Fort Lauderdale has traditionally been associated with spring break parties since the 1960s when the movie "Where The Boys Are" put this beach town on the map. Well, the Fort Lauderdale "Strip" has matured over the years, and outside of spring break, the town is less of a party center than its neighbors along the coast. Today, this Floridian beach town offers a comforting respite with plenty of hotel options to suit your tastes in accommodations.
When to Visit
December to May is high season in Florida, when travelers come from across the U.S. for a break from the winter weather. If you come in spring, you'll want to make yourself aware of spring break dates before you plan your trip. From mid-May until September is low season, but the area still receives traffic from international tourists, families on summer vacation, and business travelers.
Prices are lower from June through October and you'll find fewer crowds, making these months a great time to visit if you can handle the heat. June through November is also hurricane season in Florida, so watch the weather closely if you plan to be in the area.
The average temperature in Fort Lauderdale is a comfortable 76 degrees. In winter, temps drop into the high 60s, and in summer months, the average high is 82 degrees. Rain is most common in June and September, but humidity can stay high throughout the summer.
Below is a chart of the current pricing seasonality of hotels and motels in Fort Lauderdale, FL:
Fort Lauderdale by Star Rating
Below we've posted 3 graphs demonstrating mean nightly cost patterns by star rating class in Fort Lauderdale, FL. You can use these illustrations to calculate the most cost effective seasons to book in Fort Lauderdale for upcoming travels.
Luxury Hotel Options in Fort Lauderdale
4 Star Average Prices: $175.50
If you are looking for sumptuous surroundings and impeccable service, you will find it at Fort Lauderdale's premium hotels. The Ritz-Carlton, Fort Lauderdale is a five-star property with a supreme beachfront location minutes from fine dining and upscale shopping options. Rooms at The Ritz-Carlton have private patios, pillow-top mattresses, and deep soaking tubs.
Resort amenities include a heated infinity pool, full-service spa, and concierge services. The on-site restaurant, Burlock Coast Seafare & Spirits, earns high marks from guests, as do the tropical drinks available at the Poolside Café.
Another luxe option is the Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort. The resort's open-air spaces, tasteful pastels, and lavish use of palm trees give it a distinctly Floridian flair. This resort lives up to its Margaritaville name with its poolside bars, a tiki bar, and a hotel lounge, but the resort is a family-friendly place as well.
Rooms have luxurious beds, and up to two kids ages 17 or younger can stay free in their parents' room. Kids will love the swimming pools and the water slide.
At the Fort Lauderdale Marriott Harbor Beach Resort & Spa, you'll find a more quiet, modern décor that invites you to settle in and relax deeply. The resort has all the usual amenities, including private beach, swimming pool, and an on-site spa, plus some touches like town car service and complimentary lemonade, cookies, and cocktails. The Marriott Harbor Beach Resort & Spa is popular with families as well, offering plenty of activities for both kids and adults, plus spacious suites that suit families well.
Low-Cost Hotel Options in Fort Lauderdale
3 Star Average Prices: $136.18
One of the best ways to find economy lodging in Fort Lauderdale is to stay near the airport instead of on the beach. By making this location switch, you can save yourself some money if you happen to pass through town to catch a cruise. Airport hotels are used to hosting cruise passengers and know how to get you to the cruise port on time.
Several airport hotels receive consistently good reviews from guests. The Best Western Fort Lauderdale Airport/Cruise Port and the Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites Ft. Lauderdale Airport/Cruise Port both offer free airport shuttles, affordable shuttles to the cruise port, clean rooms, and a nourishing breakfast to get you going in the morning.
Affordable hotels are available on the beach and in the city center as well. The Ocean Beach Palace Hotel and Suites can put you next to the beach for the same price as an airport hotel. The building has a slightly retro feel, with rooms stacked on three floors around a small swimming pool, but the rooms are clean and comfortable, and the location is outstanding for this price point.
The hotel sits directly on the beach in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, less than five miles from the Fort Lauderdale city center. Lauderdale-by-the-Sea has its own walkable town center with stores, shopping, restaurants, and nightlife options.
Another affordable option in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea is the Blue Strawberry By The Sea. The architecture here is retro-style as well, but the rooms are spacious and clean, and the location is close to the beach and the city center. This hotel is ideal for guests who plan to spend most of their time at the beach and need a clean, safe place to shower and sleep.
If you want to find a great rate in the Fort Lauderdale city center, try looking a few blocks off the beach. The Hampton Inn Ft. Lauderdale/Downtown Las Olas Area is a great example of an older property that is conveniently located, but without direct beach access. This hotel offers an afternoon reception, a swimming pool, and clean, comfortable rooms. While the venue is located in a business neighborhood, as long as you don't mind walking six or seven blocks, you'll find yourself in the middle of the tourist scene.
