Pompano Beach


Back to Pompano Beach destination page

It's no wonder that Pompano Beach takes its name from a species of fish found in abundance off Florida's Atlantic coast.

This is sportfishing country, an unabashedly outdoorsy beach town with a lovably scruffy Old Florida vibe. Watched over by the Hillsboro Lighthouse, considered the brightest in the southeast, this is the kind of town best explored in flip flops and a T-shirt. The heart of the city is surely the Pompano Beach Fishing Pier, or Fisherman's Wharf, the perfect place for catching barracuda, snapper, cobia, and, of course, pompano. Or if you're out to catch something a little bigger, you can head to sea in search of sharks, marlins, swordfish, or tuna with Pompano Fishing Charters. Each April, the Pompano Beach Seafood Festival makes great use of this locally caught seafood in endless creative variations.

But even if you're not here in the spring, there's always something fresh on the menu at one of the town's many unfussy seafood spots: cracked conch from the Fish Shack, ceviche at Malulo's International Seafood, mahi-mahi fish and chips at Calypso Restaurant. Or if you happen to live by the motto from Finding Nemo — "Fish are friends not food" — you can strap on a scuba tank or snorkel and hit the S.S. Copenhagen, a nearby shipwreck reef where you can commune with colorful fish, moray eels, and spiny lobsters.

Pompano Beach Seafood Festival

If you don't strike gold on the fishing pier, you don't have to look very far to find the freshest seafood: Each April, the Pompano Beach Seafood Festival sets up for three days of eating right on the beach. There's also a bar on the sand and live entertainment from retro rock acts like 38 Special.

Dive at the Wreck of the S.S. Copenhagen

The steam schooner S.S. Copenhagen ran aground just south of Pompano Beach in 1900 on its way from Havana to Philadelphia. The wreck peeked above the waves for decades until WWII fighter pilots used the boat for target practice, sending it down to its current home on the seafloor, 16 to 31 feet underwater. Since then, the locals have taken a liking to their new digs, transforming the steel hull into an artificial reef that attracts coral, spiny lobsters, moray eels, colorful tropical fish — and naturally, snorkelers and divers as well!

The Sample-McDougald House

The 1916 Colonial Revival-style Sample-McDougald House was getting a little cramped on its original lot — which used to be surrounded by a pineapple farm — by the encroaching Dixie Highway. In 2001, the people of Pompano Beach raised the funds to move the whole thing, by truck, to a new, more spacious home. After over a decade and millions of dollars of restoration, the house was finally reopened to the public in December 2012. On Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, you can explore the cypress house, with its signature wraparound porch and donated, era-appropriate furnishings.

Pompano Beach Holiday Boat Parade

One of the oldest of its kind in the country, the Pompano Beach Holiday Boat Parade celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2012. Each December, more than 50 boats are decked out in holiday decorations, with prizes awarded in categories such as best sound, most effective lighting, and best first timers. The parade starts in Pompano Beach, before continuing along the Intracoastal Waterway to Lighthouse Point, Hillsboro Beach, and Deerfield Beach, and homes all along the route get into the spirit with their very own decorations.