Miami is the tourism royalty that has made noise all over the world for decades, even older than Hawaii’s fame. Fort Lauderdale, on the other hand, is like the quieter yet sophisticated counterpart. It has surprises hidden in every watery corner.
It may be laid-back and quiet, but Fort Lauderdale has quirks that are perhaps the most unique in all of the US. Famous for its canals and waterways, Fort Lauderdale is yet another icon. A tourism capital in the Sunshine State’s long roster of special destinations.
The city is rich in history and culture, not to mention beaches that are equally stunning yet sparsely populated. Fort Lauderdale is popular but it certainly does not make a big deal out of itself.
What Makes Fort Lauderdale Unique?
Situated on the Atlantic coast of the Sunshine State, north of Miami, you can easily expect Fort Lauderdale to be a beach city. With stretches of gorgeous white sandy coasts, the city is awash with some of the most beautiful beaches in all of the US. Some of which can even stand against Miami.
However, one thing that separates Fort Lauderdale from Miami is that its beaches are laid-back, not too crowded, and relaxed. Fort Lauderdale’s beaches are so inviting and chill that you can easily feel local. A lot of Fort Lauderdale’s beaches line parallel to residential areas, so you can expect to see a lot of how the locals are.
Here are some of the key beaches you might love to frequent in Fort Lauderdale:
Loggerhead and Vista Park
Loggerhead and Vista Park sit right next to each other and are often said to be the best beaches in Fort Lauderdale. These gorgeous strips are known for their more laid-back, close-to-home feel. This is mostly due to their proximity to a residential neighborhood.
Fort Lauderdale Beach Park
Not as quiet and laid-back as Loggerhead and Vista Park, Fort Lauderdale Beach can also feel homey and welcoming. You can find basketball courts, BBQ grills, rentals, and playgrounds here. You can do many things here while meeting many of the locals as well, making it seem like a community get-together. The beach park is also the largest one in the city.
Las Olas Beach
Fort Lauderdale’s take on a party beach, Las Olas Beach is the best place to be if you’re up for fun nights. With a promenade lined with bars, clubs, and restaurants, expect to find crowds of surfers, vacationers, and party animals here.
The Venice of America
Fort Lauderdale is uniquely full of waterways, and canals, not to mention both a riverfront and an oceanfront. The city is home to 165 miles (266 km) of an eccentric collection of canals, rivers, bays, and even inlets. With this comes a great deal of waterfront quirks and romantic scenery. Expect to have boats and ships traversing through the waters of this unique city.
Thanks to its myriads of waterways, water tours and charters awash all of Fort Lauderdale. You can easily find tours across the canals, the open sea, and even to different isles and islets of the city. There are even water taxis around for a quirky yet practical twist in transportation.
Its interesting and peculiar similarities with the famed Italian city of Venice have given Fort Lauderdale a name for itself. Its Venetian charm is unmatched against all of the US. Its main water artery, the Fort Lauderdale Intracoastal Waterway, is the best place to marvel at.
Marinas, restaurants, and nightlife venues line the famous Fort Lauderdale Intracoastal Waterway. You can easily find several things to do along the unique stretch. It is also accessible to many of the city’s best areas such as the Las Olas Boulevard and the Riverwalk.
Yachting Capital of the World
With vast spaces for boats, thanks to its marinas, coasts, and waterways, you can expect Fort Lauderdale to host fleets of boats of different kinds. Apart from its boat-friendly waters, Fort Lauderdale is filled with yacht-related services. This makes the city appealing to many yacht owners.
Yacht owners and yacht enthusiasts can easily find different kinds of services for yachts. Services such as yacht refinishing and building are found here. Management services including crew hiring, and financial services are also available.
One of Fort Lauderdale’s best selling points is its perfect weather conditions all year round. It is perfect for any boating activities, especially yacht tours. Yacht owners and enthusiasts will find Fort Lauderdale’s coasts, marinas, and waterways to be the perfect escape. When it’s winter and fall in different places all over the US, Fort Lauderdale will always be a sunny, warm welcome.
Apart from white-sand beaches, turquoise waters, and yacht cities, Fort Lauderdale is home to a number of world-class museums. Each museum has its own distinct specialty and will provide travelers with the opportunity to learn something new.
