Southwest Ranches Travel Guide

Discover the best places to visit, things to do, where to stay, and how to get there in Southwest Ranches, Florida with this comprehensive travel guide.

Introduction to Southwest Ranches

Southwest Ranches is a serene town situated in Broward County, Greater Miami, Florida, in the United States of America. The town boasts of a rich cultural heritage, natural beauty, diverse wildlife, and outdoor adventures. Its strategic location amidst swamps, towering trees, and wetlands makes it an ideal destination for visitors seeking solitude and tranquility.

List of Places to Visit in Southwest Ranches

Here is a list of some of the best places to visit in Southwest Ranches:

Culturally Important Attractions: Museums and Historical Places

  • Flamingo Gardens: This 60-acre botanical garden features exotic plants, free-flight aviary, and exhibits of animals like Florida panthers, bobcats, and alligators.
  • Young at Art Museum: This children’s museum houses interactive exhibits centered on art, culture, creativity, and communication. It’s a great place for families.
  • Bonnet House Museum & Gardens: This early 20th-century mansion has stunning architecture, art, history, and wildlife all in one place.

Natural Attractions of Southwest Ranches: Outdoor Adventures and Scenic Views

  • Everglades National Park: This is one of the world’s largest subtropical wilderness preserves with beautiful landscapes, wildlife, and waterways. Visitors can go hiking, biking, kayaking, and camping.
  • Markham Park: This 666-acre park offers trails for hiking and biking, a shooting range, fishing, and picnic areas.
  • Tree Tops Park: This magnificent 243-acre park has bike trails, equestrian trails, nature trails, boat rentals, and fishing opportunities.

Hiking/Biking Routes of Southwest Ranches

Southwest Ranches is a haven for hiking and biking enthusiasts. Whether you’re a novice or a pro, you will find a trail suitable for your level. Here are some of the best hiking and biking routes in Southwest Ranches:

  • The Fox Trail: This 8-mile-long biking trail features breathtaking views of the Everglades natural landscape and wildlife.
  • Flamingo Road Trail: This 14-mile-long trail features a combination of urban and rural scenery, and it’s an excellent destination for family cycling.
  • Everglades National Park Trails: This Park has numerous hiking trails with varying lengths, such as the Anhinga Trail, Gumbo Limbo Trail, and Christian Point Trail.

Best Things to Do in Southwest Ranches: Activities and Tours

Southwest Ranches offers something for everyone when it comes to activities and tours. Here are some of the best things to do in Southwest Ranches:

  • Airboat Adventures: Take an airboat tour in the Everglades and experience the thrill of spotting alligators, exotic birds, and snakes.
  • Horseback Riding: Enjoy a leisurely ride on horseback and explore the beauty of Southwest Ranches.
  • Stand-up Paddleboarding (SUP): Explore Southwest Ranches’ waterways by paddleboard and enjoy the picturesque views of the wetlands and wildlife.

Week-Long Itinerary for Southwest Ranches

Day 1: Visit the Flamingo Gardens and take an airboat tour in the Everglades. Day 2: Go bike riding at Markham Park. Day 3: Visit the Young at Art Museum and enjoy horseback riding. Day 4: Explore the Bonnet House Museum & Gardens and go SUP. Day 5: Go bird watching or hiking in the Everglades National Park. Day 6: Go on a guided eco-tour. Day 7: Relax at Tree Tops Park and have a picnic.

Food and Drink Scene of Southwest Ranches

Discover the food and drink culture of Southwest Ranches with its unique blend of local and international cuisine.

Must-Try Dishes

  • Fried Gator Tail: A Florida delicacy- white meat that’s breaded, deep-fried, and served with dipping sauce.
  • Cracker Soup: A Florida classic- a white fish chowder, thickened with saltine crackers.
  • Stone Crab Claws: Freshly harvested, chilled, and served with mustard sauce, a Florida staple.

Local Beverages

  • Mojito: Made with fresh mint, lime, sugar, rum, and soda water, an ideal summer drink.
  • Key Lime Pie Martini: Sweet and tangy- a delicious blend of vanilla vodka, fresh lime juice, and pineapple juice.

