Getting ready for your South Florida vacation? Skip the usual tourist spots and carve out plenty of room to experience all the best things to do in Pompano Beach. Wedged between Boca Raton and Fort Lauderdale, the lovely beachside town is home to golden sands, romantic waterfront restaurants, and plenty of family-friendly activities.
For travelers seeking sun-soaked shores and endless ocean views, Pompano Beach delivers. Beyond being a prime spot for a Florida beach vacation, the beachfront town teems with historic buildings with fascinating stories to tell, nature parks to explore, and more shopping than your wallet can handle.
Not sure what to do in Pompano Beach? Learn everything you need to know with this guide to the best places to visit in Pompano Beach, FL.
Best places to visit in Pompano Beach, FL
Placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1985, Sample-McDougald House is one of the top Pompano Beach attractions. The Colonial Georgian masterpiece is complete with an ornate wraparound porch and a spacious second-floor balcony overlooking the lush grounds.
It’s easy to see why Sample-McDougald House is such a popular destination for weddings and local events. But the home wasn’t always in the serene Centennial Park. After construction was completed in 1916, it sat in a vast pineapple plantation for decades. In 2001, it became a public space in 2001 when it moved to Pompano Beach’s central park.
Today, you can tour the home and surrounding park. The town of Pompano Beach also throws regular events at the classic locale.
Pompano Community Park
Wondering where to go in Pompano Beach with some restless young ones? You can’t go wrong with Pompano Community Park. Packed with activities for young and old, the park is a great place to enjoy a sunny day and let the kids blow off some steam.
Pompano Community Park is fixed with a variety of exciting playgrounds and large sports areas. The spacious picnic spots offer plenty of room for you and your crew.
Enveloping the park is a walking trail that’ll guide you through some beautiful Florida landscapes. Along the way, you’ll spot the Aquatic Center. It’s a perfect place for a swim if you’d prefer to avoid the local beaches in the afternoon. For more action, head to the tennis courts or make use of the park’s ample outdoor gym space.
Festival Flea Market Mall
Featuring over 500 vendors, one of the best things to do in Pompano Beach is to explore the offerings at Festival Flea Market Hall. Also known as Festival Marketplace, the outdoor shopping mall was designed after the quaint towns of Middle America. It features a vast range of wares and is a fantastic spot to simply enjoy some happy browsing.
The antiquities are a strong point of Festival Flea Market Hall. You’ll find anything from classic jewelry to old-time furnishings and decor to set up back home.
Beyond interesting mementos and furniture, you can also shop for fresh produce and clothing at its boutique retail stores.
Pompano Beach Amphitheater
One of the coolest places to see in Pompano Beach at night is the Pompano Beach Amphitheater. The open-air space makes the most of Florida’s balmy year-round temperatures, offering a large range of concerts and outdoor performances.
The size of the Pompano Amphitheater may surprise you. It can hold 3,000 fans and is large enough to attract top-line performers to the beachside town.
It may be worth checking ahead of time to see who’s playing when you’re here. Who knows, you may be able to catch your favorite musician rocking out in the pleasant open-air theater!
For more live events, you can also head to the busiest touring theater in South Florida, the Curtain Call Playhouse.
Pompano Beach Fishing Village
With a lovely selection of upscale dining, oceanside shopping, and some of the top accommodation options in town, Pompano Beach Fishing Village is one of the best places to go in Pompano Beach.
After a day on the water or fishing off the pier, you can enjoy some mouthwatering seafood at several beachfront restaurants, including Beach House Pompano. Steps away from the popular Fisher Family Pier, the restaurant comes with its own rooftop for splendid views perfectly complemented by some fresh catch.
To either side of the fishing pier, you’ll find white sand beaches with calm waters waiting to provide you with a memorable beach day. Along the shores are rental shops for sea kayaking and the chance to try some stand-up paddleboarding.
Pompano Beach Pier
Open from 7 am to 10 pm, the Pompano Beach Pier, also known as Fisher Family Pier, is the perfect place watch the sun rise and fall over the town. Named after the former mayor, Lamar Fisher, the fishing pier reaches 900 feet off the southeast coast of Florida. From the end of the pier, you’ll be rewarded with gorgeous views of Pompano Beach along with the endless Atlantic Ocean.
To help your crew enjoy the experience, Pompano Beach Pier is dotted with large blue umbrellas for shade and several benches to sit, relax, and take in the scenery
Although it’s free to wander and admire, those who wish to fish will have to pay a small fee. You can grab all the essentials including your rod and bait from the bait shop on the pier.
Pompano Beach Water Taxi
To cruise in comfort and avoid any traffic, the Pompano Beach Water Taxi is the most effortless way to do some Pompano Beach sightseeing. Beyond the beautiful beaches that paint the coast, the beachfront town has a series of waterways where taxis roam. They’ll take you past luxurious mansions, canal-side shops, and many of the town’s historic buildings.
The water taxis offer nine stops through the city but are only available Friday and Saturday evenings. Popular entry points include Hillsboro Inlet Park, Alsdorf Park, and Scott Winters Memorial Park. Jump on and tour Pompano Beach as the sunset coats the sky and the stars begin to shine through.
Hillsboro Antique Mall and Cafe
The Festival Flea Market Hall may be one of the top tourist attractions in Pompano Beach. But to really shop for antiques, you can’t pass up a visit to the Hillsboro Antique Mall and Cafe. With over 250 dealers selling an incredible range of antiquities, you’ll be in for a treat if you consider yourself an old soul.
The Hillsboro Antique Nall features an abundance of art déco and experimental artworks, vintage pieces from old-time Florida, and period furnishings. As it’s not overly expensive, you can have an amazing time hunting for a great bargain.
