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Ft. Lauderdale International Boat Show [FLIBS] Review 2022

Updated: Jun 13, 2023



Imagine yourself touring the newest luxury yachts, exploring new advances in the boating industry, and signing a contract for a new 74 ft yacht. Sounds fabulous right?


This is what the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show (FLIBS) is all about. Checking out the latest and greatest boats and speaking with the designers and creators from the boating industry's top designers, captains, brokers, and engineers.



My family was fortunate to attend FLIBS 2022 this year which was made possible by the Viage Group. We are very thankful for this awesome group of individuals who go above and beyond for their customers.


To recap our fabulous trip to FLIBS 2022, I'll walk you through where we stayed, our itinerary, and the activities that we planned.



As I said, this was a great family trip and we highly recommend visiting boat shows if you are interested in getting out on the water with your family. It's a perfect setup because there are so many boat brands and different categories of boats that you can really get a feel of what works for your size family.


FLIBS 2022 takes place during the last weekend in October in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. This is one of the largest boat shows in the world (if not the largest) and it's spread over a few locations throughout the Ft. Lauderdale area.


FLIBS is extremely large with lots to see and do so I suggest reviewing the maps and activities prior to your arrival in Ft. Lauderdale.



WHERE TO STAY


To begin our adventure, we booked a stay at the Fort Lauderdale Marriott Harbor Beach Resort and Spa for two nights. My suggestion is to book well in advance because, as I said, this is one of the largest boat shows in the world and this hotel is within walking distance of the main entrance at the Bahia Mar Yachting Center.


The Marriott resort itself was perfect for our family of five. The room was large enough to accommodate us without feeling too cramped. We had a balcony room that overlooked the front of the hotel which made for a great sunset.



The Marriott Harbor Beach Resort and Spa was situated beautifully on the beach with a large pool surrounded by palm trees. The grounds were very nice and there were plenty of seating options spread throughout the property where you could sit, relax, and take in the view.


It was really exciting for everyone to watch the cruise ships leave the port and cruise out to see while we were sitting by the beach.



The activities at the resort were great for the kids. The beach was great for them to run around and the pool was gorgeous. The kids had a blast playing ping pong and corn hole too.


During our stay, the hotel staff created a haunted house in the ballroom which was fantastic! We walked through it a few times because they did such a fantastic job of decorating! They even had candy for the kids at the end.



To be honest, we only dined at the resort (besides lunch at FLIBS). The resort has a few different restaurants and we had great meals at all three of the locations where we dined. For our first night, we dined at the Sea Level Restaurant and Ocean Bar which is situated next to the pool and ocean with indoor or outdoor dining availability.


This location does not accept reservations but we had no difficulty with being seated right away. We opted to dine indoors at this location because it was windy the night we were dining there. We opted for the burger, fish tacos, chicken wings, chicken tenders, and chicken quesadilla. Everything was good but the wings were exceptional! The drinks were fun and delicious too.


The next evening, we dined at 3030 Ocean Restaurant which is located in the hotel's lobby. I made advanced dining reservations for this restaurant and I'm so happy I did.


Our experience at this restaurant was top-notch. The service was impeccable and our meals were delicious. We chose the charcuterie board as a starter because my kids love cheese, and then our mains were the filet and scallops. The scallops were cooked to perfection! The kids opted for the spaghetti.



One thing to note is that this restaurant was very welcoming to families as I noticed other families dining with small children. Our server took time to teach our kids how to make a crane from a napkin which they all enjoyed. Overall the food and service were great!


Who loves room service? We do! We ordered room service for dessert and I can never pass up a late-night BLT and french fries.



The morning of checkout, we dined at Riva which overlooks the beach and ocean. I ordered the eggs benedict (as usual) and my husband ordered the egg breakfast. The kids ordered chocolate chip pancakes which were larger than their heads. Next time we will split the pancakes because it was a large portion for them.


Nonetheless, the ambiance of breakfast was relaxing and the kids were able to run off some steam on the outside lawn while we waited for breakfast to be served.


Overall, everyone was so nice at this resort and I highly recommend booking a stay here if you are staying in the Fort Lauderdale area. We will definitely be back!



Disclosure: I only recommend products I would use myself and all opinions expressed here are my own. This post may contain affiliate links that at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission.


WHAT TO BRING WITH YOU TO THE BOAT SHOW

  • We brought a backpack and packed snacks for the kids and water bottles. There are plenty of food vendors around for snacks and drinks but the lines can get long so we opted to bring our own.


  • Bring sunscreen or have some on already. There is not a lot of shade when walking the docks and it can get hot.


  • Bring your pre-planned itinerary because there is a lot to see and do and it's hard to fit everything in.



WHAT TO WEAR


  • For one, wear comfortable shoes. You will be walking around all day, so I encourage you to definitely wear shoes that are comfortable and easy to take on and off if you plan on boarding boats.


