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Jamie’s Destination “Do”s and “Don’t”s: Fort Lauderdale

Fort Lauderdale

Welcome Back to our Friday Blog Series: Jamie’s Destination “Do”s and “Don’t”s, where our favorite Travel Planning Aficionado shares her wealth of knowledge and experiences about traveling the world! After every trip to a new destination, Jamie gives us her perspective as both a traveler, and a travel advisor, through a quick but comprehensive list of what to do or not do at each vacation location!

As many of you who follow along know, Jamie has a tradition of taking a trip every Labor Day with some of her best friends. This year, they wound up in Fort Lauderdale, one of Jamie’s favorite cities in Florida, and also a very popular cruise port. Why does Jamie love Fort Lauderdale? Let’s get to her “Do”s and “Don’t”s to find out!

So Let’s Go Explore this Prominent Floridian City! But First…

J&J in Fort Lauderdale

Jamie’s “Do”s and “Don’t”s for Fort Lauderdale!

Top Favorites, and Jamie’s “Must Do” Experiences

Ft Lauderdale Beach

1. DO Splurge on a Beachfront Hotel

It’s no secret that the best part of spending time in a city that’s right on the beach…is the beach! With so many great hotel options offering incredible beach views, you don’t want to be stuck in a room with a view of the building next to you. If you’re in Fort Lauderdale for a few days Pre- or Post-Cruise, you definitely want to start or end your vacation on a high note with a gorgeous beach view. And if Fort Lauderdale is your long weekend destination, you especially want to make the most of your getaway with a great view!

Waterfront Restaurant Ft Lauderdale

2. DO Make Dinner Reservations in Advance

It feels a little crazy to think that even when you’re not traveling to Disney, you still have to plan your dining in advance, but apparently that’s become the norm in most destinations. You might not need to make reservations months in advance like you do for Disney (though honestly for certain places, you do), but making your reservations at least a week or few weeks out is highly recommended to get into the best places to eat.

Jamie in Ft Lauderdale

3. DO Try Jamie’s Favorite Restaurants

Speaking of the best restaurants, Jamie highly recommends planning to eat at The Boathouse, Shooters and Coconuts. While you can make reservations at the first two, Coconuts doesn’t take reservations, it’s first come, first served, so plan to get there early, around 5 or 5:30, or plan to wait at least an hour before you can be seated. Just don’t arrive hangry, and plan to enjoy a drink on the dock if you have to wait!

Top Tips that Jamie Learned Along the Way

Beach Chairs and Umbrellas Ft Lauderdale

1. Pick a Hotel that Includes Beach Chairs with Your Resort Fee

While it’s not necessarily a “make or break” deciding factor, staying at a hotel that includes beach chairs with your resort fee does make your beach experience a lot more enjoyable. With included beach chairs, you don’t have to worry about bringing your own, or renting them when you get there. It also goes back to the first DO of splurging for a room with a view, because often the “splurge-worthy” hotels also include beach chairs with your stay. 

2. Always Apply Sunscreen (even when it’s cloudy)

You should be applying sunscreen whenever you’re vacationing anywhere in Florida (Disney and Universal included, of course), but with its location even closer to the equator, wearing sunscreen in Fort Lauderdale is a MUST, even when it’s cloudy. You can (and will) still get burned through a layer of clouds, so don’t skip it unless it’s pouring rain (which hopefully, it won’t be!).

Lifeguard Station Ft. Lauderdale

3. Plan in Beach Time

It seems obvious, but it’s easy to get caught up in dining and shopping and other sightseeing while you’re in a city, so it’s helpful to plan in your beach time! Block out a morning or afternoon, or even a whole day, for relaxing in those beach chairs we talked about, otherwise your time in Fort Lauderdale might pass you by, especially if you’re only there for a few nights!

Top “Must-Don’t”s, or Things Jamie Would Do Differently

Ft Lauderdale Mansion

1. DON’T Fly in for a Cruise Without Making Time to Explore

Fort Lauderdale is a very popular cruise port, so many people fly in for their cruise without leaving time to actually enjoy Fort Lauderdale as a destination in itself. Don’t make this mistake! The people who fly in, head straight for their hotel for the night, and skip out early the next morning to embark on their cruise are missing out! While it’s always advisable to arrive at least a day before your cruise begins wherever you’re sailing from, Fort Lauderdale deserves at least one full day for exploration, so try to plan for at least two nights Pre-Cruise, or add on some Post-Cruise days if that works better for you!

Ft Lauderdale Water Taxi

2. DON’T Skip the Water Taxi 

The Water Taxi in Fort Lauderdale is NOT just a taxi on the water, getting you from point A to point B, it’s a whole experience, and one you should definitely NOT miss while you’re there! The Water Taxi will take you down the Intracoastal Waterway, with stops at a number of places with great restaurants and shops along the way, where you can hop off to explore and hop on the next boat that comes by. In addition, what you’ll see from the Water Taxi is worth the ride alone, even if you don’t hop on and off. Along your ride, you’ll pass the most gorgeous (not to mention ginormous) mansions and yachts, and possibly even spot some of the celebrities who live there! Some Water Taxi drivers will even narrate your ride, telling the stories of the mansion and yacht owners as you sail by them!

3. DON’T Worry About Packing Beach “Stuff”

As mentioned, you should try to choose a hotel that includes beach chairs with your stay, but often hotels that provide beach chairs will also have beach umbrellas and towels available, too. Of course, your favorite Love of the Magic Vacations Travel Advisor will be able to help you find a hotel that offers everything you’re looking for to make your stay in Fort Lauderdale the most enjoyable. Especially if you’ll be in Fort Lauderdale Pre- or Post-Cruise, you don’t want to be schlepping beach gear along with you, and probably can’t if you’re flying in, anyway. And, if a hotel that provides all the “beach stuff” isn’t within your budget, there are options to rent beach gear whenever you need it!

And…that’s a wrap of Jamie’s Destination “Do”s and “Don’t”s for Fort Lauderdale!

Ft Lauderdale at Night

Ready to Plan?

Now that you have all of Jamie’s best advice for having the best time in Fort Lauderdale, are you ready to plan your next Floridian vacation? Contact your favorite Love of the Magic Vacations Travel Advisor or email to start planning today!

Just like last year, in 2023, a new Destination “Do”s and “Don’t”s list will come out the Friday after Jamie returns from her latest trip! And you can find links to all of Jamie’s 2022 Travel Tips at this Blog: Jamie’s 2022 Destination “Do”s and “Don’t”s: A Recap

Looking for more of Jamie’s Destination “Do”s and “Don’t”s?

So far, we have: 

Jamie’s Destination “Do”s and “Don’t”s: Group Cruising

Jamie’s Destination “Do”s and “Don’t”s: Universal Studios Orlando

Jamie’s Destination “Do”s and “Don’t”s: River Cruising

Jamie’s Destination “Do”s and “Don’t”s: Disneyland

Jamie’s Destination “Do”s and “Don’t”s: Chicago

Jamie’s Destination “Do”s and “Don’t”s: International Travel

Jamie’s Destination “Do”s and “Don’t”s: Rome, Italy

Jamie’s Destination “Do”s and “Don’t”s: European Cruising

And don’t forget to check out our Inspiring Itineraries as well, featuring a Perfect Plan for your next vacation, and highlighting a new destination each month! You can find links to all of 2022’s Inspiring Itineraries in this Blog: A Year of Inspired Travel: 2022’s Inspiring Itineraries, Month by Month

Dos and Don'ts Fort Lauderdale




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