Places To Be During Fort Lauderdale's International Boat Show

Magnificent yachts by the thousands can be seen during the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show
Magnificent yachts by the thousands can be seen during the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show | Courtesy of John Spade/Flickr
Laurence Kidd

This is the time of year when temperatures start cooling off nicely for the International Boat Show, the largest show of its kind in the whole world! Taking place November 3rd – 7th at various locations in the Yachting Capital of the World, Fort Lauderdale, the 57th show will feature more than $3 billion worth of yachts, super yachts, engines and thousands of boating accessories from every major marine manufacturer in the world.

We’re not here to discuss boats or engines, though. We just want to let you know where all the yachties, captains, and boat owners from around the world will be eating, drinking and staying. We’ve gone ahead and selected a list of waterfront restaurants, Fort Lauderdale Hotels, and popular bars where you’ll be able to enjoy the full atmosphere of the show.


This seafood restaurant is one of the best places to eat while watching the exhibtion. For starters, they’re pet friendly, so you don’t have to worry about leaving your poor pup alone if you want to spend the day admiring beautiful boats and colorful characters. After so many years, Coconuts has remained a charming little dockside restaurant on Fort Lauderdale’s Intracoastal Waterway, complete with a seafood-heavy menu and a wide range of cocktails, wines by the glass, and beer. Of course, you’ll see your fair share of polo-shirted yacht captains as well. It’s busiest on Sunday, when brunch gets going from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

429 Seabreeze Blvd., Fort Lauderdale Florida, USA, +1 954 525 2421

The Pelican Grand Resort

After a day of showing off their impressive vessels, the owners, crew members, and visitors usually head for one of Fort Lauderdale’s nicer hotels, and The Pelican Grand Resort is one of them. Packed with groups of all ages from all around the world, the Pelican’s highly acclaimed O2K Lounge and bar becomes the focal point of nighttime fun. In true South Florida fashion, the beachfront spot has a build-your-own mojito bar. Start by choosing a specialty rum, and then combine it with your choice of one of eight fruit flavors. After a few mojitos you’ll want to eat. Luckily the O2K lounge serves delicious seafood, and typical local dishes, all at a reasonable price.

2000 N. Ocean Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA, +1 954 568 9431

A view of the Grand Pelican Resort, a favorite hangout spot for the crowds of international travelers

The Wet Deck at W Fort Lauderdale

If you head south on A1A from the Pelican and keep going for about half a mile, past Sunrise Blvd, you’ll come across the liveliest strip of Fort Lauderdale Beach. Strewn with locals and tourists alike, this stretch of beach is home to bars, clubs, restaurants, and luxury hotels. A Culture Trip favorite is the W hotel, which has beautifully furnished rooms overlooking the ocean, infinity pools, gourmet restaurants, and a lively bar. Located just a couple of miles from the marinas of Las Olas, the parties at Wet Deck have been known to lure both locals and tourists, especially during the boat show weekend. Featured drink specials, live music, and a stunning rooftop pool complete with a private cabana area make for a perfect place for young people to mingle with an international crowd of fun-loving yachties.

401 N. Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA, +1 954 414 8300

A panoramic view from the pool area at the W Hotel on Fort Lauderdale Beach

Blue Moon Fish Co.

Blue Moon Fish Company is an upscale Seafood restaurant with excellent management, a friendly and upbeat staff, the most amazing food in town, and (of course) a prime time location when it comes to watching the International Boat Show. It’s currently celebrating its 20 year anniversary with a throwback set-menu and two for one lunch specials. On the day of the boat parade, Blue Moon will be placing an up-charge on dock seating, which is at a premium. Be sure to make a reservation now if you already haven’t, this place fills up fast at this time of year. Oh, and did we mention that Stone Crabs are back?!

4405 W Tradewinds Ave, Fort Lauderdale, FL, USA, +1 954 267 9888

The Treasure Trove

This beach side bar makes the list due to its proximity to boat-show central. During the event, this place takes on a life of its own, becoming the place to be if you’re interested in meeting people up for a chat and a drink (who isn’t?). The Trove isn’t grandiose or upscale, and that’s exactly what makes it such an attractive location for the yachties who want to escape life on board and mingle with locals their age. Cold beer, ocean air, and a laid-back crowd full of foreign accents; what more could you want? It really is a piece of Old Florida that can rarely be found, which is exactly the reason everyone loves the Treasure Trove.

2933 SE Fifth St., Fort Lauderdale, Fl, USA, +1 954 522 8385

Waxy O’Connors

Waxy’s, as its most affectionately known by those who frequent it, is an Irish pub that’s been cherished by the yachting community for years. Prepare to watch some rugby, drink pints of Guinness, eat a full Irish breakfast, and hear a lot of strange accents. The South African yachties and expat soccer fans have made this place their own; but rest assured, they’re willing to share it with anyone brave enough to pull up a chair. In 2008 New Times dubbed it the Best Yacht Crowd Bar. Since then, Waxy’s has kept up its reputation for keeping a good stock of attractive, multinational yacht crew around. And if you want to see the yachts themselves, you only have to walk five minutes east towards the bridge on the 17th street causeway where you’ll find the best view of Fort Lauderdale’s massive ships.

1095 SE 17th St, Fort Lauderdale, FL, USA, +1 954 525 9299

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