Sun drenched tourists who bask on one of the widest sand beaches in South Florida open their eyes to the gentle hum of an airship. They gaze up in awe as the massive Goodyear Blimp floats by on regular promotional passes over the beach, from its base at the historic Pompano Air Park just a half-mile away. The pace is as relaxed as they are.
Each day just after sunrise, scattered handfuls of joggers dot the 3.5 miles of pristine Blue Wave beach. They sprint along part of the same route as the infamous barefoot mailman from the late 1800′s, who delivered the U.S. mail from Jupiter to Miami and back along the sandy shore to bypass the wild terrain.
The joggers fill their lungs with clean salt air, and give a thumbs up to the father and son who just caught a grouper from the 1,200-foot long fishing pier. They pass sea turtle preservation areas as they head up to the Hillsboro Inlet, a colorful pass between the Intracoastal Waterway and the Atlantic Ocean with its fishing fleet, charter and dive boats and beckoning lighthouse. On the return jog, lifeguards are seen opening their string of stations along the beach to protect wayward swimmers with their watchful eyes.
Some might consider Pompano Beach a throwback to the fifties, compared to it’s more sophisticated neighbors. Boca Raton–15 minutes north, and Fort Lauderdale–fifteen minutes south. This family-friendly, oceanside community is the more affordable vacation alternatives. Still close to the excitement of nearby attractions and cultural events but a safe, peaceful refuge at the end of the day.
Beach goers stroll along the oceanfront sidewalk with its picnic areas, playground, outdoor showers and benches. They walk to shops, ice cream stores and waterfront restaurants. The mix includes cozy, friendly establishments like the Briney Irish Pub with live music most evenings, ice cream shops, pizza, sushi, and the five-star Café Maxx bistro.
Visitors watch passing yachts as they dine along the Intracoastal at Houston’s or Joe’s Riverside Grille. Pompano Beach boasts dozens of great restaurants in all price ranges.
Known as South Florida’s saltwater fishing capitol, Pompano Beach holds its huge annual Seafood Festival in late April each year, followed by it’s fishing rodeo in mid-May. Both major events have drawn visitors and locals alike for decades.
Pompano Beach is truly ”nature’s aquarium” with some of the best fishing, boating and diving in the nation. The Gulf Stream comes closer to shore here than anywhere in the U.S. providing some of the clearest and warmest water for every kind of water sport. Parasailing, kite-boarding, personal watercraft, and surfing are all popular here. A three-tier reef system offers variety in depth for every diver¹s experience level, and is within a short swim offshore. Unique to most dive areas, in Pompano Beach you don’t have to take a boat to reach the reefs for diving or snorkeling. But it’s the dive operators who can take you for a short boat ride to the most beautiful reefs and the best of the 100+ shipwrecks and dive sites offshore. The snorkel/dive boats typically go out two to three times a day year round.
Pompano Beach is a wonderful place for landlubbers as well. The new Isle Casino and Racing, next to the Pompano Harness Track, is a large, dazzling, smoke-free casino with restaurants and entertainment nightly. Pompano Citi Centre is the newly remodeled shopping mall with popular stores like Macy’s, Sears and JC Penney. The city’s large community park has one of the best tennis and aquatics centers you could find along with a dog park, amphitheater for outdoor concerts, 36 holes of golf and a driving range, all just a half mile to the beach. Look for the Saturday morning Green Market with fresh farm produce and live music in the historic district. It’s open most months of the year.
While the city is just 25 minutes north of Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, not every community is lucky enough to have its own air park for private aircraft so close to the beach. For a treat, take a helicopter tour over the ocean or Everglades, or stop by the Goodyear Blimp visitors center to witness touchdowns and landings by the airship “Stars and Stripes”. It doesn’t cost a thing and the kids will love it.
For those who enjoy dance, Pompano Beach is central to the heart of South Florida’s dance “Mecca” for ballroom, Latin and swing dancing, as well as Argentine Tango. You can find group and private lessons and multiple social dances every night of the week. Come with or without a partner. World champion instructors for every dance style are all within a half hour drive. In town, find Star Ballroom and Tower Ballroom. Take a five-minute drive to Casa Salsa for Latin instruction, or Dance Moves for swing dancing. Just a 15-minute drive west of the beach, find the famous Gold Coast Ballroom, which draws dancers from across the nation.
A visit to Pompano Beach would not be complete without checking out some truly unique nearby attractions like Butterfly World, Festival Flea Market Mall (the world’s largest indoor flea market) and the historic Hillsboro Lighthouse, which is reported to have world’s brightest beam of any lighthouse and is available for bimonthly public tours.
This town of clean air, lots of sunshine and friendly locals opens its arms to visitors from around the world. It’s a year-round destination with plenty to do, so come here, relax, enjoy, and we’ll see you soon!