Rain or Shine: Fort Lauderdale All-Weather Activities

Rain or Shine: Fort Lauderdale All-Weather Activities Photo courtesy of the Young At Art Museum.

Fort Lauderdale has been an acclaimed travel destination since the 1930s, when the coastal city broke onto the spring break scene — images of bright skies and sandy beaches enticed travelers to head south for some fun in the warm Florida sun. The same rings true today. In fact, Greater Fort Lauderdale’s slogan is “hello sunny.”

But what happens when the sun gets to be too much, or you’ve had enough fun on the beach, or liquid sunshine (aka rain) falls from the sky? You’ll still find plenty of opportunities to keep your vacation spirits bright.

How to Get There

Whether you fly into Fort Lauderdale–Hollywood International Airport or arrive by cruise ship at Port Everglades, you’re just a 10-minute drive to the start of your Fort Lauderdale vacation.

For Adventure Seekers

Take a dive: Neither rain nor heat stops the undersea world from shining in Fort Lauderdale (though lightning will cause cancellations, so check before you go). Ocean temperatures range from 72 to 80 degrees year-round, and with myriad coral reefs — both natural and artificial — and shipwrecks just off the coast, scuba diving opportunities in Fort Lauderdale are as bountiful as the marine life. From novices looking for an easy dive at 45 feet to experienced divers seeking something more technical at 200-plus feet, you’ll find it here.

Scuba Diver Fort Lauderdale has scuba diving options for all interests and experience levels — including reefs, shipwrecks, boat and beach diving, 45-foot easy dives and 200-foot technical descents. Photo by Jennifer Gergen, Flickr.

Seek new heights: If you would rather climb up than dive down, try your hand — and foot — at the walls of Coral Cliffs Rock Climbing, open daily. No matter your climbing ability, Coral Cliffs will challenge you in ways you might not have thought possible at an indoor facility. It features 87 top-roped routes, 25 lead routes, boulders, slabs, overhangs, arches and roofs — all of which change weekly.

Score a goal: Have some energy to burn but want to stay inside? Lace up your shoes and kick the ball around at The Futbol Club, an indoor soccer facility. Fields are rentable for $100 per hour, which might be economical if your group is large enough — but your greatest value may be joining a pickup game for $7 or $8 for two hours. Pickup games are four nights a week and are intended to be relaxed so everyone has a good time.

Go for a boat ride: With Florida rain, it might be coming down where you are but sunny and dry elsewhere in the area. If that’s the case for you, hop in your rental car and drive 20 miles west to Sawgrass Recreation Park for an Everglades adventure. (It’s a good idea to call before you go, as the park may cancel tours due to inclement weather.) A guided airboat ride will have you skimming atop the water and sawgrass at speeds up to 40 mph; keep an eye out for the alligators, birds, fish and turtles that call the ecosystem home. Day and night tours are available.

For Laid-Back Types

Experience the arts: The young — and young at heart — can gather at the Young At Art Museum to immerse themselves in the contemporary arts. The 55,000-square-foot museum exposes children to sights, sounds and textures. The CultureScapes permanent exhibit, for example, celebrates our culturally diverse world through the eyes of artists from Haiti, Latin America, Cuba, Africa and Asia. In addition to exhibits, visitors can explore their creativity at the museum’s workshops (such as clay turning and Mommy & Me painting) and artist series (meet new artists and see their work).

Young at Art Museum Young At Art Museum exhibits like CultureScapes let children experience the sights, sounds and textures of contemporary arts. Photo courtesy of the Young At Art Museum.

Discover wonders: Another spot for exploration in Fort Lauderdale is the Museum of Discovery and Science. This institution of art, history and science fills its 120,000 square feet with hands-on learning centers and an IMAX 3-D theater. Among the permanent exhibits are a look at prehistoric Florida, a simulated Everglades airboat adventure (ideal for seeing the nearby Everglades without getting wet on a rainy day) and fossils of creatures that lived in the oceans 65 million years ago.

Museum of Discovery and Science Stop and enjoy the view from Hudson River Park, the longest waterfront park in the U.S.

Time travel: Go back to the 1920s by walking through a reproduction of a Packard showroom at the Fort Lauderdale Antique Car Museum. Auto enthusiasts will delight in getting up close to more than 20 Packards from the 1900s to 1950s, all from the private collection of the museum’s founder, Arthur Stone. Besides the cars, the 30,000-square-foot museum displays historical memorabilia, such as hood ornaments, gear-shift knobs, gas station signs, magazines and photos.

Treat yourself: If your vacation changes because of inclement weather or you just need a break from the beach — relax. Fort Lauderdale is home to nearly four dozen day spas and oceanfront resort spas, such as Spa Q at Hilton Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort, where you can indulge in quality “me time.” (To save a little money, check with the spas for daily or weekly specials beforehand.) You might even find yourself wondering, “What plan A?”

Vacation Stories

More Destination Guides


5 Things to Do with Family in Ft. Lauderdale

Averaging 246 sunny days a year, Ft. Lauderdale offers beautiful weather and plenty of entertainment for family vacation fun. P.S. Don’t forget to pack sunscreen!

What to Pack for a Trip to the Beach

Video: What to Pack for a Trip to the Beach

When it comes to packing for the beach, there are some obvious choices (e.g. sunscreen, beach towel). But there are also a few unexpected items that could be used in clever ways.

Quiz: What's Your Ultimate Spring Break Destination?

Quiz: What's Your Ultimate Spring Break Destination?

Before planning your spring break vacation, take our quiz to figure out where you should go!

About the Author

Susan B. Barnes, aka travlin’ girl, is a travel writer who enjoys exploring the world as much as her own Florida backyard and sharing discoveries with her readers. Follow her travels online on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.