Whenever our travel plans include a flight, it stresses me out a little. When we go on a long road trip in the west (like this one from Los Angeles to Alaska), we have to return a rental car too before the flight. That’s why I prefer to just arrive at our final destination – wherever the airport is – at least one or two days before our flight. Which always leaves me searching for great things to do around that airport.
We’ve been looking into Florida airports with that in mind. Are you flying out of Florida and looking for some last-day attractions to see nearby? If you are traveling through Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, then this post is for you. We’ve put together a list of things to do around that area.
Fort Lauderdale is an incredible ocean-side city in South Florida. Only 29 miles away from the cultural hub of Miami, Fort Lauderdale makes an excellent destination for anyone traveling through Florida. Smack-dab on the Atlantic coast, with an array of bars, restaurants, and museums, Fort Lauderdale offers a great deal in its own right.
Things to do in the Fort Lauderdale Airport area include:
- Naval Air Station Fort Lauderdale Museum
- Secret Woods Nature Center
- Museum of Discovery and Science
- Dr. Von D. Mizell-Eula Johnson State Park
- Hollywood North Beach Park
- Charnow Park
- Topeekeegee Yugnee Park
Keep reading to find out why you’ll want to check out all these amazing locations!
7 Awesome Things To Do Near Fort Lauderdale Airport
Fort Lauderdale–Hollywood International Airport is a leading airport located in South Florida. Only 21 miles away from its cousin, Miami International Airport, FLL is one of three airports that serve the Miami airport.
Less busy than Miami International, FLL is a great choice if you are traveling into South Florida and want to avoid the craziness of a backed-up airport. Not only will you be super close to the bustling city of Miami, but you will arrive right in the heart of Fort Lauderdale, only minutes away from museums, nature, and a whole array of activities. Whether you have a long layover, or a week to spare, you will be able to find a myriad of activities to keep you entertained. Keep reading to find out more about these exciting activities!
1. Naval Air Station Fort Lauderdale Museum
Only fifteen minutes away from the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, you can find the Naval Air Station Fort Lauderdale Museum. Built in 1942, The Naval Air Station Fort Lauderdale (NASFL) was constructed as part of a national defense program. One of 257 air stations in operation during World War II, you can now visit the site and tour the historic landmark. Notable graduates of NAS Fort Lauderdale include graduate George H.W. Bush in 1943.
The Museum is vast and contains an abundance of paraphernalia from American history. Consider taking a tour with knowledgeable volunteers to learn about American naval history, like the mystery of Flight 19. In 1945, Flight 19 departed from the NAS Fort Lauderdale, only to disappear in the Bermuda triangle. Visit the museum to hear about this and other fascinating histories. The Museum is dedicated to preserving historical artifacts. It welcomes and collects personal stories and documents from World War II Veterans to build a strong historical legacy for future generations.
The NAS Fort Lauderdale Museum is open Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday from 11:30 to 3:30 pm. The last tour, however, runs at 2:30 pm. Tour times vary based on the patron’s interest, ranging anywhere from 10 minutes to three hours. As this is an all volunteer-run operation, donations of $5 per person.
2. Secret Woods Nature Center
A 15-minute drive from the Fort Lauderdale Airport, you can find the Secret Woods Nature Center. An excellent spot if you are interested in nature or wildlife, where you can stroll under an incredible canopy of mangroves and witness all the wonders of natural South Florida life. It’s the perfect retreat if you only have a couple of hours to spare; no matter how long you can spend here, it will feel magical, mystical, and serene. Secret Woods was designated as the first “urban wilderness area” in Florida in 1978.
A great place for everyone, Secret Woods is perfect for families to bond, couples to connect, or even for individuals to gain a sense of peace and mindfulness. Walk the boardwalk along the New River and see all the critters hanging out. You can catch land crabs crawling, reptiles slithering, bees making honey, or cormorants hanging in the trees. As you walk along the boardwalk, you will see all kinds of birds fluttering above. There are many opportunities for children to learn about nature, as the nature center is dedicated to teaching kids about South Florida ecology.
The trail is 1.1. miles in length, built from elevated boardwalks, and contains multiple loops. There are no fees to enter the Secret Woods Nature Center. Open 9 am to 5 am, seven days a week, it is the perfect place to experience Floridian wildlife in all its majesty.
3. Museum of Discovery and Science
Located 16 minutes from the Fort Lauderdale Airport is the Museum of Discovery and Science. At the museum, you can enjoy a wide array of activities and exhibits that are not only entertaining but informative!