From Art museums to Science centers, they are speckled all across Fort Lauderdale, in-between canals and waterways. Here are some of the most iconic to visit:
NSU Art Museum
Sporting a modernist design, the NSU Art Museum is one of the most famous places to visit in Fort Lauderdale whether you’re an art lover or not. This dynamic cultural hub comprises various exhibition sections spanning several floors. It also has a collection of over 6,000 items with an emphasis on the cultures of South Florida and the Caribbean.
The museum also includes the country’s greatest collection of works by famous artists. This includes American painter William Glackens and works by avant-garde European Cobra artists.
Historic Stranahan House Museum
The Historic Stranahan House is a must-see for history fans and those interested in learning more about Fort Lauderdale. It is the oldest residential house in Fort Lauderdale built by Frank Stranahan in 1901. It is said that the building of the house signaled the official birth of Fort Lauderdale.
Stranahan’s house originally stood as a trading post and a community center. The founding father eventually turned the house into an official residence for him and his wife, Ivy. Now, the Stranahan House is one of the oldest structures in the city and is currently a museum where you can visit and get a glimpse of the city’s history.
Museum of Discovery and Science
The Museum of Discovery and Science offers many interactive and interesting displays. It is perfect for science geeks and curious kids, keeping them entertained and educated. This educational museum has over 200 dynamic interactive exhibits. It is a recommended family itinerary while visiting Fort Lauderdale with kids.
Guests can take a simulated airboat ride through the Everglades. They can learn more about Florida weather patterns at the Storm Center, which is packed with activities, animals, and exhibits. There are also dinosaur boneyard exhibits and aviation displays.
If you’re looking for the most epic US holiday destination, Miami is the place to be. It has everything you could ever want in a destination. It is basically the country’s blueprint for tourism success. Upscaled, culturally diverse, and historical, Miami is more than just the beaches and nightly parties.
The true tourism royalty in all of the US, you can have a diverse set of experiences in Miami. It has the right kind of variety to make a great holiday experience. On top of all that, Miami also experiences great weather all year round, making it a true sunny getaway.
What Makes Miami Unique?
Known for its gleaming white-sand beaches that stretch endlessly for miles, you can expect to find an epic roster in Miami. Miami’s many beaches are some of the most iconic in the world. Many of which are constantly photographed, posted on social media, and featured in travel articles.
With its sheer number, it may be challenging to decide which one is the best place to visit. However, these beaches have their own personalities and quirks. They offer different kinds of experiences and atmosphere, you’d want to visit them all.
To help you with which ones to visit, here are some of the most recommended entries
North Beach is the best beach for families and friend groups who are looking for a relaxing time away from the crowds and noise of Miami. This vast stretch is also Miami Beach’s residential neighborhood, making it more homey and laid-back. You can easily relax around its sparse stretch, along with chilled tourists and warm locals.
North Beach also runs parallel to the neighborhood of the same name. You’ll see that the areas around the beach are home to a row of high-end condos and plush residential neighborhoods. The beach sits close to some of the best shopping districts in Miami, as well as luxurious resorts and hotels.
Sitting right next to the most opulent neighborhood in all of Miami, Bal Harbour is brimming with beauty and chicness. You will find rows of high-end condominiums and large luxurious resorts along its beach. Plus, the area isn’t as crowded as many others, making it feel more relaxed and peaceful.
It may be small but the beach is considered one of the most beautiful beaches in the region. It has green spaces, edged by condominiums and resorts on one side, and the softest white-sand coasts on the other. Bal Harbour Beach also features the best views of the Atlantic Ocean.
Budget travelers don’t have to worry about splurging here. Despite its posh reputation, Bal Harbour Beach is open to the public. Anyone can take a well-deserved dip here and relish its stunning beauty.
South Beach is the most famous beach in all of Florida, and maybe even all of the US. It best represents the highs Miami can offer. Thanks to its dynamic and energy, South Beach is perhaps the most recommended beach to visit. Plus, for anyone visiting Miami, South Beach is almost a rite of passage of some sort.
South Beach definitely feels young and fun, especially as it is home to many of Miami’s best nightlife spots. Further inshore, you can also revel in the Art Deco buildings around Ocean Drive. It is where you’ll find the best restaurants and bars if you want to have some fun after a much-needed dip in South Beach.
