Florida is the Sunshine State, and Fort Lauderdale gets around 246 days of sunshine a year. A myriad of activities are available in this natural playground of sun and water. We have been working to find their best romantic dates and share them with you. Fort Lauderdale is so beautiful that we will have to keep coming back so we can discover more fun and romantic things to do.
Walking Hand in Hand on Hollywood Beach Boardwalk
USA Today ranks Hollywood Boardwalk as Florida’s best beach boardwalk. Jorge Camejo, Executive Director of the Hollywood Community Redevelopment Agency, had this to say about the honor “This validates what the locals already know – Hollywood’s Broadwalk offers the best beach experience in the Sunshine State and is a unique American treasure whose renown is steadily growing around the world.”
Hollywood’s Broadwalk offers the best beach experience in the Sunshine State and is a unique American treasure whose renown is steadily growing around the world.”
Hollywood Beach creates an entertainment sandwich. On one side, there is the Atlantic Ocean where shimmering blue water invites swimmers in, while sunbathers watch from the warm white sand. On the other, a row of resorts like Diplomat Resort & Spa Hollywood, Trump Hollywood, and Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort are available to cool your thirst or host you for the night.
Tempting restaurants line the boardwalk like CAFÉ CLUB by Les Artistes which offers crepes and more. There is also the popular Pachamanka Authentic Peruvian Cuisine where you can get perhaps the freshest ceviche in Florida. In between all of this goodness runs the 2.5-mile boardwalk where you can walk, bike, or run on a broad, paved path to soak up all of the sun and fun.
Celebrating a Holiday
We came to Fort Lauderdale for the 4th of July to watch fireworks over the water. They do that and so much more. Las Olas Street gets turned into a gigantic block party with food, music, and festivities all day long. At night, we watched the fireworks from the newly remodeled Sky Bar at the Atlantic Hotel. Consider planning to stay at this beautiful and luxurious property while in Fort Lauderdale. You too can enjoy the beautiful view over the ocean while sipping a craft cocktail at Sky Bar. We watched the pyrotechnics from our rooftop perch while we dined on lobster, clams, and prime rib. Fireworks, feasting, and freedom should surely earn you a kiss or two.
Butterfly World– The name says it all. Here, over 20,000 butterflies and birds take flight. It’s the first park of its kind in the Western Hemisphere. What’s more romantic than strolling hand in hand through a garden with butterflies landing on your shoulder?
Exploring the Everglades
Everglades Holiday Park – We grew up watching The Rescuers with Bob Newhart and Eva Gabor voicing two mice who fall in love on the Bayou. Ever since then, swamp tours seemed romantic and intriguing. An Everglades airboat tour offer more romance than loosely referenced childhood movies. Seeing the amazing ecology of the Everglades, not to mention an alligator or two, turns out to be a rather romantic trip.
Snorkeling from a Glass Bottom Boat
Sea Experience takes their glass bottom boat out to the reefs to give you an up close and personal tour of Fort Lauderdale’s coral reef. You can snorkel in 20′ of water and see tropical fish, moray eels, and maybe a lobster or two.
On the way out, they narrate a little part of the Fort Lauderdale Water Taxi Route. You see the luxurious yachts at the Bahia Mar Marina, the most expensive house ever sold in Fort Lauderdale, and even Lenard Nemoy’s old place. Missing this adventure would be illogical.
Taking the Plunge Scuba Diving in Fort Lauderdale
Scuba diving isn’t a date you say? I’ve met more married couples who met over scuba than any other activity. When you dive, you put your trust explicitly in your partner. You learn to communicate without words. You share an experience that transcends everyday life and transports you to another world.
If you haven’t considered a scuba date, perhaps you should. Scuba diving in Fort Lauderdale or diving Pompano Beach offers some of the best diving in Florida. The warm Gulf Stream waters flow along 23 miles of reefs. The inner and middle reef provides easy dive sites under 60’ for open water divers, and the outer reef reaches depths of 100’ for advanced divers. Not only can you see tropical corals and colorful fish, there are dozens of wrecks to explore complete with rich histories and even some underwater art. We want to dive on every trip to Fort Lauderdale because there is just so much to explore.
Enjoying a South Florida Food Tour
Do you want to see South Florida like a local? South Florida Food Tours is a walking tour that takes you to the most delicious food and drinks in the most scenic neighborhoods. Along the way, you will learn a little local history and behind the scenes stories of real life in South Florida. Christine is a wonderful hostess! She is knowledgeable, fun, and most of all looks after her guests with a professionalism that ensures that everyone is happy, safe, full, and most of all, has a great time! The thing we liked the most about this tour was that every place we visited was not only delicious, it was under the radar, and 100% local.
Cruising the Canals in a Water Taxi
Fort Lauderdale is called the Venice of America because it has over 300 miles of canals. The Fort Lauderdale Water Taxi is the easiest way to get on a boat and explore. The taxi takes you on one of three narrated tours.
