It’s no secret that I love Florida! I go to Florida as often as possible and have explored many of the best beach towns up and down the coast. There’s really no wrong time to go to Florida. Of course, Florida in winter is always perfect, especially if you’re from up North like me. Even if it’s “only” 60 degrees in Florida (cold by Florida standards), the weather is always warmer than it is here in Nebraska! And, while going to Florida in the summer may be challenging for some because of the heat and humidity, it’s also a great time to hit the beaches and cool off in the Atlantic!
One of our favorite spots in Florida that we’ve visited many times is the town of Pompano Beach. Located just north of Fort Lauderdale, Pompano Beach has an awesome location on the Atlantic coast. Pompano is a well established, smaller community founded all the way back in the 1800s and is the fifth oldest city in South Florida. Its appeal is its fabulous, quiet beaches and perfect location: It’s located within an hour of many more well known Florida hotspots. The cities of Fort Lauderdale and Miami to the south and Boca Raton and West Palm Beach to the north are probably more lively and well-known and are all just a short drive away. Don’t let your lack of familiarity with Pompano Beach scare you away. Pompano is the perfect spot to spend time in if you’re looking for a laidback, chill, unpretentious beachside location.
Pompano is an excellent place for snorkelers to explore. Only a quarter-mile off the coast lies a magnificent living coral reef. Snorkelers can explore the abundant marine life and see hundreds of species of fish. If you’re like me and prefer not to head that far out to sea (I like to see land!), there are reefs just off the coast in Pompano that you can actually swim to. While I’m not an expert snorkeler by any means, it’s always so cool to be able to glimpse the sea life up close and personal. So often it’s easy to forget that the coastal waters are teeming with life forms! Snorkeling is an easy way to really explore the vast oceans. And, the reefs at Pompano are world-class, so it’s a fantastic opportunity to check out a one-of-a-kind experience right off the Florida coast.
2. Hit The Beach
When you have the word “beach” as part of your name, you better be able to live up to the expectations! Pompano passes with flying colors. The beaches of Pompano are wide with beautiful white sand, and they’re not crowded! Every time we’ve been there we’ve enjoyed peaceful afternoons with plenty of space to relax -- never having to navigate through throngs of people. We always like to walk down to the inlet and get a better view of the lighthouse while shelling. Walking the beach and taking in the sea air is one of our favorite things to do in Pompano. It’s especially peaceful in the morning before there’s anyone on the beach. If you go early enough it will be just you and the seagulls enjoying the tranquility and the peaceful sound of the waves crashing in the surf. It’s paradise!
3. Pier Fishing
The Pompano Family Fishing Pier is a great place to hang out and spend a few hours or an afternoon watching the waves and the fishermen. When you’re ready for a little action, grab your fishing pole and head over to the side of the pier to cast off. Who knows what you may catch.
4. Hillsboro Lighthouse Tour
The Hillsboro Lighthouse is a beautiful structure and one of the few in South Florida before you hit the Keys. It’s actually located on an active Coast Guard base in Pompano Beach, so it’s not open to the public, but you can participate in one of the monthly group tours that are offered. You can meet at the Sands Harbor Resort and Marina and hop on a shuttle boat for the short ride to the lighthouse. If you go, be prepared to climb! It’s 175 steep, narrow steps to the top. Also, leave your flip-flops on the beach because closed-toed shoes are required.
5. Sailboat Charters
There’s nothing like getting out on the open water and feeling the wind in your hair. Pompano Beach is known as a big boating and fishing community so there are tons of options when you’re looking to book your adventure. A sailboat charter is fun for the whole crew. You’ll cruise along the shores of Pompano Beach, Delray Beach, and beyond. You’ll see South Florida from a whole different perspective. On your cruise, you can choose to sit back and relax with a cocktail, or you can pick a cruise where you can actually work as part of the crew. We always like to take a sunset cocktail cruise. It’s a great way to cap off the day.
With so many sunny days and glorious warm weather, why not take advantage of it and hit the links? Pompano Beach has two 18-hole public courses that are less than a mile from the coast. You can grab a cart or walk the course to get in your steps, then hit the clubhouse for a cold drink and to plan your next adventure -- or nap!
Best Restaurants In Pompano Beach
Pompano has many beautiful, unique restaurants with picturesque water views -- and of course excellent seafood.
7. Beach House Pompano
The Beach House Pompano offers a rooftop deck, live music, and a great location on the Pompano Beach Fishing Pier. The ambiance here can’t be beat. It’s a great place to enjoy a cocktail while overlooking the water. Grab a table outside for the absolute best view. I always love to go out for drinks and appetizers, and their menu does not disappoint. Try the smoked trout dip or the charcuterie for awesome appetizers. For dinner, I like to try new things but always look for the familiar as well. The Beach House shrimp and grits fit the bill here. Who doesn’t love fresh shrimp? And it’s always fun to sample grits anytime I’m down South.
8. Cafe Brie
Check out locally owned Cafe Brie for a delectable breakfast, lunch, or brunch. The scratch-made food just doesn’t get any better. Cafe Brie is famous for its crepes and its brunch; make sure you try one of the fabulous crepes with a mimosa.
9. The Rusty Hook
If you’re looking for a waterfront spot that offers great Intercoastal Waterway views along with fantastic seafood, The Rusty Hook is the place to go. Sitting outside at sunset and watching the boats go by while having dinner is the ultimate way to relax. For a delightful dinner, I recommend the grilled yellowtail snapper and truffle fries. They also have awesome happy hour specials like yummy bang bang shrimp and the freshest ceviche.
10. Cypress Nook Bavaria Haus Restaurant
For something totally different, try this German place by the beach. I know it sounds strange to have authentic German fare in a beach town, but that’s what you’ll get at Cypress Nook Bavaria House. They’re a local place that makes the best German cuisine around. You’ll get large portions of all your favorite German foods like Jaeger Schnitzel, German potato salad, and red cabbage for dinner. At breakfast time, try the German bratwurst and knockwurst with eggs for a really unusual and rich breakfast. If you’re thinking of something more traditional, they also offer the more usual breakfast fare like French toast and omelets. This is a can’t-miss, local place in Pompano that you’ll love.
Where To Stay In Pompano Beach
11. Residence Inn By Marriott Pompano Beach
I love Marriott, and you can’t go wrong with this Residence Inn Pompano Beach Oceanfront. It’s an all-suite, oceanfront property with all the amenities you’d expect from Marriott, along with spacious rooms so you can really spread out. Also included with your stay is a free hot breakfast buffet. You’ll also enjoy the beautiful outdoor pool and bar area. We like to move back and forth between the sandy beach and the pool. Especially when it’s time for a drink, it’s super convenient to pop over to the pool area and get a drink while dipping your toes in the water!
12. Sands Harbor Resort and Marina
Sands Harbor Resort and Marina is a waterfront resort and marina situated on the Intercoastal Waterway. The location on the Intercoastal yet steps away from the beach is hard to beat. It’s a very large, upscale-type resort with a fun onsite restaurant and bar. The Sands Harbor is a good place to stay if you want to charter a fishing trip or if you want to grab a spot on a dive boat for a snorkel or scuba trip. Plus, you can rent jet skis right on site!
13. Surfside Resort
For a taste of Old Florida, check out the quaint Surfside Resort. It’s an old-school resort with an ocean view that’s a five-minute walk to the beach. You’ll have everything you need here including a small, fully equipped kitchen so you don’t have to eat out if you don’t want to. You’ll love the beautiful landscaping along the pool and the close proximity to the nearby bars and restaurants. It’s so nice to be able to take a short walk to your favorite eatery.
For more Florida vacation inspiration, consider