The Nightlife Scene
Alluding to its fun dynamic, Miami is famous for its nightly debaucheries full of parties and endless drinks. It is said that the no Miami experience is complete without trying out its epic nightlife scene. Even just for a single night. Miami tends to transform into one big nightclub when the sunsets. You’ll find that it gets even more interesting and hotter at night here.
One of Miami’s most prominent sides, its nightlife scene can even beat Las Vegas and Cancun together. Miami has several districts and areas lined with bars and nightclubs each unique and offering its own twist. Head to Calle Ocho, and the famous Downtown and South Beach for the most epic experience.
Miami also hosts annual music festivals that last entire evenings, further making it a party and nightlife capital in the US. The most famous of all these festivals is the Ultra Music Festival. One of the largest EDM festivals in the world began in Miami.
Today, it is one of the largest music festivals in the US and the world. Every year in late March, some of the world’s most famous DJs perform their tracks. 150,000 music fans, also descend on Bayfront Park for this gigantic celebration.
Historically diverse and culturally wealthy, many of Miami’s sides have a special kind of variety on them. Its culinary culture is perhaps the best telltale of its diversity. Miami takes pride in the different cultural influences on its gastronomy scene. They offer a creative burst of varied flavors from all over the world.
When you’re in Miami, you can easily sample many staple dishes from different cultures that made their way here. From Europe to Asia, you’ll easily have your cravings and curiosities well satisfied.
But with diversity comes a whole slew of different restaurants scattered all across the area, the challenge is finding out where to go. Here are some of the most famous streets and areas around Miami to head to:
Overtly young, hip, and innovative, Wynwood is millennial central. This means that you can expect to find some of the most elaborate restaurants in this drive. You can have a wide range of gastronomic experiences in Wynwood. It is especially famous for its slew of coffee shops, bakeries, Asian restaurants, and casual dining.
If you’re looking for a truly diverse menu, restaurants in Sunset Harbor offer extensive options from Europe to Asia. To reserve a whole day of exploring Sunset Harbor’s flavors, it will be as if you’ve already traveled the world.
People recommend taking your dinners across the many restaurants that line the waterfront. These spots give you a view of the famous sunset along with the Miami City skyline.
A small yet quintessential slice of Cuba in Miami, Little Havana is the center for Latino cooking. The famous neighborhood is a must-visit if you’re in the city. Filled with family-owned restaurants offering the best Cuban dishes, as well as many other Latin American flavors. Little Havana isn’t only best for eating out, its streets hold the very history of the city.
The Capital of Latin America
You will easily notice the Latino overtones of the city upon visiting, thanks to heaps of migrants that came from Latin America decades past. This has created quite an interesting mix and a local culture that adds to Miami’s appeal. It is considered the gateway of the Latin World, thanks to the opportunity it gives to migrants.
However, its Latino influences aren’t just a single culture, but a whole slew of different nations. Miami has a mix of Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, and Brazilian influences among many others. Thanks to the influx of people from these countries, has made Miami the way it is today.
Currently, the majority of Miami’s local population has Hispanic heritage. They are believed to have descended from the many migrants that came to the US since the 1950s. These migrants have brought with them their culture and customs, making up an important part of Miami’s identity.
True to its diversity and warmth, Miami is also home to many other cultures from all over the world. You can also see European and Asian influences in its many streets. People often said that coming to Miami will be like traveling to different parts of the world as well.
Brimming with draws and charms, you can expect to find a dramatic amount of places to explore and things to do in Miami. With its varied scenes and diverse culture, you will find that Miami offers more than just beach trips and nightlife parties. You can experience many different things in Miami, only if you allow yourself.
Here are some of the most famous go-to activities apart from the beach, or the clubs and restaurants:
From high-end retail therapy to thrift shopping, you’ll easily have a bit of everything in Miami. The city offers so many shopping districts and spots where you can buy a well-deserved piece of clothing, or even quirky souvenirs.
You can head to areas such as Lincoln Road, Bal Harbour, and the Miami District for your luxury buys. But if you’re more of a mid-end to budget thrift shopper, head to the Bayside Marketplace, or anywhere in Downtown Miami.
You can also see a bit of the wild in Miami without having to go to Florida’s jungles. The Zoo Miami houses 3,000 animal species where you can easily encounter them. The center is perfect for short family trips with curious kids, or even animal-loving adults.
