Fort Lauderdale is well-known for its gorgeous beaches, fascinating museums, and world-class entertainment. Explore the natural beauty of the Florida Everglades by foot or bicycle. Take a walk downtown to the Riverwalk Arts and Entertainment District to absorb Fort Lauderdale’s rich culture, and then head to the 1960s-inspired Fort Lauderdale Swap Shop to find the perfect souvenir at the massive indoor and outdoor flea market. While you’re there, catch a movie at one of the world’s largest drive-in movie theaters. This sprawling attraction also boasts amusement rides, a farmer’s market, arcades, and more. With so many wonderful neighborhoods and towns in the Fort Lauderdale area, selecting a place to stay can be challenging. That said, here are 9 of the best nearby places to look for vacation rentals at Fort Lauderdale.

1. Harbor Beach

pool near the beach
Source: Flickr / Prayitno

Harbor Beach isn’t usually a tourist’s first pick, but it’s one of the area’s best and most exclusive secrets. If you’re planning on spending time on the water, Harbor Beach is a great choice, as the neighborhood has access to a private beach club and a marina. Rent a boat and spend the day exploring and swimming in Lake Sylvia. Finish your day with a leisurely stroll to Pier Sixty-Six, where you can enjoy fine waterfront dining by sunset.

2. Las Olas Isles and Seven Isles

sunset view by the beach
Source: Flickr / Alan PARKER

These upscale neighboring isles are popular among celebrities and for good reason. The breathtaking homes are truly decadent, perfect if you want a vacation rental that exudes luxury. This aquatic area is a haven for people who enjoy yachting and water sports. Nicknamed the “Venice of America,” the Intercoastal Waterway is a delightful way to explore the area. It’s a series of canals and inlets that let you visit the popular boardwalk, shops, restaurants, and other attractions by boat. If you don’t have a boat, take a water taxi—there are an adult, children, and a family day pass options readily available.

3. Downtown

buildings and ship
Source: Flickr / Daniel Piraino

While the downtown area of a city may not be your first instinct for seeking vacation rentals, you can find condos that put you in the center of everything. The city has plenty to offer to visitors of all ages. Explore the Museum of Discovery and Science, which features plenty of fascinating exhibits for kids and adults. Take a water taxi to one of the area’s fine restaurants, or take the charming Sun Trolley to the scenic Butterfly World, the first and largest butterfly house in the United States.

4. Miami

pond animals
Source: Flickr / LEONARDO DASILVA

Located just a half hour drive south of Fort Lauderdale, Miami is one of the most exciting cities in the country. Bring the kids to Jungle Island, a thrilling tropical attraction that features close to 3,000 different species of animals and plants, as well as a petting zoo. The Miami Seaquarium is another must-visit for animal lovers. In addition to hosting a variety of marine life, there is a kid’s playground, and for an extra fee, you can even swim with a dolphin. Miami is known for its world-class dining, entertainment, and nightlife, and there are many wonderful neighborhoods where you can find vacation rentals within your price range.

5. Hollywood

motorboat on the lake
Source: Flickr / Phillip Pessar

Nestled between Fort Lauderdale and Miami, Hollywood is a classic Florida beach town that’s the perfect place to rent a vacation rental for adventuring up and down the coast. Pack a picnic and spend the day at the family-friendly John U. Lloyd Beach State Park, where you can enjoy water sports, diving, boating, and swimming. If you’re lucky, you may spot unique wild birds and turtles. Enjoy sunbathing and swimming at Hollywood’s exquisite beach, or visit Anne Kolb Nature Center for paddling trails, a fishing pier, an observation tower, and more.

6. Pompano Beach

coconut tree near the sea
Source: Flickr / ezz_eddie

Known as “the Heart of the Gold Coast,” Pompano Beach is iconic Southern Florida and known for its excellent water sports. The offshore living coral reef is a premier destination for divers and snorkelers, and Pompano Beach is also an angler’s paradise. If you’re not lucky enough to catch your own dinner, this beach town is known for its fresh seafood. Explore your pick of over 50 local public parks, or just take a walking tour of Pompano Beach to take in the sights, shops, restaurants, and numerous family-friendly attractions.

7. Rio Vista

town hall
Source: Flickr / Wally Gobetz

If you want to stay near the heart of the city without having to deal with the hubbub of the downtown area, Rio Vista is a great choice. Located just a few blocks south of downtown Fort Lauderdale, you have quick access to all of the city’s hot spots, yet the neighborhood itself is calm and charming, reminiscent of an Old South town. Many vacation rentals have their own docks, allowing you to explore this beautiful family-oriented community by boat or water taxi.

8. Palm Beach

white sailboat in the middle of the ocean
Source: Flickr / amanderson2

Located about 45-minutes from Fort Lauderdale, Palm Beach is one of America’s most popular vacation spots. The immaculate beaches are reason enough to look for vacation rentals in the area, but there are many other family-friendly attractions available. Visit the exotic wildlife at The Palm Beach Zoo, and don’t forget to check out the awesome rain forest area. Mounts Botanical Garden is a scenic oasis where you can explore over 2,000 species of tropical and subtropical plants. Palm Beach also offers top-notch dining, shopping, and entertainment.

9. Coral Springs

gazebo at the park
Source: Flickr / Hector A Parayuelos

Coral Springs is located a quick drive north of Fort Lauderdale, giving you convenient access from your vacation rental to the city. Coral Springs is recognized for its thriving arts scene, so be sure to pay a visit to the Coral Springs Museum of Art. Go for a peaceful stroll at the Tall Cypress Natural Area, a well-maintained boardwalk loop with plenty of natural plant life. Don’t forget to bring binoculars—it’s a favorite spot for birdwatchers.