Located along the Atlantic coast in southern Florida’s Miami-Dade County, I found myself in Homestead, an oasis of small-town charm. It amazed me that this tranquil place was just 30 minutes south of Miami, the bustling hub of Florida, housing over six million people.
As I explored Homestead, I realized that it offered visitors like me convenient access to some of the Sunshine State’s most popular attractions. First on my list was the renowned Everglades National Park, a natural wonder that stretched as far as the eye could see. The vast wetlands, teeming with unique wildlife and picturesque landscapes, left me in awe.
The allure of the Florida Keys was irresistible, and luckily, Homestead provided an ideal starting point for my adventure. I embarked on a road trip along the iconic Overseas Highway, mesmerized by the stunning views of turquoise waters and palm-fringed islands. Snorkeling and diving in the crystal-clear waters allowed me to witness the vibrant marine life firsthand.
Homestead was a breath of fresh air compared to the high prices, exclusivity, and round-the-clock party atmosphere of Miami. It seemed to cater perfectly to families seeking a more laid-back experience. Eager to explore, I discovered 15 incredible things to do in and around Homestead, Florida, that I wouldn’t want to pass up.
1. Everglades National Park
The Florida Everglades… what an incredible place! As I stood there, surrounded by the lush greenery and the calls of exotic birds echoing in my ears, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of awe and wonder. This vast tropical forest, stretching as far as the eye could see, was like a hidden gem in North America.
I had heard about the Everglades and its incredible biodiversity, but experiencing it firsthand was a whole different story. The park was teeming with native plants and animals, some of which could be found nowhere else on Earth. It was truly a haven for nature lovers like myself.
As I walked through the park, I couldn’t help but notice the many visitors who had flocked to this natural paradise. It was no surprise that nearly one million people made the journey each year. The Everglades offered so much to explore and discover, it was no wonder people couldn’t resist its allure.
With its vast size and multiple access points, the park offered a wide range of activities to keep visitors entertained. There were endless opportunities for education and recreation, ensuring that no one would ever run out of things to do. From hiking and biking trails to kayaking and canoeing adventures, the Everglades had it all.
But before diving into the wild, it was wise to stop by one of the park’s visitor centers. I followed this advice and found myself in the midst of knowledgeable staff who provided valuable information about the park’s ecosystems and safety tips. Armed with their insights, I felt more prepared to venture out and explore.
For an experience that promised a truly unique and unforgettable perspective, I decided to sign up for a guided airboat tour. I couldn’t resist the thrill of gliding through the marshes and witnessing the Everglades from a different vantage point. The anticipation built up as I boarded the airboat, the engine revving and the wind whipping against my face.
As the airboat cruised through the water, I marveled at the incredible sights around me. The vast expanse of sawgrass seemed to stretch on forever, interrupted only by the occasional glimpse of an alligator sunbathing on a nearby bank. The guide shared fascinating facts about the ecosystem, pointing out rare bird species and explaining the delicate balance of the Everglades.
2. The Coral Castle Museum
Located just off South Dixie Highway in Homestead, I recently had the chance to visit the Coral Castle Museum, and let me tell you, it was an experience like no other. As I walked through the gates and entered the premises, I couldn’t help but be captivated by the sheer uniqueness of this outdoor attraction.
The Coral Castle Museum was a remarkable creation, meticulously built by a local man using nothing but the local limestone. It was astonishing to think that one person had single-handedly constructed this incredible castle. The limestone blocks were massive and intricately placed, forming a structure that seemed almost otherworldly.
Curiosity got the best of me as I pondered how this man managed to move and manipulate such enormous blocks of stone. Legends and rumors circulated, suggesting that he might have had some extraterrestrial assistance. Though the truth remains a mystery, the mere possibility of otherworldly involvement added an air of intrigue to the entire experience.
Despite the unanswered questions, one thing was undeniable: the Coral Castle Museum was a hit with visitors of all ages. As I explored the grounds, I noticed children and adults alike marveling at the beauty and craftsmanship of the limestone structures. It was truly a sight to behold, and I felt privileged to witness it firsthand.
