Do you ever visit Miami only to find yourself growing sick and tired of the beautiful beaches, incredible weather, and crazy nightlife? Okay, that was a trick question; of course you don’t. However, even in a great city like Miami it can be good to take a break from all the sun and sand and take an adventure out of town. Fortunately, Miami is close in proximity to a number of wonderful destinations that are great places to spend a day, just in case you want to take a break from lounging on the beach all day.
Everglades National Park
Less than 50 miles from Miami is one of the best national parks in the country. The Everglades is a beautiful, if swampy, setting that’s filled with picturesque views and opportunities to see wildlife in its natural habitat. There are plenty of sites to see in the Everglades, and you can see them by car, foot, bike, kayak, or canoe. There are also endless waterways for boating, whether you own your own boat, want to rent one, or are happy just taking a tour in one. Whatever your favorite outdoor activity may be, there’s a good chance you can do it during your day trip to the Everglades, whether it’s hiking, biking, fishing, bird watching, or even geo-caching. If you need help finding your way around, there are plenty of rangers around and tours available to help you. The bottom line is that if you’re in Miami, there’s no excuse for taking a day trip to the Everglades; there’s bound to be something there you’ll enjoy.
If there’s one thing that may be able to trump a vacation in Miami, it’s the Florida Keys. This doesn’t mean you have to make the long trek to Key West; there’s a part of the Keys just a couple hours from Miami called Islamorada that’s a great place to spend the day. There are opportunities for fishing and SCUBA diving that may even be better than what you’ll find in Miami. Down in Islamorada, the sand is so white and the water so clear that you have to see it with your own eyes to believe it, and that should be reason enough to get away from the crowds and craziness in Miami and visit an even more relaxing place.
It may seem odd to leave a tropical paradise like Miami and go to another tropical paradise, but the Bahamas is tantalizingly close to South Beach, and there are cruise and boat companies that offer day trips to the island of Bimini, which is a little over 50 miles away. The white sand beaches and the ocean views look and feel a little different on a Caribbean island than they do back on the mainland, which is reason enough to go. Plus, just because you’re only going to be there a few hours doesn’t mean you can’t pack a lot of fun Bahamian adventures into a short period of time, not to mention taste the local seafood and delicacies at a genuine Bahamian restaurant. If you have your passport handy, taking a day to get out of Miami and check out the Bahamas is a great idea.
Image credit: Ning Ham/Flickr
For most people, a vacation in Miami is all about having fun in the sun, but that’s not all the city of Miami has to offer. Don’t get me wrong, that’s a huge part of Miami’s appeal, but the city also has plenty of places one can go for culture and perhaps even some education. Just as Miami is littered with beautiful beaches, there are also a plentiful amount of wonderful museums, and here are just a few that visitors to Miami should be encouraged to visit during their stay.
Vizcaya Museum and Gardens
The first museum that’s worth checking out is Vizcaya Museum and Gardens. Aside from being one of the most beautiful and romantic spots in Miami, this place is perfect for anyone who enjoys fine art or architecture. The museum is actually a house built by James Deering, an agricultural industrialist, in the 1910s. There are over two dozen rooms for viewing artwork from the Italian Renaissance as well as the house’s original furnishings, making it a great place to see art and learn about the history of Miami. If that’s not enough, the gardens surrounding the house are breathtaking, as is the view of the bay where the museum is located.
Museum of Contemporary Art
This is just one of several great locales for an art lover in Miami, but it also has plenty to offer for those who wouldn’t know a brilliant piece of art if it were staring them in the face, and at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Miami, there are plenty of brilliant pieces staring guests in the face. The museum offers over 600 pieces, including work by some of the best-known artists in the United States and throughout the world, as well as work by young and promising artists who could be the future stars of the art world. There are also temporary exhibits that are constantly changing, so that frequent travelers to Miami can stop by every time they’re in town and see something new.
Perez Art Museum
This place is the ultimate blend of a top-rate art museum and a beautiful water-front park. The Perez Art Museum is a fine place to go for viewing great pieces of modern and contemporary art, with a special emphasis on artists from the Caribbean and Latin America, two cultures with tremendous influence in the city of Miami. Of course, the artwork is only part of the reason to visit the Perez Art Museum. The museum is located right on Biscayne Bay, giving guests a beautiful view outside the museum and a plush green park in which to take a stroll either before or after seeing all the exhibits Perez Art Museum has to offer.
It’d be wrong to visit a place like Miami and not attempt to learn about the rich history and culture of it, and you can do just that at HistoryMiami. This museum does an amazing job of bringing together everything that encompasses life in Miami and South Florida throughout its history. HistoryMiami is home to thousands of artifacts from archaeological sites, home furnishings from throughout the 20th century, important maritime objects, and much more. The museum’s research center gives visitors access to over a million photographs, drawings, and documents that will help give you a better understanding of the history of South Florida. HistoryMiami also offers a wide array of historical tours of the city of Miami. These tours can be done on foot, bus, boat, or bike, and the museum will even design a customized tour so you can see exactly what you want to see. After a trip to HistoryMiami, you’ll never look at South Florida the same way again; it’s more than sunshine and beautiful beaches.
There’s no doubt that Miami can be a wonderful place to take a vacation; in fact, it may be the perfect destination if you have that special someone with you. The weather is always perfect, there’s a near endless amount of amazing places to stay, and there’s plenty of fun things to do. If you’re fortunate enough to be visiting Miami alongside your significant other, here are a few great activities for couples you should try to experience before you leave.
Helicopters Over Miami
If you and your beau want to do something that you’ve probably never done before, Helicopters Over Miami is the perfect activity to try. This is a great opportunity to see all of Miami while at the same time enjoying what could be your first, and perhaps only, ride in a helicopter. If you’re a little weary of heights or flying, rest assured that Helicopters Over Miami is FAA certified and perfectly safe, so put your worries aside while you and your significant other take your sightseeing of Miami to new heights.
Another great idea for couples is to head to the Miami Seaquarium for a variety of adventures. The Seaquarium offers the opportunity to see a host of marine animals up close with a slew of informational exhibits and entertaining shows. Of course, if you really want to show your date a good time, you need to take advantage of the animal encounters offered by the Miami Seaquarium. You’ll be able to swim up close and personal with both dolphins and seals, or you can choose the Sea Trek Reef Encounter, allowing you to dive down and see a tropical reef up close. Any of these unique experiences are bound to make for a great day with your beau.
If you and your partner simply want to walk around and explore a unique and interesting part of Miami, head down to Little Havana and spend the day there. You may not be able to see and experience everything this wonderful neighborhood has to offer, but that just means there’s no shortage of things to do. If you like theater, there are several performing arts centers; if you like art, there are a few wonderful art galleries to visit; if you’re interested in enjoying a day in the park, Little Havana has over half a dozen beautiful locales; or if all you want to do is shop, there is no shortage of lovely little Cuban shops. Whatever it is you and your significant other like, Little Havana is bound to have something you’ll enjoy, and of course, there are plenty of great places to eat down there, making it easy for Little Havana to satisfy your hunger no matter what you crave.
Vizcaya Museum & Gardens
Finally, if you’re looking for a truly romantic spot to enjoy as a couple, go to Vizcaya Museum & Gardens. This is an historic site that will make you think you’re living during the Italian Renaissance. The limestone house is unfathomably beautiful and filled with artwork from a variety of periods. If that isn’t enough, the gardens surrounding the house are breathtaking. Even if you don’t care for the history lessons that Vizcaya Museum & Gardens has to offer, the scenery will blow you away, making it a great place for you and your beau to just walk around while you enjoy each other’s company.