Fort Lauderdale Spring Break
Your Best Week Ever
Are you planning your spring break in Fort Lauderdale?
Making plans to make THIS year the BEST SPRING BREAK ever?
Do your plans include looking for ways to squeeze in all the sunshine, beaches, parties, boating, beer, and friends you absolutely can?
Of course, a little planning and local-knowledge can ensure you can pull it all together, so we jotted down some notes just for you.
You are about to have an epic week.
Fort Lauderdale and its Famous Spring Break Roots
First, let’s talk about Fort Lauderdale and its history with spring break.
I know, I KNOW…you are probably over ‘the history of anything’ right about now. But… how Fort Lauderdale became THE spring break destination is a fun journey to follow.
I’ll give you the TLDR version. (For the fascinating, decade by decade story read here—or at least enjoy looking through the old-timey photos.)
It can all be traced back to a humble swim team from Colgate University in 1936.
As we know, it’s stupidly cold in New York, so reasonably, the team was sent to the warmer climates of Florida to practice during their week of school vacation. The team, it appears, enjoyed themselves immensely and the next year they brought all their friends.
It didn’t take long for the stories to spread and soon, swim team acquaintance or not, college students were flocking to the beaches of Fort Lauderdale on their week off from school in the spring.
In 1958 Professor Swarthout got curious about all the frolicking in the sun and followed his students down to see the spectacle for himself (don’t we all know that one professor that blurs the boundaries).
He then did what professors do and wrote about his observations.
Except, instead of a thesis, he wrote a novel—Where the Boys Are.
This was Professor Glendon Swarthout’s ticket to the party. It was wildly successful, and it was also released as a movie in 1960 (which was even more wildly successful).
The secret was out. The following year more than 50,000 college students gathered on the beaches of Fort Lauderdale.
The following decades repeated this cycle over and over with different movies (MTV shows) highlighting the raucous, unchecked, and uncensored fun in the sun followed by surging numbers of college spring breakers.
In 1985 over 400,000 college students swarmed (and nearly destroyed) the beaches of Fort Lauderdale.
You know that friend of yours who knows NO moderation when it comes to partying? (Yeah, that one you don’t really want to hang out with too much.) Fort Lauderdale went through this phase. Too much-everything.
It was just a phase, though.
Today Fort Lauderdale Spring Break has matured, and, in a lot of ways, returned to its roots of being an idyllic location for Spring Breakers to escape to—sun drenched beaches, tropical beach bars, floating party boats, and Caribbean-flavored clubs. It offers the complete package—all in one gorgeous, easy-to-get-to setting.
What to See, What to Do, and Where to Party
First things first…the beach!
Nothing makes a better stage for spring break than a big, wide, white, sun-scorched beach.
And Fort Lauderdale has 23 miles of beaches for you to flop down your beach towel and raise up your umbrella and enjoy. The hub of the spring break activity is clustered around the landmark beach bar, Elbo room, and spreads out for miles in either direction.
Volleyball, frisbee, or just deliciously deserved sunbathing and people watching…whatever you want, you have a whole beach to do it on.
Grub, where to find it…
When you get hungry, wander up to the palm tree-lined promenade and explore all the beachfront cafes. Your sandy flip-flops and salty bum are welcome.
Or, if you are looking forward to some of the dining Fort Lauderdale has become known for, slip out of your bathing suits and head down Las Olas Boulevard. Chic shops and eateries will refresh and rejuvenate you if you need a little breather between the denser party scenes.
The riverfront offers another selection of dining options. Waterfront patios, open-air bars, spring break friendly happy-hours and specials will keep you fueled without taking you out of the sunshine.
Want a taste of the culinary delights Fort Lauderdale is known for, but not ready get out of your bathing suit just yet? Hello, local food trucks. The best of the city’s gourmet treats right where you are (plus they’re budget friendly!)