What impressed me even more was the affordability of admission. The entrance fee was surprisingly reasonable, making it accessible to everyone. Moreover, I learned that the museum offered additional discounts for large groups, making it an excellent option for families or friends looking for an unforgettable day trip.
3. Homestead-Miami Speedway
I’ve always known Florida to be a big racing state, and being a racing enthusiast myself, I couldn’t resist the allure of the Homestead-Miami Speedway. The Speedway has a rich history of hosting thrilling Indy and NASCAR races that attract spectators not just from all over the state, but from all corners of the nation.
As racing season kicks off, there’s an undeniable cool and festive atmosphere that settles over the town. The anticipation in the air is palpable, and it’s infectious. The moment you step into the speedway’s grandstands, you’re greeted with a wave of energy that’s simply electric. The sound of roaring engines reverberates through the air, accompanied by the symphony of squealing tires and the deafening cheers of passionate fans.
It’s an experience like no other. The vibrant ambiance, the adrenaline-inducing moments, and the camaraderie among fellow racing enthusiasts make every visit to the speedway unforgettable. But I must warn you, if you prefer a more tranquil setting to immerse yourself in a good book, it would be wise to stay away from the speedway during such racing events.
For those who do seek the thrill and excitement, planning ahead is key. With the popularity of the races, it’s highly recommended to purchase your tickets in advance through the speedway’s website. This way, you can secure your spot in the stands and ensure you don’t miss out on any of the heart-pounding action.
So, if you’re ready to immerse yourself in the world of high-speed racing, Homestead-Miami Speedway is the place to be. Just be prepared for an exhilarating experience that will leave you yearning for more.
4. Homestead Historic Town Hall Museum
I stepped into the Homestead Town Hall Museum, my anticipation growing as I crossed the threshold. The building itself carried a rich history, standing tall for over a century. It was evident that time had left its mark, but the museum had transformed it into a treasure trove of the town’s past.
As I wandered through the exhibits, I couldn’t help but marvel at the sheer breadth of memorabilia on display. Vintage photographs adorned the walls, capturing moments frozen in time. I studied each image, trying to imagine what life was like in those bygone eras.
Historical documents held a special allure for me, drawing me closer to the glass cases where they lay protected. The delicate parchment and faded ink transported me back to the days when these papers were inked, chronicling the town’s journey through time.
Among the unique artifacts, a particular highlight caught my eye—an old fire engine that had served the community faithfully before its retirement. Its vibrant red color had faded over the years, but it still exuded a sense of valor and duty.
As I explored further, I realized that the museum had a quiet, serene ambiance. The lack of foot traffic meant that I had the privilege of immersing myself in history without distractions. The solitude allowed me to absorb every detail, each relic whispering its story to me.
Before concluding my visit, I made a detour to the gift shop, keen to bring a piece of this extraordinary experience home with me. The postcards and books on offer were a tangible reminder of the memories I had made within those walls. I carefully selected a postcard, hoping to capture a snapshot of the museum’s essence to share with loved ones.
As I exited the Homestead Historic Town Hall Museum, I felt a deep appreciation for the preservation of our local heritage. This hidden gem on North Krome Avenue held the keys to our collective past, an oasis of knowledge waiting to be discovered. With a heart full of gratitude, I carried the echoes of history with me, cherishing the moments spent in that hallowed place.
5. Everglades Alligator Farm
I recently had the incredible opportunity to experience the wonders of Florida’s Everglades Alligator Farm, where I immersed myself in the world of the mighty American alligator. The alligator, a true icon of Florida, can grow to astonishing lengths of over 15 feet and weigh more than 1,000 pounds. Their presence in the state’s swamps, rivers, and lakes is simply awe-inspiring.
The farm, nestled on SW 192nd Avenue in the charming town of Florida City, offered me an up-close and personal encounter with these toothy reptiles. As I entered the premises, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of anticipation and excitement. The farm boasted a vast population of thousands of alligators, promising an unforgettable experience.
Admittedly, the entrance fees were not the cheapest among the various attractions I visited during my trip. However, I can assure you that the investment was well worth it, particularly for those traveling with animal-loving children. The farm provided a window into the captivating lives of these ancient creatures, allowing us to observe them in their natural habitat.