The animals in Zoo Miami are in good condition as they are kept in enclosures that resemble the wild. They are also put together with other animal species, simulating their life in the wild. Different animal species can interact with each other in the same way they do in nature.
Everglades National Park
Made up of mostly swamps and marshes, the Everglades National Park is one of the most unique and the most famous parks in all of the US. It is a protected conservatory teeming with life, housing different species, some are also endangered. The park’s vast 1.5 million acres (607,000 hectares) is home to different species of amphibious reptiles, birds, and other mammals.
You can also take the many walking trails here available for exploration. There are also guided tours on boats across the swamps that could get you close to the animals.
Which Is Better – Miami or Fort Lauderdale?
If you’re looking for that fabled Sunshine State vacation experience, Miami is always the better option. The answer lies in the fame the city and even the entire county hold. It boasts the best cosmopolitan features, historical gems, and nightlife scenes. Its other specialty is the myriad of beaches.
While Fort Lauderdale doesn’t fall far from Miami’s standing, the canaled city is best for living. Fort Lauderdale’s more laid-back setting makes for a better residential setup than merely passing through as most tourists do.
Is Fort Lauderdale or Miami Safer?
When it comes to general safety, Fort Lauderdale is 14% safer than Miami, statistically. Miami has a greater problem when it comes to violent crime that worries both locals and tourists. Conversely, traffic safety and property crime are more of an issue in Fort Lauderdale than in Miami.
Tourists who have been to both cities reported that Miami can be very overwhelming with its crowds where safety can be an issue. Fort Lauderdale on the other hand is much more relaxed and laid-back. The city’s friendly local vibe can help tourists feel at ease.
Is Fort Lauderdale or Miami Cheaper to Visit?
With Miami’s touristy reputation and higher demand, costs around the city can be much more expensive than in Fort Lauderdale. Accommodations and prices of goods and services around Miami tend to be 5% to 10% more expensive than in Fort Lauderdale.
Fort Lauderdale vs. Miami Weather
Straddling across the same coastal region, bordered by the same ocean, Fort Lauderdale and Miami have mostly the same weather. Both cities see the same number of sunny days, averaging around 250 days a year. Fort Lauderdale however gets more rain than Miami, with an average of 63 inches a year, compared to Miami’s 60 inches.
Is Miami Warmer Than Fort Lauderdale?
When it comes to warmth, Miami and Fort Lauderdale are among the hottest places in the entire US. They’re even hotter than the islands of Hawaii. However, when it comes to average highs, especially during summers, Fort Lauderdale is slightly hotter than Miami. The latter hits an average high temperature of 88.9 F (31.6 C), while Fort Lauderdale hits around 90 F (32 C).
Are the Beaches Better in Fort Lauderdale or Miami?
You would think that because of its fame and reputation, Miami would take the best spot. But Fort Lauderdale’s more inclusive and relaxing beaches are better than Miami. A beach is best for relaxation and most beaches in Fort Lauderdale give you just that.
Fort Lauderdale’s beaches are also perfect for a slew of activities such as diving, sportfishing, swimming, and surfing. Most beaches are big on beach volleyball as well.
Fort Lauderdale’s beaches are extremely welcoming. Its many beaches are suitable for everyone, from families to friend groups or even solo travelers.
Miami is perfect for thrill-seekers, and nightlife lovers. Many vacationers on Miami’s beaches tend to have one thing in mind: party. If you prefer larger crowds and more excitement, Miami’s beaches are better.
Fort Lauderdale vs. Miami for Family Vacation
When it comes to kids’ safety and overall family-inclusive draws, Fort Lauderdale is the better option. Fort Lauderdale has a higher concentration of vacationing families. This is mostly because of its quieter, more laid-back setting.
Miami can feel crowded and risky for families with small children. But that isn’t saying that Fort Lauderdale is completely lacking partygoers. It’s just that the city is more family-oriented and relaxed.
Is Miami or Fort Lauderdale Better With Kids?
With its more family-friendly draws, full of attractions ideal for children, Fort Lauderdale is better for families. You can have safe, laid-back, and quieter beaches for kids in Fort Lauderdale. The city’s interiors are even filled with features that will appeal to kids, like its canal tours, and a plethora of museums.