Here, it gets hotter after the sun goes down…
Fort Lauderdale has a vibrant, pulsing nightlife scene with chic clubs and breezy bars. You could come down here blindly and stumble into dozens of hot spring break parties—no worries at all. But, if you are looking to cross off some of the iconic spring break scenes, these are the clubs to make an appearance at:
- The Elbo Room is hands-down the most famous spring break bar. It has been ground zero for spring breakers since 1938. It’s right on the beach, a little completely dive-y, and still doing spring break right—like only a veteran can—blaring music, cheap drink specials, and show-off-your-tan-lines dancing.
- America’s Backyard will keep you soaking up the warm weather you came for in this sprawling outdoor bar. They claim to throw the largest Spring break party and run keep-the-party-going drink specials every night.
- Sway Nightclub infuses the party with a modern Caribbean beat. Plus, they definitely know how to put some spring break specials together!
Float your party on a Booze Cruise
You might not be able to drag your cooler full of favorite beverages down to the beach (pesky liquor laws), but you can bring it aboard a boat.
Fort Lauderdale is the Yacht Capital of the World, and the city has earned the moniker Venice of America due to its hundred’s of miles of palm tree lined canals. So, taking your party on the water is just natural here.
Booze cruises offer the supreme way to party. You can choose from full-service cruises or BYOB styles that let you bring your favorite beverages with you. Some cruises even ‘bar hop’ down the riverfront.
Lagerheads Cycleboats offer the best of it all. Grab your friends and your favorite beverages and climb aboard this pedal-powered pub. You and your friends gather up to the bar and cycle-stools and peddle your way down the river. (Or just let your captain turn on the motor.) Best yet, this cruise pulls up to the docks of the hottest waterfront bars to keep the party going all day or night.
That’s one way to ensure the best Fort Lauderdale Spring Break ever. (You might want to book your cruise ahead of time, though.)
Where to Stay and How to Get About In Fort Lauderdale
Where to crash?
With such an array of budgets and amenities, it’s likely not very helpful to pick out a handful of hotel suggestions.
From the save-my-money-for-the-party budget hostels to the pool-party-on-the-roof-top swanky hotels, you can find what you are looking for. Fort Lauderdale has no shortage of hotels.
However, here is a time-saving tip, some hotels won’t offer rooms to those under 25. If this is you, screen your options and save some frustration.
Beyond hotels, AirBNB offers a whole range of potential party pads from big, waterfront estates to share with all your friends, to adorable beachy bungalows and cottages.
How to get about?
Once you have your crash pad figured out, next, you’ll want to know how to get about to the beaches and clubs. Luckily, Fort Lauderdale has many transportation options beyond taxi’s, Uber’s, and Lyft’s:
- To hop between some of the most popular spots, grab a ride on one of the free electric cars provided by, aptly named, Free Ride. Just text them, and they can pick you up and take you all around Fort Lauderdale. They operate until 10pm.
- For a simpler, more independent option there are several bike rental hubs that are spread through the city offering bikes for the hour, day, or longer.
- The public Sun Trolley is fun and affordable and will get you all around the town and the beaches. Load the app before you go, and you will have all the pick-up locations and schedules.
- With so much of the city being water-front it’s just as easy to pull up to the restaurants, and shops by boat. The city’s water taxi will zoom you all around while letting you enjoy the cityscape from the water. You can even buy a day pass and hop on and off as many times as you’d like.
What to pack?
Oh, this is easy.
Bathing suits. Check.
Reef-friendly sunscreen. Check.
A handful of light, summery outfits. Check.
Yep, that’s about it. We are pretty casual down here. And our weather is gloriously warm. If your home-town, snow boots-filled stores don’t have what you need, a quick stop at the Gallaria Mall on your first day here will get you squared away.
See You on the Beach!
There you go, everything you need to plan the most epic Fort Lauderdale Spring Break of your life. Have a blast.
(And if you do want to book that bar-hopping booze cruise, give us a call 954-300-2401)