Various packages were available, catering to different interests and preferences. One of the highlights was the instructional programs, where we had the chance to learn about alligator behavior, biology, and conservation efforts. Knowledgeable staff members guided us through this educational journey, answering our questions and sharing fascinating insights into the world of alligators.
Another thrilling activity was the gator feedings. Witnessing the raw power and agility of these apex predators as they lunged for their meals was nothing short of mesmerizing. The farm’s experts explained the intricacies of their feeding habits and shed light on their role within the Everglades ecosystem.
To top it all off, I embarked on an exhilarating airboat tour. Gliding across the vast expanse of the farm’s waterways, I felt a sense of adventure coursing through my veins. The wind rushing through my hair, the occasional splash of water, and the sight of alligators lurking in the depths made for an unforgettable experience. The airboat guide provided informative commentary, narrating the rich history and ecological significance of the Everglades.
6. Zoo Miami
As I stepped into Zoo Miami, I was immediately struck by its vastness. Over 700 acres of land stretched out before me, promising an unforgettable adventure. This wasn’t just any ordinary zoo; it was a tropical paradise teeming with life. I couldn’t wait to explore every inch of this unique haven.
Although its official name was The Miami-Dade Zoological Park and Gardens, the nickname “Zoo Miami” perfectly captured its essence. As I made my way through the entrance, I was greeted by an extraordinary sight—a magnificent zoological garden sprawling before me, the largest of its kind in the entire state. The lush greenery and vibrant flowers instantly transported me to another world.
The history of this remarkable place spanned nearly seven decades. It was founded with a vision, a mission to provide a home for thousands of animals from around the globe. As I embarked on my journey, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of excitement and anticipation. Three miles of well-marked paths lay ahead, leading me to more than a hundred individual exhibits. Each exhibit promised a glimpse into a different corner of the world, a chance to connect with creatures both exotic and familiar.
With every step, I marveled at the diversity of life around me. From playful primates swinging through the trees to majestic big cats prowling in their enclosures, Zoo Miami was a symphony of sights and sounds. The air was filled with the calls and chirps of countless species, creating a harmonious cacophony that echoed through the park.
However, I soon realized that I wasn’t the only one drawn to this captivating place. The crowds began to grow, especially as the day progressed. If I wanted to escape the masses and enjoy a more intimate experience, I knew I had to plan wisely. So, I made a mental note: visit the zoo early in the morning or choose a weekday to beat the rush. That way, I could immerse myself in the wonder of Zoo Miami without feeling overwhelmed.
7. Knaus Berry Farm
As I stepped foot in Florida, the state known for its bountiful sun, abundant rain, and never-ending growing season, I couldn’t help but feel excited about the agricultural wonders it held. Among the many produce-growing states in the country, Florida stood out prominently, and one particular farm had caught my attention—Knaus Berry Farm. With its rich history spanning over half a century, this family-owned gem had become a beloved institution in South Florida.
Eager to experience the farm firsthand, I ventured towards their original roadside market. As I arrived, I was astonished to see how much it had grown since its humble beginnings. The market was bustling with activity, and the enticing aroma of freshly baked goods filled the air. My senses were captivated by the delightful sight of pastries and bread, complemented by the sweet allure of ice cream and neatly packaged berries.
Although I was tempted to indulge in the delectable treats displayed before me, I had another desire—one that involved immersing myself in the farm’s essence. Thankfully, Knaus Berry Farm offered an opportunity to connect with the land on a deeper level. With excitement coursing through my veins, I eagerly signed up to pick my own produce when the crops were ripe for the picking.
Venturing into the fields, I marveled at the picturesque landscape before me. The vibrant green rows of crops stretched out as far as the eye could see, beckoning me to come closer. I couldn’t resist the allure of nature’s bounty, and so I rolled up my sleeves, ready to get my hands dirty.
As I strolled through the fields, the warm sun embraced my skin, invigorating me with its gentle touch. The air was filled with the sounds of birds chirping and the rustling of leaves in the breeze. I marveled at the meticulous care that went into cultivating these crops—each plant a testament to the hard work and dedication of the farmers.
Spotting a particularly enticing row of berries, I approached with anticipation. The vibrant red orbs glistened in the sunlight, tempting me to pluck them from their delicate stems. With each berry carefully cradled in the palm of my hand, I felt a sense of connection to the land and its generous offerings.
