One of the most popular stops in Florida is the grand city of Miami, located on the southeast coast of the state. This city holds a very special place in my heart. I used to spend vacations down there, including several weeks in the summer, visiting my grandparents. My grandfather was in the hotel business, and I spent many days wandering his properties and watched the evolution of the city. With vast beaches, vibrant nightlife, and rich culture, Miami has something to offer everyone. It’s a great place to visit if you are considering a vacation within the U.S. and can be a jumping-off point for traveling throughout Florida. But what to do while there? Here are some ideas for some fun and unique places to visit on your Miami vacation when you can pry yourself off the beach.

Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden

Visit this gorgeous park on a sunny day and enjoy the vast array of exotic and rare plants and wildlife. Explore the rare planthouse, which is home to 450 species of rare tropical plants such as palms, orchids, and fruit trees. The tropical fruit pavilion displays fruit species only found in exotic locations such as the Amazon. You can also visit the butterfly garden to enjoy rare species of these beautiful insects.

Bayfront Park

In the heart of downtown Miami sits Bayfront Park, which is host to a variety of events and gatherings. Enjoy outdoor movies preceded by live music, food, and craft beer and wine. Or bring a yoga mat and enjoy yoga classes with the Miami skyline around you. Bayfront Park is also home to the Flying Trapeze School, where you can experience what it’s like to fly in the circus.

Villa Vizcaya, Miami

Villa Vizcaya, Miami

Villa Vizcaya

This museum, located on Biscayne Bay, has over 70 rooms filled with European art and antiques. The building itself, constructed in the European Renaissance style, was built initially as a place for plant and wildlife conservation. These conservation efforts can be seen in the beautiful gardens that surround the mansion with its gorgeous plants, ponds, and landscape architecture. The outdoors, both in the gardens and around the building, have countless places for perfect photo opportunities.

Art Deco Historic District

If architecture or history appeals to you, the Art Deco District of Miami is a place to visit. It includes over 900 historic buildings designed in the art deco style. Many of the structures throughout over 5,000 acres of land dates back to the 1930s and are considered some of the best examples of this architectural style in the world. The Art Deco Museum teaches visitors more about the history and preservation of architecture in Miami Beach.

Wynwood Walls

To experience more art, visit the beautiful outdoor murals of Wynwood Walls. Here, the walls of abandoned warehouses have been decorated by graffiti and street artists from around the world, and they frequently change to highlight new artists. Some of the art has also expanded to other buildings in the area for an even better walking tour.

Calle Ocho, Little Havana, Miami

Calle Ocho, Little Havana, Miami

Soak up the flavor of Little Havana

No visit to Miami is complete without a stop in Little Havana, the center of the Hispanic culture in the city. It is a complete experience. Little Havana offers a great deal of entertainment from open-air social areas to its many restaurants and specialty food shops. On any given day, you’ll find the locals having an afternoon cortado or arguing over a game of dominoes.

On the last Friday of every month, Little Havana hosts Viernes Culturales, or Cultural Fridays, a night to showcase the cultural arts scene of the neighborhood.

Airboat in the Everglades

Airboat in the Everglades

Explore the swamplands of Everglades National Park

If you want to get out of the city for a bit, head to the Everglades National Park. The Everglades covers 1.5 million acres of swamplands that are home to alligators, crocodiles, snakes and all manner of wildlife. From Miami, drive to the Homestead entrance which is about 90 minutes away. Hop on an airboat for an exhilarating and noisy) ride, and then visit an alligator farm for an up-close, personal visit with the animals.

Swim in the Venetian Pool

Just outside of Miami in Coral Gables sits the Venetian Pool, a public pool built in 1923 from a coral rock quarry. This 820,000-gallon Venice-inspired pool is fed with spring water from an underground aquifer – it is drained daily in the spring and summer!

The pool features 2 waterfalls and cave-like grottos, plus loggias, porticos, and palm trees. It is a great way to spend a day and can be enjoyed by people of all ages.

Vintage car and art deco architecture on South Beach, Miami

Vintage car and art deco architecture on South Beach, Miami

Soak up the sun and atmosphere of South Beach

When people think of Miami, South Beach immediately comes to mind. It’s only one section of the city, spanning only 10 blocks, but it is one of the most popular beaches in the United States. The art deco architecture provides the backdrop for the sun-drenched locals, hipsters and European tourists who are there to see and be seen. A walk through this neighborhood is an absolute must-do to make your visit complete.

Visit the Miami Zoo

The Miami Zoo, also known as the Miami-Dade Zoological Park and Gardens, is the largest and oldest Zoo in Florida and the only sub-tropical zoo in the continental United States. The zoo is home to over 3,000 animals representing over 500 different species. The South Florida climate allows the zoo to keep a wide variety of animals from around the world that may not be found at other zoos around the country. Environment conservation is of the utmost importance here and the zoo active in many initiatives around the world. Families spending the day here will enjoy the wildlife in a beautiful setting and safe, but close range.

So, are you ready for your Miami vacation? Visit Miami and take a trip to the Keys. Or maybe cross the state via Alligator Alley to the Gulf side of the state for a few days. A trip to Disney? We can do that, too! Give me a call and let’s talk about your next vacation to Florida!