Fort Lauderdale vs. Miami Beach

Two completely opposite cities, Fort Lauderdale and Miami Beach provide a varied image of the famous Sunshine State. From its beaches to their local scenes, these cities offer different takes and interesting experiences. You can say it has something for different kinds of travelers.
Fort Lauderdale vs. Miami Beach

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Fort Lauderdale is best for the mellow traveler, and families. The city provides a more peaceful and wholesome holiday experience. And Miami Beach, well, there isn’t much left to say about its hyper highs. Let its noise do the explaining.

Fort Lauderdale

Fort Lauderdale may be one of the most famous cities in Florida, but its brand veers away from the noise and crowds.  Fort Lauderdale is best for chilled vacationers, families, and old-timers. It is known as the more relaxed and quieter counterpart to Miami Beach.

The peculiar city isn’t just all about its history, cosmopolitan charms, and beaches. It is more about the feeling and the mellow kind of experience you get. Plus, if it’s any consolation, the city is reminiscent of Venice. Filled with canals and waterways, the city evokes a curious way of life.

What Makes Fort Lauderdale Unique?

Laid-Back Beaches

Nestled on the same seaboard as Miami, you can expect to find an overwhelming number of beaches on its endless coast. Thanks to its oceanfront address, the city boasts 7 miles (11 km) of white sand coasts. Teeming with beauty and culture, Fort Lauderdale’s beaches can even stand against Miami’s famous entries.

However, Fort Lauderdale prefers to take its beach culture down a notch.  Fort Lauderdale is famous for being laid-back, chill, and friendly. It is stark opposite to neighboring Miami’s overwhelming crowds. Thanks to its welcoming locals, you can easily feel at home on many of the city’s beaches.

With a staggering length, you can find plenty of beaches to visit. However, here are some of the most recommended:

Loggerhead and Vista Park

Loggerhead and Vista Park best represents the city’s “laid-back beaches” reputation. They are often the most recommended beaches to hit in Fort Lauderdale, These beaches are located right next to each other close to a residential. You can easily feel at home around here because of the local patrons.

Fort Lauderdale Beach Park

Fort Lauderdale Beach Park may not be as laid-back as you’d expect in the city, but it can definitely make you feel like you are part of the community. There are basketball courts and playgrounds here perfect for visiting families. You can also find BBQ grills and join small local cookouts.

The beach park’s spirit is all about getting everybody together, and locals tend to make you feel welcome.

Las Olas Beach

Big on parties and nightlife, Las Olas Beach is Fort Lauderdale’s version of South Beach. The famous strip is lined with the best nightlife spots, such as bars and nightclubs. Party-loving tourists and locals congregate here as soon as the sun goes down.

The Venice of America

Fort Lauderdale is perhaps one of the most unique cities in all of the US, especially with all the waterways coursing through its interiors. To be fair, it has a river system lying right next to the ocean. When you visit Fort Lauderdale, you can expect to find an overwhelming abundance of canals, inlets, and marinas.

The city has a total of 165 miles (266 km) worth of canals, bays, inlets, and rivers. This gives Fort Lauderdale an interesting setting reminiscent of Italy’s Venice. Filled with too many waterfronts and waterways, the city can feel very romantic as well. Especially when you see many boats and ships coursing through its watery arteries.

The city’s main water channel, the Fort Lauderdale Intracoastal Waterway is the best place to get to know its watery setting. The canal has marinas, restaurants, shopping, and even nightlife spots. You can easily get here by water taxis, or via several other modes of transport, you can find around the city.

With a plethora of interesting cultural and historical spots along its canals, you can also find many boat tours or water charters. These tourist services usually provide a great overview of how the city came to be.

Yachting Capital of the World

Thanks to an extensive oceanfront and a plethora of marinas in its many waterways, Fort Lauderdale can easily host a whole fleet of yachts.  Fort Lauderdale also has the most concentration of yacht services anywhere in the world. And that’s on top of its abundance of boat-friendly waters.

You can easily find many companies that offer yacht-related services all around the many canals of the city. From yacht building, and refinishing, to even crew management services, you can tell that the city is perfect for yacht owners out there.

Apart from its abundance of yacht services, Fort Lauderdale also boasts the perfect conditions for an ideal boat trip. Yachts and other boats can safely dock the marinas and travel around the city without worrying about the weather.

Museums Aplenty

Beyond its beaches, quirky waterways, and boats, Fort Lauderdale is also known for having a wealth of museums. These centers best provide knowledge about the history, culture, and innovations of the city. If you want to get to know the city better, its many museums are also the best places to hit.