As I continued my adventure, exploring the fields and picking my own produce, I couldn’t help but appreciate the unique experience that Knaus Berry Farm had provided. It was a testament to the farm’s commitment to sharing their agricultural heritage with visitors like me.
8. Homestead Bayfront Park
Located on SW 328th Street in Homestead, I had the pleasure of visiting Homestead Bayfront Park, a beautiful outdoor destination that offers a wide range of recreational opportunities. As soon as I arrived, I was captivated by the allure of the Florida sunshine, beckoning me to spend some quality time outside.
To enter the park, I paid admission on a per-vehicle basis, which was quite affordable. This made it an ideal choice for families like mine, who wanted to make the most of our travel budget and enjoy some outdoor fun together. It was great knowing that we wouldn’t have to break the bank to have a memorable experience.
I parked my car and noticed that there were designated areas for buses and RVs as well. However, the admission cost for these larger vehicles was more than twice the price of standard passenger cars. It seemed fair, considering the extra space and amenities they required.
Once inside the park, I was spoiled for choice when it came to activities. Fishing enthusiasts dotted the shoreline, patiently waiting for their next big catch. The tranquil atmosphere and gentle waves lapping against the shore created a peaceful ambiance, perfect for unwinding and enjoying nature.
As I strolled along the sandy beach, I couldn’t resist the temptation to bask in the glorious sun. Many others were doing the same, spreading their towels and reclining in the warmth. It was a wonderful way to relax and soak up the vitamin D that Florida is famous for.
For those looking to take to the water, a convenient boat ramp was available. The shimmering blue waters of the bay beckoned me, promising an exhilarating boating adventure. Whether it was sailing, kayaking, or jet skiing, there were endless possibilities for water-based fun.
9. Redland Market Village
For nearly 40 years, I have been visiting Redland Market Village on South Dixie Highway in Miami. This place holds a special spot in my heart, as it’s not just a market but a cherished family-owned business. Stepping into its vibrant atmosphere is like entering a world where flea market, farmers market, and live entertainment seamlessly merge.
The sprawling market stretches across nearly 30 acres, providing ample space for a plethora of captivating experiences. As I walk through its lively lanes, I am greeted by an array of food trucks, each offering a tantalizing taste of various international cuisines. From aromatic spices of India to savory flavors of Mexico, my taste buds are in for a delightful adventure. With every bite, I savor the rich diversity of cultures that converge within this remarkable marketplace.
Beyond the savory scents that permeate the air, I discover a treasure trove of arts and crafts, each piece crafted with passion and creativity. Local artisans showcase their talents, their unique creations adorning the market stalls. From handmade jewelry to intricately woven textiles, I am captivated by the sheer beauty and artistry on display.
One of my favorite stops is the seafood market, renowned for its unparalleled selection of fresh fish, crustaceans, and mollusks. The tantalizing aroma of the ocean fills the air as I peruse the bountiful offerings. It’s a seafood lover’s paradise, where the catch of the day beckons with its glistening scales and vibrant colors. I relish the opportunity to bring home the finest seafood, knowing that it was sourced with care and expertise.
Redland Market Village is not just a place to shop; it’s an experience that brings together the community. Every weekend, locals gather here, creating a vibrant tapestry of conversations and laughter. The market provides a platform for Floridian artisans and growers to showcase their products, offering a glimpse into the rich tapestry of this beautiful state. I take pride in supporting these local businesses, knowing that my purchases directly contribute to the growth and success of these hardworking individuals.
Whether it’s a lazy morning or a leisurely afternoon, Redland Market Village is the perfect destination to immerse oneself in the essence of Miami. As I rub elbows with fellow market-goers, I can’t help but appreciate the unique selection of Florida-made and grown products that surround me. From juicy oranges to fragrant flowers, each item tells a story of the land and its people.
10. Spanish Monastery
I had the incredible opportunity to delve into the rich history of the Florida coast, where Spanish missionaries and treasure seekers embarked on their explorations centuries ago. As I stood on the sandy shores, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of awe at the magnitude of the past.
