Located along the Atlantic coast in southern Florida’s Miami-Dade County, Homestead is an oasis of small-town charm that’s just 30 minutes south of Miami, which is the state’s largest metropolitan area and home to more than six million people.
Offering visitors convenient access to some of the Sunshine State’s most popular attractions like Everglades National Park and the Florida Keys, it’s a popular destination for families who’d rather avoid the high prices, exclusivity, and round-the-clock party atmosphere for which Miami is known.
Below are 15 things to do in and around Homestead, Florida that you won’t want to pass up.
1. Everglades National Park
The Florida Everglades is the largest tropical forest in North American and home to a huge variety of native plants and animals; many of them aren’t found anywhere else.
Each year, nearly one million people visit the park. Due to its sheer size and multiple access points, it features a variety of educational and recreational activities that have been known to keep visitors busy for days.
It’s wise to visit one of the parks visitor’s centers before heading out into the wild. For a truly unique and memorable perspective, consider signing up for a guided airboat tour.
2. The Coral Castle Museum
Located just off South Dixie Highway in Homestead, the Coral Castle Museum is a unique outdoor attraction that was built by a local man entirely from local limestone.
It’s still a mystery how he moved and manipulated the massive limestone blocks used in the castle’s construction; some have suggested he may have had extraterrestrial help.
Though the verdict is still out on that claim, there’s no doubt that it’s a popular attraction with children and adults alike, and it’s one of those one-of-a-kind Florida attractions that you won’t see elsewhere.
Admission is very reasonable, and additional discounts may be offered for large groups.
3. Homestead-Miami Speedway
Florida has always been big racing country, and the Homestead-Miami Speedway has a long history of hosting Indy and NASCAR races that draw spectators from all over the state and nation.
During racing season, a cool and festive vibe descends over the town, and the speedway’s grandstands get downright raucous with the sounds of roaring engines, squealing tires, and screaming fans.
Many visitors find it exhilarating, but if you’re more into quiet time with a good book, then it’d be wise to steer clear of the speedway at such times.
For the most popular races, it’s a good idea to purchase your tickets in advance on the speedway’s website.
4. Homestead Historic Town Hall Museum
The original Homestead Town Hall was built more than a century ago and has been converted into a museum boasting one of the area’s most complete collections of historic memorabilia related to the town.
The items on display include vintage photographs, historical documents, and other unique tidbits of local interest; there’s even an old fire engine that was retired long ago.
The Homestead Historic Town Hall Museum is located on North Krome Avenue and doesn’t get a lot of foot traffic, so it’s quite possible that visitors will have the place to themselves. Consider buying a postcard or book at the gift shop before heading out.
5. Everglades Alligator Farm
The American alligator is one of Florida’s most iconic symbols, and the state’s swamps, rivers, and lakes are full of these impressive creatures that can grow to over 15 feet and weight more than 1,000 pounds.
Located on SW 192nd Avenue in nearby Florida City, Everglades Alligator Farm gives guests a fascinating, up-close look into the lives of these toothy reptiles.
The farm is home to thousands of gators, and though it’s not the cheapest attraction you’ll visit on your trip, it’s well worth it, especially for those traveling with kids who are into animals.
A variety of packages are available, including instructional programs, gator feedings, and airboat tours.
6. Zoo Miami
Comprised of more than 700 acres, Zoo Miami is the only tropical zoo of its kind in the country and is home to more than 3,000 animals.
Though its official name is The Miami-Dade Zoological Park and Gardens, as the name implies, Zoo Miami also includes an impressive zoological garden which is the largest in the state.
It was established nearly 70 years ago and features three miles of well-marked paths leading to more than 100 individual exhibits featuring animals and plants from all over the world.
Zoo Miami really draws the crowds, so if you’d rather avoid the masses, consider visiting when they first open in the morning or on a weekday.
7. Knaus Berry Farm
With its plentiful sun, abundant rain, and year-round growing season, Florida is one of the country’s largest produce growing states. The Knaus Berry Farm is one of South Florida’s most well-known family farms and has been around for more than half a century.
