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What is There to Do in Fort Lauderdale for FREE? 10 Free and Cheap Activities

October 12th 2023
Tripshock News
What is There to Do in Fort Lauderdale for FREE? 10 Free and Cheap Activities

Fort Lauderdale, FL, is celebrated for its beautiful beaches, appreciation for the arts, premier shopping along Las Olas Boulevard, as well as a variety of wonderful watersports and fun things to do. Not only that, with luxurious lodging options, world-class restaurants, art galleries and historic museums, and so much more, many travelers may assume that a trip to this charming coastal city would cost a pretty penny. And while this is definitely a popular place for people who like to enjoy the finer things, there are plenty of ways to enjoy a cost-efficient vacation in fabulous Fort Lauderdale!

This bustling city offers so many unforgettable things to do to accommodate all ages, interests, and budgets. From relaxing along the area’s breathtakingly beautiful beaches and soaking up picturesque panoramic views, to taking in the local history at the Riverwalk Arts and Entertainment District, the options for affordable, family fun in Fort Lauderdale are practically endless. So, what is there to do in Fort Lauderdale for free? Keep reading for 10 free and cheap activities to make this vacation one for the books!

Table of Contents

  • 5 Things to Do in Fort Lauderdale for Free
    • Sun Trolley
    • Secret Woods Nature Center
    • Riverwalk Arts and Entertainment District
    • Museums
    • Visit the Beach
  • 5 Affordable Fort Lauderdale Things to Do
    • Paddleboard Tours
    • Sightseeing Cruises
    • Conga Lessons
    • Flamingo Gardens
    • Sawgrass Recreation Park



5 Things to Do in Fort Lauderdale for Free


Fort Lauderdale has a surplus of scenic beauty and sunshine, as well as a rich history and culture, which means finding fun and free activities is easy. From strolling through trails of hardwood hammocks in search of lovely local wildlife, to discovering downtown’s lively Riverwalk Arts and Entertainment District, there are plenty of ways to save money and have a blast in Fort Lauderdale, FL!

Sun Trolley


Sun Trolley in downtown Fort Lauderdale, FL
Image of a trolley rolling through Fort Lauderdale by Maju Rezende via Flickr


What is there to do in Fort Lauderdale for free? While there are quite a few fun options to choose from, one great place to start is aboard the Sun Trolley! These bright red and yellow trolleys are more than just public transportation, as they allow visitors to ride in style and take in the spectacular sights and sounds of the city. Visitors will especially enjoy exploring Fort Lauderdale Beach on the Beach Link, checking out the popular Las Olas Boulevard via the Las Olas Link, as well as the Riverwalk Water Trolley, which comes with a free ride across the scenic New River!

Secret Woods Nature Center


walking trail at Secret Woods Nature Center
Scenic walking trail at Secret Woods Nature Center in Fort Lauderdale


For those searching for what there is to do in Fort Lauderdale for free to enjoy the great outdoors, consider visiting the Secret Woods Nature Center! This natural oasis located within the city limits provides a relaxing retreat from the hustle and bustle of downtown, and makes for a wonderful way to enjoy some fresh air, witness wildlife in their element, and reconnect with nature. From enjoying the beautiful Butterfly Garden, to strolling down the nature trail lined with towering oak trees, this is a free Fort Lauderdale activity that everyone is sure to love!

Riverwalk Arts and Entertainment District


Riverwalk Arts and Entertainment District in downtown Fort Lauderdale
Pictured above is the Riverwalk Arts and Entertainment District in downtown Fort Lauderdale


When searching for what is there to do in downtown Fort Lauderdale for free, you can’t go wrong with a trip to the Riverwalk Arts and Entertainment District! Encompassing 22 blocks, this popular area is home to some of the city’s top sights, attractions, restaurants, shopping, events, and more. It’s position along New River also makes it the perfect place for people watching, soaking up scenic views, and taking a stroll in the sunshine!



art museum in Fort Lauderdale, FL
Art gallery in Fort Lauderdale, FL, hosting a free museum day


If you’re wondering what is there to do in Fort Lauderdale for free that combines both learning and fun, then you’re in the right place! This charming and historic city truly prides itself in preserving the past, has a rich appreciation for the arts, and a ton of marvelous museums and galleries to choose from to take it all in. What’s even better is that many of these museums are either free to enter, or will offer free-entry days throughout the month. Below are a few of the top free museums and galleries to choose from when in Fort Lauderdale:


Museums with Free Entry in Fort Lauderdale


Visit the Beach


scenic shoreline of Fort Lauderdale Beach
Pictured above is the scenic shoreline of Fort Lauderdale Beach


If you’re wondering what is there to do in Fort Lauderdale for free that incorporates some good old fashioned fun in the sun, then it’s time to head to the beach! The local beaches are known far and wide for their sandy shores, sparkling turquoise waters, and breathtakingly beautiful views that stretch as far as the eye can see. From swimming and snorkeling in search of colorful schools of fish, to simply relaxing and soaking up the sun, it’s easy to see why a trip to the beach is one of the best things to do in Fort Lauderdale!