Is Fort Lauderdale Quieter Than Miami?
Undoubtedly, Fort Lauderdale is quieter than Miami. Thanks to its quiet and more peaceful vibe, especially around its beaches, you can easily relax in the city.
Fort Lauderdale or Miami for Nightlife?
One of its defining draws, Miami is the best place for nightlife. Whether you head to Downtown Miami or cross to the iconic South Beach, Miami is one big nightclub. The city is filled with nightlife spots, some of which are already around during the 80s.
Is Miami or Fort Lauderdale Better for Spring Break?
With its legendary parties and great nightlife scenes, Spring Break is the best to spend in Miami. You can head to the many beaches in the city, or the various districts inland for the most epic Spring Break celebrations and events.
Miami vs. Fort Lauderdale for Bachelorette Party
It depends on how a bride wants her Bachelorette Party to go down. For the more laid-back and chill Mrs-to-be, the relaxed draws of Fort Lauderdale are perfect. You can easily wind down, boat around, or have little soirees in the many spots in the city.
But if the bride wants to have a final wild night, Miami is the best place to be. With its many bars and nightclubs, you can easily find the ideal spots to celebrate your last night as a single woman. Thanks to Miami’s reputation for fun and excitement, almost everywhere in Miami can be a party.
Is Fort Lauderdale or Miami More Fun?
If you want your vacation days filled with debauchery and good fun, especially at night, Miami is the better option. During the day, its crowded beaches can give you the thrill you’re looking for, not to mention the nearby natural attractions as well. And at night, well, Miami is the poster child for a great nightlife in the US.
Miami vs. Fort Lauderdale for Gays
Progressive and the most accepting of the LGBTQ community in Florida, Fort Lauderdale is without a doubt better for gays. Dubbed as Florida’s Gay Capital, Fort Lauderdale welcomes over 1.1 Million LGBTQ visitors a year. Plus, Fort Lauderdale also offers more than 200 gay-friendly hotels, bars, and clubs. Many of which are even gay-owned.
However, Fort Lauderdale doesn’t offer an equally exciting nightlife like Miami does. The best place to visit for gays in Miami is South Beach where there you can find inclusive bars and clubs, not to mention very open-minded crowds.
Downtown Fort Lauderdale vs. Downtown Miami
If you’re up for a true cosmopolitan center, teeming with fun and diversity, Downtown Miami is the better option. Miami’s heart is ultramodern yet thick with many different cultures. It’s easy to find entertainment here, plus, it’s also very livable thanks to its diversity.
Fort Lauderdale on the other hand isn’t as grand as Downtown Miami but it is also quite unique. The city is more suitable for older generations, and the younger crowds seeking an escape from the mainstream.
Its historical attractions and rich coastal lifestyle are quite a charm as well. The downtown has canals and a river system that passes through it providing a rather unique take on a metropolis.
Where to Stay – Miami or Fort Lauderdale?
As two of the most famous vacation cities in Florida, you can expect to find a wide roster of accommodations in both. However, when it comes to having a diverse range of accommodations, Miami beats Fort Lauderdale. Thanks to its bigger tourist population each year, Miami has hotels and resorts that cater to every kind of traveler.
But that doesn’t say that Fort Lauderdale is too limited. The city is more attuned to families and travelers who prefer a quieter scene as opposed to Miami’s jam-packed highs. Fort Lauderdale is also famous among older travelers who seek to escape to a sunny laid-back city.
Is Fort Lauderdale in Miami?
Fort Lauderdale and Miami are two separate cities in the coastal region of the state of Florida. The canaled city of Fort Lauderdale sits a few miles north of the City of Miami.
How Far Is Fort Lauderdale From Miami?
Fort Lauderdale sits 29 miles (46.67 km) from Miami and may take around 30 minutes to travel.
What Part of Miami Is Closest to Fort Lauderdale?
With a few coastal cities and suburban areas in between, the closest part of Miami to Fort Lauderdale is the suburban city of North Miami. Located on Biscayne Bay, North Miami is 16 miles or 26 km away.
Is Fort Lauderdale Bigger Than Miami?