2 Star Average Prices: $94.48
Fort Lauderdale: Real Discounts
The Ritz-Carlton, Fort Lauderdale offers special online pricing and periodic limited-time sales, so explore several dates if you have flexibility in your schedule. Booking early will help you find specials at the Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort, which can save you 20 percent.
The Fort Lauderdale Marriott Harbor Beach Resort & Spa rewards you for early booking, too, with savings up to 15 percent. Marriott sometimes runs 48-hour sales, so if you don't find a rate you like, try again in a few days. Loyalty programs like Holiday Inn's Priority Club are a great way to be assured of free upgrades or earn free hotel nights.
Best Value Options in Fort Lauderdale
Fort Lauderdale offers a bouquet of value-priced hotels that fall somewhere between the economy options and the luxe resorts. You may have to give up amenities like room service or on-site spas, but these hotels are perfect for travelers who want to enjoy some indulgent options without breaking their travel budget.
The Drift Hotel is a great boutique option, a 2 1/2-star hotel that earns good reviews from its guests. The hotel is housed in a cute, cube-shaped building that manages to be close to the action yet tucked away from the crowds at the same time. The rooms, both deluxe rooms and suites, are comfortable, and the service is warm and friendly.
A continental breakfast is included in your stay here, but it's a simple affair. If you wake up with a hearty appetite, you'll find great restaurants within easy walking distance.
If you prefer a large, modern hotel, consider the Sonesta Fort Lauderdale Beach. This four-star beach hotel features gorgeous views and stunning facilities at a great price. You can choose from a variety of rooms, including some with floor-to-ceiling windows and sweeping views of the ocean. The pool isn't large or fancy, but you may not notice the pool with a clean, expansive beach at your front door. A restaurant and on-site bar, plus a buffet breakfast is available at a surcharge.
The Coral Key Inn is another option that's popular with mid-range travelers. This older property is on the beach in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea. The Coral Key offers studio rooms and suites with expanded kitchen facilities, so you can warm up leftovers, prepare your own breakfast, or cook a meal.
What some may call an "aparthotel" has a nicely manicured outdoor pool area. The neighborhood is quiet, but offers easy access on foot to the beach and to the supermarkets, restaurants, and nightlife.
What to Do When You're Not on the Beach
The beach in Fort Lauderdale is glorious, but you'll want a little variety in your days, even on vacation. Las Olas Boulevard is the downtown strip area where you'll find three museums, art galleries, high-end designer shopping options, and plenty of restaurants.
If shopping on the strip isn't your style, maybe you'd rather tour the Florida Everglades in an airboat at the Sawgrass Recreation Park. Watch out for alligators, though. Night tours are also available if you want to see what creeps in the swamps after dark.
The Museum of Discovery and Science is a favorite for families. This hands-on museum features kid-friendly exhibits, perfect for keeping active children busy on a rainy day.
The Riverwalk is an arts and entertainment district along the river, a lovely place for an afternoon or early evening stroll.
More than 50 years have passed since Hollywood first painted Fort Lauderdale as a naughty spring break destination. But in those years, the town has grown into a multifaceted destination for sun-seekers of all ages. When you find the hotel that suits your needs, well, that's a slice of paradise for you.
Fort Lauderdale, FL summarized
The Venice of America is a picture of expansive canal systems sans the gondola and singing cruise men. Fort Lauderdale has been a famous destination for a number of reasons, with the citing of international comparison at the very least. The place is popular with anglers, snorkelers, and kayakers, but a drive down the road awaits raucous nightlife, sophisticated restaurants, and historic charms. In fact, Fort Lauderdale is a host to 120 nightclubs, and 4000 restaurants, all of which are surrounded by palm-shaded white sands. Fort Lauderdale was once America's foremost spring Break destination, and at present remains one of Florida's most visited shores, a majority of which are popular to the gay community. The city's ports are considered the busiest and most active across all the state, bringing in innumerable cruise ships and yachts yearly. Apart from its canals, restaurants, and nightlife, Fort Lauderdale also offers venues for adventure at the Boomers! Rollercoaster Park and the Cypress Airboat Ride. There may be no gondolas, but at least there're airboat rides, yachts, and cruises.
'We live in a society of victimization, where people are much more comfortable being victimized than actually standing up for themselves. Do not give in. Do not wish too hard, either. When all of your wishes are granted, many of your dreams will be destroyed.'
Marilyn Manson (born and brought up in Fort Lauderdale, FL) , a perpetual rebel and rock star who got his due after swimming against the societal currents for decades, thus spoke of present state of the society we live in. Agreed that he may not the role model everyone would want to have, but it must be conceded that these words of him, regardless of his mega-celeb status, are solid in concept and well worth their weight in gold.
