The idea and development for Miami Lakes began in the early ‘60s, and though it was scheduled to be completed by the early ‘90s, the city continues to expand and develop even now.
Named after its proximity to Miami and the nearly two dozen lakes within its borders, Miami Lakes is a particularly charming and scenic area. In many ways, it is an oasis in the midst of the state’s largest metropolitan area.
From amenity-filled parks and cultural activities to a number of dining and lodging options, finding ways to fill your time while in the area won’t be a problem, and Miami Lakes is also home to a few of the country’s most well-known natural preserves.
Below are 14 things to do in and around Miami Lakes.
1. Shula’s Golf Course
There’s no place you can go in South Florida where Don Shula’s name isn’t recognized.
For those who aren’t fans of American football, he’s the most famous Miami Dolphins coach in history and led them to an undefeated season back in ’72.
Shula’s Golf Course is an 18-hole, par-72 championship caliber course that’s located on Miami Lakes Drive in Miami Lakes.
Part of an upscale resort, it is home to the original Shula’s Steak House, which is considered by many foodies to be the country’s best.
You’ll need to reserve your tee time well in advance of your visit, especially if you plan on playing during peak times.
2. Miami Lakes Optimist Park
The city of Miami Lakes has one of the most extensive park systems in the county, and many of them are an easy walk from other area attractions, making them convenient to visit.
Miami Lakes Optimist Park is one of the area’s crown jewels, and many previous guests have noted that no matter when they visited, it seemed like there was something going on.
They also mentioned that the park’s grounds were clean and well-manicured and that there were a variety of recreation options available, like basketball, walking paths, and playgrounds for the little ones.
Much of the park is wheelchair accessible.
3. Miami Lakes Farmers Market
Taking place on Saturdays seasonally at the Miami Lakes Park, the Miami Lakes Farmer’s Market isn’t the largest market of its kind in the area, but it features local artisans and entrepreneurs selling a variety of items like jewelry, arts and crafts, and prepared foods like yogurt, fruit smoothies, and salsa.
If you’re looking to load up on fresh produce, it probably isn’t the best place to visit, but it’s the perfect place to start your day with a cup of hot coffee, a little browsing, and a stroll around the park before heading off on other adventures.
4. Flanigan’s Seafood Bar and Grill
Flanigan’s has been a popular South Florida dining destination since 1959 and is known for its contemporary but laidback setting, generous portions, and all-around fun atmosphere.
Also a big sports bar that draws tourists and regulars for sporting events, it is open every day of the year for lunch, dinner, and well into the evening hours.
Flanigan’s is located on West 84th Street in nearby Hialeah and is especially popular with those who have a taste for seafood, steaks, and burgers. In an area where nearly everyone and their brother claims to have the best key lime pie, Flanigan’s may just be the hands-down favorite.
5. Ñooo Que Barato!
Though to non-Spanish speakers the name may seem a bit intimidating, just remember that translated into English, it means something like, ‘Gosh, that’s cheap.’
It’s a Cuban-style market located in Hialeah that sells a little bit of everything, and though it’s largely the realm of Cuban immigrants, it’s a fun and fascinating place to check out for visitors as well.
Expect to find everything from perfume and jewelry to formal dresses and skinny jeans.
The store has been open since the mid-‘90s, and many immigrants purchase items here and send them back to family members who still live on the island nation about 90 miles off the coast.
6. Garden of the Arts
Also located in Hialeah, the Garden of the Arts is tucked into an unlikely residential and commercial area, but for those who don’t mind venturing slightly off the beaten path, it’s a beautiful oasis of culture and tranquility in an otherwise chaotic neighborhood.
The garden is full of paintings, murals, and sculptures set amidst green areas with plenty of shaded seating, and is a favorite haunt of the Bohemian crowd.
There are walking paths, a few boutiques, and some trendy eateries and coffee shops, making it the perfect place to enjoy an espresso while finally writing the first chapter to that novel you’ve been thinking about since college.
7. Amelia Earhart Park
Nobody really knows what happened to famous and fearless female aviator Amelia Earhart, but visiting the park in Hialeah that bears her name is a great way to pay homage to the amazing woman and her intriguing life.
