution that aims to engage everybody in science. It is visited by almost 500,000 visitors annually, and is a popular destination for school field trips. There are permanent exhibits including interactive water exhibits on the first floor, and fossils along with minerals in the second, which also gives an insight into the natural history of Florida. An IMAX theater allows visitors to view the world in a depth that science pioneers could have only dreamed of. This is a great educational visit for kids and adults alike.

Museum of Discovery and Science

Address: 401 SW Second Street Fort Lauderdale, FL 33312

Website: Museum of Discovery and Science

Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 10am - 5pm; Sun: 12pm - 5pm

Price: 19 USD

4. See the mermaids at The Wreck Bar

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

The Wreck Bar is a one-of-a-kind marine experience in Fort Lauderdale. Built to resemble a Spanish Galleon, the bar has many viewing windows where you can view mermaids and divers perform shows. There are family-friendly shows if you have kids with you and more adult-themed shows as well. Many seafood dishes are served here, along with steaks and Mexican dishes. Drinks are plentiful so you can have a good time here. Don’t worry, as no mermaids were harmed in making an enjoyable experience for you.

Wreck Bar

Address: 1140 Seabreeze Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316, USA

Website: The Wreck Bar

Opening hours:Wed - Sat: 5:30pm - 2am; Sun: 11am - 3pm (closed on Mon & Tue)

5. Try indoor skydiving at iFly (from USD 112.0)

If you are a beginner to the trade or are afraid of heights, indoor skydiving is a great way to feel the thrill without the fear or mistakes. Sessions last for an hour and training is done in groups. An instructor will teach you all you need to know before jumping. You get 2 60-second free-fall sessions within the hour so make the most out of your fall. You can even put some style and pull off some special moves like spins and flips. You never know, you might actually want to take a real dive after.

Fort Lauderdale Indoor Skydiving with 2 Flights & Personalized Certificate

Duration: 1 hour 15 minutes

43 reviews

6. Swim in the competition pools at the International Swimming Hall of Fame

Fort Lauderdale Aquatic Complex
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Bimini4u used under CC BY-SA 3.0

The ISHOF is a museum that exhibits some of the best moments in the history of the sport and is a celebration of the achievements of the best swimmers in six different sports, who are enshrined here. The museum is housed in the Fort Lauderdale Aquatic Complex, which houses two different lap pools. There is a 25-meter (82 ft) and a 50-meter (85 m) lap pool if you want to take on different hall-of fame level challenges. Some parts of the complex are undergoing renovation, so keep watch for the schedules

Fort Lauderdale Aquatic Complex

Address: 501 Seabreeze Boulevard Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33316

Website: FLAC

Opening hours: Check website for details

Price: 5 USD per day

7. Go on a Fort Lauderdale Ghost Walk

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Visit the Historical District of town, where many supernatural entities are rumored to reside among the old house. You can view pictures of previous tours along the way, and learn a bit more about the city’s past. The city was tied to the famous Prohibition, which happened from 1920 to 1933. The tour lasts for 90 minutes, and you may be able to see or hear something along the way, so be sure to document properly.

Ghost Tours

Address: 200 SW 2nd Ave Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Website: Fort Lauderdale Ghost Tour

Opening hours: Fri - Sat: 7:30pm - 9pm; Sun: 6:30pm - 8pm

Price: 25 USD

8. Learn to make gin (from USD 150.0)

You’ll learn to make your own gin in this educational tour. From selecting your ingredients to the distillation, you will be exposed to the whole gin-making from start to finish. You can also sample some of the gin flavors there, too. The trip will take around two hours, and your guide will assist you throughout the whole process. Lastly, you’ll be able to bring home your own gin creation.

Gin Making Experience

Duration: 2 hours

9 reviews

9. Take a fishing trip in the Everglades (from USD 794.0)

The Everglades is a giant wetland that covers a large portion of Southern Florida. It is home to a wide variety of animals. You can fish in the Everglades with a local guide on this excursion. After boarding a boat, you will get to the best location in the area, as selected by your guide. Once you arrive there, you’ll learn the proper skills and use the equipment to attempt to catch some fish. The boats have coolers on board and you have room to bring your own lunch during the trip, which will take most of the day.

Everglades All Day Fishing Trip near Fort Lauderdale

Duration: 12 hours

10 reviews

10. Take a Segway tour at Hugh Taylor Birch State Park (from USD 64.0)

Considered as the central park of Fort Lauderdale, the Hugh Taylor Birch State Park is an urban oasis. This 30-minute Segway tour will easily help you see the park in all its splendor. You can also enjoy many activities here, like biking, paddling, jogging, fishing, and even swimming along the beach front. The park is also a great place to view many species of birds, and other migratory creatures like turtles and raccoons. The beach front is open to all swimmers, too, if you want to take a dip in the Atlantic. Lastly, the visitor center is open for those who want to know more about the park’s history.

Hugh Taylor Birch State Park Segway Tour

Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes

8 reviews

Fort Lauderdale, a seaside city for the urban explorer

Skyline of Fort Lauderdale
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user KeanoManu used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Now long freed from its dark past, Fort Lauderdale has many interesting places that you can visit and interact with, from historical houses to cultural displays, all the way to modern scientific exhibits. You’ll see plenty more of the best Florida has to offer, on your next visit to Fort Lauderdale.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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