Fort Lauderdale, in that sense, has a long tradition of birthing men and women who have never feared of being different, of speaking out against injustice and most of all who have never shied away from living their life to the fullest.
The real prosperity came to Fort Lauderdale after the conclusion of the bitter civil war of the 19th century. Florida, in general, evolved as a hospitably warm state during these years and Fort Lauderdale was among the first (second only to Miami) to soak this sudden rainfall with aplomb. The rise of Fort Lauderdale as one of the premier tourist and holiday spots in the whole of America has much to do with this calmness of demeanor that Fort Lauderdale and its residents have exhibited during good and bad times.
Today, the city earns most of its revenues (over 80%) directly from tourism. Much of the rest comes indirectly from tourism related peripheral services. It's not a surprise, then, that Fort Lauderdale has streamlined itself to maximize its tourism potential, making it a very, very attractive destination for travelers and holidaymakers.
Budget Hotels in Fort Lauderdale
Before discussing budget accommodation, a quick look at the sheer scale of tourism industry in Fort Lauderdale is well in order.
Fort Lauderdale, on its own, is responsible for over 15% of gross revenues collected in the entire state of Florida. On an average, over 4 million tourists are estimated to visit the city each year, a number that has hiked by over 20% from the average of the decade before that. The hotel and restaurant industry ('hospitality industry') is the chief motivator of the economy here, contributing in excess of $40 million in service taxes (at 5%) on an average, over last ten years. There are over 500 hotel establishments in city limits of Fort Lauderdale, usually accompanied by a full time restaurant. These Fort Lauderdale hotels account for rooms in excess of 30,000, making Fort Lauderdale the city with highest number of hotel rooms per square mile of area.
Considering all these facts and figures, it wouldn't take a brilliant mind to know that finding a hotel, even on short notice, is not that difficult in Fort Lauderdale. The difficulty, however, does arise for tourists in finding cheap hotels. Average nightly rate for a hotel room in Fort Lauderdale hovers around $90 or more, much above the American par.
Opulence Like Nowhere Else
A corollary of the idea presented in the earlier point, it will be easy to conjecture for attentive readers that there is an abundance of luxury hotels in Fort Lauderdale.
In many ways, it does make sense for a city like Fort Lauderdale that is driven more or less solely by tourism to boast of some of the finest resorts and hotel establishments on the east coast of the United States. These luxury resorts pride themselves in providing enviable Atlantic views (not sans-sunrise), in-house spas and pools, and special bars and lounges for their guests. Big brands in hospitality industry like Carlton Ritz, Hilton, Marriott and Mandarin Oriental all offer various services that their respective brands have come to be known for.
Other Options Worth Exploring
In such situations where travelers are faced with the dilemma of choosing a below-par cheap hotel or an unaffordable luxury hotel, alternative options are bound to come up to address needs of the market. Holiday homes, independent homestays and boutique establishments are some of these alternative options that tourists may find well worth exploring to maintain that difficult balance between comfort and budget.
Renting a holiday home by the beach may cost you much more than cheap hotels, but it will still save you a lot of money in comparison with other Fort Lauderdale hotels that are 4-starred or higher.
Fort Lauderdale: Sightseeing Tips
Almost all tourists making a trip to Fort Lauderdale have only one agenda on their minds, to have fun, enjoy the sun-soaked beaches of Florida and let go of the stress that routine life brings with it. It's easier to get it all wrong when one is carrying a mind-set of unpreparedness. Hence, before sightseeing or relaxing on beaches in Fort Lauderdale, these few tips should be heeded to:
- Always carry adequate sunblock with you.
- Be dressed for the sun, from hats to shades.
- Make sure you keep yourself hydrated with a good deal of energy drinks, as it is quite common for tourists who are not used to the sunny weather of Florida to get cramps or heat-strokes.
- Hotels in Fort Lauderdale do arrange for sightseeing packages for their guests. So, it's well worth the trouble inquiring for one to save some money.
Fort Lauderdale Weather at a Glance
The biggest factor that has turned this rather inconspicuous city on the Atlantic coast into a major tourism hub in Florida is its consistent weather.
Fort Lauderdale is blessed with an all-year round sunshine clocking over 3,000 hours every year, on an average. In other words, it's sunny in Fort Lauderdale for close to 70% of daytime, all around the year. Temperatures are usually found to be in the 60-90 F band, with a moderate degree of rainfall that is usually concentrated in summer months.
Considering these points, it can be concluded Fort Lauderdale is a good place to visit pretty much all around the year. Spring season, however, sees inflation in hotel prices, as opposed to winter.