Perfectly Pompano Beach, Florida - Summer Family Trip

Poppin’ around Pompano Beach & Footin’ it around Fort Lauderdale



It's not a summer family trip without a voyage to the beach!  This year's destination was a new one for our family four pack as we journeyed to Pompano Beach, Florida!  This quaint area of Florida is nestled just north of the more well-known Fort Lauderdale area.  We had one of our best family trips and listed below are some of the highlights that I couldn't help but share with y'all!

[S T A Y] Beach Digs

As timeshare owners, we have various properties available to select from for our travel needs.  For this trip, we had the pleasure of staying at the Wyndham Santa Barbara.  The property was clean and well-maintained.  The staff were super friendly and welcoming (literally - everyone spoke to the guests, from the front desk agents to the maintenance staff.  Gotta love great customer service!)  A few highlights about the property include a beautiful views of the beach and marina, spacious suite layout, cool fish aquarium, pool with snack/smoothie bar, entertainment room with air hockey and basketball, and direct path access to the beach from the property as well as access to three other sister properties.  Our concierge gave us the scoop on what to do around town and offered discounts to restaurants and attractions.

Entrance to the resort

View of the waterway from one side of our suite

Loved hanging by the resort pool





[E A T] Coastal Cuisine

Lauderdale-By-The-Sea is the cutest area for daytime fun and night life festivities.  We returned to this fun spot twice during our stay.  It's a great place to enjoy a bite to eat at a variety of restaurants, take in some local entertainment in the plaza, and naturally - people watch!  Below are the places we visited in the plaza area:  Pizza on the Beach and Kilwins.





Pizza on the Beach serves delicious handcrafted pizza in a variety of topping options.  You can inhale pizza by the slice or snag a whole pie.  They also serve other options such as pretzel dogs, salads, calzones, etc.





Kilwin’s at Lauderdale-By-the Sea – Perhaps ice cream for dinner is your meal of choice on vacation.  We visited the well-known sweets shop twice during our trip and enjoyed every hand-scooped cone of delectable and fresh ice cream! *Get into the sea salted caramel chocolate!  It. is. everything!*

 




Lester’s Diner – Talk about local dining at its finest!  The quality of food and quaint, upscale diner atmosphere was awesome; so much that we dined here twice!  The portions are large, so be aware when ordering for littles!  They shared one plate of spaghetti on the second trip – and still had leftovers!  I ordered the salmon and it was delicious!  My husband had the stir fry dish and it did not disappoint, despite being something that you wouldn't see on a regular diner menu.  The staff were friendly and welcomed us with open arms as if we were Saturday morning locals.

We held down the corner booth at Lester's for two nights!


Dandee’s Donuts – Don’t let the name of this cute, local shop fool you.  Yes, they have an amazing assortment of donuts to choose from, but they also have delicious traditional breakfast options, such as egg and cheese biscuits and fluffy pancakes!  The three stack was so big, my husband could only eat 1 ½ !  We dined outside on the patio and received the friendliest wait staff service!





Bubba Gump Shrimp Company - This popular seafood spot was the perfect afternoon lunch after a day on the water!  This location was directly across from the Fort Lauderdale side of the beach and featured cool, patio seating with a waterfall backdrop!


The cutest child's plate!
 




[P L A Y] Big fun for little kids (and kids at heart!)

Bluefoot Pirate Adventures – This fun, interactive pirate adventure on the water was, by far, the fan favorite among our little pirates! (*It really deserves its own post - which I still may do!)  Imagine a cool pirate ship quipped with plungers and a treasure chest. *Mind blown for our kiddos!* Parents have the option to chill in the rear of the boat, watch their little pirates from afar, and listen to fun facts along the tour, or they can join the fun with their little pirates.  You know me and my hubby - we were on the deck with the tiny pirate crew for all the action! 

I highly recommend this adventure! There appeared to be children between the ages of 1 and 11 on the ship - and each one was fully engaged!  (They honor military/law enforcement families with ticket discounts - just make your reservation over the phone at the number listed on the website and provide proper identification upon arrival.)  As a former educator, I was impressed by the pirate's levels of engagement with the children, interactive quest for the treasure tale, and use of shapes and cardinal directions throughout the adventure.  They've clearly done their research and offer an unforgettable experience for the children -- and parents, too.