Between Fort Lauderdale’s canals and streets, you can find many museums to marvel upon. Here are some of the most famous and also the most recommended:

NSU Art Museum

With a modernist exterior, NSU Art Museum is the most striking among the bunch. Art-lover or not, the museum surely has something that will have you in awe. The NSU Art Museum is brimming with exhibitions that encompass several floors. Many of these exhibitions are items that could give you a glimpse of Florida and the Caribbean’s long histories.

Historic Stranahan House Museum

If you’re interested in the city’s curious history, the Historic Stranahan House is the best place to visit. The building of Stranahan House in the early 1900s by Frank Stranahan is the official birth of Fort Lauderdale. It is the oldest surviving residential house in the city and has witnessed the city’s history through the years.

It was first used as a trading post to conduct businesses by traders, and merchants in the earliest years of the city. It also functioned as a community center, an important gathering point for the locals. It was then eventually turned into Stranahan’s official residence. Now, the old house is a museum showcasing the city’s rich history.

Museum of Discovery and Science

A fun twist for education, the Museum of Discovery and Science is perfect for kids, families, and science lovers. The museum has plenty of displays that both entertain and educate the ever-curious. It has over 200 interactive exhibits that cover different subject matters in science.

The museum also offers simulated airboat tours to the famed Everglades National Park. Staying true to its advocacy for discovery and awareness. This unique take on an Everglades experience helps educate people about how naturally gifted Florida can be.

Miami Beach

Miami Beach has every right ingredient for a successful resort city. The city basically is the most famous city in Florida. Every draw it has, from its diverse cultures to its beaches is the perfect recipe for a jam-packed coastal city. It can even rival Hawaii and Cancun at the same time.

Thriving in the perfect harmony of its draws and charms, Miami Beach has everything you could ever want. From the peace and quiet of the North Beach to the dynamic of South Beach, Miami Beach offers diversity. Not only in its local scenes but also in the experiences it provides.

What Makes Miami Beach Unique?


The city comprises unique neighborhoods each having flavors and twists of its own. Miami Beach has proved that it’s quite a destination to visit.

The city is divided into three large famous neighborhoods, and each can surely give you a different side of Miami Beach. You will quickly realize that the city is not just nightlife and great beaches, it is certainly more than just a touristy palace.

Each has its own quirks and identity, each of these neighborhoods surely has something for everyone. But if you’re an avid traveler, culture buff, or a beach bum, it is extremely easy to just give them all a go.

North Beach

North Beach is mostly home to residential neighborhoods, condos, and large hotels. It covers most of the northern stretch of the island of the city.  It is also noticeably mellow and chill, compared to the rest of Miami Beach. You will find that North Beach is mostly cosmopolitan. You can easily see it with its shopping districts, and largely chic and well-developed streets.

If you prefer a quieter time at the beach with fewer crowds, North Beach is the neighborhood for you. You can also take a stroll around its upscale streets, and soak in its city life. North Beach is comprised of many even more posh neighborhoods like La Gorce, Bal Harbour, and the Isles of Normandy.


Other than being situated between North Beach and South Beach, Mid-Beach offers a bit of what both neighborhoods have. This area is vastly underrated, especially when it has everything you could ever need in a Miami Beach experience.

Mid-Beach perfectly balances the thrills of South Beach and the relaxation offered by North Beach. It boasts a variety of hotels, and beaches that are sparse yet jam-packed, plus, it also has its own art district. Perfect for the millennial lot. Another best thing to consider in staying in Mid-Beach is that both North and South Beach are just a mere walk away.

South Beach

There really isn’t much left to say about South Beach. It has every possible high you could ever want from a beach resort city. It is basically a spokesperson for the rest of Miami because of how packed it is with dopamine-driven draws.

Being the exact opposite of North Beach, South Beach can be very crowded. It has many of the best nightlife spots in all of Miami Beach. Its streets are also lined with many local curiosities that lure in most of the tourists coming to Miami Beach.

The Beaches

With a dramatic extensive coast full of soft white sand, Miami Beach is full of stunning beaches that cover the entire Atlantic coast of the city. You can expect to find quite an ensemble of beaches each as unique as the next. Whatever floats your boat, you will surely find something that will satisfy your thirst for beaches.

You will be met with a sheer number of beaches upon coming to Miami Beach, it will be difficult to pin down the best one. Here are some of the most recommended entries:

Bal Harbour Beach

Aside from being the most luxurious address in all of Miami Beach, Bal Harbour sports some of the best views of the Atlantic. It also has the softest white-sand beaches you’ll ever see on the island.

To complement its stunning beauty, Bal Harbour Beach also houses many of the most opulent resorts in the region. St. Regis, the Ritz-Carlton, and many more have set up branches of their chains here.


