Surfside is a town of about 6,000 residents that’s located on a barrier island east of Miami, between Bay Harbor Islands to the north and Indian Creek to the south.
Though it’s geographically smaller than many of its neighbors, Surfside boasts nearly a mile of pristine beach, a variety of world-class shopping destinations, and a number of trendy restaurants featuring lots of international influences.
Surfside’s location offers visitors easy access to some of Florida’s most notable state and national parks and a variety of cultural, historical, and artistic attractions as well.
Below are 15 things to do in and around Surfside, Florida.
1. Surfside Farmers Market
With its abundant sunshine, plentiful rain, and year-round growing season, it’s no wonder that the Sunshine State has more farmers’ markets per capita than just about any other state in the country.
The Surfside Farmers Market is a weekly event that takes place from 9 AM to 3 PM on Sundays. It’s full of fresh fruits and vegetables as well as other products produced in the area.
The market is located at the corner of Collins Avenue and 95th Street near downtown Surfside. In addition to the aforementioned produce, there are vendors selling everything from yogurt and baked goods to coffee and health and body products.
2. First Fridays
From June through September, First Fridays in Surfside means outdoor fun, art, culture, and community involvement. Though it’s always been a popular event with locals, it’s catching on with visitors as well.
Surfside’s location adjacent to the Atlantic Ocean makes it the perfect venue for outdoor activities. The monthly event includes great art, live entertainment, and movies, as well as tasty food and drinks and plenty of opportunities to socialize with friends, family, and perfect strangers.
First Fridays take place just inland of the public beach at 93rd Street. It generally starts at 4 PM and goes until 7 PM.
Though it’s only been an annual event since 2018, Paddletopia became an instant classic with activity minded locals eager to get outdoors, have a great time, and burn a few extra calories in the process.
Paddletopia is a free event that takes place over two days in mid-May. As the name suggests, it’s all about paddleboarding.
It’s an event aimed at families and is appropriate for those of most ages and levels of physical ability; paddleboards are provided to participants free of charge.
For those who’ve never used one before, instruction is available, and excursions are led by a qualified guide.
4. Third Thursdays
For more than a decade, Surfside has been hosting a Third Thursdays event that’s held from February through April when the weather in coastal Florida is pretty close to perfect.
Surfside’s Third Thursdays is a free block-party-style event that features food, drink, and live music. They often have a total-wellness theme and include guided yoga and other activities for health-conscious residents and visitors.
Third Thursdays are held between Harding and Collins Avenues on 95th Street from 6 to 9 PM. It’s common to find young singles and families with children mingling freely, which gives the event a distinctly small-town feel.
5. Bootcamp & Brews
Though it may seem counterproductive to combine a strenuous, calorie-burning workout with beer, nearly everyone agrees that the two complement one another like they were meant to go together.
The ideas behind Bootcamp & Brews are threefold – first, get a little help in the motivation department, then exert yourself physically under the tutelage of an experienced trainer, and lastly, reward yourself with socializing and tasty, locally-made beer at a trendy hotel.
Surfside’s fantastic ocean vistas and cool sea breezes make it the perfect venue for such an event, and workouts generally start at 6:30 PM and last an hour.
6. Cafe Ragazzi
There’s no shortage of tempting restaurants in Surfside and the surrounding area. Though seafood often steals the spotlight, there are an overwhelming number of internationally influenced options too; Café Ragazzi is one of the most popular.
Words like quaint, cozy, and traditional are often used to describe Café Ragazzi, but it’s trendy and reasonably priced as well, making it a popular dining destination for cost-conscious foodies looking for a good bang for their hard-earned travel dollars.
From pasta and parmesan to soup and salad, their menu is full of tempting options, and they’ve got one of the area’s most complete wine lists too.
7. Las Olas Boulevard
Las Olas Boulevard is often referred to as the heart of Fort Lauderdale. It stretches from the Atlantic Ocean in toward the city’s central business district and runs through several distinct neighborhoods.
Galleries, museums, eateries, and bars are big draws, and the homes and businesses sport a variety of architecturally unique styles that run the gamut from quaint and historic to trendy and contemporary.
