Throughout the summer, "Best Beaches" will highlight the best beach spots Broward has to offer. Don't agree? Check back next week; your favorite beach in Broward could be next.
Living where others vacation can be both a blessing and a curse. On one hand, we're grateful to be able to roll out of bed straight into any of countless tropical relaxation options readily at our disposal. On the other hand, battling the crowds to take advantage of our favorite chill spots is less than ideal. Luckily, there are places like Pompano Beach that scratch our staycation itch without any of the chaos that comes with some other Broward beaches.
Pompano Beach has been quietly remodeling and reimagining itself while you weren't looking. From the parking, to the pier, to the lush walkways, lots of money has been poured into making Pompano Beach the best Broward has to offer.
10. Traffic and accessibility.
If you've been keeping up with our "Best Beach" series here at New Times, you already know we think part of what makes a beach truly great is how easy it is to get to said beach, and Pompano Beach rates high in this department. Whether you're coming from the north or the south, it's extremely easy to navigate nonpeak-hours traffic. If you can avoid the tedious bridges, you're in the clear. More time on the beach and less time staring at the brake lights of a Honda Civic is "Best Beach" rule number one. The drive to and around Pompano Beach is quiet — damn near Keys-like, we might even say. It's a breeze to get around, which is exactly the way it's supposed to be.
9. Broward's newest and best beach parking garage.
Pompano Beach has a brand-spanking-new parking garage that has changed the beach parking game forever. The new garage, located at NE Second Street between A1A and Pompano Beach Boulevard, includes 669 spaces, LED-lit sails, a three-story piece of colorful fish art, and a glass elevator overlooking the ocean. And this is just the parking garage!
The location looks more like an art museum than a place to park you car. For $1.25 per hour, you can park steps from the sand and get your stuff together in the shade. The garage is the most recent project completed in hopes of making Pompano Beach a more upscale Broward beach destination.
8. Private feel.
There is a reason much of Pompano Beach feels private — it's because a lot of it is private. Pompano Beach is littered with timeshare condos that, for the most part, close off their beaches to the general public.
The upside is the resort feel it gives to vast stretches of Pompano Beach. This might drive away some people, but it makes time in the sun more comfortable for those who know where to go. If finding an overpopulated beach with loud music and lots of traffic is your thing, Pompano Beach is not for you. If you're more into filming your own little Corona commercial in peace, it's right up your alley.
7. The crowd.
As stated above, at times Pompano Beach appears to be the timeshare capital of the world. The crowds can be decidedly un-Floridian. You can usually spot the out-of-towners by their wicked sunburns, high white socks, and the lugging around of far too much beach gear. Why, you might ask, would this be featured in an article about the positive sides of Pompano Beach? Well, because that's what we love about it. There is something to be said about a beach crowd that is happy to be there. People on vacation are infinitely nicer.
Pull up a chair to any Pompano Beach bar on A1A and you're likely to find an older man with an unbuttoned shirt exposing his weathered chest who just wants to shoot the shit over a good beer. That's what the beach should be all about.
6. Fishing and diving.
Pompano is named after a fish commonly found in these waters — it kind of looks like the pug dog of the ocean — so you know it has to have some good fishing. Other beaches make solid attempts at making it easy to fish from certain jumping-off points, but Pompano Beach has by far the most fisherman-friendly spots to set up shop and cast a reel. From the pier, to the rock outlets that line the beach, to the intracoastal launching parks up and down A1A, there are plenty of places to stick your rod in the sand and crack open a beer.
And, with the recent sinking of the Lady Luck creating Pompano's own Shipwreck Park, it's now a good place to get up close and personal with the fish too.
5. Views of the historic Hillsboro Inlet lighthouse.
This is some postcard stuff here. The lighthouse, located on the north side of Hillsboro Inlet, is a beautiful Broward landmark that is visible from Pompano Beach. This particular lighthouse is considered one of the strongest lights in the world, featuring a beam that can be seen from 28 miles out at sea. It might not seem like much, but it's a really nice touch not many beaches possess.
4. The Pompano Beach pier.
It's free. Nobody is asking you for a buck. Isn't that nice? There are no barricades or hand stamps; you just walk right onto one of the most beautiful piers in all of South Florida. It's currently under construction in an attempt to recover from the damage Hurricane Sandy's storm surge inflicted on it two years ago, not to mention a $7 million makeover that will leave it in the the shape of a fish — a pompano fish, because, duh.
In addition to just being a damn solid pier with the most beautiful views of the coast in all of Broward, there is a Pier Shack located at the beginning that offers food-truck-style cuisine and alcoholic beverages. It's the sort of setting that makes you feel like you're back in the '50s.
3. There's a shaded outdoor gym.
It's one thing to throw some rusty, old workout equipment onto the sand and call it a day, but Pompano Beach has set up some gym-quality machines for the public to use beachside. The shaded tent that hovers over it is perfectly placed so you get the feeling of an outdoor workout but are spared the ridiculous heat synonymous with South Florida summers. This is an especially amazing feature for locals who can take a jog down to the beach, use the equipment, jump in the ocean, then jog back home — how awesome does that sound? It's the little things that put Pompano Beach over the edge.
2. There's a shaded playground and expanded play area for kids.
Many beaches have a playground that appeals to kids, but few have a playground like this. Located beside the gym is a large playground and shaded area that has ample seating for parents and lots of unique features for kids' activities. When we visited, there were parents comfortably sipping their morning coffee while watching their kids laugh and enjoy themselves on the playground. All of this is steps from the beach, not off in some parking lot somewhere. It's truly a unique feature that makes Pompano Beach an appealing beach to families.
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1. The boardwalk.
A wide, beautifully landscaped boardwalk lines Pompano Beach for miles. When we went off on a nice stroll, we found people doing just about everything: riding Segways, pushing skateboards, rollerblading, jogging. Hell, we even found a group of people hugging after having just performed a born-again Christian baptism ceremony in the ocean. The sheer length of this boardwalk is an attraction in itself; having the ocean mist hitting you in the face while walking across is just an added bonus.
Pompano Beach has a lot going for it, but the cleanliness and relaxing setup make it more than just a beach; it's a top Broward attraction.