Come for the boat show, stay for the fun.
Bigger. And better than ever. That’s the promise for this year’s 62nd Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show. For five action-packed days in October – October 27 to 31 to be precise – Greater Fort Lauderdale will live-up to its title of “Yachting Capital of the World”.
With seven separate show locations, including the glamorous Superyacht Village, six miles of floating docks, more than 1,500 boats of every shape, size and price, plus miles of aisles inside a multitude of exhibition tents, FLIBS is the not-to-be-missed boating event of the year.
But these days there’s so much more to Greater Fort Lauderdale than the world’s biggest in-water boat show. Come for FLIBS, but stay to soak-up the new level of style, sophistication and laid-back, fun-under-the-sun vibe this diverse, cosmopolitan playground has to offer.
For those in search of pampering luxury, decadent fine-dining, world-class mixologists, and breathtaking views, Greater Fort Lauderdale now boasts some of the most luxurious accommodations you’ll find anywhere.
New high-luxe hotels from some of the world’s most-renowned brands are all here. From Ritz-Carlton to Conrad, from Kimpton to W, from Hyatt to the soon-to-open, 22-story Four Seasons Hotel & Residences, there’s no shortage of boutique luxury.
If a tropical haven is more your style, take your flip-flops to Jimmy Buffett’s Parrothead-friendly Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort. Watersport fans will love its FlowRider® surfing simulator, paddleboards, and beach snorkeling.
Or if you want to party like a rock star, the breathtaking new $1.5 billion, guitar-shaped Guitar Hotel – part of the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino – offers world-class, round-the-clock entertainment, an indulgent 3,900-square-metre spa, plus private villas with their own plunge pools and attentive butlers eager to keep the margaritas flowing.
Matching these luxurious digs are some of the finest dining options to satisfy the cravings of the most fastidious foodie. For seafood satisfaction, head to the Blue Moon Fish Company on the Intracoastal Waterway for the standout blue-crab-stuffed grouper or firecracker oysters. Or posh Dune from the Napa Valley-based Auberge group. Here the Floridian black grouper is divine and the wine list second to none.
For the tastiest stone crabs, king crabs and wild jumbo shrimp, Billy’s Stone Crab on the waterfront in Hollywood Beach is a true seafood-lover’s delight.
Just know that with more than 4,000 eateries to choose from in the 31 communities that make up Greater Fort Lauderdale, no one is going to go hungry.
The buzzing Las Olas Boulevard – with its upscale shopping, it’s Lauderdale’s answer to Rodeo Drive – is like taking a culinary food tour around the planet. This mile-long slice of Old Florida is the perfect place to sample everything from Italian, Asian or Mexican to contemporary American cuisine.
Las Olas’ Boathouse at The Riverside offers a front-row seat to the never-ending parade of boats and superyachts that cruise the New River. The menu has a Mediterranean twist with everything from Moroccan-spice meatballs to hot and cold tapas.
And that’s the beauty of this corner of Southern Florida; there’s water everywhere. With a staggering 300 miles of navigable waterways, there’s a reason they call it the Venice of America.
Hop on one of the flotilla of water taxis, riverboats or private charter yachts, for an up-close and personal look at some of Greater Fort Lauderdale’s mind-blowing mega-mansions and their megayachts tied-up outside. For the best line-up of luxury property, look no further than the New River’s Millionaires’ Row – or more likely Billionaires’ Row these days.
For the more thrill-seeking mariners, rent a Jet Ski from 5-Star Jet Ski rentals and wave-hop your way around this watery wonderland. Or satisfy your urge to submerge and dive one of the 76 artificial reefs created in the warm Gulf Stream waters just offshore.
Today, Greater Fort Lauderdale is home to the largest collection of warm-water wrecks in the Western world. Like the 100-metre Lady Luck that was sunk in 2016 just a mile off Pompano Beach. It’s the centrepiece of the new Shipwreck Park for divers to explore. It includes the 31-metre tug Okinawa along with another 15 sunken vessels close by.
Or you just might want to do what so many visitors to Greater Fort Lauderdale do, and that’s chill. With an average year-round temperature of 25 degrees C and typically 3,000 or more hours of sunshine a year, the weather’s just about perfect to enjoy the 24 miles of golden sand on eight dedicated beaches that stretch from Deerfield in the north, to Hallandale in the south.
With Greater Fort Lauderdale now fully open for business post-Covid, there’s simply never been a better time to Visit Lauderdale.
For all the information you’ll ever need about planning a visit, just go to www.VisitLauderdale.com/Welcome
Source: Yachting Monthly