Fort Lauderdale is actually smaller than Miami on two accounts — population and land area. Miami has a population of 471,525, while Fort Lauderdale has 184,245. The land area also has stark differences, as Miami has a total of 36 sq. mi (93.23 sq. km), while Fort Lauderdale has 34.59 sq mi (89.58 sq. km).
Is Fort Lauderdale or Miami Closer to Key West?
Key West is directly 130 miles (210 km) from Miami, while Fort Lauderdale is directly 149 miles (240 km) away. Miami is not only the closest but it’s also the most common jump-off destination when heading to any point in the Florida Keys.
How to Get Miami From Fort Lauderdale
With only a few miles of distance between them, the best and most common way to get to Miami from Fort Lauderdale is by hitting the road. You can either get a taxi, a bus, or drive your own car. The drive between them typically takes around an hour.
How Long Is the Drive From Fort Lauderdale to Miami?
Depending on your mode of transport, the typical duration takes around an hour or so of driving.
How Do I Get From Fort Lauderdale to Miami Without a Car?
You can either get a taxi which costs around 90 USD or by taking a bus. A one-way bus ticket typically costs around 11 to 30 USD.
How Much Is an Uber From Fort Lauderdale to Miami?
Fare estimates when getting an Uber from Fort Lauderdale to Miami hit around 40 to 60 USD.
Is There a Train Between Miami and Fort Lauderdale?
There are direct train routes traveling between Miami and Fort Lauderdale. Trips depart every four hours every day and can take around 30 minutes to travel.
Is Miami and Fort Lauderdale the Same Airport?
Miami and Fort Lauderdale are served by two different airports. Miami and its nearby cities are served by Miami International. Fort Lauderdale is served by Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International.
Miami Airport vs. Fort Lauderdale Airport?
Miami Airport offers modern amenities and better service, however, it is more crowded. You can expect long lines and long waiting hours. Fort Lauderdale may be dated, but the airport lacks the same modern charm as Miami. However, it is less crowded and lines tend to be shorter.
Is Fort Lauderdale Airport Smaller Than Miami Aiport?
Fort Lauderdale’s airport is smaller than Miami’s. Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International can feel a little outdated than Miami. The airport tends to see lesser passenger reception.
Can You Fly Into Fort Lauderdale to Go to Miami?
You can fly direct flights to Fort Lauderdale, and then take a taxi or any ride-hailing services to Miami.
Is It Cheaper to Fly Into Miami or Fort Lauderdale?
With fewer passenger traffic and lesser demand, it is actually cheaper to fly into Fort Lauderdale than Miami.
How Far Is Fort Lauderdale Airport From Miami?
The Fort Lauderdale Airport is approximately 25 miles (38 km) from Miami, by road. It will typically take around 30 to 40 minutes to drive.
How Far Is Fort Lauderdale From Miami by Plane?
The flight distance of Fort Lauderdale is approximately 24 miles or 39 km from Miami.
How Much Is a Taxi From Miami Airport to Fort Lauderdale?
A taxi from Miami International to Fort Lauderdale can cost around 75 to 95 USD, one way.
How Long Is the Uber From Fort Lauderdale to Miami?
An Uber ride from Fort Lauderdale to Miami usually takes around 40 minutes.
How Much Does It Cost to Uber From Fort Lauderdale Airport to Miami Airport?
It depends on what kind of Uber service you’re getting, but the cost may take around 40 to 98 USD, from Fort Lauderdale Airport to Miami Airport.
Is There a Shuttle Between Fort Lauderdale and Miami Airport?
Upon your exit of either airport, various shuttle services will take you to predetermined routes. Miami Airport however offers more shuttle services than Fort Lauderdale.
How Much Is the Airport Shuttle From Fort Lauderdale to Miami?
Depending on which part of Miami you’re heading to, a one-way fare for airport shuttle services can cost around 25 to 30 USD.
How Long Is the Shuttle From Fort Lauderdale to Miami?
Just like an Uber or taxi ride, a shuttle ride from Fort Lauderdale to Miami can take around 40 minutes.
How Far Is Fort Lauderdale From Miami Port?
The driving distance between Fort Lauderdale to Miami Port is approximately 30 miles or 47 km.
How Much Does It Cost to Get From Fort Lauderdale to Miami Port?
A taxi ride usually costs around 80 to 100 USD. One-way bus tickets can cost 3 to 6 USD, however, it will take you longer to get there.