Are you looking for a way to experience all that Fort Lauderdale has to offer in just one day? Look no further! Our 1 Day Ft. Lauderdale Itinerary is here to give you the perfect mix of fun and relaxation during your stay in this gorgeous seaside city surrounded by lush subtropical scenery and endless activities. We’ll provide you with an easy-to-follow plan that will show off some of Ft. Lauderdale‘s best attractions – from its nearby white sand beaches, stunning historic architecture, vibrant nightlife, array of restaurants and much more! So pack up those sunglasses and beach towels – it’s time for an amazing adventure in sunny South Florida!
A Morning with Nature
Hugh Taylor Birch State Park
The best place to start your morning is Hugh Taylor Birch State Park on Sunrise Blvd, located between the Intracoastal Waterway and Fort Lauderdale Beach. This State Park opens at 8am, and charges $6 for a vehicle with more than one occupant, $4 for a single passenger vehicle, or $2 for each pedestrian or bicyclist.
As the morning sun slowly rises in the sky, casting a warm glow over the stunning landscape of Hugh Taylor Birch State Park, you’ll feel a sense of appreciation for the natural beauty that surrounds Fort Lauderdale. From towering trees to sparkling rivers, this park is a true gem of South Florida. And there’s no better time to experience it all than in the peaceful early hours. The serenity of quiet paths and pristine trails encourage a slow and thoughtful exploration of this unique ecosystem. Whether you’re looking to escape the bustle of city life or simply seeking an invigorating way to start your day, Hugh Taylor Birch State Park is the place to be.
The highlight of the park is in the southeast corner at the Beach Access Tunnel, a pedestrian tunnel that takes you beneath A1A onto beautiful Fort Lauderdale Beach.
Nanou French Bakery & Café
After one or two hours exploring the park, you may be ready for some breakfast or at least a coffee break. As you exit the park, turn left onto Sunrise Blvd and take the second right on Sunrise Lane to access Nanou French Bakery & Café.
Nanou is a local favorite, where you can enjoy an authentic taste of France right here in the heart of Fort Lauderdale Beach. The friendly staff are always on hand to serve you with a smile, whether you’re dropping by for a morning coffee or a leisurely brunch. Their breakfast menu is the perfect way to start your day, with a selection of freshly baked croissants, Pain au Chocolat, and other delectable pastries. And if you’re in the mood for something more substantial, why not try their famous classic French toast or savory crepes? Nanou French Bakery & Café offers a little slice of Parisian life in Ft Lauderdale.
If you’re wrapping up your delicious breakfast at Nanou at about 11am, then you’re right on schedule for the next stop.
Bonnet House Museum & Gardens
Just a few blocks from Nanou is the highlight attraction of Fort Lauderdale, Bonnet House Museum & Gardens. Since they open at 11am, you’ll be one of the first to enjoy a tour.
This historic property along the Intracoastal Waterway is a must-see for art and nature enthusiasts alike. Built in the early 20th century, this beautiful estate houses an impressive collection of artwork and artifacts from its previous owners, the Bartlett and Birch families. Take a leisurely stroll through the gardens and admire the orchids, water lilies, and palm trees that populate the scenic landscape. Don’t miss the opportunity to learn about the foundations of this treasured property, including the legacy of its founder, artist Frederic Clay Bartlett. With its romantic gardens and rich history, the Bonnet House is a perfect spot for a tranquil and educational visit.
After an hour or two taking in the historical beauty of Bonnet House, our next stop will be downtown. Take Sunrise Blvd east (right turn) to A1A (N Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd), turn right and drive the few miles to Las Olas Blvd. Along the way enjoy the sweeping views of Fort Lauderdale Beach along the left. Turn right on Las Olas Blvd, and take it downtown for a few miles to SE 2nd Ave, turn right and on the left enter the Riverwalk Center Garage (charges $3 per hour at time of posting). This is the most central garage to our activities, but you can choose to park anywhere nearby.
Afternoon on the River
NSU Art Museum
Next door to the Riverwalk Center Garage is NSU Art Museum, a great option if you’d like to take in some of Fort Lauderdale’s vibrant art scene.
With a diverse collection of contemporary, modern, and Latin American art, there’s something here to tantalize every aesthetic taste bud. Check out local artist exhibitions, participate in engaging art activities, and enjoy the quiet and pensive exhibits of the galleries. Whether you’re a seasoned art enthusiast or someone who just appreciates creative expression, the NSU Art Museum offers an approachable and fun atmosphere that celebrates the joy of pure art appreciation.
As you leave the museum, stroll through the Huizenga Plaza with its fountain to the New River. Turn left and follow the Riverwalk North pathway. This will take you along the river bank, below the 3rd Ave Tarpon Drawbridge, and eventually to the Stranahan House Museum.