 




Certified pirates!  Seriously - complete with certificate, sword, eye patch and bandanna! 

Jungle Queen Riverboat
– Want a riverboat tour with a private island destination, all-you-can-eat dinner fare, AND entertainment?  The Jungle Queen Riverboat is a great blend of all three.  The beautiful Jungle Queen Riverboat boards at the Bahia Marina, where we also parked our vehicle in their secured lot for a discounted rate of $7 bucks.  It is recommended that you arrive no later than one hour before departure.  Our departure was scheduled 6:00 pm, so we arrived around 5:30 pm to park (and allow the boys 30 more minutes of necessary nap time!) 


Chow down on snacks prior to boarding or prepare to pay an inflated rate for chips and bottled beverages as no snacks are permitted on board.  The tour departed at 6:00 pm and lasted approximately an hour.  Narrated by a staff member, the tour includes famous and historical facts about the multi-million dollar homes and landmarks along the river.  The tour ends at the destination - a jungle on a private island! 

Once docked, a warm welcome and smiles greet guests from the large staff on the island.  We are immediately taken to the dining area to sit down and feast on all-you-can-eat shrimp, BBQ ribs and chicken, coleslaw, baked beans, and rolls.  We were pleasantly surprised by the taste of the food and attention of the wait staff ready to refill our plates and cups.  Throughout the dinner hour, family-friendly live entertainment is featured on stage.

After about 45 minutes of dining, guests are invited to grab a seat in the outdoor theater area for the evening entertainment.  If taking children under 13 along, skip the entertainment, except the Polynesian fire thrower who appears at the very end (the comedian & magician were for the older folks in my opinion.)  Instead, take the young folks for a walk around the jungle gardens and check out some of the exotic animals.  We ended up arriving back at the marina around 11 pm, later than expected 10 pm due to a bridge malfunction, but (thankfully!) I packed the boy's tablets, which were clutch to help with restlessness as we sat on the boat.
 




 



Hillsboro Inlet Lighthouse - I love to infuse history and education into our trips!  The Hillsboro Inlet filled this space for us!  Read about the historic lighthouse, why it only opens 4-5 times a year, and the inlet community by clicking the hyperlink.  This area had the cutest little park by the water and while our tiny guy napped, the little guy played and explored!




 






Tips for a great trip to Pompano Beach, Florida:

- Visit virtually - Once you secure your accommodations, take a few minutes to check out what is located nearby, such as parks, restaurants, and local attractions.  I created a short list and asked the concierge about them in more detail upon arrival.  Also, read reviews, watch review videos, and get an idea of what you want to see.

- Save your gas (and patience) – fly!  The Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood Airport is only about 15-20 minutes from the beach stretch of resorts and hotels.  I set an alert and snagged a flight deal from delta.com.  Trip travel time for us was about 1 hour and 50 minutes!  A few episodes of Mickey and the Roadster Racers - and boom, we were there!



- Ask the experts!  Your hotel/resort concierge has the inside scoop about any discounts or offers around town.  Most are knowledgeable about the restaurants, activities, entertainment, and more.

- Pack less, no mess!  Buy sunscreen and other items once you arrive.  There was no shortage of Walgreens, CVS, or Walmart locations around the Pompano Beach/Fort Lauderdale area.

- Use public parking.  Unlike other areas where parking is a budget breaker, the parking along the beach in Pompano Beach/Fort Lauderdale was rather inexpensive!  About $1.25 per hour at some of the more popular spots. 

Our "free" rental whip for the week (I use VISA points for rentals, hotels, etc.!)
Parking was a breeze while in the Pompano Beach/Fort Lauderdale area.


- Block the rays - secure some shade. I can't stress enough how much of a saving grace securing a cabana area (umbrella/chairs) was for our little guts!  And because of the relationship we developed with our concierge upon check-in, we saved upwards $25+ bucks and received a complimentary cabana to use during our time on the beach!  Chat with your hotel or resort concierge for the hookup.





Thinking of visiting Pompano Beach, Florida?  Comment below if you've been to the area or thinking of going after reading my post!  You won't be disappointed in the experience that Pompano Beach, Florida has to offer!




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