15 things to do in Surfside (FL)

Surfside is a town of approximately 6,000 residents located on a barrier island east of Miami, between the Gulf Harbor Islands in the north and Indian Creek in the south.

Although its location is smaller than many of its neighbors, Surfside boasts nearly a mile of pristine beaches, a variety of world-class shopping destinations, and many trendy restaurants with many international influences.

Surfside’s location provides easy access to some of Florida’s most famous state and national parks, as well as a variety of cultural, historical and artistic attractions.

Here are 15 things to do in and around Surfside, Florida.

1. Surf Farmers Market

Agricultural Market

With its abundant sunshine, abundant rain, and year-round growing season, it’s no wonder that the Sunshine State has more farmers’ markets per capita than any other state in the country.

The Surfside Farmers Market is a weekly event held every Sunday from 9am to 3pm. It is filled with fresh fruits and vegetables and other products produced in the area.

The market is located on the corner of Collins Avenue and 95th Street, near downtown Surfside. In addition to the aforementioned products, there are vendors selling everything from yogurt and baked goods to coffee and health and body products.

2. First Friday

first friday, surf

From June to September, First Friday at Surfside means outdoor fun, arts, culture and community engagement. While it has always been a popular activity with locals, it is also popular with tourists.

Surfside’s proximity to the Atlantic Ocean makes it an ideal location for outdoor activities. The monthly event includes great art, live entertainment and movies, as well as delicious food and drink, and plenty of opportunities to socialize with friends, family and complete strangers.

The first Friday takes place inland at the 93rd Street Public Beach. It usually starts at 4pm and lasts until 7pm.

3. Paddle Topia

paddle surfing

Although it’s only been an annual event since 2018, Paddletopia has become an instant classic with locals keen to get outdoors, have a good time, and burn a few extra calories in the process.

Paddletopia is a free event that runs for two days in mid-May. As the name suggests, it’s all about paddle boards.

This is a family-friendly activity suitable for most ages and ability levels; paddle boards are provided free to participants.

Guidance is available for those who have never used it before, and excursions are led by qualified guides.

4. Third Thursday

third thursday, surf

For more than a decade, Surfside has been hosting its third Thursday event, which runs from February to April when the weather along Florida’s coast is near-perfect.

Surfside’s third Thursday is a free block party-style event featuring food, drinks and live music. They often have a holistic wellness theme that includes guided yoga and other activities for health-conscious residents and visitors.

The third Thursday is between Harding and Collins Avenues at 95th Street from 6-9pm. It is common for young singles and families with children to mingle freely, giving the event a decidedly small-town feel.

5. Boot camp and beer

Camp and beer, surfing

While it might seem counterproductive to combine an intense calorie-burning workout with beer, nearly everyone agrees that the two complement each other like they’re meant to be together.

The idea behind Bootcamp & Brews is threefold – first, get a little help in the motivation department, then work out with an experienced trainer, and finally, reward yourself with socializing and a delicious local beer in a trendy hotel.

Surfside’s fantastic ocean views and cool ocean breezes make it an ideal location for this type of event, with workouts typically starting at 6:30pm and lasting an hour.

6. Lagoz Cafe

Lagazi Cafe

Surfside and the surrounding area have no shortage of tempting restaurants. While seafood is often in the spotlight, there are also plenty of internationally-influenced options. Café Ragazzi is one of the most popular cafés.

Words like quaint, cozy and traditional are often used to describe Café Ragazzi, but it’s stylish and affordable, making it a popular dining destination for cost-conscious foodies looking for good opportunities for their hard-earned travel dollars.

Their menu is full of tempting options, from pastas and parmesan to soups and salads, and they also have one of the most complete wine lists in the region.

7. Las Olas Boulevard

Las Olas Boulevard

Las Olas Boulevard is often referred to as the heart of Fort Lauderdale. It stretches from the Atlantic to the city’s central business district and runs through several different neighborhoods.

Galleries, museums, restaurants and bars are eye-catching, and homes and businesses feature a variety of unique architectural styles, from quaint and historic to stylish and contemporary.

Las Olas is ideal for professional tours and self-guided tours. The area also hosts many annual fairs and festivals, including art, food and wine, that attract an eclectic international crowd.

8. Fort Lauderdale Antique Car Museum

Fort Lauderdale Antique Car Museum

In its heyday, Packard cars were among the most luxurious and technologically advanced cars in the world. Although they ceased production decades ago, the Fort Lauderdale Antique Car Museum houses one of the most impressive collections of these vintage sports cars in the country.