The Fort Lauderdale Route takes you by the million dollar homes that line the Intracoastal and introduces you to the celebrities that call this home. The River Route takes you up the New River and around downtown Fort Lauderdale. The Margaritaville Express takes you through the mangroves all the way to Hollywood Beach. If you’re in ‘Venice’, you should take a boat ride.
Strolling Along Romantic Las Olas Boulevard
Las Olas is Spanish for “the waves.” The Boulevard started as a simple dirt road that led to the beach and has grown to a “must visit destination” with over three dozen bistros, clubs, and restaurants. The quality and variety of offerings make it a food lovers paradise. The ambiance of indoor/outdoor dining with live music filling the air and views of million-dollar homes along the Inner Coastal Waterway make it the perfect date night.
While you are waiting for your table or your food to settle you can explore more than 120 specialty retail shops, world-class art galleries, and unique boutiques. We walked hand in hand exploring the street scene, people watching, and stopping whenever a song caught our attention. It was magical in its simplicity, and we can’t wait to return for a tour from the water.
Savoring the Most Romantic Restaurants and Bars of Fort Lauderdale
Valentino claims innovative cuisine with a modern Italian twist. Expect white linen service and delicious food with impeccable presentation. Owner and Chef Giovanni Rocchio and his team are front and center in the open kitchen design so the true foodie can watch the creation of their culinary masterpiece.
One Door East
One Door East is the sister restaurant to Valentino and shares the same building. This side by side restaurant experience creates an opportunity to explore two great menus and venues on the same date. One Door East features globally inspired tapas, creative cocktails, craft beer, and beyond. The industrial setting and large bar make this the perfect area for socializing. Throughout the week they offer live music and dancing to complete a perfect romantic date night.
Update – As of March 2020 Valentino’s/ One Door East has closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. They have a link on their website for a Go Fund Me account to help their staff during this challenging time. We hope they will be able to re-open in the future!
If you are looking for a great sunset dinner in Fort Lauderdale, look no farther than GG’s Waterfront Grill in Hollywood Beach. They combine fresh, locally sourced seafood and steaks with waterfront dining on a bay in the Intracoastal Waterways. It’s hard to say what’s better, the food or the view but here you can have both.
We all know that the best romantic date nights include breakfast. At Ella Café, coffee is their passion. In addition to outstanding coffee, they offer a cozy ambiance and an excellent selection of savory specialties. We had a charcuterie and cheese board that delighted our taste buds. We also watched young love blossom before our eyes. A shy high school couple were awkwardly sipping coffee together on what was abundantly clear was one of their first dates ever. I never had that kind of cool to take my dates out for coffee and conversation and even remember to pick up the tab. Perhaps this will be a story they tell their grandkids about how they met or maybe the birth of a young Casanova. Either way, it speaks to the romantic power of good coffee.
Ann’s Florist and Coffee Bar
You might be noticing a bean theme in our romance. We wrote our own wedding vows, and as it turned out, three of our vows we promised one another were devoted to our respective coffee habits:
Ed to Jenn– I promise to bring your morning coffee with a smile and clean the kitchen afterward
Jenn to Ed– I promise no hard conversations before coffee
I promise to support your coffee habit…before 4 pm.
We stretched the last one just a bit at Ann’s Florist and Coffee Bar. We were strolling down Olas Boulevard and were drawn in by the decadent desserts. The lattes looked too good to pass up, so we ordered a dessert coffee to share. We sat on the patio watching the couples stroll by and listening to a surprisingly good female duet playing under the balcony.
Catching a Show at the Broward Center for the Arts
First off, the Broward Center has the most beautiful setting of any venue I have been to. It’s right on the New River in downtown Fort Lauderdale. There are dozens of dining options to make your date dinner and a show. As for the show itself – superb.
We watched Rock of Ages, which is a simple love story about a small town boy, born and raised in East Detroit. Do you have the song in your head yet? By the time we watched all of our 80’s favorites woven into musical theater, we couldn’t stop the music. We played name that tune as we walked back along the waterfront and watched the city lights glisten off the water.
Saving Baby Sea Turtles
Turtle Trek – We knew we wanted to see baby turtles hatch. We didn’t realize what an amazing date night it turned out to be. First off, you snuggle up on a beach blanket and listen to the surf as you wait for the hatch. Once they hatch, you get to watch the little ones make a mad dash to the ocean.
We saw 96 babies emerge, but 95 of them went the wrong way. They were heading to the bright lights of A1A. Study after study shows how couples who volunteer together grow closer than almost any other activity. You get this good feeling and some beach blanket time. Double score!
Wrapping up a Perfect Romantic Getaway to Fort Lauderdale
Fort Lauderdale’s combination of water, sun, and fun makes it an extraordinary destination for a romantic getaway. We are looking forward to many more trips to experience everything Fort Lauderdale offers and to bring home the spark that keeps relationships happy and healthy. If you have any suggestions or experiences for romantic dates in Fort Lauderdale, please let us know in the comments.