One particular gem that caught my attention was the Spanish Monastery, nestled in the heart of North Miami Beach. This architectural marvel had been standing for ages, even before its transportation to this very spot. Imagining its origins back in Spain was a humbling experience, knowing that it had witnessed centuries of history unfold.
I discovered that the monastery had been a sanctuary for devoted monks for nearly seven hundred years. However, in the early 1920s, an American newspaper mogul named William Randolph Hearst saw its potential and decided to acquire it. With great care, the monastery was meticulously dismantled, packaged, and embarked on a journey across the vast ocean to its new home in Florida. Witnessing the grandeur of the structure before me, it was evident that the reassembly had been a labor of love.
Since the mid-’60s, the Spanish Monastery has been open to the public, inviting visitors to immerse themselves in its captivating history. Curiosity tugged at me, urging me to delve deeper into its mysteries. I learned that the best way to truly grasp the essence of this remarkable place was through a guided tour, despite the additional cost.
Eager to absorb every bit of knowledge and make the most of my visit, I joined a guided tour of the monastery. As the knowledgeable guide led us through its sacred halls, every step seemed to transport me to a different time and place. The stories of the monks who had sought solace within these walls echoed in my mind, and I couldn’t help but feel a profound respect for their devotion.
The guide expertly shared the details of the monastery’s rich architectural features and pointed out significant artifacts that had stood the test of time. Each room exuded a unique atmosphere, filled with relics and artwork that spoke volumes about the history that unfolded here. I found myself captivated by the intricate details and craftsmanship that adorned every corner.
11. Miami’s Art Deco District
I couldn’t wait to explore Miami’s Art Deco District, known for its well-preserved historic charm. As an avid lover of art and history, I knew I was in for a treat. The district boasted an incredible collection of art deco art and architecture, reminiscent of the vibrant ’20s and ’30s era.
With the excitement coursing through me, I decided to embark on a self-guided adventure to soak in every detail at my own pace. Of course, guided tours were available for those with more time and money to spare, but I felt confident in my ability to navigate the area independently.
As I arrived, I was greeted by the distinctive facades of the art deco buildings lining the streets. The intricate designs, pastel colors, and geometric shapes transported me back in time. I couldn’t help but marvel at the meticulous preservation of these architectural gems.
I strolled along the streets, taking in the sights and sounds of this vibrant neighborhood. The art deco spirit was alive in every corner, from the stylish hotels to the charming storefronts. It was like walking through a living museum, where the past seamlessly intertwined with the present.
While exploring, I couldn’t resist stepping into a few galleries and shops that caught my eye. The local artists’ creations were awe-inspiring, though I must admit, some of the prices were a bit steep. Nevertheless, I was prepared with my trusty credit card, ready to support these talented individuals and bring home a piece of Miami’s art scene.
After immersing myself in the district’s artistic wonders, hunger began to beckon. I ventured into one of the neighborhood’s renowned restaurants, fully aware that the experience might come with a higher price tag. Nonetheless, the delectable cuisine and unique atmosphere made it worth every penny.
12. Holocaust Memorial
As I strolled through the swanky and exclusive setting of South Beach, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of dissonance. Amongst the glitz and glamour, I discovered an unexpected gem, the Holocaust Memorial on Meridian Avenue. It stood as a poignant attraction, seemingly out of place yet undeniably significant. Intrigued, I decided to venture inside.
Miami, known for its vibrant diversity, boasts a substantial Jewish population. It was here, in the mid-’80s, that a small group of local Holocaust survivors conceived the idea for this memorial. Their vision was to create a place that would honor the memory of the millions who perished during that dark period of history.
Entering the memorial, I found myself immersed in a solemn atmosphere. The year was 1990 when it first opened its doors to the public. The site encompassed a memorial wall and a serene garden, providing a peaceful sanctuary for contemplation and reflection. It was a stark contrast to the bustling cityscape just beyond its boundaries.
As I walked along the memorial wall, I was struck by the names etched into the cold stone. Each one represented an individual life, a story untold, a tragedy that should never be forgotten. The weight of history settled upon my shoulders, reminding me of the immense suffering endured by so many.
