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Want to explore a hidden gem beach in Florida? Come explore the top things to do in Lauderdale by the Sea!
If you’re looking to enjoy the beautiful Atlantic beaches in Florida without the tourists and hustle and bustle of big cities like Miami or Orlando, consider visiting Lauderdale by the Sea! Lauderdale by the Sea is a small beach town located just north of Fort Lauderdale. This little town has a laid-back atmosphere and is perfect for a relaxing trip to the beach.
When we visited Lauderdale by the Sea, we spent a long weekend there and found so many fun things to explore! Lauderdale by the Sea makes for a charming long weekend and relaxing vacation for couples, young adults, and families. Unlike Fort Lauderdale and Miami, Lauderdale by the Sea is not as busy or a major spring break destination. For us, we were looking for a hidden gem beach town in Florida, so Lauderdale by the Sea was a great weekend getaway for us!
Keep reading to learn more about how you can spend an extended weekend exploring the top things to do in Lauderdale by the Sea!
Fun Things to Do in Lauderdale by the Sea, Florida
Lauderdale by the Sea is a small beach town that has a lot to offer if you are looking to not stray far from your hotel or resort. The main square is full of shopping and restaurants. The beaches at Lauderdale by the Sea are very clean and spacious! The water is almost always clear and warm throughout the year which is great for families.
Explore Downtown and the Beach Pavilion
Exploring downtown is a must for a trip to Lauderdale by the Sea! This charming beach town’s main square is full of colorful Adirondack chairs, which are perfect for relaxing, photographing, and enjoying the town! Throughout the summer this area is where to find all the town happenings and events. Downtown Lauderdale by the Sea is where you’ll find all the restaurants and shops.
Snorkel or Scuba Dive
Enjoying the crystal clear blue ocean is certainly the top thing to do in Lauderdale by the Sea, but you can experience it in a more unique way! Only 150ft off the shore of Lauderdale by the Sea is a coral reef! If you’re an avid scuba diver this is a great area to go scuba diving because you can enter the water right from the shore! If you’re a strong swimmer and are interested in snorkeling, Gold Coast Scuba offers guided snorkeling tours! Deep Blue Sea Divers is another location that offers Scuba lessons! Lauderdale-by-the-Sea is a great place to dive independently without tours as well. So get your own snorkel fins and gear and start exploring!
See and Learn About Sea Turtles on the Beaches
As you’re exploring the beaches at Lauderdale by the Sea, you’ll probably notice areas of the beach blocked off with tape. These areas are sea turtle nests! Florida beaches are the nesting grounds for multiple species of sea turtles, with the majority being Loggerhead Sea Turtles.
While going for a walk one morning, someone had found a baby sea turtle trapped in their garage. They returned it to the ocean! If you happen to be in Lauderdale by the Sea during sea turtle season, take some time to observe their nests and learn about them!
Rent a Paddleboard or Kayak
Since the ocean is so calm at Lauderdale by the Sea, it makes for great kayaking or paddleboarding! Consider renting aquatic equipment for the day out on the ocean.
Friedt Family Park
One of the top things to do in Lauderdale by the Sea for families is Friedt Family Park! This community space has all the sports courts you could think of and is a great place to enjoy the outdoors with kids.
El Prado Park
This other park in Lauderdale by the Sea is a bit of green space on the beach! This small park is a nice spot to sit and relax if you don’t feel like getting your feet sandy, but you still want to enjoy the ocean views!
Walk on Anglin’s Pier
If you’re a fisherman or just want a beautiful view of the ocean, visit Anglin’s Pier! This fishing pier offers sweeping views of the ocean below and is a great spot for your catch of the day! Taking a walk on the Pier is definitely one of the things to do in Lauderdale by the Sea because it gives you a great view of the skyline and beautiful blue ocean!
Spend an Afternoon Sightseeing in Nearby Fort Lauderdale
Fort Lauderdale is a short 15-minute drive Lauderdale from the Sea, which makes it a great day trip! If you’re stuck at the beach on a rainy day, taking a day trip to Fort Lauderdale is a great idea. Here, you can go shopping at the mall, explore the Museum of Discovery, tour the historic Bonnet House, or the International Swimming Hall of Fame.
During our visit, we visited Hugh Taylor Birch State Park. Here, you can rent kayaks and paddle down the lake or the intercostal waterway, go hiking on the few trails and explore the different wildlife thriving in the tropical forests of Florida. During your visit to the park, make sure to keep an eye out for manatees in the intercoastal waterway!
