When you have a home in Fort Lauderdale, you might as well get used to having guests filling up your guest room vacancy calendar. Gay, Straight, and everything defined and undefined will be scheduling your life for every month of the year.
What’s great about Fort Lauderdale is, even if you have someone visiting more than once in a year’s time, there’s always something new being added to the lists of must-do’s!
Let’s take a look at some great new offerings in the Greater FTL area that are helping it grow and flourish as a vacation destination any time of the year.
- Craft Breweries & Coastal Culinary
My brother is one of the biggest foodies, wine, and beer lovers I know of. When I lived in Portland, Maine, one of the best cities for food and beer, he would send me messages all the time to try this and go there. Now that I live in Fort Lauderdale, he’s doing the same thing and he’s loving his visits from New Orleans.
BEVIES: My brother had heard of 3 Sons Brewing Co. in Dania Beach, and was excited to see what its 26 taps would offer. Featuring home brews and guest beers, it took a while to select from the great options. The look of the venue is very simplistic and it’s location was easy to find just south of the airport. We had previously eaten so I’d go again and try some of the amazing food for it looked and sounded great. American Icon Brewery, the Vero Beach import now in Flagler Village, offers a rotating selection of beers on tap and a hefty menu of food for pairing. If you’re thirsty on Thursdays, check out Gulf Stream Brewing Company. Thursday’s special is buy one flight, get one free. We did 2 flights apiece which allowed us to taste their whole inventory. He likes hoppy, I do not, so we had no issues tasting them all.
Gulf Stream beverages and their mascot?
But we think the best place for beer, atmosphere, and just all around people watching, meeting, and having fun (live music often) is Invasive Species Brewing. We did two flights apiece there as well. Sat out back and chatted with strangers, even a girl from Paraguay. I’ve never met anyone from Paraguay before. If you want to know more about the brewery scene in the Greater Fort Lauderdale area, head over to Sunny.org for a map and list of 41 breweries and beer bars. I’ll be working my way through it as the year goes on. Maybe we can meet up at one.
Invasive species. We both found some great beers as well as some yummy bartenders to our liking.
EATS: Even Keel Fish & Oyster, a new seafood restaurant with a modern Floridian coastal dining setting, features a kitchen that is a chef-driven, farm-to-table workshop with ever-changing menus. Boulevard Kitchen + Juice Bar a brass-accented breakfast and lunch spot brings a bacon serving, vegan friendly attitude in tune to the rhythm of Fort Lauderdale. Inside Sonesta Fort Lauderdale Beach, Steelpan Kitchen & Bar, features Caribbean-American fusion fare with a menu influenced by the multicultural island flavors of South Florida.
Steelpan Kitchen & Bar
If burgers are your thing, we’ve been very happy with firing up the Open Table app and making a reservation (not necessary, but recommended) at B SQUARE – Burgers + Booze. Inside, outside, at the bar, where ever you sit, the service, food, and people watching will be all over the top. With burgers named Phat Boy, OMG, McDuck, Nacho Mama, The Dad Bod, and FWB, yeah the menu is entertaining and they have a good rotation of beers on tap to go with the food. It’s one of my faves and it’s on Las Olas, a nice part of town that is off the beach, off the drive, a good change of pace.
- Summertime Turtle Treks
When I first moved to Fort Lauderdale, I found out about the turtle treks when I went to A1A and saw that the hotels and street lights were very dim or off. Energy conservation? Not at all. Turtle conservation.
Every summer, a natural wonder known as sea turtle nesting season takes over Greater Fort Lauderdale’s shores, hosting thousands of nesting sea turtles and newborn hatchlings – the only time to see this endangered marine creature on land. Through special ‘Turtle Trek’ experiences, several local turtle programs offer visitors the chance to see Leatherback, Loggerhead and Green Sea Turtles come shoreside to lay eggs and the hatchlings make their maiden voyage to open water. Per the Broward County Sea Turtle Conservation Program, 2019 nesting is exceeding recent years; as of May 21, 2019, there are already 500 nests in Greater Fort Lauderdale beaches.
