Located in South Florida’s Miami-Dade County, Florida City is one of the southernmost cities in mainland Florida and was home to about 12,000 residents at the time of the last census.
Florida City was incorporated more than a century ago, and its convenient proximity to Miami, the Keys, and a variety of state and national parks gives visitors an abundance of activity options.
Florida City is just east of Everglades National Park, and it’s also a relatively easy drive to Key Largo and Islamorada.
Below are 15 things to do that rank high on many visitors’ itineraries when visiting the Florida City area.
1. Florida Keys Outlet Marketplace
Located on East Palm Drive in Florida City, Florida Keys Outlet Marketplace is a favorite retail therapy destination for those staying in the Florida City and Homestead areas; it’s also a popular stop-off point for travelers to the Keys and Everglades.
The marketplace is an open-air facility, includes plenty of free parking, and features more than 50 individual outlets selling everything from housewares and kid’s stuff to clothes and shoes for the whole family.
Nike, Tommy Hilfiger, and Nautica are a few of the most popular brands, and most visitors leave with bags of discounted goodies that they’d have paid much more for elsewhere.
2. Keys Gate Golf Course
Though it’s technically in neighboring Homestead, Keys Gate Golf Course is close enough to Florida City that an errant tee shot could cross the municipal border.
The 18-hole, par-72 course plays slightly more than 6,500 yards and is considered a good bang for the buck by both local and visiting golfers.
The course has been open since 1990 and is set amid a lush, subtropical landscape that includes forested areas, ponds, and wetlands.
The course is close enough to the ocean to get stiff breezes, which helps to cool things off during the summer months; it’s reasonably priced compared to many other local competitors.
3. O’Deeny’s Caribbean Restaurant
Florida’s food scene is mostly dominated by Cuban and Caribbean influences, and fresh seafood and produce.
O’Deeny’s Caribbean Restaurant’s dishes typically have some of each, and though it’s often referred to as a hole-in-the-wall, there’s no better place to get an authentic taste of the islands.
Grilled yellowtail, fried plantains, conch fritters, and black beans with rice are a few of the guests’ perennial favorites; they offer soups and salads too.
The restaurant is conveniently located on North Krome Avenue in Florida City and is a popular stop for hungry travelers who find themselves between Miami, the Everglades, and the Keys.
4. Robert is Here
Located on SW 344th Street in Homestead, Robert is Here has been an area shopping attraction since 1960, when it was little more than a roadside fruit stand.
They still sell a wide variety of local produce, but they also offer prepared food items like honey, barbecue sauce, and salsa, and rumor has it that they make the world’s best milkshakes as well.
Robert is Here is mostly a farmer’s market, but it’s a petting zoo too; there are always cows, goats, chickens, and turtles milling around, and many of them love to be cuddled by visiting children and their parents.
5. The Coral Castle Museum
The Coral Castle is located on South Dixie Highway in nearby Homestead, and it’s unique in that it was built by a local man entirely of coral and limestone.
Some of the blocks used to construct the castle weigh multiple tons, and nobody’s quite sure how the man moved them, especially since he largely worked alone.
Some say he had divine or extraterrestrial help; though those claims haven’t been officially substantiated, there’s no denying that it’s an amazing place that’s worthy of a few hours of your hard-earned vacation time.
The cost of admission is reasonable, and for those traveling with large groups, discounts may be available.
6. Biscayne National Park
Located to the east of Florida City, Biscayne National Park is one of South Florida’s most natural areas; 95% of it is ocean and barrier reefs.
Much of the coastline around the park is a maze of inlets and mangrove forests that are vital to protecting the coast from erosion; they’re home to a fantastic variety of animal species as well.
Due to its aquatic nature, the park is best experienced as part of a guided tour, and there are a number of options available of varying lengths and focuses.
Fishing, boating, snorkeling, and camping are also popular activities, and there are even some cultural and historical attractions in the park.
7. Homestead-Miami Speedway
The American southeast is big auto racing country, and in many ways, Florida is its epicenter.
Though Homestead-Miami Speedway isn’t as well-known as the Daytona Speedway, it’s still a popular NASCAR attraction that draws race fans from all over the country during the season.
Miami is known for its hip and festive atmosphere, and during races, the area explodes with loud revelers and screaming engines; for many first-time guests, it’s a truly remarkable experience.
The speedway hosts a variety of races and events throughout the year, and tickets to many of them can go quickly, so it’s wise to purchase them in advance if possible.
