15 Best Things to Do in Lighthouse Point (FL)

Written by Bart Meeuwesen
Updated on
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Between US 1 and the Intracoastal Waterway, Lighthouse Point is a coastal community laced with residential canals. In the absence of a main street, US 1 has a long succession of shopping centers, restaurants, and entertainment attractions. 

What I love most about this place are the canal-side parks and restaurants, imbued with South Florida’s maritime culture. There you can watch boats coming and going, and see plenty of wildlife. 

Lighthouse Point is a logical place to launch a kayak or paddleboard, and pass an easy couple of hours exploring the waterways. The community is named for the Hillsboro Inlet Lighthouse, an emblematic landmark to the southeast.

1. Hillsboro Inlet Lighthouse

Hillsboro Inlet LighthouseSource: Kevin Ruck / shutterstock
Hillsboro Inlet Lighthouse

Standing sentinel at the entrance to the Hillsboro Inlet is what is, for my money, one of the prettiest sights in all of Florida. 

At the northernmost point of the dangerous Florida Reef, the Hillsboro Inlet Lighthouse was raised 1907 and stands 138 feet tall.

As it sits on private land, this iron frame structure is more a sight to be appreciated from a distance. You can gaze along the inlet from a little park on the seawall, or visit the beach on the south side. 

The Hillsboro Lighthouse Museum can be found in the park, and conducts regular tours of the tower, with shuttle boats from Sands Dock here.

2. North Ocean Park

Although Lighthouse Point is the width of the Intracoastal Waterway from the Atlantic Shore, you’ll need to drive to the nearest public beach access.

This is North Ocean Park, across the inlet, and five minutes away in Pompano Beach. The first thing that struck me about this piece of sandy shoreline is the views of the Hillsboro Inlet Lighthouse to the north.

The park consists of an extremely wide, ADA-accessible beach. At the back you’ve got benches, pavilions, picnic tables, grills, and restrooms. 

The ocean is relatively calm here, and the predictable breezes make this a good spot for activities like windsurfing and kitesurfing.

3. Deerfield Beach International Fishing Pier

One of the most prized local attractions is a 976-foot fishing pier, a short hop away at Deerfield Beach. This structure was first built in the early 1950s, and remains an icon for the city.

There’s a minimal fee ($2 for non-residents) to set foot on the pier, and contemplate the marvelous views. It’s open from 6 am to 11 pm, and I’d recommend setting the alarm to watch the sun come up during your stay, if only once.

If you’re here for some fishing there’s an extra fee, and you can also rent rods and bait from the concession. Among the fish regularly landed here are mackerel, bluefish and snapper, but this is just a small selection.

4. Boca Raton Museum of Art

Boca Raton Museum of ArtSource: Rborroto / Wikimedia
Boca Raton Museum of Art

For a little culture, one of South Florida’s premier art museums can be reached in a few minutes from Lighthouse Point.

The Boca Raton Museum of Art dates back to 1950, and has built up an astounding collection. Fortes include Pre-Columbian Art, Minimalist sculpture, post-Impressionism and Modern European art.

Some of the notable names featured in this collection are Picasso, Modigliani, Matisse, Seurat, and Degas. 

There are as many as five concurrent exhibitions at any time. I came expressly for an exhibition of photography by Benn Mitchell (1926-2021), most famous for a candid capture of Humphrey Bogard smoking between takes.

5. Watersports

With the Intracoastal Waterway and a whole maze of canals, Lighthouse Point is made for being on the water. There’s a roster of companies within minutes of the town, ready to supply you with all the necessary gear for hours or days letting your sense of curiosity be your guide.

Easton Watersports offers jet skis, paddleboards, kayaks, launching from public parks in Deerfield Beach or even delivering the equipment to you. 

If it’s an ocean fishing trip you want, there’s a number of operators in Lighthouse Point and neighboring communities. A few when I wrote this article were Hattrick Charter, Showtime Fishing Team, Rebel Soul Charters, and O-Sea-D Sportfishing.

6. Nauti Dog Marina Cafe

Laid-back is my word to sum up this waterfront eatery in Lighthouse Point. The Nauti Dawg Marina Cafe has an unmatched location, right by the dock. 

While you enjoy a mahi sandwich, cilantro lime shrimp wrap, lobster roll, or signature coconut french toast, you get a super view of the boats pulling in and out of the marina.  Every now and then a huge pelican will make an appearance. 

This is also one of those rare restaurants where dogs are welcome. In fact there’s even a K-9 menu, with choices like plain grilled chicken breast.

7. Papa’s Raw Bar

A star of the local dining scene, Papa’s Raw Bar is a casual seafood restaurant that goes way back to 1976. One of things that drew me to this place right away is that it has its own fleet of fishing boats. 

These bring in fresh hauls of fish, conches, and stone crabs (mid-October through April) every day. Naturally, if you’re around during the stone crab season, this is a must at Papa’s Raw Bar.

Some other favs are the wahoo tempura, the cracked conch, the swordfish bites, and the lineup of sushi rolls. There’s an awesome selection of local craft beer, and live music Wednesday through Sunday.

8. Exchange Club Park

Exchange Club ParkSource: Reed Kellough - Realtor / Facebook
Exchange Club Park

This small but picturesque park sits on the Intracoastal Waterway, and is maintained by both Lighthouse Point and Pompano Beach.

If you’re looking for somewhere to launch a kayak or paddleboard, this is a good spot, just a few hundred feet east of US 1. There’s a small sandy beach here, bathed by the waterway’s gentle, clear waters. 