When it’s hot here in the summer, the place to be is on the beach late at night, and just enjoy the walk. You may see some turtles, but once again, the cool walk is worth it. Before you go, just in case you see some turtles, review the 5 ways to save sea turtles over at Sunny.org.
- Rooftop Hotspots
Like many major cities across this nation, they’re growing not only up but as well out. Riding through Fort Lauderdale, you cannot help but to notice that every downtown street seems to have construction, may it be condos, apartments, or sky scrapers. Greater Fort Lauderdale is elevating – in every sense of the word. A concept by the same group behind New York’s famed Death & Co, Sparrow, the city’s highest rooftop bar yet opened on the 25th floor of The Dalmar hotel this May, evoking a funky ’60s flair and offering breathtaking panoramic views of the city and you can even see as far as the ocean. Sparrow was just named No. 1 Best Rooftop Bar in the U.S. by Conde Nast.
View from the Sparrow looking east to the Atlantic Ocean
Downtown rooftop bars in the Greater Fort Lauderdale area may be topped by Sparrow, but there are some other great options:
- Cielo Restaurant & Sky Bar serves up handcrafted cocktails with views of the Atlantic Ocean and Intracoastal waterway.
- Rooftop @1WLO, a downtown staple for both locals and visitors, was Fort Lauderdale’s first rooftop concept loved for its contemporary vibe and innovative cocktails.
- The Muse Rooftop Bar & Lounge is Hollywood’s sky-high watering hole offering a vibrant chic atmosphere paired with cityscapes and craft cocktails.
- Mango Lovers Mecca!
If you live in Fort Lauderdale, there’s a chance you or your neighbor has a huge mango tree. Summertime is peak season to taste the best of this Florida-favorite. Some will share, some will not. I have friends that will seek out a full mango tree and knock on doors to see if they are available. If you have a mango tree in your yard, you will love to give them away.
But if you’re not lucky enough to have a neighbor with a tree like I do, there’s mountains of mangoes at Greater Fort Lauderdale’s local farmers markets, such as the legendary Bob Roth’s New River Groves, charming Marando Farms & Ranch, and the Yellow Green Farmers Market.
Yellow Green Farmers Market
- Lobster Mini Season and BugFest
Born and raised in Maine, I am not a lobster lover. I think I’ve had 3 in my 45 years of living. But I may give a Florida lobster a try this year. Every July, local divers and lobster lovers hit the water for the much-anticipated two-day lobster mini-season. The mini-season takes place July 24-25, 2019, allowing recreational divers to catch lobsters, or “bugs” according to local vernacular, leading-up to commercial season. I don’t think calling them bugs makes them more appetizing to me, but I will give it a go! Lauderdale-By-The-Sea, an easy breezy Old Florida beach town, celebrates lobster mini-season with a BugFest-By-The-Sea (July 23-27) – a week of events including the Great Florida Bug Hunt, a Mini-Season Kickoff Party at Plunge Beach Hotel, lobster chef competition and more.
Bug Fest huh? Well, I guess it’s time to eat a bug!
Is a Summer Time Visit to FTL for You?
So if you’re looking to come down to Fort Lauderdale at any time of the year, there’s always something to do. With an average of 4 days of winter a year, we do quite well.
I’ve actually had some overlapping in my guest room reservations already. When that has happened, I’ve sent the overflow of friends and family over to Sunny.org for their well-organized deals and recommendations.
Between now and the end of September, vacationers can check out the healthy Sunny.org Vacation Like a VIP packages. The site has a variety of hotels on its list as part of their Resort Collection properties (we’ve only been to the W so far and loved it and its location). The 2-for-1 Summer Savings Card feature 40+ BOGOs (buy one, get one) for boating/cruising, diving/snorkeling, museums, nature, restaurants, shopping, watersports, and spa and fitness.
All of the recommendations above should be great for any of us to visit. To me, Fort Lauderdale is very accepting of us as it is the LGBT capital of Florida. But if you want to narrow in on the aspects of Greater Fort Lauderdale that fly and respect the rainbow flag as LGBT owned or ally owned businesses, examine https://www.sunny.org/lgbtq-travel/. I liked it all so much, I moved here.