When you think about a vacation, I’m sure you normally only think about dollar signs adding up. Throw in a beach vacation, and you might see those dollar signs triple.
However, traveling doesn’t have to be expensive. You can have a responsible vacation and still do all the fun activities you want to do. There are plenty of things to do in Fort Lauderdale on a budget.
Trust us. After living in Fort Lauderdale for the last few years, we have found creative ways to spend our time.
Don’t let your pocketbooks scare you out of booking a vacation of a lifetime. Here in sunny South Florida there is a list of things to help you enjoy a budget-friendly vacation.
We have compiled a list of top activities you can do while on vacation to help stretch that dollar a bit further, without sacrificing any fun.
Plus some of these items are off the beaten track, thus saving you even more money.
Top Things To Do In Fort Lauderdale When Trying To Save Money
1. Fort Lauderdale Beach
Of course, if you are coming to Fort Lauderdale we hope you plan on visiting the beach.
With over 4 miles of shoreline along the Atlantic Ocean, there is plenty of room to lay down your towel, put up the umbrella, and enjoy the view with your bae.
There are chairs and umbrellas to rent from local hotels just across the street. Besides, bringing the right sunscreen for Florida, be sure to bring a good book for the beach and maybe even have a romantic beach picnic.
This is a great way to spend the day and not spend a lot of money.
You will also find several volleyball courts, a basketball court, and an outdoor gym in case you prefer to have a little exercise while on vacation.
Speaking of the ocean, the average temp in Fort Lauderdale is 77-84 degrees F with temperatures in August potentially reaching 87 degrees!
So forget the Spa. With water, this nice it is hard to resist floating and splashing around with your love in nature’s playground.
If you have a little adventure in you, swimming offshore you will be able to see some small coral heads and reefs with some colorful marine animals.
After a nice swim and cool down the best way to dry off is an air dry.
Walk down the beach in the soft sand and collect the various shells capturing memories along the way.
To save even more money, consider staying near the beach. A great trick to saving money on a vacation is to not need a car rental.
The best thing about the beach is it is super close to Fort Lauderdale airport and most everything is within walking distance.
2. FTL Water Taxi
Know as the Venice of America Fort Lauderdale has an extensive water and cannel system.
The inshore coastlines are lined with multi-million dollar homes but maybe even more impressive are the yachts that accompany them.
There are a few ways to see these glorious sites but no better way than by water Taxi. You can get an all-day pass that will take you to several different marinas along with stops right in the heart of downtown Fort Lauderdale.
There are several different shuttles that run all day long with several pick-up and drop-off locations all around the city.
Water taxis are fast, frequent, and of course fun. A classic drop-off is the River Run downtown.
This will put you right at the heart of Las Olas Blvd next to plenty of world-class restaurants and some great window shopping to be had.
With an all-day pass cruising up and down the ICW (intercostal waterway) is an amazing way to get around and see the city from a different point of view.
3. Hugh Taylor Birch State Park
Just north of Sunrise Blvd, you will find a beautiful lush getaway of Hugh Taylor Birch State Park.
This is the best of the great outdoors Fort Lauderdale has to offer.
This is a special place in this Busy Broward metropolitan. The original 180-acre plot of land was donated to ensure that as growth happened there would always be something wild in FTL.
It is often compared to Central Park found in NYC, an oasis in the city. There are plenty of activities to do inside the park.
It has a mile-long stretch of fresh local waterways that is perfect to canoe or paddle boarding. It snakes along some mangroves that are home to many native animals.
Keep your eyes peeled for Herons, turtles, mash rabbits, and much more. It is one of our favorite things free activities to do.
There is also a paved path that is great for running, bicycling or rollerblading. There is no shortage of life when you are here.
It is one of the best scenic parks in South Florida.
4. Riverside Market
Tucked in a neighborhood off the beaten track is this family-operated hangout, you will find Riverside Market.
This is a great end to your day. This converted house has become a “Craft Beer” mecca for many locals with over 550 beers in the selection.
What makes them so unique is they use the honor system to keep tally.
The walls are lined with cooler after cooler making this the ultimate beer cave experience.
Travel the world through your taste buds when exploring some local US crafts to Bavarian hopes into some of Asia’s small microbreweries.