It’s a safe place for children to bathe, and there’s also a lush stand of mangroves towards the south end. I love the atmosphere on warm, sunny days, when families bring picnics and hang out for hours, cooling off in the waterway now and then.

9. Pompano Citi Centre

There’s a sprawling, mostly open-air mall just past Lighthouse Point’s southwest corner. Redesigned in the 2000s, Pompano Citi Centre goes right back to the early 1970s.

A few of the retailers that were here when I visited were JCPenney, Foot Locker, GameStop, Burlington, and T.J. Maxx. Facing US 1 on the east side is a nice, walkable section with the feel of a lifestyle center. 

I think the real strength of this place lies in its dining. There’s a ton of chain restaurants, from Wendy’s to IHOP, Cold Stone Creamery, Wingstop, Five Guys, and Saito’s Japanese Steakhouse.

10. Dan Witt Park

This active public park must have just been updated when I visited, because everything looked new. Dan Witt Park is just off US 1, and has a wide range of amenities if you’re in need of some exercise or a sporting challenge. 

On hand here are tennis courts, pickleball courts, basketball courts, a sand volleyball court, and football/soccer fields.

There’s a big choice of restaurants that can even be reached on foot on US 1, and this park would be a good spot for a picnic. There’s a number of picnic tables in the shade, as well as a covered pavilion.

11. Butterfly World

Butterfly WorldSource: Serenethos / shutterstock
Butterfly World

Traffic permitting, you can get to this spellbinding wildlife attraction in ten minutes along Sample Road.

Dubbed the world’s largest butterfly park, Butterfly World has a series of awe-inspiring environments, aflutter with 20,000 butterflies from around the world.

Making your way through a South Florida rainforest environment, you’ll get to interact with these extraordinary insects. 

If, like me, you’re intrigued by butterflies’ life cycle, there’s a Research Facility showing every stage, from caterpillar to chrysalis to flight. Another unforgettable experience here is the Lorikeet Encounter, where you can hand-feed these friendly birds.

12. Pompano Beach Amphitheater

Pompano Beach AmphitheaterSource: Pompano Beach Amphitheater - The Amp / Facebook
Pompano Beach Amphitheater

A short drive down US 1, Pompano Beach Amphitheater is an open-air live entertainment arena that hosts a variety of performances in a large array of musical genres.

The amphitheater can seat up to 3,000 visitors, and you can bring blankets or lawn chairs to the open grassy areas.

A host of nationally-known headliners have performed at the amphitheater over the years. To name a small handful of past performers, there’s Boyz II Men, Melissa Etheridge, Sammy Hagar, Willie Nelson, and Pat Benatar. 

One long-running event happening when I was in town was the Pompano Beach Seafood festival. Going back some 40 years, this springtime event has a feast of local seafood, 100+ vendors, and two stages of live entertainment.

13. Frosty Point Ice Cream Parlor

Frosty Point Ice Cream ParlorSource: Frosty Point Ice Cream Parlor / Facebook
Frosty Point Ice Cream Parlor

At the grand-looking Gateway Plaza, this old-school ice cream parlor has been open since the mid-2010s.

Something I found out about Frost Point is that the ice cream comes from a local supplier in Boynton Beach. This is made with 14% of milk fat for the perfect amount of smoothness and creaminess.

There are upwards of 50 flavors to choose from. If I had to choose some favorites, I’d probably go for Butterscotch Bomb, Toasted Coconut, or Maple Walnut.

The cones are special too, especially the cake cones and the fresh, dipped waffle cones.

14. Frank McDonough Park

Though it doesn’t have a large footprint, this six-acre public park is absolutely filled with things to do, especially if you’re into racket sports.

Primarily, Frank McDonough Park is the home of the Lighthouse Point Tennis Center. This modern facility has no fewer than nine clay courts, complemented by a pro shop where you can sign up for lessons.

Elsewhere, you’ll find amenities for baseball, soccer, racquetball, and sand volleyball. This is my go-to for a morning run as well, with exercise equipment along the path. There’s also picnic tables, and a covered playground for youngsters.

15. Quiet Waters Park

Quiet Waters Park, Deerfield BeachSource: Mike Kuhlman / shutterstock
Quiet Waters Park, Deerfield Beach

A short way inland in Deerfield Beach, few parks match Quiet Waters’ sheer abundance of activity options. 

One of the big attractions is a water-skiing park that uses cables to pull riders instead of noisy and polluting outboard motors.

There’s also a popular kids’ splash pad and waterpark, with a massive interactive playground. Meanwhile, for those who’d like to spend a night or two under the stars, there are dozens of campsites.

Added to that are mountain biking trails, with rentals available, a disc golf course, a dog park, a marina, and much more. 

I should also point out that the park hosts the Florida Renaissance Festival, a sizable event with themed weekends throughout February and March.

15 Best Things to Do in Lighthouse Point (FL):

  • Hillsboro Inlet Lighthouse
  • North Ocean Park
  • Deerfield Beach International Fishing Pier
  • Boca Raton Museum of Art
  • Watersports
  • Nauti Dog Marina Cafe
  • Papa's Raw Bar
  • Exchange Club Park
  • Pompano Citi Centre
  • Dan Witt Park
  • Butterfly World
  • Pompano Beach Amphitheater
  • Frosty Point Ice Cream Parlor
  • Frank McDonough Park
  • Quiet Waters Park