Fort Lauderdale’s luxurious beach resorts and five-star dining options might not scream “budget vacation destination,” but yacht rides and expensive spa retreats aren’t all our coastal destination boasts. It’s easy to explore Fort Lauderdale Beach and area just beyond on a budget, and these 10 activities and events under $20 will ensure you experience the best that Fort Lauderdale and its surrounding areas have to offer without breaking the bank.
$20 and Under
Take a Ride in the Venice of America
All day passes for the Fort Lauderdale Water Taxi run $28, but that doesn’t mean you have to miss this quintessential Fort Lauderdale experience. Hop aboard the Water Taxi after 5 p.m. for the discounted “happy hour” rate, and you’ll enjoy unlimited rides in Fort Lauderdale and Hollywood for $18, plus drink specials on select boats until 10 pm. Add in the Cruise and Save Discounts when you show your ticket at Partner Locations and that’s a Win/Win/Win.
Immerse Yourself in Fort Lauderdale’s History
The waterfront Bonnet House Museum and Gardens is one of Fort Lauderdale’s must-do attractions. Offering seven daily 1.5 hour tours, tickets are $20 pp ($16 for children 6-12, and $17 for Military & Residents) which includes access to the entire property, including the 1920’s estate, art museum, gallery, orchid greenhouse and more. A budget-friendly $10 ticket provides access to the tropical gardens only, where you can bring a picnic lunch or your sketch book and relax under the lush canopy watching the swans swim by.
Be A Pirate for the Day
Bluefoot Pirate Adventure is a fun, interactive pirate cruise for adults and children offering a daily pirates’ treasure hunt along the Fort Lauderdale’s Intracoastal waterway. Half history and science lesson, half adventure with a “battle on the high seas ” with the notorious “Barnacle Bill”, all junior pirates leave with a bag of booty, an official pirate certificate, and an experience that will not soon be forgotten. Take advantage of the 1/2 priced second ticket special every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday (excluding holidays) and the regular $25 ticket prices averages to $18.75 per person.
$10 and Under
Explore the Local Culinary Scene
Fort Lauderdale Beach’s culinary scene has exploded over the past few years, offering over 60 dining options on the near 3-mile long oceanfront stretch. Ranging from Casual Bars to French Cafe’s to those led by World Renowned Chefs. For $10 or less (yes, you read that right) check out Happy Hour , where dining between 4-7pm will allow you to treat your taste some big flavors for a little price, such as the Signature Burger & Beer at Burlock Coast, a Cucumber Mint Margarita and Smoked Red Snapper Tostada at El Vez or a Bloody Mary and Cajun Shrimp with Spicy Andouille Sausage at Bubba Gump.
View the Largest Collection of Aquatic Sports Memorabilia
The International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF) in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, is the mecca and international showplace for swimming, diving, water polo and synchronized swimming. The Museum, Library and Archive contain the world’s largest collection of aquatic memorabilia and the single largest source of aquatic books, manuscripts and literature. Over 40 exhibits and displays illustrate the history of aquatic sports by recognizing both the world’s greatest swimming, diving, water polo and synchronized swimming performers and the great moments in which they participated. Admission is $8 pp / $6 for Seniors and Children under 6 and Military are Free.
Take A Yoga Class on the Beach
Fort Lauderdale’s favorite Beach Yoga class, led by Yoga By Donation founder & director, Lisa Pumper Yoga, offer six classes weekly, for a suggested $10 or $5 donation. Sunrise classes take place at 7am every Thursday, and morning classes at 9:00am every Wednesday and Friday through Sunday. Evening Beach Yoga to set your intentions for the week ahead take place Sunday at 5pm, while those looking to push their endurance might enjoy the 8:00 am Beach Bootcamp every Saturday.
$5 and Under
Lose Yourself In Nature
A short walk from Fort Lauderdale Beach, Hugh Taylor Birch State Park is an oasis of the last Tropical Maritime Hammock in all of Broward County. There are many amenities that visitors can enjoy during their visit, including renting canoes ($10/hr for up to 3 people), kayaks, pedal boats and stand-up paddle boards to enjoy the park’s one-mile freshwater coastal dune lake. For those on a budget the park entry fees are only $2 per pedestrian, $4 for a one person or $6 for two or more persons in a vehicle, and includes a free self guided audio tour. For a more in depth experience, a rotating schedule of free interpretive Ranger Led Walks/Tours take place at 10:30 am every Friday.
Explore the Beach & Beyond
Whether you’re in Fort Lauderdale for work or play, the Sun Trolley is a convenient choice to get around. The Trolley System can take you from points all across Fort Lauderdale, providing access to world-class shopping, sparkling beaches, and endless options for entertainment in air-conditioned comfort. Wheelchair accessible and featuring convenient bicycle carriers to stow your bike during your trip. With the $3.00 all-day rider pass (cash only), getting around town has never been more affordable or fun.
Plan A Doggie Date
Bring your dog to the beach anytime beginning at 5pm to meet and socialize with other dog owners at the monthly 4th Friday, Dog Beaches and Brews. The dog beach is 1,400 feet north of A1A and Sunrise Blvd. After enjoying the beach with your dog, walk over to the World Famous Parrot Lounge at 911 Sunrise Lane for Doggie Happy Hour where a $5 Donation to Everglades Angels Dog Rescue will score you a Free Drink. Please note the City enforces dog permits which is $22.50 for a residents annual pass or $7 for a weekend weekend permit which can be purchased at the beach.
Leave the wallet at home and come enjoy a number of free events on Fort Lauderdale Beach. From the weekly Friday Night Sound Waves concerts (March – June) to the Thursday Night Funky Fun Run, and annual events like the Great American Beach Party and 4th of July Spectacular. Visit the online event calendar to view current listings.