Drive about 35 miles south from Downtown Miami, deep into South Dade, and you’ll find yourself in Homestead and Florida City. This tranquil part of Greater Miami & Miami Beach is full of natural landscapes, farmland, historic sites, and entertainment for the whole family.
Some attractions in the area that should not be missed include Coral Castle Museum (also seen in the lead photo) Added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1984, this mystifying attraction was built by Latvian-born Ed Leedskalnin, who began constructing it in 1923 as a monument to his lost love, Agnes, sculpting more than 1,100 tons of coral using just hand tools. Look in and around the castle and you’ll find other items made of coral: a sculpture garden, rocking chairs, a Polaris telescope, and a nine-ton gate that’s so light it can open with the touch of a finger.
Coral Castle Museum is open Thursday through Sunday, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Both audio and in-person tours are available.
A trip to the Everglades wouldn’t be complete without an alligator sighting. At Everglades Alligator Farm, there are more than 2,000 alligators (including the famous 14-foot “Grandpa” alligator). See daily alligator shows and feedings, hop on an airboat ride, or get up close and personal with crocodiles, caimans, and other wildlife.
Everglades Alligator Farm is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Both guided and private airboat tours are available.
The Florida Pioneer Museum is filled with artifacts, books, and photographs from those who settled in South Dade during the early 20th century. Its exhibits include tools used by pioneers during that time, photographs of local pioneering families, displays about Native Americans, and more.
The Florida Pioneer Museum is open from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. daily from November through April only.
The Fruit & Spice Park is a truly unique attraction, surrounded by lush greenery, flowers, and nature’s beauty. The subtropical climate of the area is the only one of its kind in the continental United States, allowing the park to grow more than 500 varieties of fruits, vegetables, spices, herbs, and nuts. Walk through its 37 acres – organized by geographic areas of the world – and find more than 180 varieties of mangoes, 70 bamboo species, 40 banana varieties, 15 types of jackfruit trees, and more. Depending on the date of your visit, you might experience one of the park’s annual festivals, such as the Summer Fruit Festival, Midsummer Adventure, or the Redland International Orchid Festival.
The Fruit & Spice Park is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with the last entry permitted at 4 p.m. Guided tours take place at 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. daily.
Since 1959, Robert Is Here has been selling everything from lettuce, onions, and tomatoes to rare and exotic fruits such as dragon fruit, sapodilla, guava, eggfruit, giant jackfruit, and even Monstera deliciosa – a cucumber-like fruit that tastes like a banana blended with a pineapple. Bring your kids and let them check out the small animal farm while you order milkshakes made with any tropical fruit in the store. A trip to Robert Is Here promises fun for the whole family.
Robert Is Here is open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Homestead Bayfront Park has everything your family needs for a fun day in Homestead. There’s a beach with an atoll pool where visitors can swim, pavilions with grills and picnic tables, the full-service Herbert Hoover Marina, and La Playa Grill, a casual seafood restaurant that overlooks Biscayne Bay. When you go, look for the colorful lifeguard stands painted by Romero Britto. Fish off the pier, have a cookout with family and friends, rent a kayak, go paddle boarding or sail your boat to nearby Biscayne National Park. No matter what you do, take in the view – you can see all the way to the Downtown Miami skyline.
Homestead Bayfront Park is open daily from sunrise to sunset.
Looking for an adrenaline rush? At Miami Exotic Auto Racing at the Homestead Miami Speedway, you can experience the thrill of putting the pedal to the metal. Take your pick from exotic cars such as a Lamborghini Huracan EVO, Ferrari 488 GTB, or Porsche GT3 RS, then let a veteran racer teach you the basics as you prepare to go full speed through 11 turns and two straightaways. There are no restrictions on how fast you can drive, and a professional driver will be in the passenger seat next to you the whole time. For an adventure that’s less intimidating but just as thrilling, hop in a race car for a ride along with a professional driver at the wheel. You must be at least 18 years old (with a valid driver’s license) to take the wheel, and at least 9 years old to ride as a passenger.
With the Everglades to the west, Biscayne Bay to the east, and the bustling urban center of Greater Miami & Miami Beach to the north, South Dade is an interesting and eclectic mix of attractions and things to do. If you’re visiting Miami, be sure to take a side trip to South Dade to enjoy everything the region has to offer.
Source: Miami Tourism – Greater Miami & Miami Beach Insider
Lead (Coral Castle) – Greater Miami & Miami Beach Insider
Coral Castle – Pixabay
Fruit and Spice Park – Fruit and Spice Park
Homestead Bayfront Park – Greater Miami & Miami Beach Insider