Why take a land-based tour in Fort Lauderdale when you can see the sights cruising along the Intracoastal Waterway and on rivers and canals?
After all, the city is home to 165 miles of navigable waterways. Relax on a catamaran, enjoy an old-time Riverboat adventure or take an intimate ride on a gondola. These are all unique experiences to discover why they call this city “The Venice of America.”
The spacious 50-foot catamaran, sets sail from the Bahia Mar Hotel and Yachting Center to John U. Lloyd State Park on a three-and-a-half hour Island Getaway and Beach Adventure. Here you can play volleyball, sunbathe, kayak or snorkel—masks and snorkels are complimentary.
Climb aboard Riverfront Cruises' 50-foot plus, multi-level vessel and pick a spot either in the air-conditioned lower level or al fresco on the canopied deck. Take in the spectacular unobstructed endless water views from either vantage point.
Cruises depart from the Las Olas Riverfront Entertainment Complex for the 90-minute trip which rides by the historic Stranahan House, the three most expensive waterfront homes in Fort Lauderdale and the International Swimming Hall of Fame and Museum. Cocktails and sodas are sold during the cruise, as well as hot dogs, chips and snacks. Try their specialty drink the Riverfront Cruises Tropical Punch.
Instead of walking or using public transportation, why not try exploring the city by Water Taxi? Painted bright yellow to resemble the famous New York City cabs, they’re ideal for self-guided tours as you can hop-on-and-off to visit various hot spots around Fort Lauderdale.
The taxi stops at the Las Olas Riverfront and also at the Shops at Las Olas. After shopping, grab lunch or a drink at the Downtowner Saloon, 15th Street Fisheries, Shooter’s Waterfront or Bokamper’s Sports Bar & Grill. They also visit Fort Lauderdale Beach, so pack a towel and sunscreen.
Gondolas West brings a slice of Italy to South Florida, with a variety of daytime eco and history-themed canal and river tours. Departing from the Bahia Mar Hotel lobby, the canopied boat resembles an actual gondola and so winds through narrow waterways that larger vessels can't maneuver.
You should pack your camera and snap close-up shots of wildlife inhabitants and colorful fauna the narrator points out during the voyage. The canal tours are two hours while the sunset and late afternoon ones are an hour-and-a-half.
Carrie B. Cruises
It’s easy to spot the bright red paddlewheel that propels the 112-foot Carrie B. along the New River. The two-level boat travels along the river and through other channels along the Intracoastal Waterway on a 90-minute tour. Highlights include rides by Port Everglades where massive cruise ships are docked and also the Hyatt Regency Pier 66 Resort & Spa and Bahia Mar Resorts & Marinas where luxury yachts line the docks. Enjoy a cocktail at the full bar and take home a complimentary keepsake photograph.
Riverfront Gondola Tours
Don't let the name fool you, the quiet ride during the Riverfront Gondola Tours is the only resemblance to the actual Italian boat. However this canopied, electric-powered boat has only a six-passenger capacity making it as cosy as gliding in a gondola. Choose from several tours including a visit to Bahia Mar Marina and one from the Intracoastal Waterway to the New River. Sodas and water are complimentary and passengers can bring food, wine and beer on board. They also play music onboard and are happy to switch it to your own personal playlist at any time.
Jungle Queen Riverboat
Evoking the southern charm of riding along the Mississippi River, the multi-level Jungle Queen Riverboat is a fun excursion any time of day. The daily tours boarding at 10:15 am, 12:45 pm, 4:45 pm and 5:15 pm are tailored for early risers, the adventurous and sunset lovers. The 90-minute morning and evening tours cruise along the New River. The three-hour Afternoon Tropical Sightseeing Cruise includes a visit to their tropical island for an alligator show and fun selfies with exotic birds and other animals. From 6-10 pm the evening cruise includes a comedy show on the island and all-you-can-eat buffet.