The family-friendly oceanside community of Pompano Beach is located just north of Fort Lauderdale, in the heart of the Gold Coast of Florida.  The number one star attraction is the town's three and a half mile stretch of pristine, sandy beach – a spectacular spot for sunbathing, swimming, snorkeling and building sand castles. If you're feeling a little more adventurous, Surf World Surf Shop offers free lessons every Sunday at 8:30am on the North side of Pompano Beach Pier.   However, when the kids gets tired of the beach, there are many other stellar attractions and activities to keep everyone entertained.

For some outdoor fun, visit the 250-acre Fern Forest Nature Park, a reserve offering scenic nature trails and wildlife viewing opportunities.  Just down the road from Pompano is Butterfly World , one of the largest of its kind in the world. Kids will be dazzled by more than 5,000 of these colorful critters, hummingbirds and other tropical birds in free flight amidst beautiful gardens and waterfalls.

Combine learning with some fun at the Museum of Discovery and Science-IMAX , located right down the road in Fort Lauderdale. This museum offers fascinating displays and interactive exhibits that make the world of science exciting and fun for kids of all ages.

And for trivia fans, the Pompano Beach Air Park serves as home base for the Goodyear “Stars and Stripes” blimp.

Nearby attractions worth visiting include Flamingo Gardens, a peaceful and beautifully maintained, humane wildlife sanctuary/botanical garden; and Fort Lauderdale's Funderdome, an indoor play area that will delight toddlers and preteens alike with its array of active, hands-on amusements (with not a video game in sight).

Finally, be sure to check the Florida Sun-Sentinel's South Florida Parenting blog.  Their constantly updated daily calendar is sure to turn up a few surprises that will thrill the kids and the parents, from pony rides and fairs to parents' nights out.

So, for an economical and exciting family vacation, head to Pompano Beach and Florida’s Atlantic coast for a fun-filled and relaxing holiday.