It’s a’s a plane... lots of planes! The Fort Lauderdale Air Show is back May 11-12 with thrilling acts by celebrated pilots from the military and entertainment industries. 

Set on and over Fort Lauderdale beach, the weekend-long annual event is full of unbelievable aerial acrobatics guaranteed to make for a memorable time on our sandy shores.

Who is flying in the Fort Lauderdale Air Show?

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Fort Lauderdale Air Show - Thunderbirds

All the major aerial acts will perform both Saturday and Sunday from 11:45 a.m. to around 3 p.m., with opening ceremonies starting at 11:15 a.m.

If the air show was a concert, the headliners would be the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds. The elite team flies six F-16 Fighting Falcons to perform both quartet and duo maneuvers and formations, including loops, rolls and turns with just 4 feet of space between aircraft. At times they fly at one another at 1,000 miles per hour, turning just in the nick of time!

The Ghost Squadron joins in on the fun with a fleet of jets that fly fast enough for astronauts from Polaris Program missions to practice working in a high-G environment to prep for space travel. The massive A-10 Thunderbolt II Demo Team is also a part of the show, and with its size and cannon capabilities, you can see why it’s nicknamed the Warthog and Tank Killer.

For the history buffs, wait for the throwback from the Air Force Heritage Flight, where you can see fighter aircraft from World War II, the Vietnam War, the Korean War, and other conflicts. 

The last military performer is the U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) Parachute Team, a volunteer group of Special Forces.

Where can I watch the show?

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Fort Lauderdale Air Show Beach Aerial

If you’re lucky enough to live close to Fort Lauderdale beach, you might be able to see the action from your backyard. However, if you don’t, you can join any of the VIP and watch parties set up on the beach. 

The Fort Lauderdale Air Show has ticketed spaces for guests to indulge in the show, from 10-by-12-foot Sand Boxes to the VIP penthouse experience on the 10th floor of the Pelican Grand Beach Resort. Many beach hotels, restaurants, and bars along Fort Lauderdale beach host viewing parties, so keep your eyes peeled for those experiences.

If you love the ocean as much as the twists and turns up above for the show, the U.S. Coast Guard will have a 4-mile safety zone stretching along the eastern perimeter of the show space that goes out about one mile. Boaters can bring their vessels to the watercraft viewing area just outside of this safety zone to enjoy a day on the water while watching the airplanes, helicopters, and daredevils complete their tricks.

While the Fort Lauderdale Air Show is free and open to the public, elevated experiences, such as the Sand Boxes, Drop Zone, Flight Line Club, or VIP access, cost extra. If you can’t make it to the show but would like to watch it, show organizers offer a livestream video option on the official website.

PRO TIP: On the Friday before the show, there’ll be a dress rehearsal, which you can watch from Fort Lauderdale beach. Though the rehearsal schedule isn't public, bookmark the event’s official Facebook page for the latest updates. With all the noise these planes make, you won’t  miss it if you live nearby.

What can I bring?

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Essentials like sunscreen and umbrellas for shade are must-haves, especially under the Florida sun. Awnings, tents, pop-ups, and other structures are prohibited. 

Bring your own beach chairs if you’re enjoying the action from the Drop Zone or Sand Boxes. Coolers stocked with food and non-alcoholic beverages are permitted in these areas, while premium viewing sections offer a wide array of amenities. Guests in the Flight Line Club VIP section need not worry about outside provisions, as they are treated to complimentary food and beverage service. Cameras are encouraged to capture the spectacular performances.

Where can we park?

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Expect a lot of traffic around Fort Lauderdale beach during the show, as it certainly draws a crowd. A1A will be closed off to road traffic and open to pedestrians, although security will be asking people to keep it moving. Guests are encouraged to check out the viewing options we shared before.

The Drop Zone Beach opens at 9 a.m. and the Flight Line Club beach area opens at 10 a.m. Those who purchase Sand Box tickets are invited to use the public parking areas at the Galleria Fort Lauderdale on Sunrise Boulevard. Flight Line Club VIP ticketed guests will receive parking included with their tickets.


What else is there to do in the area?

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Lona Cocina & Tequileria

If waiting in traffic after the show isn’t your idea of fun, you can wait it out right where you are on Fort Lauderdale beach! This stretch has a litany of food and beverage options, from the tucked-away Wine + Garden, sushi at Takato, tacos at Lona Cocina and Tequileria, or poolside drinks at The Kimpton Shorebreak Hotel Fort Lauderdale Beach. Any destination on the beach will be a hotspot, so make reservations ahead of time to ensure a spot.

The Water Taxi has a pick-up stop along Fort Lauderdale beach, making it a great opportunity to explore the New River and downtown Fort Lauderdale’s attractions, including buzzing Las Olas Boulevard.

Do as the locals do and join us on the beach for the air show. We hope to see you there!