5 Affordable Fort Lauderdale Things to Do


There are plenty of no-cost options when looking for fun in fabulous Fort Lauderdale, FL, however, there are also a lot of low-cost options available for even more unforgettable family-friendly entertainment! From searching for dolphins and other wonderful wildlife aboard a spectacular sightseeing cruise, to exploring the winding and whimsical Las Olas canals on a paddleboard tour, discover 5 affordable things to do in Fort Lauderdale, and see this scenic South Florida city in a whole new way.

Paddleboard Tours


paddleboarding with a puppy in Fort Lauderdale, FL
Traveler paddling with a puppy through the Las Olas canals on a Fort Lauderdale paddleboard tour


When in Fort Lauderdale, it doesn’t get more fun, and affordable, than paddling through the winding and whimsical Las Olas canals! Paddleboard tours are a great way to do this, as a knowledgeable guide will lead you safely through the local waterways towards unparalleled picturesque views. Not only that, this is a great way to get up close and personal with Mother Nature at her finest! Be sure to keep an eye out for dolphins, manatees, and other wonderful wildlife along the way.

{Read Reviews & Book Fort Lauderdale Paddleboard Tours Online}


Sightseeing Cruises


group aboard a sightseeing cruise in Fort Lauderdale, FL
Group of friends taking in the scenic views aboard a Fort Lauderdale sightseeing cruise


Sightseeing cruises are fun and affordable, and are the perfect Fort Lauderdale activity for couples, girls trips, bachelor parties, reunions, and celebrations of all sorts! These tours come in all shapes and sizes, from narrated excursions to private charters, and accommodate all types of interests, itineraries, and budgets. This fantastic family-fun activity is also a great way to take in the scenic views, and see Fort Lauderdale from a whole new perspective.

As you travel down New River and witness the winding canals for yourself, you will quickly discover why this scenic slice of paradise is called the, “Venice of America!” Other spectacular sights to see along the way include breathtakingly beautiful sunsets, waterfront mansions, tropical isles, wonderful wildlife, and so much more. From start to finish, Fort Lauderdale sightseeing cruises are sure to entertain and excite even the most particular travelers in your group!

{Read Reviews & Book Fort Lauderdale Sightseeing Cruises Online}


Conga Lessons


conga lessons in Fort Lauderdale, FL
Instructor teaching the basics during a conga lesson in Fort Lauderdale, FL


If you’re looking for a unique experience that’s as entertaining as it is cost-efficient, consider taking a class and learning how to play congas! Congas are a type of drum typically used to play traditional Latin music styles like salsa, Cuban jazz, merengue, and more. This style of drumming has been proven to have many health benefits like exercising the brain, stress reduction, and mood improvement.

{Read Reviews & Book Fort Lauderdale Conga Classes Online}


Flamingo Gardens


beautiful flamingos and ibises at Flamingo Gardens
Image of beautiful flamingos and ibises at Flamingo Gardens from Wikimedia


Flamingo Gardens is a 60-acre wildlife sanctuary with botanical gardens, and is home to over 80 kinds of amazing animals, as well as 3,000 species of rare, tropical, subtropical, and native plants. In fact, their arboretum contains some of the largest trees in Florida, including a 200-year-old live oak tree! Established in 1927, this massive complex is one of the oldest attractions in the area, and has been entertaining both nature lovers and history buffs ever since.

The main attraction here, however, is definitely the Everglades Wildlife Sanctuary. This facility houses injured and non-releasable animals, and is home to the largest collection of wildlife native to Florida. Some captivating creatures you may encounter while at Flamingo Gardens include the following:

  • Alligators
  • Bobcats
  • Panthers
  • Eagles
  • Flamingos
  • And MORE!

{Read Reviews & Book Flamingo Gardens Admission Tickets Online}


Sawgrass Recreation Park


airboat tour through Sawgrass Recreation Park
Group enjoys a thrilling airboat ride through the fascinating Florida Everglades


Fort Lauderdale is surrounded by scenic beauty, and ample opportunities for outdoor adventure! Its close proximity to the Atlantic Ocean and the Florida Everglades, as well as New River and the scenic canals that lie within the city limits, makes for plenty of ways to enjoy some fun in the sun. With that being said, one adventure you don’t want to miss out on while in Fort Lauderdale is zooming through the Everglades aboard an adrenaline-pumping airboat tour at Sawgrass Recreation Park.

Airboat tours are a wonderful way to witness South Florida’s stunning scenic beauty first-hand, while searching for rare and extraordinary wildlife along the way. While your high-speed airboat tour is sure to be an unparalleled and unforgettable experience, the great thing about visiting Sawgrass Recreation Park is that there is still more fun to be had! From incredible and informative animal shows, to walking trails that take you through a wilderness wonderland, a trip to Sawgrass Recreation Park is sure to yield magical memories that will last a lifetime!

{Read Reviews & Book Sawgrass Recreation Park Tickets Online}



So, what is there to do in Fort Lauderdale for free? From soaking up the sunshine along some of Florida’s most beautiful beaches, to sightseeing through the city in style aboard the Sun Trolley, the options are practically endless. With so many fun and affordable things to do, a trip to this fantastic South Florida city doesn’t have to break the bank, and will surely leave you with memories that will last a lifetime!



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