To refuel and take a break, there are several cafes placed around the Antique Hall.
Blanche Ely House and Museum
Showcasing the history of the black community in Pompano Beach, the Blanche Ely House and Museum explores the roles of African American leaders in the history of the town. With a strong focus on Blanche Ely, whose former home hosts the museum, you’ll learn all about her incredible life as a civic activist, pioneer, and influential teacher.
Blanche Ely helped to start multiple schools in the region and was at the forefront of protecting and strengthening educational opportunities for the African-American community in Florida.
The Blanche Ely House and Museum presents some insightful exhibits through artifacts and photography. The house itself is even set up as if the historic figure still lived there today.
Isle Casino Racing Pompano Park
Ready to win big—or at least try? Test your luck at the Isle Casino Racing Pompano Park. With almost 40 poker tables and over a thousand slot machines waiting, you’ll have no issue finding your lucky seat for a great night out in Pompano Beach.
While all the fun is going down, the casino is home to live music, events, and six on-site restaurants to choose between. Better yet, time your run to the casino to coincide with some harness racing.
Isle Casino Racing Pompano Park is considered the winter capital of harness racing. Grab a spot and let the action unfold on the racing track. (And if you’re looking for an extra thrill, don’t forget to put some skin in the game!)
Pompano Citi Centre
Built in 1970, the Pompano Citi Centre offers a more traditional shopping experience compared to the antique halls and flea markets around town. The bright and spacious open-air mall is home to major department stores, ample food courts, and even nail spas to give yourself a little treat.
Some of the major brands in the Pompano Citi Centre include JC Penney, Sephora, and Ross. They’re complemented by a great range of shoe stores, boutique shops, and electronic warehouses.
Around the mall, you’ll have your choice of dining options, including the mesmerizing hibachi chefs at Saito’s and the Cold Stone Creamery, for a well-earned dessert.
Hillsboro Inlet Lighthouse
One of the top things to see in Pompano Beach is the Hillsboro Inlet Lighthouse. The historic landmark was built in 1907 after a near quarter-century battle to protect ships from the hazardous point near Hillsboro Beach.
The Hillsboro Lighthouse was manned for almost seven decades until it was automated in 1974. The lighthouse stands at 138 feet tall. Visitors can take the exhausting trip up 175 steps to the top for amazing views.
A bigger challenge than the lighthouse stairs is the prior planning needed. The Hillsboro Lighthouse is only open to the public for a few weeks each year. If you’re able to visit, make a day of it with a picnic in Hillsboro Inlet Park.
Pompano Beach Airpark
It’s far from your typical tourist attraction, but if you’re wondering what to do in Pompano Beach with kids, make the exciting trip to the Pompano Beach Air Park. Home to the iconic Goodyear Blimp, you’ll also find that Spirit of Innovation blimp inside the massive 45,000-square-foot hangar.
The airpark began in WWII and was used as a training field for the Navy Air Station. Today, visitors can still sign up for flying lessons. But the park is much more than meets the eye.
Around the hangars are walking paths, tennis courts, the Pompano Beach Baseball Park, and a 36-hole golf course. There’s more than enough here to keep the entire family busy.
Upon opening in 1988, Butterfly World became the first attraction of its kind in the United States and the largest butterfly park in the world. Just northwest of Pompano Beach in Coconut Creek, the park features several expansive nature exhibits and aviaries displaying a variety of birdlife and natural landscapes.
The first aviary you’ll come across at Butterfly World is the exceptional Paradise Adventure Aviary. In this breathtaking haven, delightful smells of blooming roses will float by as you wander past waterfalls and ornate fountains.
In the Tropical Rainforest area, you’ll discover an abundance of colorful butterflies dancing between the flowers and often landing right on your shoulder. Continue on to see Butterfly Lake and the bug museum before resting at Mariposa Cafe.
Fern Forest Nature Park
From one idyllic sanctuary to another, Fern Forest Nature Park is a natural display of dozens of different ferns spread across almost 250 acres. Located in neighboring Broward County, the park is an urban wilderness area with many trails guiding you through the rich landscape.
The variety of ferns at Fern Forest Nature Park is matched by the different geography you’ll find along the way. Walk down any of the paths to find your surroundings quickly switch between pinelands, open fields, and swamps.
As part of the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail, you can also expect to come across native animals, especially migratory birds.
Everglades Holiday Park
Located west of Fort Lauderdale and a 40-minute drive from Pompano Beach, Everglades Holiday Park is your gateway to this incredible part of South Florida. The highlight of any trip to the Everglades Holiday Park is the airboat ride through the marshlands on the lookout for wild alligators.
A fun adventure for families, skirt across the “River of Grass” at impressive speeds before getting to lock eyes with an alligator for some amazing pictures. Later, stop by the Gator Pit for a live alligator presentation.
Before you leave, make sure to sign up for the Everglades Animal Encounter for the chance to hold one of the magnificent alligators with your own hands!
Best places to stay in Pompano Beach for sightseeing
Located across from the beach, this resort offers both regular rooms and a studio with fully-equipped kitchens for a self-catering stay. Take a dip in the outdoor pool to cool down in the hot Florida sun.
Featuring spacious rooms and a year-round outdoor pool, this mid-range hotel is a perfect choice for families and couples looking to dig into all the top points of interest in Pompano Beach. The property is within walking distance of both Pompano Beach and Lauderdale-by-the-Sea.
For a luxurious stay in Pompano Beach, look no further than this lovely resort. The hotel is set minutes from the Atlantic Ocean and features superb amenities including an outdoor pool, hot tub, and free parking.