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Useful information for excursions in Fort Lauderdale
In the following paragraphs, you will find information about the cruise port, the most beautiful sights and a lot of useful information for shore excursions in Fort Lauderdale.
The most beautiful sights in Fort Lauderdale
Fort Lauderdale is located in the “Sunshine State” Florida and lives up to its name. With over 300 sunny days a year, the city is a popular destination all year round. Not far from Miami, Fort Lauderdale is also a great place to relax on the miles of fine sandy beaches or stroll along the promenade with its many cafes and restaurants. The city has more than 265 kilometres of waterways and is therefore also called the American Venice. A boat tour or a gondola ride is the best way to discover all sides of Fort Lauderdale. Of course, you can also walk around the city, see many historic houses from the colonial era and shop, eat or just enjoy the atmosphere of Las Olas Boulevard. Along the tropical “Riverwalk” promenade you will find shops, well-kept parks and other impressive buildings. If you are more interested in the diverse nature, the Everglades National Park is the place to be. Hundreds of different animal species are at home in this unique swampland.
Las Olas Boulevard
Las Olas Boulevard, which is lined with palm trees, is located in the heart of Fort Lauderdale and extends to Las Olas Beach. A walk along the boulevard is a highlight for many visitors and locals alike. There are numerous shops and small boutiques that make every shopper’s heart beat faster. The cosy restaurants, bars and cafés are the ideal place to linger and watch the hustle and bustle. Museums and art galleries can also be found on the almost 4-kilometre long boulevard.
Through the centre of Fort Lauderdale flows the New River. The river is complemented by numerous canals that run through the city, making the city the “Venice of America”. During a boat trip, you can discover many of the city’s sights from the water and marvel at the magnificent houses and luxury yachts of the rich and famous along Millionaire’s Row. If you want to fully enjoy the Venetian flair, you can also enjoy your free time on a stylish gondola ride.
Museum of Discovery and Science
The Museum of Discovery and Science is no ordinary museum. Here you will experience an interactive exhibition, which is also a great experience for children. Meet dinosaurs, see real fossils and live coral reefs and learn more about Florida’s interesting ecosystem. The “Storm Center” shows you the effects of hurricanes and in various films, you can see more of Florida’s diverse nature, especially the Everglades National Park. The Museum of Discovery and Science is the most visited museum in Florida and an exciting destination for everyone.
Bonnet House Museum & Gardens
Bonnet House, built in 1920, is a former private estate which served as a winter residence for the Birch-Bartlett family. Today the museum houses impressive art collections and private treasures. The historic house is surrounded by a huge 36 hectare garden landscape that encompasses five ecosystems. In addition to a mangrove wetland, freshwater swamps and a sea forest, there is also a beach and dunes on the compound. A visit is therefore worthwhile for all art and nature lovers.
Hugh Taylor Birch State Park
A paradise for hiking, fishing, cycling and kayaking is the Hugh Taylor Birch State Park. Discover the beautiful nature in the 180 hectare park, which is located between the Atlantic Ocean and the coastal waterway Intracoastal Waterway. The fresh water lagoons invite you to picnic or canoe and in some places, you even have direct access to the beach. If you are lucky, you can also observe wild animals such as various turtles or snakes in this green oasis. At Birch House Museum you can learn more about the park and its founder, Hugh Taylor Birch.
Miles of sandy beaches and crystal clear water invite you to sunbathe and provide plenty of swimming fun. The most famous beach is probably the Fort Lauderdale Beach. In the past, students used to celebrate their spring break here, but this is now prohibited. However, there are still numerous restaurants, hotels and shops along the promenade that contribute to a nice beach experience. While the promenade is often used by joggers and cyclists, you can dive in the water, water ski, kite surf or take a ride on the jet ski. A quieter alternative is Las Olas Beach at the end of Las Olas Boulevard. From here you have a great view of luxury yachts and imposing villas. Especially popular with families are the further north located beaches Pompano Beach and Deerfield Beach with their piers for fishing. Also the Hollywood Beach in the south of Fort Lauderdale is very popular. With a length of 5 kilometers you can walk along the promenade, ride your bike or have a snack in one of the restaurants.
