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Explore Fort Lauderdale by Water Taxi

Updated: Oct 13, 2023

This article was originally published in Up and Away Magazine. It is reprinted here with permission. To view the original article visit this click: Up and Away Magazine.

With more than 24 miles of golden sandy coastline and over 300 miles of inland waterways, one of the best ways to explore Fort Lauderdale is by boat. Known as the “Yachting Capital of the World,” this beach town logs over 3000 hours of sunshine per year, making it an excellent place to be on the water. For visitors, a budget friendly way to explore the waterways of Fort Lauderdale is by Water Taxi. During your ride, along the rivers canals and intracoastal waterway, live commentary informs you about all of the sights, history and ecosystem of the area you are visiting. The “hop on, hop off” feature lets you jump off and visit anything that piques your curiosity along the way.

Water Taxis operate 7 days a week from 10am to 10pm. There are 11 stops on the main route plus an optional Hollywood Express Route that runs every two hours from the Hilton Hotel and Convention Center in Fort Lauderdale to the Margaritaville Beach Resort in Hollywood. There is also a Water Trolley that runs from the Riverside Hotel in the Las Olas area along the Riverwalk in downtown Fort Lauderdale. All these routes are included in the unlimited rides price of $35 for adults with discounts for children, Seniors and Military. There is an after 5:00pm price of $20 which is great for viewing Holiday Lights if you visit Fort Lauderdale in December. Visit to purchase tickets and plan your adventure, making sure you check the list of “Cruise and Save” partners. These restaurants, attractions and shops offer discounts to patrons that show their water taxi ticket.

Essential Online Links For Booking Your Trip to Southeast Florida


There are 3 airports that service Southeast Florida, Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach: Uber and Taxis are available. Tri Rail and Brightline trains service Fort Lauderdale and Miami Airports. Private and Multiple Passenger Transfers are available from all three airports: ☆Transportation Service Miami Hotel - Miami International Airport

Advanced Tickets for the Fort Lauderdale Water Taxi.

Save on entry fees: If you plan on visiting multiple museums or attractions, it is more economical to purchase a Miami Sightseeing Pass to save money, you can buy this pass for 1, 2, 3, or 5 days.

Top-rated Southeast Florida Tours and Experiences:

Seven Isles of Fort Lauderdale Kayak Tour (one of my favorite Southeast Florida experience)

Downtown West Palm Beach Food Tour (great for foodies)

Wynwood Graffiti Golf Cart Small-Group Tour (perfect for art lovers)

Top Places to Stay in Southeast Florida:

1 Hotel South Beach (Luxury, Miami)

Yotel (Budget Friendly, Miami)

Hollywood Beachside Boutique (Budget Friendly, Fort Lauderdale)

The Pillars Hotel (Luxury, Fort Lauderdale)

The White Elephant (Luxury, Palm Beach)

The Canopy (Budget Friendly, West Palm Beach)

Crane's Beach House Boutique Hotel & Luxury Villas (Amazing Tropical Vibe, Delray Beach)

My favorite Guidebook for Florida: DK Eyewitness Florida

My favorite Novel about Southeast Florida: The Last Train to Key West

The Ecosystem

The Intracoastal waterway is directly connected to the Everglades through a series of canals. It is part of the fragile ecosystem that acts as a birthing ground and nursery for porpoises, manatees, sea turtles, sting rays and multiple species of fish. On days when the boat traffic is quiet, you may see some of these creatures on your voyage. The Everglades provides most of the drinking water for south Florida, thus extra care is taken to protect this natural resource.

The Stops

Riverside Hotel and Stranahan House

Stop number one is at the Riverside Hotel and historic Stranahan House, just off Las Olas Blvd. At the Stranahan House, you will learn more about the history of Fort Lauderdale which dates back to the late 1800s when Governor Broward dredged some canals to drain part of the Everglades, creating farmlands and residential areas to support the growing new city of Fort Lauderdale. Frank Stranahan was one of the founding fathers of Fort Lauderdale. He built a trading post and ferry service on the site where he ultimately built the house you see standing directly behind this Water Taxi Stop. You can transfer to the Water Trolley route from this stop.

