Cruising from Fort Lauderdale: Top Romantic Spots

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Planning a romantic getaway with a loved one? While docked in Fort Lauderdale there’s plenty to do to keep your heart fluttering, from the beautiful backdrop of the Florida beaches to unique date ideas. After all, there’s bound to be plenty of opportunity for romance in the Venice of America.

Here, we’ve curated the top five spots for romantic interludes just for you — you Casanova, you — by order of distance from Port Everglades.

1 - Timpano Italian Chophouse, 14 minutes


Walking Las Olas Boulevard by night is romantic, with white-light-studded trees lining the boulevard all year round. While there are many restaurants to choose from, the New York-Italian Timpano Chophouse is especially romantic with its close seating, dim lighting and jazz music. On Fridays and Saturdays, live blues and jazz bands perform songs couples can slow dance or shimmy to. The knowledgeable staff can suggest the best wine to pair with your meal and toast your vacation. Then, top the night off with a trip to Kilwins or Hoffman’s Chocolates for dessert.

Timpano Italian Chophouse, 450 Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, FL, 33301. 954-462-9119,

2 - Fort Lauderdale Beach, 15 minutes


Lined by palm trees, Fort Lauderdale Beach is abuzz with boaters, swimmers, stand-up paddleboarders, joggers and sunbathers. Separated from the hotels, restaurants, bars and shops by A1A, those staying in nearby hotels can cross A1A with crosswalks or the overpass. Artificial reefs are within swimming distance, so no need for a boat to explore underwater. Couples can pack a picnic (or grab lunch at a nearby restaurant), lay down a beach blanket and bask in the sun while watching the waves break onto the shore — preferably with a margarita in hand. A dip in the ocean (or rentable beach umbrella) can help to cool down during the afternoon heat. The beach is three miles away from the port and can be reached by car in 10–15 minutes.

3 - W Fort Lauderdale, 16 minutes


One of many luxury hotels on Fort Lauderdale Beach, the W Fort Lauderdale, a Starwood family hotel, offers a number of massage and spa treatments that couples can enjoy together. Robe up and get a couple’s massage at the Bliss Spa (reservations are necessary), then lounge at the see-through WET® pool afterwards, where guests have a pristine view of the ocean and access to a full bar. For dinner, get reservations at Steak 954 or grab drinks at the W Lounge. Located on the beach, the hotel is 10 minutes from the port.

W Fort Lauderdale, 401 North Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, FL, 33304. 954-414-8200,

4 - Explore the Canals


Quick geography lesson: Downtown Fort Lauderdale and the beaches are separated by the Intracoastal Waterway, a long stretch of water whose shores are home to the area's most sought-after mansions.

If you want to see the bodies of water that gave Fort Lauderdale the nickname of Venice of America you have options. Rent a paddleboard or kayak at the John U. Lloyd Beach (19 minutes) or Oleta River State Park (31 minutes) to traverse the winding canals, where you can see the delicate mangroves lining the edges of water. Many Broward County parks, such as Hugh Taylor Birch State Park (22 minutes), offer midnight kayaking once a month as well, providing the perfect backdrop with which to finish a romantic evening out.

5 - Swap Shop Drive-In Theater, 23 minutes

Yes, they still exist! The legendary Swap Shop is known for being a flea market mecca in Fort Lauderdale, and in the evenings, movies are projected onto 14 screens. Cuddle up with your love in the car, or lay out a blanket to watch from the hood of your vehicle (but bring your mosquito repellant!) and enjoy a romantic comedy, drama or action flick — whatever box office release suits your fancy.

Swap Shop Drive-In Theater, 3291 W Sunrise Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, FL, 33311. 954-791-7927,


Need more direction planning out your night of romance? Consider us your new wingman!

8 AM


First, take advantage of the cooler mornings by jogging down Fort Lauderdale Beach. When it gets too warm, just take a dip in the Atlantic Ocean to cool off.

10:45 AM

Jungle Queen

Explore the New River and see Fort Lauderdale from a whole new angle with a cruise aboard the Jungle Queen Riverboat or Lady Windridge yacht. While going up and down the river, pick out your favorite mansion on Millionaire’s Row, and select a snack from their onboard menu to hold you over until brunch.

1 PM


Once you’ve worked up an appetite, grab brunch at ROK:BRGR on SW 2nd Avenue for great food for and a live DJ spinning tunes (if you are there on a Sunday, make sure to take advantage of the free unlimited mimosas for the ladies). Sit inside or go al fresco and people watch on the sidewalk. Alternatively, just across the street, Himmarshee Public House also has a great brunch menu.

3 PM


Wander over to either the Museum of Discovery and Science or the NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale to check out a new exhibit, and window-shop the art for the dream home you picked while scoping out Millionaire’s Row.

7 PM

Funky Buddha (Pete Cross for VISIT FLORIDA)

Take a tour of Funky Buddha Brewery in nearby Oakland Park (Thursdays are the only days that have 7pm and 8pm tours – otherwise, 2pm, 3pm or 4pm on Saturdays and Sundays). For just $5, tour the facility, learn how beer is made, try samples of the brews and get a keepsake pint glass. Afterwards, head to the back room for a game of giant Jenga, bocce ball or cornhole.

8 PM


Head back to Las Olas Boulevard for dinner at one of its many restaurants. For a trendy spot, try American Social or The Royal Pig Pub for a great meal as well as unique brews. Or, for a romantic yet adventurous dinner experience, go to Chima for Brazilian churrascaria-style dining, followed by drinks outside under the towering banyan trees.


Did we miss your favorite romantic spot in Fort Lauderdale? Share it with us in the comments section below!


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