If you’re looking to do a day trip from Lauderdale by the Sea, you can take the water taxi to different spots and attractions along the coast!
Take a Day Trip to the Everglades
Another option for a day trip in southern Florida is touring the Everglades! The Everglades National Park is full of diversity and wildlife and nature to explore! If you’re interested in experiencing the Everglades, consider doing so by visiting the National Park. Since the Everglades, like any National Park, are a delicate natural resource, we think it’s important to take tours with accredited agencies. There are boat tours available, but many of these are not accredited by the park so make sure to do your research before booking!
Day Trips from Lauderdale by the Sea
- Everglades: Birding, Wildlife, and Photography Expedition
- Fort Lauderdale: 4-Hour Deep Sea Drift Fishing Trip
- Everglades Eco-Adventure: 2-Hour Sawgrass Recreation Park
- Everglades National Park: Mangrove Tunnel Kayak Eco-Tour
- Fort Lauderdale: Flamingo Gardens Entry Ticket
Where to Stay in Lauderdale by the Sea: Plunge Beach Hotel and Resort
During our visit to Lauderdale by the Sea, we stayed at the Plunge Beach Hotel. This oceanfront resort was recently renovated and was beyond our expectations! We stayed in the oceanfront Lanai room which featured a patio that walked out onto the beach! The decor in the rooms was adorable, very bright, and colorful!
There are three buildings at the Plunge Beach Hotel, the Island, Beach, and Bungalow buildings. When you’re planning your reservation at Plunge, make sure you check which building you’re booking in because each one has different rooms and amenities. The Beach and Bungalow buildings offer the best ocean views! The Bungalow building has its own private pool and rooms with kitchenettes, so it’s great for people who are planning a longer stay or for families.
Plunge Beach Hotel also offers great property amenities that you have access to as a guest. The resort has three restaurants on the property including an oceanfront bar, a gastropub, and a sandwich and coffee shop. The daily resort fee includes the pool and beach access, first come first serve beach chairs, towels, and umbrellas, Wi-Fi, parking, and bikes. All of the people working at the hotel were friendly and hospitable! Another great feature is that the Plunge Beach Hotel offers early check-in and late check-out based on availability.
The best part of the Plunge Beach Hotel was the beautiful beach! The beach was very private as it was located next to condos instead of other resorts. And it’s located a little further from the main Lauderdale by the Sea square so it’s less accessible by the public.
Where to Eat in Lauderdale by the Sea
There are lots of great restaurants in Lauderdale by the Sea! Here are some of the places we loved during our trip!
Aruba Beach Cafe
Aruba Beach Cafe in Lauderdale by the Sea is a great oceanfront restaurant and bar that offers great dishes with live music and ocean views.
Mulligans Beach House
Mulligans Beach House had a great late-night happy hour and great bar food.
Village Grille was another lovely place for dinner. The menu was a little smaller than other restaurants but the options were diverse.
Sloan’s Ice Cream
Of the few ice cream shops in Lauderdale by the Sea, we loved Sloan’s! This adorable ice cream shop can’t be missed with its pink and glittery decor. The ice cream was delicious!
Getting to Lauderdale by the Sea
Where is Lauderdale by the Sea? Lauderdale by the Sea is located a 25-minute drive from Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport. It is nestled a 15-minute drive from downtown Fort Lauderdale. Driving near Fort Lauderdale and Lauderdale by the Sea is very easy and using either Uber or Lyft is a great option if you aren’t renting a car!
Who’s ready to book a trip to Lauderdale by the Sea?
There are so many fun things to do in Lauderdale by the Sea to fill up an entire weekend at the beach!
Start Planning Your Next Trip!
- Plan the best weekend getaway ever!
- How to perfectly pack everything for your next trip
- How to prepare for any trip
- Book your accommodation: For booking hotels, we like to use Hotels, Booking, and Agoda. For more unique stays, we like to use Airbnb.
- Book your flights: For booking flights, we like to use Kiwi or Student Universe to check for deals.
- Activities and tours: Our go-to resources for booking activities and tours are: Groupon, GetYourGuide, and Viator. Also, check if your city is available on CityPass for extra discounts.
- Luggage: When we travel, we love using our SwissGear Energie series luggage set. This hardshell luggage is lightweight, spacious, and affordable! We love how much of our stuff can fit in this luggage.