Most of the nearly two dozen cars in the museum are from the era between the turn of the 20th century and the 1940s, and there are a variety of interesting exhibits featuring many historical car memorabilia.

The museum is inexpensive to visit, and guided tours are offered regularly; it’s also conveniently close to other area attractions.

9. St. Bernard Clairvaux Abbey

Abbey of Saint Bernard de Clairvaux

The Monastery of St. Bernard de Clairvaux in North Miami Beach has more than 900 years of fascinating international history.

The popular South Florida attraction was originally built in Spain in the 12th century and spent most of its time as a traditional monastery. In the 1830s, it was bought by media mogul William Randolph Hearst, dismantled piece by piece, shipped to the United States, and rebuilt at its current location.

Comprising tens of thousands of individual works, the monastery is one of the most unique and fascinating sites in the region. It is open to the public every day.

10. Miami Holocaust Memorial

Miami Beach Holocaust Memorial

The Miami Holocaust Memorial is the brainchild of a group of Holocaust survivors and civic-minded locals determined to preserve the history of one of the darkest chapters in human existence.

The site has been open for nearly three years, and the venue includes dramatic art, a memorial wall, various exhibits and seating areas for quiet contemplation.

The memorial is open daily from 9:30 am to sunset. While it’s free to visit, most visitors leave a few dollars to assist with maintenance.

This is a particularly poignant and heartbreaking spot in an area known for its sun, sand and surf.

11. Everglades Holiday Park

Everglades Holiday Park

The Everglades is the state’s most iconic natural attraction, and while parts of the national park are open to the public, its vastness and wildness can be a little intimidating to some visitors.

Everglades Holiday Park will be a great choice for those who want to experience Florida’s natural world without venturing into alligator swamps alone.

Located on Griffin Road in Fort Lauderdale, Everglades Holiday Park is a well-appointed attraction known for its live alligator shows, exhilarating airboat rides and ziplines that stretch hundreds of feet.

The park is relatively inexpensive to visit and is open year-round.

12. Broward Center for the Performing Arts

Broward Center for the Performing Arts

Rumor has it that the Broward Center for the Performing Arts is one of the most visited performing arts centers in the world.

Each year, more than half a million visitors come to downtown Fort Lauderdale for performances ranging from ballet and opera to musicals and concerts.

The center offers several theaters in a charming building overlooking the New River. Throughout the year, staff at the center also offer educational programs.

With nearly 700 shows a year, many of them sell out quickly, so consider buying tickets online in advance of your visit.

13. Miami Children’s Museum

Miami Children's Museum

Children’s museums are great resources for locals and travelers alike, and they’re especially popular when the weather is too hot or too humid for outdoor activities.

Located between downtown Miami and South Beach, the Miami Children’s Museum is a hands-on attraction that promotes activity, thought, and creativity. Its exhibits touch on a variety of topics, including art, music, science, and money.

Entrance fees are certainly expensive, but most guests find the fee pretty good value for money. For those interested in saving a few bucks, free access is available every third Friday of the month from 4-8pm.

14. Hillsboro Antique Mall and Cafe

Hillsborough Antique Mall and Cafe

Florida’s abundant sun and beaches and subtropical climate attract tourists from all over the country who have experienced the cold, snow and ice.

For more than a century, groups of people have decided to make the Sunshine State their permanent home. Not surprisingly, many brought a truckload of furniture and household items, most of which ended up in local antique stores.

The Hillsboro Antique Mall and Café in Pompano Beach has more than 200 individual vendors selling everything from art, books and costume jewelry to homewares, furniture and vintage clothing. There is an on-site cafe serving delicious food and drinks.

15. Pompano Beach Amphitheater

Pompano Beach Amphitheater

Florida’s climate is perfect for outdoor activities, especially in the fall, winter and spring when the weather is simply perfect.

Pompano Beach Amphitheatre is an open air live entertainment venue close to the ocean and downtown. Throughout the year, it hosts a variety of performances, including contemporary and traditional music from local and renowned national talent.

The facility can accommodate over 3,000 spectators and offers regular and lawn seating.

Food and drinks can be purchased on-site, but many visitors pack their own coolers and blankets and hold concerts on the lawn during the show.

Where to Stay: Best Hotels in Surfside, FL (FL)
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