The park is comprised of more than 500 acres and includes amenities like a petting zoo, skate park, and a number of trails that are open to walkers, runners, and bikers.
For those traveling with a canine companion, there’s a dedicated dog area. And for horse and pony loving little ones, there are guided pony rides that are relatively inexpensive.
The park also features a vast lake and a water-sports complex.
8. Milander Center for Arts & Entertainment
The Milander Center for Arts and Entertainment is a regional icon showcasing a variety of events throughout the year that are focused on bringing world-class cultural events, arts, and live performances to a community that may not have access to them otherwise.
Previous events have included guided art walks, performances by the Florida Grand Opera, and contemporary arts and craft shows.
The center’s facilities are popular for large gatherings like weddings and corporate events too and can accommodate up to 1,000 people.
Located in Hialeah, the best way to keep abreast of what’s on their schedule is to check their website periodically.
9. Hialeah Park Racing & Casino
Since 1922, Hialeah Park Racing and Casino has been an entertainment hotspot, and for much of its existence, it was pretty much the only game in town when the area was mostly rural and undeveloped.
The park and casino have been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1979 and have hosted some internationally famous characters like Winston Churchill, Old Blue Eyes himself, and President Harry S. Truman.
Though the park’s horse track sat unused for ages, it was renovated and reopened in 2009 and is now one of the area’s major sporting attractions.
They offer several family-friendly options in addition to betting and gambling.
10. Aventura Mall
South Florida doesn’t exactly have a shortage of high-end retail destinations. Though for many vacationers, malls are the last places they want to spend their time, when the weather outside takes a turn for the worse, they can be the perfect places to cool your heels until things improve.
Featuring many high-end stores, restaurants, and entertainment venues set in a contemporary three-story building, Aventura Mall is a popular stop for those who need to grab a bite, catch a movie, or do a little shopping.
National brands like Gucci and Tiffany & Company are a few of the names you’ll recognize, but there are other more affordable options as well.
11. Big Cypress National Preserve
At more than 700,000 acres, Big Cypress National Preserve is big by any standard, and home to some of the largest expanses of pristine swamplands, cypress swamps, and mangrove forests in the United States.
Though it’s a bit farther away from Miami Lakes than some other attractions, it’s one of Florida’s most iconic natural areas. For lovers of wildlife and the great outdoors, it shouldn’t be passed up.
The preserve offers visitors an amazing variety of recreation options. Due to its scope and size, it’s wise to spend a bit of time researching the park’s layout, entrance points, and activities, so you don’t waste valuable time figuring out how to get there and what to do when you’re actually on-site.
12. Monster Mini Golf
Located on Miramar Parkway just a short drive from Miami Lakes, Monster Mini Golf is an indoor 18-hole mini golf course that features glow in the dark balls and obstacles and is a popular family destination when everyone has had their fill of the elements.
Though mini golf is the centerpiece, the facility offers a number of other options, including rental rooms for birthday parties and special events, laser tag, and a big video arcade.
Not be outdone by other slightly more cultured attractions, they also offer guided summer programs. For those who’ll be in the area more than a few days, it’s possible to buy multi-month passes that reduce the cost of entry significantly.
13. Everglades National Park
Everglades National Park is one of the most well-known parks of its kind in the entire country and a uniquely Florida attraction that many nature-minded travelers choose not to pass up.
The park is made up of more than 1.5 million acres comprised of a number of distinct habitats, all of which support an incredible diversity of plant and animal life and offer guests an array of recreation options.
Of course, guided airboat and nature tours are among the favorite activities, but there are also historical and cultural options.
The park’s scope is so vast that it’s wise to spend a few hours online exploring its possibilities before you arrive.
14. Hard Rock Stadium
To most hardcore fans of gridiron, what’s now officially referred to as Hard Rock Stadium will always be Joe Robbie Stadium.
The stadium is home to both the NFL’s Miami Dolphins and the University of Miami’s Hurricanes and is one of the most widely known sports venues in the country.
In addition to plenty of football during the season, the stadium hosts other live entertainment events throughout the year. For fans who’d like to get a look at parts of the stadium that are usually only reserved for players, coaches, and staff, there are guided tour options available as well.