Historic Stranahan House Museum
This iconic structure was built in 1901 by Frank Stranahan, a well-known banker and businessman in the area. Today, the house serves as a museum that showcases the rich cultural heritage of the area. Visitors can take a tour of the house to explore its many interesting features, including its unique architecture, antique decor, and beautiful views of the New River. Whether you’re a history buff, a fan of architecture, or just looking for a fun and educational activity for the whole family, the Historic Stranahan House Museum is definitely worth a visit.
After a quick viewing of the Stranahan House property, continue onto 4th Street and into the Riverwalk Fort Lauderdale.
Riverwalk Fort Lauderdale
This iconic location not only boasts stunning views of the New River, but it also offers a lively shopping and dining district like no other. From upscale restaurants to charming cafes, there is something to suit every palate. The unique boutiques and specialty shops that line the walkways along Las Olas Blvd are perfect for those who love to browse and indulge in some retail therapy.
If you’re hungry for lunch or a midday bite, the restaurants on Las Olas Blvd are highly rated and offer an international flare. Here are three 5-star options, depending on your taste and time table.
If you’re a fan of Mexican cuisine, then you absolutely must try El Camino. This restaurant is the perfect spot to indulge in some soul food and bask in the flavors that only Mexican cuisine can offer. With dishes that are packed with spices and bold flavors, your taste buds will be thrilled with every bite. You’ll be able to enjoy classic dishes like tacos, burritos, and enchiladas, but also try new and exciting flavor combinations that are unique to this locally favored restaurant.
For Italian lovers, Louie Bossi’s is a ristorante and pizzeria that is full of life and energy. The menu is full of classic Italian dishes, but don’t be afraid to try something new! The chefs at Louie Bossi’s infuse modern twists into traditional recipes, creating a unique and exciting dining experience. And let’s not forget about the pizza – it’s crispy and delicious with endless topping options.
Casa Sensei is an award-winning Asian fusion restaurant that will wow you. This beautiful waterfront restaurant offers a fusion of Asian and Latin flavors, resulting in a menu that is sure to delight your taste buds. The restaurant’s sleek modern design is complemented by stunning water views, making it the perfect spot to relax and enjoy a meal with friends or family. Whether you’re in the mood for sushi, ceviche, or something in between, Casa Sensei is definitely worth checking out.
Carrie B Cruises
Finally, if you can fit it in, a cruise along the waterways of Fort Lauderdale is a great experience. If you head back down the Riverwalk past the Stranahan House between 2:30 and 3pm, Carrie B Cruises will be boarding for their 90-minute Venice of America Tour.
This tour will take you on a thrilling journey through Fort Lauderdale’s intricate canals. As you float along the calm waters, soak in the stunning sights of luxurious mansions and yachts. Along the way, their knowledgeable tour guides will share fun facts and historical tidbits about the area, making every moment educational and enjoyable. Don’t forget your camera, as you’ll want to capture every moment of this incredible glimpse at Fort Lauderdale from the water.
Night on the Town
Once you’re back on land after the boat tour, and especially if you chose not to have a meal earlier, you may be ready for a nice dinner. A fantastic nearby option, though a little pricey, is Eddie V’s Prime Seafood.
Eddie V’s Prime Seafood
If you’re looking for a dining experience that’s both luxurious and inviting, Eddie V’s Prime Seafood in Ft. Lauderdale is a must-visit. Known for their high quality seafood and impeccable service, Eddie V’s offers an unforgettable night out. From the classic elegance of the decor to the live jazz music that fills the air, every detail is carefully considered to make sure that customers feel special from the moment they walk in the door.
If you find yourself in the mood for a few drinks, or chose to forego the big dinner, one of the downtown bar venues may be a great option for cocktails or light dining.
This rooftop oasis offers an incredible atmosphere to unwind and recharge, and boasts breathtaking views and an excellent selection of cocktails, beer and wine. If you’re feeling hungry, their skilled chefs will whip up some delectable dishes that are perfect for sharing. The best part of Rooftop @1WLO is that you can enjoy all of this while basking in the open air and taking in the spectacular views of the city.
Broward Center for the Performing Arts
A final option that requires some pre-planning is seeing a show at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, a few blocks west along the Riverwalk.
This stunning venue boasts a performance calendar that is both diverse and impressive, featuring everything from theatrical productions and musical performances to ballets, operas, and comedy shows. With state-of-the-art facilities, including multiple theaters and plenty of amenities, the Broward Center is the perfect destination for an unforgettable night out. So why wait? Book your tickets today and immerse yourself in the dazzling world of performing arts at the Broward Center!
Whether you’re a nature lover, shopping enthusiast, or a nightlife aficionado, Fort Lauderdale has something to offer everyone. Taking the time to explore this beautiful city will be one of the most memorable days of your travels. From its parks and riverbanks to its incredible restaurants and bars, there’s adventure around every corner. With that in mind, make sure to do your research before you go – reach out to locals, read other people’s experiences, and check out our Fort Lauderdale Travel Guide. We offer detailed guides that can help make your trip even more special and exciting. With all there is to do and see, one day in Fort Lauderdale will never be enough! So start planning your trip today and create some memories that will last a lifetime!