Las Olas is perfect for both professionally and self-guided tours. The area also hosts a number of annual fairs and festivals, including art, food and wine, drawing an eclectic and often international crowd.
8. The Fort Lauderdale Antique Car Museum
In their heyday, Packard Automobiles were some of the most luxurious and technologically advanced cars in the world. Though they ceased production decades ago, the Fort Lauderdale Antique Car Museum is home to one of the country’s most impressive collection of these vintage roadsters.
Of the museum’s nearly two dozen cars, most are from the era between the turn of the 20th century and the ‘40s, and there are a variety of interesting exhibits featuring lots of historical automobile memorabilia.
The museum is inexpensive to visit, and guided tours are regularly available; it’s conveniently close to other area attractions as well.
9. Monastery of St. Bernard de Clairvaux
North Miami Beach’s Monastery of St. Bernard de Clairvaux has a fascinating international past that stretches more than 900 years into history.
The popular South Florida attraction was originally built in Spain in the 12th century and spent most of its life as a traditional monastery. In the 1830s, it was bought by media magnate William Randolph Hearst, disassembled piece by piece, shipped to America, and reconstructed on its current site.
The monastery consisted of tens of thousands of individual pieces and is one of the area’s most unique and intriguing attractions. It’s open to the public every day.
10. Miami Holocaust Memorial
The Miami Holocaust Memorial was 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 decades, and the grounds include dramatic art, a memorial wall, a variety of exhibits, and seating areas for quiet contemplation.
The memorial is open daily from 9:30 AM until sunset. Though it’s free to visit, most visitors leave a few dollars to assist with upkeep.
In an area that’s typically known for its sun, sand, and surf, it’s a particularly poignant and heart-rending attraction.
11. Everglades Holiday Park
The Everglades are the state’s most iconic natural attraction, and though portions of the national park are open to the public, its vastness and wildness are a bit intimidating to some visitors.
For those who want to experience Florida’s natural world without venturing into gator-filled swamps on their own, Everglades Holiday Park would be a great option.
Located on Griffin Road in Fort Lauderdale, Everglades Holiday Park is an amenity packed-attraction that’s particularly well-known for its live alligator shows, exhilarating airboat rides, and zip lines that stretch hundreds of feet over the ground below.
The park is relatively inexpensive to visit and is open year-round.
12. 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 descend on downtown Fort Lauderdale to take in shows that range from ballet and opera to musicals and concerts.
The center offers multiple theaters that are housed in an architecturally stunning building overlooking the New River. Throughout the year, the center’s staff offers educational programs as well.
Annual performances number nearly 700, and many of them sell-out quickly, so consider buying tickets online well in advance of your visit.
13. 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 wet for outdoor activities.
Located between Miami’s city center 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 that include art, music, science, and money.
Admission is definitely on the expensive side, but most guests consider the cost reasonably good value. For those interested in saving a few bucks, it’s possible to have free access on the third Friday of each month from 4 until 8 PM.
14. Hillsboro Antique Mall and Cafe
With its abundant sun and beaches and sub-tropical climate, Florida draws visitors from all over the country who’ve had it with cold, snow, and ice.
For more than a century, hordes of them have decided to make the Sunshine State their permanent home. Not surprisingly, many bring truckloads of furniture and housewares, much of which eventually finds its way into area antique shops.
Hillsboro Antique Mall and Café in Pompano Beach sports more than 200 individual vendors selling everything from art, books, and costume jewelry to housewares, furniture, and vintage clothing. There’s an onsite café with tasty food and drinks as well.
15. Pompano Beach Amphitheater
Florida’s climate is perfect for outdoor events, especially during the fall, winter, and spring months when the weather is nothing short of perfect.
Pompano Beach Amphitheater is an open-air live entertainment venue that’s located near the ocean and the city’s downtown area. Throughout the year, it hosts a variety of performances that include contemporary and traditional music from both local and big-name national talent.
The facility can seat upwards of 3,000 spectators, and both regular and lawn seating are available.
Food and drink can be purchased onsite, but many visitors pack their own coolers and a blanket and have a concert on the lawn during the show.