The garden, adorned with vibrant flowers and delicate foliage, offered a gentle respite from the somberness of the memorial wall. It was a place where one could sit amidst the beauty of nature and seek solace in the tranquility that surrounded them. Despite the devastation associated with the Holocaust, the memorial stood as a testament to resilience and hope.
Before leaving, I noticed a small donation box nearby, reminding visitors of the importance of supporting such a meaningful endeavor. I gladly contributed a few dollars, knowing that my modest donation would help ensure the preservation and upkeep of this sacred place.
13. Miami Beach Botanical Gardens
I recently had the opportunity to visit the Miami Beach Botanical Gardens, and let me tell you, it was a truly enchanting experience. As I strolled through the gardens, I couldn’t help but marvel at the rich history that this place held.
It all started back in the early ’60s when the Miami Beach Botanical Gardens was just a humble municipal park. It served as a local gathering spot, but it didn’t possess the captivating allure that it does today. It wasn’t until much later, after years of careful planning and thoughtful redesign, that this place truly transformed into the magnificent attraction that it is now.
The gardens were the brainchild of a brilliant landscape architect, whose name still echoes with reverence throughout the state. With his expert touch, he crafted an urban oasis like no other. Everywhere I looked, there were fountains gushing with water, artistic installations that captivated the eye, and a breathtakingly diverse collection of plants, trees, and flowers. What amazed me even more was the fact that the majority of these botanical wonders were native to Florida, adding a unique touch of authenticity to the surroundings.
One of my favorite areas within the gardens was the Japanese garden. Stepping into this tranquil space felt like being transported to a different world altogether. The meticulous arrangement of rocks, the graceful arches of the bridges, and the delicate harmony of the flora created an atmosphere of serene beauty. It was a haven of peace amidst the bustling city.
As I continued my exploration, I discovered the warden gardens, each with its own distinctive character and charm. These smaller enclaves provided intimate spaces for reflection and appreciation of nature’s wonders. Everywhere I turned, there were comfortable seating areas shaded by lush foliage, beckoning me to take a moment of respite and soak in the surroundings.
The pathways winding through the gardens were well-marked, guiding me effortlessly from one enchanting area to the next. Each step I took unraveled a new discovery, a hidden gem waiting to be found. I marveled at the dedication and expertise that had gone into crafting this harmonious landscape.
14. Zoological Wildlife Foundation
As I stepped into the Zoological Wildlife Foundation, I could feel the anticipation building inside me. This place was not just any ordinary zoo; it was a sanctuary dedicated to protecting endangered species and educating the public about the importance of habitat preservation. I had heard so much about it and finally, I was here to experience it firsthand.
The moment I entered, I noticed how different it was from other zoos I had visited before. The atmosphere was serene, and there was a sense of purpose in the air. This was a place where conservation was taken seriously, and every effort was made to ensure the well-being of the animals.
I joined a small group of visitors for a guided tour. The staff at the foundation believed in providing a personal experience to each guest, so they kept the tour sizes limited. This meant that we would have the opportunity to truly connect with the animal residents and the passionate individuals who cared for them.
Our guide, a knowledgeable and enthusiastic animal expert, led us through the facility. Along the way, she shared fascinating facts about the various species we encountered. It was evident that she had a deep love and respect for these animals, and her enthusiasm was contagious.
As we walked, I couldn’t help but be awestruck by the magnificent creatures around me. From graceful big cats to playful primates, each animal had its own unique story. The guide emphasized the crucial role that habitat protection played in their survival. She explained how the foundation worked tirelessly to provide a safe haven for these endangered species, mimicking their natural environments as closely as possible.
At one point during the tour, the guide announced that we would have the chance to interact with some of the animals. She carefully assessed the situation and allowed a few of the children to touch certain animals under her watchful eye. It was heartwarming to witness the wonder in their eyes as they gently stroked the fur of a friendly creature. The guide ensured that the interaction was safe and respectful, prioritizing the well-being of both the animals and the visitors.
As the tour came to an end, I couldn’t help but feel a deep sense of gratitude for the Zoological Wildlife Foundation and its dedicated staff. They were not just providing entertainment; they were actively working towards a greater cause. Through their efforts, they were not only protecting endangered species but also instilling a sense of responsibility in each visitor.