Day Trips from Miami
While the hustle and bustle of the city of Miami can be energizing, at times it can be a bit much. Half of the year you can retreat to its popular beaches to relax. But for the colder months of the year or for those of you who are just tired of the beach, there are plenty of other things to do near by. Only a short drive out of the city limits are a ton of spectacular sights, attractions, and things to do. There are so many things in fact, that we can’t list them all here. But, we have listed some of our favorites below.
Everglades National Park
If you are an outdoors enthusiast visiting Miami then a tour of the exotic subtropical ecosystem of Everglades National Park should be the top priority on your list of activities. Over a million visitors come to see a variety of endangered species and a close encounter with Crocodiles, Manatee and Snapping Turtles. There are over 150 miles of trials which are easily accessible from different routes.
The most popular of these are the Anhinga trial near the Royal Palm visitor center where visitors come close to the parks well known inhabitants. This self guided tour allows enjoying the meandering path among the dense saw grass marsh with a chance to confront alligators, birds and bromeliads. Other activities include off road cycling trips and the popular canoe and kayak tours. If you are coming for just a few hours then take an airboat ride which will allow you to experience everything that the swamp has to offer without tiring or sweating.
More adventurous can venture farther across where they might be able to glimpse the majestic Florida panther. Visitors also enjoy car routes such as Tamiami trial near Route 41 which wades across freshwater and costal mangroves. Try to avoid early mornings as mosquitoes and flies abound in the swamps and do not ever swim in the murky waters as these contain species of sharks and water snakes.
If you are an early bird then plan a visit to the southern most point in the United States at Key West. The drive along the US Highway 1 takes visitors to one of the most diverse cultural heritage in the United States. It is part Maritime, part Cuba but distinctively different. Every turn of this narrow road leads to something unique.
Take time to stop at Alabama’s Jack at Card Sound Road in Key Largo. It is the most famous waterfront biker restaurant that has live music, country line dancers and the real life people you only see in Simpsons. If you are not accompanied by under 18 then go at the height of the Madri Gras which seems to cast its spell on every resident. Now, if you ever wanted to stay at night then experience the one of a kind Jules’ undersea lodge at the bottom of the sea where you get to sleep among fish and the meal is delivered by Scuba divers.
Approaching Key West will certainly make you feel in a 70’s movie set with colorful old lanes similar to Havana instead of Miami. The land is only 90 miles to Cuba and every road evokes memories of pirates, sorcerers and funky places. While in Key West, do not forget to visit the bizarre cemetery which is one of the few morbid places on earth where people get to laugh at the inscription on headstones.
Dolphin Research Center
If your only visit to the Florida Keys ends up at the mind boggling Dolphin Research Center then let it be. A one and half hour drive will take you to Grassy Key, home to the aquatic facility where visitors get a chance to swim with the Dolphins. This non for profit organization provides opportunity to everyone by including educational programmers tailored towards adults, children, schools and people with disabilities.
Their services are so extensive that you can take an entire day and never be content. There are also sea lions and other mammals which will keep you busy during the visit. One of the best is the researcher for day program which allows visitors to work closely with the scientists and other researchers throughout the day and stay near these beautiful creatures for as long as one likes. Just make sure that you book in advance because it is a popular place for locals.
The hands-on experience at this center is unlike anything that you might have ever seen. At the end of the day, you will learn all about the training techniques, behavior and life of dolphins and sea lions. Plan to leave Miami early in the morning to give yourself ample time to enjoy.
A drive on the route A1A north of Miami is a must for first time visitors. This route is the official scenic byway which runs along the coastal regions of Florida, ending near the southern tip of Georgia. The road is a virtual museum that is associated with everything that is Art Deco, hip and classic. Numerous popular hotels in Miami, well known celebrity hang outs and the most exotic party places lie in its path.
It is the route famous with Spring breaks and hardcore party lovers. The entire length of the section is close to the famous beaches and only five blocks from the Ocean at its remotest point. The popularity of this route has emerged from the fact that visitors are able to plan their journey according to the available time frame.
Numerous discos, pubs and exotic parlors blend in nicely with one of the most architecturally mesmerizing routes. You don’t have to be an art lover to appreciate the social and ethnic bonds of each community within different sections of A1A.
Always check the road conditions before planning a long journey. The road is consistently under repair to restore the damages done by hurricanes and wind storms. It is also possible to take diversions to avoid the damaged part but this will need few minutes of careful study of your map.