When you head to Fort Lauderdale for your cruise, travel agents always advise that you get there the day before. That’s to help ensure you make it to the ship in time to board before it sets sail.
While you should plan on arriving a day or two ahead of the sail date, you definitely won’t be bored. There are many things to do near Port Everglades that are the perfect way to ease into your cruising vacation. You can also stay a day or two after your cruise if you really don’t want to go home, and trust us, few people ever want to go home!
So, what is it you shouldn’t miss with a limited schedule near Port Everglades? We’ve got something for every cruise traveler departing out of Port Everglades right here!
What To Do Before or After Your Fort Lauderdale Cruise
Go for Bluefoot Pirate Adventures
While the Jungle Queen is great for anyone, Bluefoot Pirate Adventures may be preferred if you have kids. It’s specifically tailored to families. Get involved with the pirates to find treasure, dress up like a pirate, and even fire water cannons. It’s great fun and has sailings that begin at 10 am. Prefer something sans kids? You can book private booze cruises for adults only!
Be a Landlubber at Flamingo Gardens
Delighting kids and adults alike for decades, the sprawling botanical gardens of Flamingo Gardens are worth a stop. You’ll see all the native animals of Florida, including the namesake of flamingos, plus an impressive array of alligators. This sanctuary gives animals that are injured and can’t be re-released into the wild a comfortable and permanent home to enjoy.
Visit the Bonnet House
This house sitting between the Intracoastal Waterway and Fort Lauderdale Beach has a long romantic history. In 1919, a wealthy settler gave the 35-acre property (named after the bonnet lily flower that grew on the grounds) as a wedding gift to his daughter Helen and her husband Frederic. In 1920, the newlyweds began construction of Bonnet House, hoping to build a winter getaway where Frederic could pursue his art and Helen could work on her music and poetry. But construction soon stopped when Helen unexpectedly died in 1925. Frederic didn't resume property renovations until 1931 when he married Evelyn Fortune Lilly. The new couple continued decorating the house until Frederic's death. Several decades later, in 1983, Evelyn donated the house to the state's Trust for Historic Preservation, opening it to visitors for guided tours.
Located a few blocks north of Bonnet House Museum & Gardens, Hugh Taylor Birch State Park's position between the Intracoastal Waterway and the Atlantic Ocean makes it a fun locale for all types of travelers. Those looking to get a little wet can canoe or kayak in the largest of the park's coastal dune lakes. Adventurers who want to get their adrenaline pumping can bike along the nearly 2-mile paved park drive. Meanwhile, visitors who prefer to explore by foot can hike the Coastal Hammock Trail, which snakes through a native maritime tropical hardwood hammock ecosystem, one of the last of its kind in the county. Fishermen can make a catch at the seawall, while birders can look for 250-plus species that live in and regularly grace the park.
Beach it up at Dr. Von D. Mizell-Eula Johnson State Park
Soak up some pre-or post-cruise sun at the park formerly known as John U. Lloyd State Park. The Dr. Von D. Mizell-Eula Johnson State Park is a local favorite to sneak away for more peace and quiet. Kayak amongst the mangroves, scuba dive, lounge away, or explore nature. It’s an incredible beach park that most tourists miss out on.
Make a Discovery
The Museum of Discovery and Science makes science fun for everyone. Families will especially love it here with the interactive exhibits on outer space, health, and ecology. There’s even a storm center that simulates the force of a hurricane. Don’t forget to catch a cool movie at the IMAX theater and its massive 5-story 3D screen!
See What It Was Like to be a Floridian Pioneer
If you’re cruising kid-less, and you love history, you might want to stop at the Stranahan House. This slice of history resides on the New River and is now the oldest surviving home in the entire county. Built by Frank and Ivy Stranahan, ferry operators who opened the first post office in the area and had a trading post with the Indians. In the afternoons only, you can get a guided tour and see South Florida in a uniquely historic light.