Though they started small, their original roadside market has grown by leaps and bounds and now includes a variety of prepared food items like baked goods, ice cream, and packaged berries.
For those who’d rather roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty, it’s possible to head into the fields and pick your own when the crop is ready.
8. Homestead Bayfront Park
Located on SW 328th Street in Homestead, Homestead Bayfront Park offers visitors a variety of outdoor recreation options that are perfect for those looking to spend a little quality time outside soaking up that famous Florida sunshine.
Admission to the park is paid on a per-vehicle basis, so it’s an inexpensive option for families looking to maximize the value of their hard-earned travel dollars.
Parking for buses and RVs is available, though the admission cost is more than twice that of standard passenger cars.
Fishing, sunbathing and boating are popular activities, and there’s a boat ramp available as well.
9. Redland Market Village
For nearly 40 years, Redland Market Village on South Dixie Highway in Miami has been a family-owned business that’s part flea market, part farmers market, and part live entertainment venue.
The market is spread over nearly 30 acres and includes a variety of internationally influenced food trucks, arts and crafts, collectibles, and a seafood market that’s known for its wide selection of fresh fish, crustaceans, and mollusks.
The market is the perfect place to spend a few morning or afternoon hours on the weekend, rubbing elbows with the locals and browsing their unique selection of Florida made and grown products.
10. Spanish Monastery
Spanish missionaries and treasure seekers first explored the Florida coast as far back as the 17th century, and the Spanish Monastery in North Miami Beach is a fascinating bit of local and international history that dates back centuries before that when it was originally constructed in Spain.
Inhabited by monks for nearly seven centuries, in the early 1920s, it was bought by American newspaper mogul William Randolph Hearst, disassembled, shipped to Florida, and reassembled on its current site.
It has been open to the public since the mid-’60s, and for those who don’t mind spending a few extra bucks, the best way to experience it is by guided tour.
11. Miami’s Art Deco District
Miami’s Art Deco District is one of the most well-preserved historic neighborhoods of its kind in the country and is home to some amazing examples of art deco art and architecture that were popular during the ’20s and ’30s.
For art and history lovers with the time and money, taking a guided tour is one of the best ways to see the area, but it’s possible to do it on your own as well.
Tour prices vary, but most are reasonably inexpensive, last a few hours, and include a local guide.
Many of the neighborhood’s restaurants, shops and galleries are pretty pricy, so don’t forget your credit card.
12. Holocaust Memorial
Though it may seem out of place in such a swanky and exclusive setting, the Holocaust Memorial on Meridian Avenue in South Beach is a poignant attraction that’s free to visit and worth a look when you’re in the area.
Miami is home to a sizeable Jewish population, and the memorial was the brainchild of a small group of local Holocaust survivors in the mid-’80s.
The memorial has been open to the public since 1990, and the site includes a memorial wall and a pleasant garden that’s conducive to quiet contemplation. Visitors typically donate a few dollars before leaving.
13. Miami Beach Botanical Gardens
The Miami Beach Botanical Gardens was originally a municipal park that opened in the early ’60s; it wasn’t until decades later when the area was redesigned and rejuvenated that it became the fantastic attraction that it is now.
Designed by one of the state’s most renowned landscape architects, the gardens are an urban oasis filled with fountains, art, and an amazingly diverse array of plants, trees, and flowers, most of which are species native to Florida.
The grounds include a Japanese garden, warden gardens, plenty of shaded seating areas, and well-marked pathways that lead to each distinct area.
14. Zoological Wildlife Foundation
Dedicated to educating the public on the importance of habitat protection for the sake of the world’s endangered species, the Zoological Wildlife Foundation is a unique facility that’s open to visitors and group tours by appointment.
The foundation’s staff keeps tour sizes to a minimum to ensure each guest gets a personal experience. Visitors will get an up close and personal look into the center’s animal residents and the people who’ve dedicated their lives to caring for them.
Tours are appropriate for children and may include time for them to touch a few of the animals, though it’s up to the discretion of the guide.