Surfside Beach is perhaps the best spot to visit if you want to acquaint yourself with the true local life of Miami Beach. Thanks to its laid-back atmosphere, and friendly locals, you will find plenty of opportunities to live like you’re actually from there. Surfside runs parallel to a row of condos and residential neighborhoods making the local life easier to reach.

Home to the Surfside Community Center, you can also find many things to do here other than just chilling at the beach. The beach is also big on locally organized events that entertain and welcome visitors to the city.

Haulover Beach

Situated right across an inlet from Bal Harbour, Haulover Beach is, by all means, fun and rather eccentric. It is perhaps one of the most gorgeous beaches in the entire region but it comes with an interesting twist.

Haulover Beach is the first and oldest publicly acknowledged nude beach. Clothing is entirely optional here, making a Miami Beach experience even more interesting.

Eccentricities aside, Haulover Beach is also big on fishing and swimming. You will find that there are actually many things you can do here. Plus, picnics and kite flying are perfect activities to go with while being naked.

The Cosmopolitan Flair

Apart from its beach settings, and nightly highs, Miami Beach is very cosmopolitan. Not as big as the city of Miami itself, but it surely has everything a prime modern city has. What’s even more interesting is that it also perfectly balances its city scenes with the diversity of its culture and history.

Miami Beach is a perfect playground for city slickers around the world. The city prides itself on providing everything a city-loving tourist could look for.

Plus, its cosmopolitan personality is complemented by the diversity of experiences it offers. This is mostly thanks to each of its neighborhoods’ uniqueness. From great shopping to the best dining experience, Miami Beach has more than enough reasons for you to stay.

Is Fort Lauderdale Beach Better Than Miami Beach?

If you’re up for a destination that boasts the right kind of draws for an ideal sunny holiday, Miami Beach is the best option. Thanks to its many neighborhoods each having different flavors, you can surely have a wide spectrum of experiences here. Miami Beach is not only known for its nightlife and great beaches. The city can also offer community, warmth, and culture.

Fort Lauderdale doesn’t fall far behind, it is literally right next to Miami Beach. It is best, however, for the kind of tourists who prefers a slower pace, less jam-packed scenes, and who wants to feel less touristy, and more local.


Fort Lauderdale or Miami Beach for Families?

Fort Lauderdale is the better option for families. Simply because the city has a more inclusive beach scene and a vibe that easily makes you feel like part of the community. Not to mention the city’s laid-back, and quieter setting makes it safer for children.

Many of Miami Beach’s areas are crowded with throngs of party-loving tourists and curious crowds. The city’s crowded spots and cosmopolitan highs may put families with small children at risk.

Is Fort Lauderdale Near Miami Beach?

Around 30 miles (48 km) apart, with a few cities in between, Fort Lauderdale and Miami Beach are far apart. However, you can easily reach both by driving or taking a taxi or bus.

How Far Is Fort Lauderdale From Miami Beach?

Fort Lauderdale is approximately 23 miles (37 km) from Miami Beach, directly. Should you decide to drive between them, the road distance is around 30.8 miles (49.7 km).

How to Get From Fort Lauderdale to Miami Beach

There are four common ways to get from Fort Lauderdale to Miami Beach. You can take a taxi, a bus, drive your own car, or take the train. However, the fastest way to get between them is by taxi, which also costs the most.

How Far Is Fort Lauderdale Airport From Miami Beach?

Taking the high road between them, Fort Lauderdale is around 27.4 miles (44.2 km) away from Miami Beach. Taking a taxi or driving your own car between Fort Lauderdale Airport and Miami Beach can take around 30 minutes.

How to Get to Miami Beach From Fort Lauderdale Airport

You have four common options to get to Miami Beach from Fort Lauderdale Airport. Taxis, buses, or taking a rental car are the go-to. There are also airport shuttles available in the arrivals area.

How Much Is It From Fort Lauderdale Airport to Miami Beach?

It depends on the mode of transportation you’ll take. A taxi ride can cost 75 to 95 USD, while buses only cost 12 to 40 USD. A shuttle on the other hand costs around 20 to 60 USD.

Are There Shuttles From Fort Lauderdale Airport to Miami Beach?

You can easily find an airport shuttle just outside the arrival area of the airport. Many of these have different rates in different neighborhoods of Miami Beach. Usually, prices start at around 11 to 20 USD.

How Much Is the Shuttle From Fort Lauderdale Airport to Miami Beach?

Depending on the transport company, and the area of your destination, shuttle one-way fares can cost anywhere between 20 to 60 USD.