See the Sea Turtles
People, native to the area, likely have a tale to tell about seeing sea turtles come to lay their eggs. It’s a magical sight indeed, and if you want to get in on watching these endangered creatures thrive, take a special tour at Turtle Treks. You’ll see newborn sea turtle hatchlings and learn all about the efforts of the Sea Turtle Oversight Protection team. Tours are only available from June through September, when the turtles are nesting.
Shop and Dine on Las Olas
Trendy Las Olas Boulevard has always been the place to go for upscale shopping and dining. The unique assortment of boutiques peppered in with wine bars, art galleries, and restaurants with al fresco dining is the ideal spot for treating yourself.
Catch a Live Performance Of the Arts
The Broward Center for the Performing Arts is nearby Port Everglades, too. Score tickets to a ballet or opera performance, live concert, play, or Broadway musical for when you’re in town. It’s a great way to make another spectacular memory before or after you board your cruise.
Grab Dinner and a Show, Polynesian-style
One of the best landmarks near Port Everglades is the Mai-Kai. Since 1956, it has performed Polynesian dinner shows, served up impeccable Tiki Bar beverages (in collectible glasses no less!), and has a menu that will tempt your taste buds. After your meal, catch the fire jugglers, drummers, and Polynesian performers that will light up your night.
Go on a Tour of The Florida Everglades
There are always fun Everglades tours available, and it's a great way to spend a day seeing the "real" Florida.
Luxury outlets! Deals! Restaurants! Movies!
With bragging rights as the largest outlet and value retail shopping destination in the United States, Sawgrass Mills Mall located in Sunrise, Fla., offers all that and much more.
The mainstay of South Florida outlet shopping since it was built in 1990, this alligator-shaped mall encompasses more than 2.4 million square feet of space, brimming with more than 355 stores, including over 70 luxury outlets, and 16 restaurants. To get an idea of just how enormous this place is, it's bigger than the size of 41 football fields-- including the end zones.
Sawgrass Mills promises a vast array of brands, including Nike, Tommy Hilfiger, Ralph Lauren, and Gap, plus value retailers OFF 5th Saks Fifth Avenue, Bed Bath & Beyond, Target, Marshalls, and electronics superstore BrandsMart USA.
The Colonnade Outlets at Sawgrass Mills invites visitors to splurge, featuring more than 70 exclusive outlets found nowhere else in South Florida, including Burberry, Diane von Furstenberg, GUCCI, Jimmy Choo, Prada, Salvatore Ferragamo Company Store, Tory Burch, and Versace.
Enclosed, air-conditioned, and climate-controlled, the mall is situated less than 30 minutes from Port Everglades.
Enjoy a Little Action at Hard Rock Hollywood
Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood is the flagship casino resort of Hard Rock International, owned by the Seminole Tribe of Florida. This world-renowned entertainment, gaming, and hospitality destination offer 638 upscale guestrooms in the first-ever Guitar Hotel, 168 luxury guestrooms, and unique swim-up suites in the adjacent Oasis Tower at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood, and 465 newly redesigned guestrooms in Hard Rock Hotel for a combined room count of 1,271 throughout the resort.
Additional amenities include the lush, “Bora Bora” style lagoon with private cabanas and butler service; a 42,000 square-foot RockSpa® and Salon; a 13.5-acre recreational water experience for swimming, kayaking, and paddleboarding; 19 dining outlets and 20 bars and lounges; an expansive gaming floor with the premier sportsbook in Florida, 3,100 slots, 195 table games, and a 45-table poker room; 120,000 square feet of premier meeting and convention space including a 38,000 square-foot, carpeted exhibition hall; and The Shoppes at The Guitar Hotel, a 26,000 square-foot retail promenade.
By offering the Fort Lauderdale bus charter and Port Everglades cruise port transportation services that are the safest, most dependable, and most reasonably priced, East Coast Limousine aims to go above and beyond the expectations of its clients.