12434639297?profile=RESIZE_710xThe huge flip-flop in the lobby of Hollywood, Florida’s Margaritaville Resort conveys a Jimmy Buffett vibe. Photo by Victor Block


Most people know of – and many people live by – the aphorism “It’s 5 o’clock somewhere,” but during my recent trip to Hollywood, Florida, it took on an even more special meaning. When Jimmy Buffett died in September 2023, he left behind a beloved legacy of famous songs. Such is true of many well-known musicians. But none has also left behind an empire of bars, restaurants and hotels as celebrated as the artist himself. The various “Margaritavilles” – based on Buffett’s 1977 hit song – attract thousands of visitors nationwide and it felt particularly fitting, as an ardent fan, to visit one.

The huge replica of a royal blue flip-flop that adorns the hotel lobby and the sign above the reservation desk that says “No Passport Required” immediately tells you you’re not at a Holiday Inn. The lengthy chandelier across the ceiling comprised of upside-down margarita glasses and the multiple song lyrics displayed around the hotel reinforce the Jimmy Buffett worldview. Do I even need to mention that Jimmy Buffett songs flow from speakers everywhere?


From No Woman to Blame to Strumming My Six-String to Searching for my Last Shaker of Salt, the unmistakable voice accompanies you throughout the grounds. Strolling through the property, which ends up facing the ocean, the Welcome to Paradise, License to Chill and Beach Vibe will entice even those who have never heard of the groupie accolade of Parrot Head! Think original Swifties! Not exactly your grandmother’s hotel. On the other hand, considering that Buffett’s heyday was in the ‘70s and ‘80s, that’s exactly what it might be…

12434640462?profile=RESIZE_710xThe Margarita Chandelier in the lobby of Hollywood, Florida’s Margaritaville Resort is unlike anything you’ve ever seen before. Photo by Victor Block

How to describe hanging out in the flagship hotel’s Margaritaville Bar – one of a half-dozen dining options on the property? An indoor beach scene doesn’t capture it. Yes, there is seating in boat replicas. Beach videos adorn the walls. Each table has a different seascape, palm tree or other beach-related design. Even the floor resembles waves – and large coconut palms cascade downward. Pelican statues watch over you as you dine – if you can even for a moment take your attention away from the décor to actually order. Do I need to mention again what songs accompany this scenic overload?

12434640478?profile=RESIZE_710xBoat-shaped tables carry the beach scene décor forward in the Margaritaville Restaurant in Hollywood


The menu proclaims: A State of Mind Since 1977. And you feel that in your core. But let’s get to the important stuff. Margaritas. Although I understood there are 31 Margaritas to be had throughout the hotel, I was content with the 16 available at the Margarita Restaurant alone, with unsurprising names such as Who’s to Blame, Finns to the Left and Ferlin’ Hot, Hot, Hot.


Now maybe I’m biased, but it seemed the bartender didn’t just make a drink, she crafted a work of art befitting the drink’s origin. Unlike the many other margaritas I’ve imbibed over the years, this concoction of flavors -- all proprietary recipes, of course -- caused my throat to smile as it caressed its way through my digestive system. Admittedly, that was after the third or fourth sampling. And, of course, the fact that Jimmy Buffett favorites were continuously being performed on stage helped the process along.

12434640856?profile=RESIZE_710xToasting margaritas is a must at Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville Resort in Hollywood, Florida. Photo by Victor Block


Of course, it goes without saying that the property as a whole boasts multiple pools, slides, spa and all the other amenities typical of any up-scale hotel. But if you’re there for Jimmy Buffett, you’re in the right place.

Across the street is the iconic It’s 5 o’Clock Somewhere Bar, where the beach vibe continues with tables in the sand, reminding me of a plaque I once gave my husband: A Drink in the Hand, Toes in the Sand. Actually, doing it is better than just reading about it. And if you need more diversion, you can play a round of corn hole, rent a kayak or attend the weekly “best dance party in flip-flops.” Okay, so yes – this one is just a bar – but with Jimmy Buffett’s vibe all pervasive and his music so immersive, for the moment I was thankful that it’s always 5 o’clock somewhere!


12434640883?profile=RESIZE_710xThe bar entrance sign conveys more than just the name of the bar. Photo by Victor Block


And if you’re still questioning the importance of the singer to Florida’s legacy, State Road A1A, a major Florida highway, will soon become Jimmy Buffett Memorial Highway while specialty "Margaritaville" license plates will be available throughout the state. Hard not to hum along!