8. Spanish Monastery
Of all Florida’s historic attractions, the Spanish Monastery may have the most fascinating background.
The monastery was originally constructed in Spain more than seven centuries ago, but it wasn’t until the early 1920s that it was disassembled, packed, and shipped halfway around the world and reassembled on its current site in North Miami Beach.
The whole thing was the brainchild of media mogul William Randolph Hurst. It was such an epic undertaking that it’s often referred to as the world’s largest three-dimensional jigsaw puzzle.
The monastery has been open to the public for more than five decades, and professionally guided tours are available.
9. Zoo Miami
Zoo Miami is spread over hundreds of scenic acres that are a tranquil oasis amid the state’s largest metropolitan area.
The zoo’s residents include thousands of animals of nearly every size, shape, and description, and there is a mix of local and exotic species, many of which are from far corners of the globe.
Officially, Zoo Miami is called the Miami-Dade Zoological Park and Gardens, and the garden portion of the facility is one of the largest and most complete of its kind in the state.
It’s been around for nearly eight decades, and ranks high on the to-do lists of those traveling with animal-loving children.
10. Redland Market Village
Redland Market Village is located on South Dixie Highway in Miami, and it’s got so much going on that it defies categorization.
It’s a live entertainment venue, flea market, and farm store, and is spread over dozens of idyllic acres that draw visitors from all walks of life.
Redland Market Village is a family-owned business selling everything from arts and crafts and seafood to Florida memorabilia and prepared food items.
The village can draw crowds during peak times, especially on the weekends and when there’s a live event planned, so consider a weekday or early morning visit to avoid the masses.
11. Everglades National Park
At nearly 1.5 million acres, Everglades National Park is a massive and ecologically diverse attraction that offers visitors a huge array of recreation options, and many traveling families spend multiple days in and around the park.
Airboat tours are among visitors’ favorite adventures, but guided nature and cultural tours are available as well, and many parts of the park are open to self-guided exploration, camping, fishing, and mountain biking.
The park features multiple entrances and visitor’s centers, a network of multi-use trails, and for the fit and adventurous, there are physical activity centered options like paddle-boarding, hiking, canoeing, and kayaking.
12. South Beach and Miami Beach
The Miami metro area is Florida’s swankest destination and is brimming with trendy galleries, shops, and restaurants that are long on glitz, but often exclusive and prohibitively expensive.
That being said, they’re not good fits for families traveling on budgets; but for people watchers and those looking to get a glimpse into the area’s culture, there’s no better place to do it.
Both Miami and South Beach offer world-class beaches, amazing ocean views, and upscale retail centers. There are many museums, galleries, and guided tours, too, and many of them are reasonably priced.
Of course, the nightlife is world-famous as well, but it’s best left to the beautiful and well-funded.
13. Little Havana
If you’ve ever watched Scarface, then you already know that during the ‘80s, South Florida experienced a wave of immigration from the island nation of Cuba just 90 miles off the coast.
Little Havana is the epicenter of Cuban art, culture, and food in South Florida, and it’s a fascinating neighborhood that’s easy to get to and offers lots of options regardless of interests.
Located along Calle Ocho – or 8th Street – Little Havana is packed with quaint galleries, traditional mom-and-pop restaurants, and live entertainment venues that enhance its already tropical island feel.
Food, history, and entertainment tours are available, but it’s also an easy place to explore on your own for do-it-yourselfers.
14. Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science
Though it’s one of the pricier attractions in the Florida City area, the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science stands out for its variety of engaging and educational exhibits; they touch on everything from animals and the natural world, to space, aviation, and technology.
Previous guests have stated that the museum’s interactive displays kept visitors of all ages and interests amused, and that they ended up staying longer than they’d originally intended.
The museum is a great place to escape the elements for a few afternoon hours. In addition to their permanent exhibits, they have rotating ones, so there’s always something a little different to see.
It’s possible to purchase tickets online and save a few bucks off standard admission.
15. Cubaocho Museum & Performing Arts Center
If Little Havana is the beating heart of Miami’s Cuban culture, then Cubaocho Museum and Performing Arts Center is the neighborhood’s arts and entertainment hub.
The museum’s art collection includes a variety of pieces, and many date from the pre-revolution era.
Many of the pieces on display are on sale, and there are many vibrant, contemporary works too; some are from the Cuban Cubist movement that took hold in the mid-20th century.
The museum is free to visit and is open every day except Sunday. For a complete list of the upcoming live events, check their website.