All You Need To Know About The Fort Lauderdale Water Taxis
Introduction to the Water Taxi
There are currently two water taxi services in operation. One calls itself a Water Trolley, one is a Water Taxi!
Water Taxi Routes and Stops
From a tourist point of view the stops and schedule are most important because many visitors plan their stays and activities around the boat transfers. They book hotels within walking distance of the stops in order to visit restaurants and other attractions without driving and parking hassles.
Please open our interactive map in a new browser tab to see the routes, stops and nearby hotels / restaurants / bars.
While there are wait times between boats, with a bit of planning you can schedule your day to minimize wasting time. You can even use an App to trace your vessel! Just make sure the service you want is traveling in the direction you desire!
Downbound – heading south, Upbound – heading north
There are 3 routes to choose from.
- The Intracoastal Waterway – cruising to the Lauderdale Beach area and popular with beach lovers
- The New River and Las Olas – the famous Las Olas district (restaurants, shops and bars) is the main destination while cruising past homes of the rich and famous and infamous
- Hollywood – a cruise to the south to visit the popular Hollywood Beach Boardwalk
Here is a map showing the popular hotel clusters as well as the three water routes (note the colors). If you want a cruise hotel within walking distance of the stops, it is best to look at the 17th St Cluster, the Lauderdale Beach Cluster, the Las Olas Cluster or even Hollywood Beach (not shown). See our dedicated HOTELS page more more information.
Which Water Service Should You Use?
It’s mission is to get you back and forth across the New River near Las Olas. It will not shuttle you to the Beach or the Port!
It is FREE – meaning regardless of who you used to get the the Las Olas area, you can jump on the Water Trolley if it is more convenient without paying extra!
With average wait times between 20 and 30 minutes, it is a great option if you are in the Las Olas area on either side of the river. But make sure you download their App so you can trace the trolley!
It runs daily
Sunday – Wednesday 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Thursday – Saturday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
This is the established service that most people know. They operate several boats of different sizes and if you are planning a long and active day of sightseeing then this is the ticket to buy!
While not cheap, they do offer more in terms of the overall experience. Longer routes, more stops, more frequent pickups and the most informative website.
The routes are set but the schedules are somewhat loose for the Lauderdale Beach (Intracoastal) and New River routes. Average wait time is about 30 minutes. This means you can easily hop off, look around quickly and return to the next pickup shortly afterwards. This is ideal for those who are using the water taxi for sightseeing. The Hollywood route has a fixed schedule – the express service to/from the Margaritaville Resort is a popular one and runs every hour!
TIP – Do buy tickets ahead of time because those with tickets board first! You can buy a walk-in ticket from the captain if seats are available.
TIP – Look online for discount coupons at Water Taxi partners!
It runs daily from generally 10am to 10pm.
Which Stops Are Of Main Interest To Cruisers?
The Hollywood route is quite specific and unless you are staying at Margaritaville or the nearby hotels, most cruisers with a one-night pre-cruise stay will not have the time to go down there. So let’s forget about that route for now.
Here are the 5 most important stops along the New River and Lauderdale Beach Routes:
Stop 1 – Riverside Hotel / Stranahan House
Stop 2 – Shops and Restaurants at Las Olas
Stop 4 – Hilton Marina / Convention Center
Stop 5 – Bahia Mar / Bahia Cabanas
Stop 6 – Las Olas Marina / Beach Place
And if you arrive at a stop and do not want to walk to your favorite restaurant or bar, we recommend you call the Beach Hopper for a ride! 954-319-1571
To visit Las Olas
The most exciting part of Las Olas is between stops 1 and 2. If you are short on time then we suggest you get off at stop 1 (behind the Cheese Cake Factory) and walk east on Las Olas past the Riverside Inn until you reach 9th Ave. Turn right and walk 3 short blocks to water taxi stop 2. Countless restaurants and bars await you along this walk where people watching from side-walk cafe’s is the name of the game!
To reach the 17th St area
This is the most popular hotel area at the north end of Port Everglades. It is a typical Convention area – several large hotels with a wide range of restaurants and 3 or 4 strip malls. For many cruisers this is home from where they are introduced to the water taxis. Stop 4 is under the overpass just south of the Hilton – only the Water Taxi stops here.
To visit the Beach
Stop 5 is the closest beach stop if you are coming from 17th Street or Las Olas. This is also your stop if you booked a Jungle Queen cruise. Many folks will step off here then walk north for 1 mile along the beach promenade to Stop 6. This area is home to many fun restaurants and bars. The Bahia Cabana Restaurant & Bar is just around the corner from Stop 5 and to the south are the Wreck Bar and 3030 Restaurant. Near Stop 6 you will find Bubba Gump, Coconuts and Lulu’s Bait Shack and many other fun places. See our interactive map for locations!
To visit other stops and areas, for schedules and for pricing, please visit the website of each water service.
Fleet and Amenities
If you plan a long day exploring the waters on a water taxi, then it may help to know the fleet! While all vessels are covered, only some offer heat/air conditioning.
TIP – Use the Water Taxi App to track the routes and location of each vessel!
Most comforts – Island Discovery, Island Expedition and Island Adventure. Two decks, bathroom, full bar, AC, indoor and outdoor seating
Some comfort – Rio Vista, Lauderdale, Bayview. Bathroom, outdoor seating with awning
Most basic – Fiesta, Riverwalk, Downtowner, JD Hanson