But if you’ve heard enough of Jimmy Buffett, head to the Yellow Green Farmer’s Market for continuous live music on the weekends from 10-6:30 (it’s always 6:30 somewhere?) – plus over 300 booths all promoting sustainability through all kinds of artisanal products created by local artists and craftsmen.


12434641264?profile=RESIZE_710xThe Yellow Green Farmer’s Market proffers much more than its name implies. Photo by Victor Block

The outside food court presented offerings from Mexico, Uruguay, Peru, Brazil, Ecuador. Notice a pattern? At one point I saw someone with a sweatshirt from a U.S. city and got excited – until I realized we were NOT in a foreign country despite the ubiquitous South American ambiance. Think of it as a mini-Epcot Center.


12434641459?profile=RESIZE_710xOne of many Latin American food stands at the Yellow Green Farmer’s Market


The expansive table area is surrounded by a large herd of life-size black and white cow sculptures for which I could see little purpose other than to re-enforce the idea of the farm part of the farmer’s market. Worked for me.


And we hadn’t even entered the huge barn containing all the afore-mentioned stalls proffering fresh fruits and veggies, baked goods, cheese and chocolates, plants and more varieties of nuts and dried fruits than you ever knew existed. Also clothes, backpacks, jewelry, African handicrafts, tropical oils, bath products and too many other items to even contemplate. If there’s anything you could possibly want, I promise you it’s there – you just need the patience to seek it out.


12434641090?profile=RESIZE_710xThe vegetable stand at the Yellow Green Farmer’s market is one of its more mainstream offerings.

And, of course, there are even more food and drink options scattered throughout. Did I mention the free samples? And if you hadn’t already had enough Margaritas, they’re here too -- along with Bloody Marys, Bellinis and Mojitos. And dogs – lots and lots of dogs – so indeed there are also lots of designated watering holes for them, as well.

Just when I thought I had found my way to the final aisle, I discovered multiple other arteries with multiple other interesting offerings. And just when I thought I had seen all of them, there was a foosball game and a billiards table. I know dozens of towns and villages boast Farmer’s Markets of their own – and I’ve been to many – but the diversity of products, food items, entertainment -- and for me, especially dogs – made this a most welcome diversion from Margaritaville.

If perhaps live animals and wildflowers appeal more than cow statues and bouquets for sale, the Flamingo Botanical Gardens and Wildlife Sanctuary heartily beckon. The first offers 3,000 species of rare and exotic native tropical plants; the second, home to over 90 species of rescued birds and animals. On the way to the tram, I saw about a dozen cats and was hoping there was more to the wildlife. By the time I got to the Black Bear and the Panther, I was well reassured.



12434641498?profile=RESIZE_710xFlamingoes flock in abundance at the aptly named Flamingo Gardens.



Just walking along the paths enveloped by green canopies, you are engulfed in foliage, small, large, low, high and enormous, with leaves the size of surfboards that make you stop and stare. Plants are light, dark, thin, thick, mottled, marbled. Birds – tall, short, multi-colored are everywhere – flocks of flamingoes, prancing peacocks and so many Ibises that they almost form a white blanket over the entire property.

The tram expands the journey into vast varieties of trees, plants, shrubs and lush vegetation where I felt mesmerized by the sheer green overload. I became one with the forest as the constant chatter of the guide faded into background noise. I was actually disappointed when we came back into sunlight.


12434641701?profile=RESIZE_710xWhite Ibises form a cloud over the property at Florida’s Flamingo Gardens


My favorite enclosure was the cactus and succulent garden housing bizarrely shaped plants, promoting nature at its most imaginative. Other highlights included Wildlife Encounters with animals who have been injured or rescued. Okay, a lot more information than I cared to know but still interesting. Feeding frenzies of playful otters and majestic flamingoes and visits to bobcats, tortoises and other wildlife further delight.


12434641887?profile=RESIZE_710xFlamingo Gardens’ succulent exhibit promotes interestingly shaped plants.


Three very different experiences brought life to a visit to Hollywood, Florida at a time when it was too cool to even consider going to the beach. For more information, visit https://www.visitlauderdale.com/beaches-and-beyond/cities-towns/hollywood.


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