Children of all ages can find fun things to do, from the basics of bubble work to taking a wild rocket ride to Mars. The whole family can experience the everglades airboat adventure, and feel the rush of Floridian swamps. You can dig for fossils (next to an enormous prehistoric megalodon!), or feel the force of hurricane winds in the Storm Center. At the Museum of Discovery and Science, there are an incredible amount of engaging, wild, fun rides!
The Museum of Discovery and Science is open from 10 am to 5 pm Monday through Saturday, and 12 pm to 5 pm on Sundays. Fees for adults are $24, while seniors are $22. Military and children tickets are discounted at $19.
4. Dr. Von D. Mizell-Eula Johnson State Park
A simple 17-minute drive from the Fort Lauderdale Airport, Dr. Von D. Mizell-Eula Johnson State Park is an excellent place for families, friends, or couples to come and enjoy a relaxing few hours. Pack a picnic to enjoy on the shore and swimsuits for a dip in the serene waters. At the park, there are activities for the whole family, like swimming, fishing, boating, hiking, and kayaking.
The park is named after Civil Rights Movement leaders who de-segregated the park by leading wade-in protests. Once the city’s “colored beach,” now the park is an inclusive, colorful, wonderful spot to sit and enjoy nature’s wonders. Visit for the history, or visit for the natural shores: either way, the park is a wonderful place to spend a few hours. Open from 8 am until sundown every day, Dr. Von D. Mizell-Eula Johnson State Park will make a great full-day trip for any family. The cost is $6 per vehicle, making it an affordable excursion.
5. Hollywood North Beach Park
Seventeen minutes from the Fort Lauderdale Airport, you can find the Hollywood North Beach Park, a beautiful tropical getaway. Located between the Atlantic Ocean and inter-coastal waterway, Hollywood North Beach park uniquely has access to both bodies of water.
Walk alongside the shore on Hollywood’s famous 2 1/2 mile Boardwalk. Grills are available for use, so you can bring some hot dogs and enjoy a delicious barbecue with the family. Feel free to dip into the warm waters, or snorkel and witness the underwater coral reefs.
If you’re interested in art, check out the art walks that take place the second, third, and final Saturdays of each month. Or if sports are more your thing, you can watch (or participate) in the A1A marathon each February. Free surfing lessons are also available Saturday mornings from Island water sports.
The opportunities are endless; there is something for everyone. Hollywood North Beach Park is open from 8 am to 7:30 pm.
6. Charnow Park
Only 19 minutes from the Fort Lauderdale Airport is Charnow Park, a beachside park full of family-friendly activities. A spacious playground area will captivate kids of all ages; shaded benches, picnic pavilions, and seating areas will allow family members of all ages to sit, rest, and enjoy the surroundings. Spend some time splashing in the interactive fountain to cool off, or play paddleball at Garfield Courts.
Pack a picnic and spend the day at Charnow Park. If you are looking to book a special event, The Garfield Community Center has a 1,735 square foot banquet room overlooking the ocean. The banquet room is equipped with a full kitchen and overlooks the sea: perfect for birthdays, weddings, or anniversaries.
Charnow Park is open from 9 am to 6 pm daily.
7. Topeekeegee Yugnee Park
Locate 18 minutes away from the Fort Lauderdale Airport, and you can find Topeekeegee Yugnee Park. 138.6 acres of South Florida’s best, you can spend days at this park and still find yourself enthralled by the wonders of wildlife.
The name comes from a Seminole phrase meaning a “meeting or gathering place,” and Topeekeegee Yugnee Park is perfect for just that: gathering with loved ones and enjoying the gifts of nature. You can play at the water playground, an enormous play structure that will captivate both kids and adults. Bring your swimming gear and take a dip in the warm, serene lagoon. If–like me–you can’t get enough of Topeekeegee Yugnee Park, you can camp overnight at the nearby campground.
There truly is an activity for everyone at Topeekeegee Yugnee park, from biking and jogging, fishing, basketball, volleyball, or snorkeling. Rent a kayak or canoe to get an intimate, up-close view of the waters, or watch from the shore. Either way, you are guaranteed a beautiful view. The park is open daily from 8 am to 6 pm.
Got more time?
If you have a full day and your flight only takes off the following morning, you could actually do just about anything in the area. Including visiting Miami or even taking a day to visit Everglades National Park. If you’re visiting Florida during the dry season, the latter could be a fantastic option. Here’s a link to our guide to visiting the Everglades National Park and another post about when’s the best time to visit Florida.
And as always, if you’ve visited the area, or perhaps you live there, please let us know what you think and if there are any great things to do around the Ft. Lauderdale Airport that we missed.