The Everglades National Park, located about an hour from Fort Lauderdale, is a highlight for many tourists in Florida. Thanks to its unique flora and fauna, the almost 2317 square miles (6,000 km²) large national park was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979. During a trip with a propeller boat through the shallow, grassy waters you will experience the diversity of the biosphere reserve at first hand. With a little luck you will see different kinds of alligators, crocodiles, turtles and birds. Together with a tour guide you can also enjoy the unique nature of the park on foot or by bike.
Map of the cruise port in Fort Lauderdale
The port of Fort Lauderdale is called Port Everglades and is one of the largest ports in the world. Port Everglades is also the home port of the largest cruise ships in the Royal Caribbean fleet. Up to 12 cruise ships can dock at the piers at the same time and 8 terminals ensure a pleasant embarkation and disembarkation. Fort Lauderdale is an important starting and finishing port for Caribbean cruises.
The city is not within walking distance of the cruise ship pier. By taxi you can reach the beautiful beaches of Fort Lauderdale in 5 minutes. The city center is also only a 10 minute drive away.
Things to know for shore excursions in Fort Lauderdale
Cruise companies and routes
Due to its size, Port Everglades is home port of many Royal Caribbean cruise ships. But also other international cruise companies like Carnival Cruises, Holland America Line, Costa Cruises, Celebrity Cruises and Princess Cruises use the port regularly.
Fort Lauderdale is a frequent stopover for transatlantic cruises and often the starting and ending point for Caribbean cruises. The routes include destinations such as St. Lucia, the Bahamas and St. Maarten or Cozumel, Belize (City) and Puerto Limón.
Entry and Visa
In order to enter the USA as a German citizen, you need a valid passport and a valid electronic entry permit (ESTA). The application for the ESTA must be made online before the start of the journey and costs approximately 14 US dollars. If you only have a temporary passport, you will need a visa.
For more detailed information, we recommend that you obtain information on all valid entry regulations directly from your cruise line and the Federal Foreign Office in good time before your trip.
The national currency of the USA is the US dollar (USD). Credit cards are accepted almost everywhere in the USA and are therefore almost indispensable. You can also easily withdraw cash with your credit card at an ATM. Alternatively, you can exchange money in advance or use one of the exchange offices. Please note, however, that you often have to pay high fees here.
Taxi and public transport
A popular means of transportation in Fort Lauderdale are water taxis. Because of the many canals in the city, they are a good way not only to get from one place to another, but also to see the city from the water. The nearest departure point for water taxis to the port is the Hilton Marina Hotel, which you can reach after a short taxi ride (approx. 8 USD).
Of course you can also use normal taxis. The taxis all drive to taximeters and you can usually pay by credit card without any problems. A ride into the city center costs about 20 USD. On a busy cruise day it can sometimes be difficult to get a taxi.
In addition to the traditional taxis, there are also numerous cheaper taxi service apps in the USA. These offer the advantage that they are often more customer-friendly and transparent. For example, you can order your driver directly to your location via the app and know in advance how long the ride will take and how expensive it will be. Probably the best known Taxi Service Apps in the USA are Uber and Lyft.
But specially the boardwalks and parks invite to rent a bike and thus to explore the city on one’s own.
Fort Lauderdale has warm temperatures throughout the year and attracts many tourists. The best time to visit the city is between November and June. Then there are pleasant daytime temperatures between 24-29 degrees and the water temperature is also 22-29 degrees Celsius. From July to September is the rainy season and hurricanes can occur more often. Nevertheless, the international cruise companies call at Fort Lauderdale all year round.
Port operator and touristic organisation website
Video: Impression from Fort Lauderdale
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