Travelers love the allure of authentic experiences: seeing, learning, and doing unique things in unique places. Pompano Beach, Florida, is full of these opportunities. Despite having undergone significant oceanfront improvements along with family-friendly amenities and iconic new oceanfront restaurants, the city also has enthralling historical significance that’s well preserved and perfect for photography and exploration.
A short bicycle ride or drive from Beach Vacation Rentals’ boutique apartments and charming cottages are several authentic experiences, including a towering lighthouse, historic air park, dazzling arts center, and a 100-year-old firehouse.
Historic Hillsboro Lighthouse boasts the brightest beam in the world. This 1907 marvel remains the backdrop to our Blue Wave beach. Visitors can embark on Saturday tours twice a month (but check their hours due to COVID-19).
The Pompano Beach Air Park is mostly utilized for private planes, flying schools, and helicopter tours over the Atlantic Ocean or the Everglades. The Air Park was built in World War II for naval air training, and eventually handed over to the city. It is home to one of only three Goodyear Blimp Airbases in the world. Spectators can freely observe up-close takeoffs and landings when one of the two blimps are in town. They generally go up and down every 20 minutes to cruise over the beach when they’re not covering games and live events. Only ticket holders from charity fundraiser auctions get to ride.
3. Bailey Contemporary Arts Center – Historic Old Town
Restoration is well underway at Historic Old Town. This was the original town of Pompano. It was founded more than 100 years ago on the northeast corner of Atlantic Boulevard and Dixie Highway at the railroad tracks. This is where farmers brought their produce from all over South Florida to load onto trains headed for New England, mostly.
Farmers stayed at the Old Bailey Hotel (a working man’s hotel), which has now been beautifully restored and repurposed as the Bailey Contemporary Arts Center (BaCA). The first floor has extensive art galleries free and open to the public. Upstairs, you’ll find working resident artist lofts with space in the middle for public events like paint and sip, open mic lyrics lab (where the public can recite their original songs or poetry), and jazz jam sessions. You can find similar art and music experiences in the restored Ali Arts Center nearby. Elsewhere in Old Town, several new restaurants are in the process of leasing restored spaces, and a Green Market is held every Saturday except during summer.
4. Pompano Untapped – Historic Old Town
Historic Old Town also celebrates its growing craft brewery industry with a “first Friday” monthly festival called Pompano Untapped from 6-10 p.m. Patrons can meander along several blocks filled with artist booths, food trucks, and free craft beer at sampling stations. A live band plays in one square, and a DJ plays beside the fire and water fountain in another square.
5. Old Pompano Neighborhood
The surrounding neighborhood of Old Pompano has a beautifully preserved 100-year-old firehouse, including two stunning original trucks. The complex surrounding the firehouse is a historical museum that includes the original Kester Cottages. The Pompano Beach Historical Society gives periodic tours of Old Pompano for a modest fee. Please check their events page for upcoming tours.
Listed on the National Register of historic places, Indian Mound Park is the only surviving Tequesta Indian burial mound in urban Broward County. It is 100 feet wide and seven feet tall. The Tequesta, valuing their dead, placed them in a special place to clean and prepare the bones for interment in a burial mound. Artifacts discovered near the mound suggest the associated village may have been in existence for some 4,000 years. Human burial remains were also unearthed in 1940 by a permitted excavation and by looting. The mound is now a public park with a historical marker located at Hibiscus Avenue and Northeast 13th Street.
One of the most historic restaurants in the nation is Cap’s Place, which you can only get to by boat (a free ferry will take you there). It is as much of a museum with historical artifacts and photos as a restaurant. Famous rum-runners once operated out of the space. Mafia characters and U.S. presidents are among the famous historical figures who met at Cap’s Place.
Don’t forget Pompano Beach’s Shipwreck Park, an artificial reef system one-mile offshore, with 17 sunken wrecks and artworks. Some of the wrecks are natural, like the SS Copenhagen, which wrecked in the reefs somewhere around 1900. The SS Copenhagen is more than 300 feet long. You can still see the “spine and ribs” of the old ship; the anchor and a plaque are also on the ocean floor. This is an excellent wreck for divers and snorkelers, as it is in only about 20 feet of water. It is a regular stop for most dive boat outings.
Pompano Beach Condo Rentals
Pompano Beach residents and leadership have helped preserve the city’s absorbing historical significance. Each of these thought-provoking authentic experiences shines a light on our beach city’s past, with a smile-inducing look into the bright future. An idyllic place to start and finish each day of history tours, beach relaxation, and authentic cuisines is inside one of our award-winning accommodations. Booking directly at 4RentByTheBeach.com is the easiest way to save money on a long-awaited Florida vacation.