More formally known as Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, FL-Hollywood is three miles southwest of downtown Fort Lauderdale and 21 miles north of Miami, making it a popular airport for tourism. Conveniently located near cruise line terminals, it is regularly inundated with holidaymakers bound for the Caribbean. Although Miami International Airport still handles most of the long-haul flights in the region, FL-Hollywood is fast establishing a name for itself as an intercontinental gateway, managing over 600 flights a day.
With that mind, it’s no surprise that FL-Hollywood is known to be a very busy hub; expect lengthy queues if you’re dealing with customs or immigration services.
However, what FL-Hollywood lacks in speed, it more than makes up for in free Wi-Fi, scenic views and the occasional dash of celebrity – numerous movies have been filmed in this airport and surrounding area, including Revenge of the Nerds, Marley and Me and Iron Man 3. If you’re looking for a budget alternative to flying central, Fort Lauderdale airport could well be a sensible place to start your holiday.
Split between four terminals, FL-Hollywood is constantly undergoing new developments, so it may seem a little difficult to negotiate at first.
Currently in the midst of the biggest makeover is terminal one, whose $300 million face-lift is set to be completed in 2017. However, the staff are plentiful and friendly, readily offering pointers to any lost souls looking for directions.
In terms of reaching the airport itself, FL-Hollywood can be found quite easily via the I-595 East. Parking spaces are plentiful for both short and long haul stays, with the cell-phone pick-up area open for free entry. Daily parking is available at the Hibiscus and Palm Garages on level 7, whilst valet service is on offer at all terminals. If you’re heading in or out on public transport, shuttle buses, taxes and luxury cars are all available from lower-level terminals near baggage claim, although different arrangements may be made over time according to renovation requirements.
FL-Hollywood has its fair share of gift shops, restaurants and newsstands, although if you’re on a drop-off and are feeling hungry, it might be wise to eat before you arrive – most food options are located on the air-side. Many of the outlets will be familiar household brands (Starbucks, Chilis, Miami Grill), but take the time to consider less well-known options; Torn Basil is a great pizzeria that serves rustic meatballs and a vast variety of delicious sauces, cheeses and toppings, while the Urban Market features an array of grab-and-go items including fresh fruit, salads and healthy snacks.
What not to miss
If you’ve got a layover on your travels, it may be worth dropping your bags off before setting out to explore Fort Lauderdale. Public baggage storage is available in all terminals, leaving you free to hop in a taxicab to South Beach. Known as the original ‘spring break’ location and host of the world-famous Air and Sea show, don’t expect to see too many people lazing on the sand – Fort Lauderdale is known for its high proportion of body builders, many of whom train daily on South Beach.