Stop number two is three blocks east of the first stop. This stop gives you access to large public parking lots along SE 9th Ave. From this stop, it is a short walk to Las Olas Blvd. Las Olas has a wide variety of restaurants at all price points and some of the best shopping in south Florida.

5th Street Fisheries Restaurant in the Lauderdale Marina

Cruising east on the New River and then south in the intracoastal takes you to stop number three at the 5th Street Fisheries Restaurant in the Lauderdale Marina. You will cruise by stunning multi-million dollar mansions and the Lauderdale Yacht Club to reach this stop. If you are interested in fresh fish for lunch or dinner this makes a great stop.

Hilton Marina & Convention Center

The southern most stop on the main route is the Hilton Marina & Convention Center. This stop gives you panoramic views of Port Everglades and her massive cruise ships. This is where you pickup the Hollywood Express Route vessel. It leaves every two hours, between 9:00am and 9:00pm. The route ends at the Margaritaville Beach Resort where you can wander down the Hollywood Beach boardwalk, enjoy a casual meal at Landshark Bar & Grill, the 5 O’Clock Somewhere Bar & Grill, or indulge in a splurge dinner at JWB Prime Steak House. Return boats leave Hollywood every two hours from10am -10pm.

Bahia Mar and the Doubletree Hotel

Heading north to stop number five you have a prime view of some of Fort Lauderdale’s most stunning, waterfront homes and mega yachts. The Water Taxi crew will entertain you with stories of their owners. The south end of Bahia Mar and the Doubletree Hotel are located at this stop. This is the first of the beach access stops. Simply walk across A1A to enjoy the sandy shore of the Atlantic Ocean.

Fort Lauderdale Beach

Just north of stop five is stop six. Also on Fort Lauderdale Beach, this stop is closest to Beach Place. A multiple story, entertainment complex, it offers restaurants, shops, entertainment and cocktail lounges. After taking a swim in the ocean you can enjoy some time there before hopping on the next bright yellow Water Taxi and heading further north.

Las Olas Beach

Seville St. is a whistle stop. For pick up here you must call the office and request a stop. On busy weekends, the Water Taxis almost always stop here. This stop is the closest stop to Las Olas Beach. This is the iconic beach with bath houses, restrooms and a paved promenade.

GalleryOne and Doubletree Hotel

Continuing north is the GalleryOne and Doubletree Hotel stop. If you are interested in shopping, this is your stop. The Galleria Mall is attached to the Doubletree. You can walk straight through the lobby to one of the best shopping venues in Fort Lauderdale.

Hugh Taylor Birch State Park

Continuing north to stop number eight is Hugh Taylor Birch State Park. This peaceful sanctuary gives you a natural Florida experience. Bird watchers can view more than 200 species of birds. Hikers may see turtles, snakes, and possums. There are bike rentals and canoe rentals on the fresh water inland lagoon. Across AIA, you will find 1.5 miles of pristine beaches and a walk up snack bar.

Shooters Waterfront Restaurant

The two northern most most stops will appeal to the foodies in your group. Stop nine is Shooters Waterfront Restaurant. With waterfront views and a diverse menu, this eatery has something for everyone. If you are interested in exploring the International Swimming Hall of Frame, this is the stop. You can check out the swimming memorabilia in the front building and then head out to the Olympic size swimming pool and the newly installed diving platform. The diving platform is one of the largest in the world.

Bokampers Sports Bar & Grill

Bokampers Sports Bar & Grill is stop number ten. This an upscale sports bar offers delicious bites for lunch and dinner as well as brunch on the weekends. There is indoor and outdoor dining with views of the intracoastal and giant TVs, in case you want to catch a sporting event on television.

After the Bokampers, the Water Taxi heads south and makes the stops in reverse order. You are treated to views and commentary about the celebrities and captains of industry that own the incredible structures along the intracoastal also known as Millionaires Row. The Water Taxis all have a snack bar that offers beer, wine, cocktails, water and soft drinks. You can sip on an icy libation and watch the Mega Yachts glide by as you return to your starting point.

There are multiple tour companies that run cruises along the intracoastal in Fort Lauderdale. None of the them are as economical or offer the “hop on hop off” feature that Water Taxis offer. Without making any shore trips, the entire loop takes about three hours to complete. Add in a couple stops for sightseeing, shopping or a beach visit or a meal, and you can enjoy an entire day on the water.

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