Located along the southeastern coast of Florida, Fort Lauderdale is a popular tourist destination. With average daytime temperatures of 76 degrees Fahrenheit year-round, this Southern city is the perfect spot for families looking for a winter getaway or a balmy spot for the summer. Vacation rentals in Fort Lauderdale include cozy beach bungalows, fully furnished downtown apartments, condominiums with all the amenities, and large homes with an unparalleled view of the Atlantic. Plan your trip around off-shore boat excursions, spectator sports, children’s museums, and beach activities. This guide provides 12 of the top family attractions in Fort Lauderdale.

1. Go Snorkeling

Grab your gear and take the kids to Lauderdale-By-the-Sea for a day of snorkeling or diving. You‘ll find a natural coral reef system referred to as the Shipwreck Snorkel Trail. Located approximately 150 feet from the buoy, this trail covers a 100-foot by 20-foot area. Along the trail, you’ll find an anchor, concrete canyons, and a variety of other shipwreck artifacts.

2. Have a Picnic

Just a short walk from most of the vacation rentals in Fort Lauderdale near the beach, the Hugh Taylor Birch State Park is a picturesque oasis with a lily pad-covered lake, tropical striped hammocks, and trails shaded by an overhang of trees. Pack a picnic lunch and take advantage of the picnic tables, or settle in on a grassy knoll. After your meal, bike through the park, go skating or walk on the paved paths.

3. Explore the Museum of Discovery and Science

Spend a rainy day poring over the events and exhibits at the Museum of Discovery and Science. Two floors of interactive activities let kids have fun while learning about the world around them. View sharks and one of the largest active coral reefs in captivity. Explore man-made caves and hang out with the bats, then pet the alligators and turtles. You‘ll find aeronautical simulators to test your pilot skills or take in a movie in the five-story high IMAX theater.

4. Take a Fun Cruise

Live the life of a true pirate for a few hours aboard one of the Bluefoot Pirate Adventures ships. Learn how to talk like a buccaneer, dress like a pirate, fire the cannons at rival ships, and search for treasure when you take on a role as one of the swashbuckling crew. This trip is fun for the whole family. At the end of the trip, take home a few unique mementos to remember your time on board.

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5. Explore the Everglades

Travel to the Everglades Holiday Park and ride an airboat through the Everglades. Zip along the river grass at top speed and view some of the Glades’ most mystical and exotic wildlife. At the end of the tour, watch a live alligator presentation and learn more about these fascinating creatures. You can also schedule a child’s birthday party or other special events at the park.

6. Rent Kayaks

Escape the crowds and enjoy a stress-free day with the family by kayaking down New River in downtown Fort Lauderdale. Riverwalk Recreations rents both single and tandem kayaks, which are ideal for families. Tours launch from the Esplanade Park. You can head east towards the Intracoastal Waterway, where you’ll see the skyscrapers of the city on either side of you. If you prefer a more serene setting, head west to through the residential areas of Sailboat Bend and Riverside Park.

7. Float Along the Lazy River

One of the most popular public parks in Broward County, the CB Smith Park is a 299-acre center that houses the Paradise Cove water park, a driving range, mini golf, and batting cages. The water park has three towering water slides, a lazy river, and a 12-inch-deep pool for children ages five and under. Afterward, grab a bite to eat at one of the restaurants nearby before heading back to your vacation rental in Fort Lauderdale.

8. Spend the Afternoon at Butterfly World

Butterfly World is the largest butterfly park in the world. Covering approximately three acres, this unique attraction has butterfly aviaries, botanical gardens, and a working butterfly farm. There are also two aviaries that house birds and hummingbirds, and kids enjoy the interactive lorikeet encounter. At the end of the exhibit, children can receive free information and butterfly gardening materials to attract butterflies at home.

9. Play all Day at the Funderdome

Escape the rainy day blues and have fun at the Funderdome Indoor Playground and Café. The toddler zone is designed for children under three and includes plenty of padded shapes, vehicles, and puzzles. Adults and older kids enjoy the sky ropes trail, where you are tethered 22 feet in the air on a rope obstacle course. Challenge family members to a duel with Styrofoam balls in the Ball Blaster Arena, or scale the colorful climbing wall.

10. Go Fishing

Anglin’s Fishing Pier is located at Fort Lauderdale By-the-Sea. Here, you can fish for sea bass or drop nets and go crabbing. If you’d rather be on the water, charter a boat and let your guides take you out into the Atlantic to catch some grouper. Whether you are a child learning to fish or an avid fisherman, you can rent what you need to catch a meal for dinner at your vacation rental in Fort Lauderdale.

11. Enjoy the Speed at the Xtreme Action Park

The Xtreme Action Park is a 200,000-square-foot theme park with plenty to do for all ages. Experience speed on the half-mile asphalt go-kart track, or throw a strike at the bowling alley. There‘s an indoor ropes course and roller skating, and during the day, you can watch the roller derby girls practice.

12. Play in the Water at the Topeekeegee Yugnee Park

The Topeekeegee Yugnee Park is a massive 139.6-acre park with a water park and plenty of green space for hiking, biking, and picnicking. Here, you can rent a boat and teach the kids how to ski, or bring your bikes and enjoy the two miles of paved pathways. The large shaded playground sits near the basketball and tennis courts, so the younger children can swing while the older ones play some one-on-one.

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