Beautiful beaches and sparkling waters are Miami’s superpower, but there are must-see attractions and experiences for visitors that go beyond the beach. Zip through the Everglades on an exhilarating airboat ride. Swim with dolphins or get up-close-and-personal with marine and land animals. Soar high above Miami on a fancy Ferris wheel for unmatched vistas or see world-class art and performances at cultural venues. There is so very much that Miami has to offer, but we’ve narrowed it down to our Favorite 5 attractions.
Everglades Alligator Farm, Homestead
If you’ve never seen an alligator up close, Everglades Alligator Farm in Homestead offers a rare and exciting chance. Here, visitors can rocket through the Everglades on an airboat to spot alligators in the wild, as well as other flora and fauna, fish, and wading birds. Just as thrilling, you can watch trainers feed the many alligators that pack the farm’s pond. It’s a heart-pounding showcase where the alligators fight to chomp down on a meal. And you can’t miss the shows where alligator wrestlers show off capturing techniques once used by Native Americans. If you dare, you can even hold a baby alligator.
Sky Views Miami, Downtown
It’s all about Miami’s incredible views on the Sky Views Miami observation wheel. Soar 200 feet above Bayside Marketplace in a cushy gondola for breathtaking vistas of Biscayne Bay, Bayfront Park, and, of course, the Downtown Miami skyline. It’s the chance to watch life on the water, from boaters to marine life.
Spring for a VIP gondola to sink into leather bucket seats from which you’ll enjoy a custom LED-light show and the views through a glass-bottom floor. Biggest perk: There’s air conditioning, so your ride is always a comfortable 72 degrees.
South Pointe Pier, South Beach
Located in dreamy South Pointe Park, South Pointe Pier extends dramatically over South Beach’s blue waters. It’s the perfect place for a stroll. The pier has bragging rights to some of the best views around. Hang out on the pier to watch cruise ships depart from PortMiami, as well as speedboats and Jet Skis racing along the Atlantic Ocean. The 450-foot pier also offers the opportunity to fish, spot fish and turtles, or just watch local surfers and swimmers. South Pointe Park is a great place to chill under a palm tree with a picnic or let the kids meander through the plentiful green spaces and play in the splash pad.
Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, Coconut Grove
Grand gardens and opulent interiors reign at the architecturally significant 1916 winter retreat of James Deering, tucked away in lush Coconut Grove. The Mediterranean-style architecture of Vizcaya Museum and Gardens immediately impresses, and guests can tour the mansion’s library, breakfast room, music room, and bedrooms to see collections and artifacts that date from the early 20th century. While you can explore the home on your own, a tour offers the chance to step back in time and learn about the estate’s storied past and design details. Carve out time to wind through the 10 acres of formal gardens, which are the highlight of the estate. Look for rare orchids, climb limestone staircases and search for the Secret Garden, which is a not-so-secret photo spot. Welcoming outside spaces tempt you to stay awhile, so find a shaded spot to soak up the views of Biscayne Bay and the Venice-inspired dock.
Zoo Miami, South Dade
Locals know this zoo in South Dade offers something special with tropical vibes. Open-air exhibits give the feeling that mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians are in their natural habitats.
Zoo Miami is home to more than 3,000 animals representing over 500 different species, which visitors can see as they wind through the lush walkways. Feed a camel or a towering giraffe. Learn about conservation efforts and the endangered animals that live at the zoo. Those who want a more intimate experience can book a VIP tour to zip around the property on a golf cart to interact with the animals.
Source: Greater Miami & Miami Beach Insider – Adapted from Visit Top Miami Attractions by Angela Caraway-Carlton
Lead – Miami Beach – Joel de Vriend on Unsplash
Everglades Alligator Farm – Gaetano Cessati on Unsplash
Sky Views Miami – Sky Views Miami.com
South Pointe Pier – Jorge Coromina on Unsplash
Vizcaya Museum and Gardens – Michelle Raponi on Pixabay
Zoo Miami – Javygo on Unsplash