Where to Stay in Southwest Ranches: Hotels, Hostels, and Guesthouses

Southwest Ranches has a broad list of accommodation options, including hotels, hostels, and guesthouses. Here are some options to consider:

  • Hampton Inn Ft Lauderdale-Plantation: Located in Plantation, 4.5 miles from Southwest Ranches, this hotel offers modern amenities and is conveniently located near local attractions.
  • Sheraton Suites Plantation: Located in Plantation, 5.3 miles from Southwest Ranches, this hotel is an all-suite hotel offering spacious rooms and modern amenities.
  • The Pillars Hotel: Located in Fort Lauderdale, 11 miles from Southwest Ranches. This 4-star boutique hotel offers a luxury atmosphere and oceanfront views.

What to Buy in Southwest Ranches: Souvenirs and Local Products to Bring Home

Here are some local products you should consider buying as souvenirs from Southwest Ranches:

  • Gator Goodies: Alligator-themed souvenirs such as keychains, mugs, and t-shirts.
  • Everglades Honey: Locally sourced honey by bees that feed on wildflowers in the Everglades.
  • Citrus Aromatherapy: Citrus-based candles and essential oils, inspired by the natural beauty of Southwest Ranches.

Local Culture and Customs of Southwest Ranches

Southwest Ranches is rich in cultural heritage and customs. The locals take pride in their history and are always willing to share their tradition with visitors. The local culture heavily emphasizes hospitality and good manners. Respect their beliefs, customs, and always ask for permission when taking photos.

Best Time to Visit Southwest Ranches

The best time to visit Southwest Ranches is between December to April when the weather is mild and dry. The summer months are hot and humid, but it’s still an excellent time to enjoy outdoor activities.

Do’s and Don’ts of Southwest Ranches


  • Respect the nature and wildlife of Southwest Ranches.
  • Wear sunscreen and bug spray when exploring the outdoors.
  • Visit local farmers markets to taste organic and locally grown produce.


  • Litter the trails, parks, and roadways.
  • Touch or feed the wildlife.
  • Leave your car unlocked or valuables exposed in the car.

Safety and Health

Safety in Southwest Ranches

Southwest Ranches is a safe place, and the crime rate is low, but it’s always best to take precautions while traveling. Avoid walking alone at night, always lock your cars, and keep an eye on your belongings.

Health in Southwest Ranches

Southwest Ranches is generally safe health-wise, but visitors need to take proper precautions, including using bug spray, hand sanitizers, and wearing sunscreen. It’s essential to stay hydrated, particularly when engaging in outdoor activities.

Getting to Southwest Ranches: Transportation Options and Logistics

Airports Near Southwest Ranches

  • Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport: 15.6 miles from Southwest Ranches.
  • Miami International Airport: 22.2 miles from Southwest Ranches.

Bus Stations Near Southwest Ranches

  • Fort Lauderdale Greyhound: 13.4 miles from Southwest Ranches.
  • Miami Bus Station: 20.6 miles from Southwest Ranches.

Other Options

Visitors can either rent a car, take a taxi, or hire a ride-hailing service like Uber or Lyft.

How to Get Around in Southwest Ranches

The best way to explore Southwest Ranches is by car. However, visitors can also use public transportation, including buses or hire ride-hailing services.

Where to Go Next from Southwest Ranches: Nearby Destinations and Excursions

Southwest Ranches is close to a variety of nearby destinations and excursions to consider:

  • Fort Lauderdale: A vibrant city known for its stunning beaches, waterways, and nightlife.
  • Miami: A city of endless wonders- beaches, nightlife, art deco, and diverse food culture.
  • Key West: Ideal for a day trip, take a scenic drive over the seven-mile bridge and enjoy the charming island city.


Southwest Ranches stands out as a captivating destination to visit. With its rich cultural heritage, natural beauty, outdoor activities, and proximity to nearby destinations, it’s a must-visit place for every traveler. Use this comprehensive tour guide to plan your trip and enjoy everything Southwest Ranches has to offer.