You will want to keep a list of what you tried as there are many different brewers of the same style that have their own unique taste.
Once you are finished, put all your empty bottles into a 6-pack holder and the total will be tallied up at the end before you head out.
5. Riverwalk And Bike Rental
The river walk downtown is an amazing experience and the perfect thing to do in Fort Lauderdale when you are trying to save money.
As it is FREE!
You will get to stroll right along the shoreline of the intercostal waterway as the high rises and luxury apartments jet to the sky.
The sound of birds chirping, the clean and vibrant walkways move you from one end of Las Olas to the other.
There are a few restaurants to stop at if you want to grab a bit or drink. You can always walk over a pedestrian bridge that cuts over and across the river to see what lies on the other side.
With that in mind, you can always rent out a bike or ride and go scooters to really explore the ins and outs of all the cute neighborhoods around River Walk in search for one of the many bars that has live music.
Being on a bike/scooter allows you to ride up and down Las Olas viewing all the cute boutique shops.
You can ride Las Olas all the way down to the beach to catch the sunset or dip your toes in the sand.
The best part about the city bikes and scooters is you can return them to any location around town. Making it a budget-friendly way to get around town.
Find your destination, return the bike, and enjoy your time.
6. Mermaid Show at the B Ocean Hotel
This is a true South Florida experience. This is a unique burlesque show ___________.
Dinner is always available but to save some money grab a seat at the bar (show up early) and save on food.
Several mermaids will look tranquil and almost make you feel as if they are in their natural habitat.
These stunning ladies will have you thinking about what life under the sea would be like. They offer drink specials and will end the show with a live DJ and a chance to meet some of the ladies themselves.
There are throwback shows to animate retro-style costumes. Not always just a visual show there are some surprises and a few jokes offering some commentary to add to the entertainment.
On the flip side, you can also enjoy the Aquaman show. America’s only male underwater burlesque show.
These boys will be sure to make the ladies giggle and the men blush. Right off the main drag from the beach this is a must.
You two will be talking about it and sharing pictures for years to come.
7. Quarter Deck Sea Food Bar
The first opening in the 80’s Quarterdeck is a Fort Lauderdale staple. With two locations in the area, one down by Fort Lauderdale Beach and another off of 17th Street.
You can always get some classic fair like burgers and salads but there are many options for fresh and local seafood items.
Fresh Sushi is prepared or you can even customize a Poke bowl. Start with something to share as you and your love reminisce or plan your activities for the next day while on vacation.
The starters are quite large, so you might even be able to skip the mains.
If not all burgers are just $15 unless you want some add-ons and I recommend substitution for the side salad.
It is not official but I would rate it as the best side salad in Fort Lauderdale. Substitutions are $2 and include options like onion rings, mac n and cheese, mixed veg, and more.
Their sushi also has options of classic rolls, riceless rolls and creative rolls which are also a great option.
They do have daily drink specials, not just happy hour, along with dinner and lunch specials daily.
8. Walk Las Olas
Las Olas is a great street to walk around and check out all the shops, even if you are not spending money, it is always fun to window shop. There are some crazy art galleries on Las Olas that are super fun just to check out.
If you are looking for a fun place to eat, check out Louise Bossi’s for a great Italian restaurant. Walking and just checking out the sites is a great way to entertain yourself while saving money on your trip to Fort Lauderdale.
9. Ride The Sun Trolley
Another great way to save some dough is staying off of the beach and relying fully on public transportation.
And although the sun trolley is not completely a free ride, it is pretty cheap and you can get a full-day pass for only $3.
So forget about the car rental and take the trolley instead. It is a fun and entertaining experience.
10. Holiday Park
Have you joined the pickleball craze like the rest of the world? Playing pickleball on vacation can be a great way to stay in shape and even meet some fun and interesting people while you are traveling, best part it is also free.
So if you were debating whether or not to bring your pickleball paddle, go ahead and throw it in your luggage and plan on playing some pickleball while on holiday.
That’s it. These are just some of our favorite cheap things to do around Fort Lauderdale Beach.
We hope you enjoyed it, and we hope that it sparked some interest on things you can do to save money while traveling to Fort Lauderdale.
Have you been to Fort Lauderdale before? Do you have any budget-friendly activities that weren’t mentioned on this list? Say so in the comments below.