Roughly 14 million people visit the Greater Fort Lauderdale area every year, but many miss out on the oceanside city’s best-kept secrets. While Fort Lauderdale’s beautiful beaches are ideal for spending long days on the sand, the excursions that await less than two hours from The Strand can completely change the way you vacation. These five day trips from Fort Lauderdale will keep Florida on your must-visit travel list every year.
Drive 1.5 hours south of Fort Lauderdale, and you’ll find yourself in the tropical paradise known as the Florida Keys. Key Largo is the easiest to reach from Fort Lauderdale by car, and it’s an impressive destination. The picture-perfect island is home to the country’s first underwater preserve, which has set the scene for some of the best snorkeling and diving in the U.S. You’ll be amazed at the tropical views, diverse wildlife, and laid-back Caribbean vibes that await just 90 miles south of your Fort Lauderdale hotel.
Turn your domestic vacation into an international one with a quick escape to Grand Bahama Island in the archipelago best known as the Bahamas. You can reach Grand Bahama by air, fast boat, cruise ship, or private boat from Fort Lauderdale, which means there’s an option for every budget and time limit. Fly to Freeport, Grand Bahama, and in 45 minutes, you can be lounging poolside, snorkeling in tropical Caribbean waters, deep sea fishing, or kayaking some of the area’s famed nature trails.
Grand Bahama isn’t the only Bahamian island that’s easy to reach from Fort Lauderdale. Bimini, composed of North and South Bimini, is just 50 miles off the coast of Florida. It’s rich in history, sea life, natural wonders, and a big dose of Caribbean culture. Discover the history and unrivaled beauty of Bimini, and you’ll understand why Ernest Hemingway, Martin Luther King, Jr., Jimmy Buffett, and a long list of celebrities have sought solitude here. Best of all, the islands are just a 45-minute flight or a 2.5-hour boat trip from Fort Lauderdale.
Key West is the most popular of Florida’s Keys. Although it’s closer to Cuba than it is to Miami, you can still spend a day exploring the historic and lively subtropical town before retreating to the comfort of your hotel in Fort Lauderdale for the night. The entire drive takes just 3.5 hours to complete, which means you can be exploring Mallory Square, shopping on Duval Street, or lounging on the sand at Higgs Beach by lunchtime.
Mention a Florida vacation to your kids, and they’ll ask about Disney World. You can make their dreams come true and experience the magic yourself by taking the three-hour drive north on I-95 to the world-famous Walt Disney World Resort. You’ll find that a day trip from Fort Lauderdale can be a much more relaxing way to experience the state’s most popular tourist attraction than spending the entire vacation landlocked there.
Fort Lauderdale is a destination in and of itself, but there are so many worthwhile places to visit a short distance from the city. Consider a few of these day trips to round out your trip to Florida.