The Florida Keys
Just a couple of hours’ drive from Miami is the southernmost point of the continental United States. But, at the risk of sounding clichéd, this day trip is more about the journey than the destination. Key West has got tons to offer, but the true beauty of the Florida Keys lies in the crystal-clear waters that you drive through as you take the trip along the famous seven-mile bridge. Complete with colorful and often quirky characters, the people of the Keys are a fun loving bunch, eager to share their fishing stories over a conch-heavy dish, a Key lime pie, or a refreshing beer.
Southernmost Point. Whitehead St & South St, Key West, FL, USA, +1 305 809 3700
The Florida Everglades
If you live in Miami, there’s an ecological wonder just a few miles from your doorstep. The Florida Everglades is one of the most diverse ecosystems in the world, home to thousands of native (as well as invasive) species of plants and animals. Owned by the Seminole Tribe of Florida, Billie Swamp Safari offers airboat rides and buggy tours, as well as cool exhibits where you can see wild hogs, 13-foot long alligators, and even the endangered Florida panther. This day trip promises to be both informative and exciting; you won’t want to leave!
Billie Swamp Safari. 30000 Gator Tail Trl., Clewiston, FL, USA, +1 863 983 6101
Welcome to Miami’s laid back sister city, Fort Lauderdale. Just a 35-mile trip north of Miami, Fort Lauderdale is home to some of the world’s largest canal systems. A highway of inter-coastal waterways, packed with beautiful yachts alongside luxurious mansions, Lauderdale is often referred to as the Venice of South Florida. This day trip has plenty of options. One idea might be to head to Riverwalk, near downtown Broward, and book a trip on the Jungle Queen, a 19th century-style riverboat that offers dinner and a tour as it slowly meanders through some of the most majestic neighborhoods of Fort Lauderdale.
Jungle Queen Cruises, Bahia Mar Yachting Center, 801 Seabreeze Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, FL, USA, +1 954 462 5596
Less than half an hour’s drive from Miami is Homestead. Home to the famous speedway that hosts the annual Homestead 500, this city is packed with hidden gems and is an agricultural heaven of sorts. One destinations that is a must-see is the Coral Castle; a limestone structure that was built in secrecy over the course of thirty years by a Latvian-American named Edward Leedskalnin. Not to be outdone however, the Schnebly Redland’s Winery competes for visitors with its fascinating varieties of wines and beers – guava and avocado wines being just two of the unusual and delicious choices on offer.
Coral Castle, 28655 S Dixie Hwy, Homestead, FL, USA, +1 305 248 6345
Schnebly Redland’s Winery, 30205 SW 217th Avenue, Homestead, FL, USA, +1 305 242 1224
Biscayne National Park
Unlike most national parks, 90 per cent of Biscayne National Park lies under water. The park was created to preserve the gorgeous barrier reefs off its coast, so don’t come here expecting to catch any fish. Instead, you can spend the day in harmony with nature by taking a trip on a glass-bottom boat that allows visitors to peer into the marvels of reef life and revel in the beauty of the manatees, sea turtles, limestone corals, and the thousands of other marine species that make these waters their home. This day trip will leave you feeling at one with nature and might even provoke you to get involved with the efforts to conserve and protect our most valuable ecosystem.
A three-hour boat ride or a 30-minute trip on a small plane from Miami, Grand Bahama is the northernmost of the Bahama Islands and is the closest to the mainland. A perfect destination for anglers and divers alike, Grand Bahama has it all. The crystal-clear waters and white sandy beaches are a perfect spot for relaxation in the sun. But why leave Miami for more sand and sun? Well, the truth is that the Bahamas are unlike any other place in the Atlantic. The water is far clearer and life on the island is a lot more laid back. The Bahamians themselves are a wonderful reason to visit the island; their music, food and crafts are truly unique and will leave you with an burning desire to come back.
The Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens
Less than a 90-minute trip up I-95, located in the city of Delray Beach, is yet another amazing trip destination by anybody’s standards. The Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens offer just about the most peaceful experience possible. The museum, which is dedicated to authentic Japanese culture, has something for everyone to do. Designed to mimic a traditional Japanese villa, Yamato-kan is the original museum building that features a permanent exhibit on the Yamato Colony in Boca Raton and has a wonderful hands-on exhibit called ‘Japan Through the Eyes of a Child.’
By Laurence Kidd