  • Bring a hat and sunglasses (Costas are a family favorite). We made sure to pack these things for our kids because when you're traveling with kids something is likely to be left behind.


  • Wear comfortable clothing, like performance clothes that actively repel the sun. I don't suggest wearing dark-colored clothing and jeans. Even though it's October in Florida, it's still warm. It was in the high 80s and sunny during our visit.



WHERE TO EAT


There are food vendors throughout the boat show. We had lunch at Bahia Mar and opted for a few different food vendors/trucks. My kids chose rice bowls and pizza and my husband and I found Greek food.


We saw other eateries like burgers, cheesesteaks, sandwiches, and seafood.


There are private, gourmet food offerings for those who have the Winward VIP ticket. We have yet to experience this club, but hopefully next year!




SAMPLE 1- DAY ITINERARY


Morning: Light breakfast at the hotel.

9:30 am- Walk to the Bahia Mar Yachting Center (a 15-minute walk from the Fort Lauderdale Marriott Bay Harbor Beach Resort and Spa).

10:00 am- Arrive at FLIBS and explore the boat docks

Protip- Check in with a few of your favorite boat brokers and brands. Grab a drink from one of the floating docks.

10:00-12:00 am- Explore the boats

12:00 am- Head to the food vendor area

Protip: This area is very crowded by 1 pm so get there earlier to beat the crowds and find a shady spot to enjoy lunch.

12:45-1:45 pm- Explore the indoor area because it's next to the food vendor area.

1:45-2:30 pm- Explore the docks next to the indoor area.

3:00-5:00 pm- Grab a water taxi or shuttle and head to the convention center

5:30 pm- Head back to the hotel to get ready for dinner.

7:00 pm- Dinner and relaxation



SAMPLE 1-DAY ITINERARY WHEN TRAVELING WITH CHILDREN


Morning- Light breakfast at the hotel.

9:30 am- Walk to the Bahia Mar Yachting Center (a 15-minute walk from the Fort Lauderdale Marriott Bay Harbor Beach Resort and Spa).

10:00 am- Arrive at Boat Show and explore the boat docks

Protip- Check in with a few of your favorite boat brokers and brands then grab a drink from one of the floating docks.

10:00-12:00 am- Explore the boats and walk along the different dock areas (they are color-coded)

12:00-12:30 pm- Have lunch from the food vendor area because there are plenty of options.

12:30-1:30 pm- Explore the indoor tent area (equipment and electronics). We like to save this for after lunch so that we can browse the vendors while enjoying the a/c)

1:30 pm- Head back to the hotel for fun in the sun

2:00-5:00 pm- Hang out by the beach and pool

5:00-6:00 pm- Everyone gets ready for dinner

6:00 pm- Dinner at the hotel.



TIPS + ETIQUETTE

  • When you are walking the docks and exploring different boats, make sure that you have permission to board the boat. Usually, there is someone to greet you standing by (or on) the vessel. They will let you know if you need to wait before others deboard or if you can board at that time.


  • We found that most of the boats were represented by the boat manufacturer or a boat brokerage. The yachts usually have their own check-in where you can check in with the host and secure a guide to show you around the vessel.


  • Most large yacht companies have a check-in process and will ask for your credentials prior to boarding the ship. So do not expect to walk onto an 80 ft yacht without going through the check-in process. Most dealers have appointments scheduled for people actively looking to purchase a yacht. How exciting! But my suggestion for families who are looking to browse is to make contact with the company prior to the boat show and try to secure an appointment to view the yachts you are most interested in. I learned from this mistake because there were a few mega yachts that we wanted to view but the wait was too long for our active family, plus


  • Always take your shoes off prior to boarding a vessel.


  • Remember to close the doors when entering and exiting the vessel because the a/c will be running.


  • If you are flying into Ft. Lauderdale International Airport, check out Priority Pass which is great to have when traveling. You'll have access to a private lounge at the airport which can be beneficial when traveling with kids (or if you just need a break from the crowds)



Q+A


Was it easy to navigate FLIBS with children?


Yes and no. The venue is set up nicely with maps located throughout the area. However, it's a long day, and depending on your children, they may or may not last the entire day.


That's why we suggest spreading out the trip over a few days or only visiting for half a day and spending the rest of the day relaxing poolside.


How to get to and from FLIBS?


We parked at our hotel and opted to walk to the marina. From Bahia Mar you can catch a water taxi or a shuttle bus to the convention center.


Did you enjoy this article? Please share this article so that other readers can read about FLIBS.


Have you attended FLIBs? Tell us in the comments below.


Read more articles from Florida Family Lifestyle

 

Hello! I'm Tiffany, a creative travel writer, mother to three awesome kids, and Floridian. We like to visit beautiful Florida resorts and beaches, Florida State Parks, and explore destinations by boat. I like to write about our travel adventures and provide Florida lifestyle tips to other families traveling or living in the Sunshine State.

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