The best day trips from Miami

Angela Wood

Senior Contributor

Miami, Florida – home to effervescent South Beach, Art Deco hotels, a vibrant Latin Quarter and colourful nightlife. If you’ve holidayed in this coastal metropolis before, you’ll be seeking new and exciting things to do. So, rent a convertible or charter a yacht, let the breeze whip through your hair and check out our best day trips from Miami.

Drive to the Florida Keys Across Seven Mile Bridge

You can reach the Florida Keys from Miami in less than 1.5 hours by car. The picturesque archipelago can be as laid-back or action-packed as you choose on your day trip. There’s snorkelling and shipwreck diving to enjoy, you can charter a yacht to go sports fishing, visit national parks or relax in a waterfront restaurant feasting on conch fritters and key lime pie. The Keys stretch for 120 miles, packed with abundant nature and dotted with charming towns which are an eclectic mix of Caribbean and Americana. However, most visitors head for Key West. Once home to cigar makers and pirates, the largest island was used as a base from which to plunder ports of the Caribbean. Casual downtown bars serve heady mixes of rum cocktails, art galleries highlight local talent and beaches of soft white sand are strewn with hammocks between towering palm trees. After browsing historic houses and observing fearless fire eaters and street performers in Mallory Square, head to Louie’s Backyard to admire spectacular sunsets or dine on tapas at atmospheric Santiagos Bodega before departing for Miami once more.

Whizz Along Waterways at Everglades National Park

Everglades National Park is an easy 40-minute journey by car from Miami, the perfect distance for a day trip. This vast expanse of South Florida wetlands covers over 2,400 square miles and is home to some of the most diverse species of wildlife in the world. Begin your exploration along the Anhinga Trail – walking boardwalks where turtles, birdlife and alligators reside, or climb the 65-foot observation tower at Shark Valley for 360-degree views of the national park. You can explore pine-lined shores via bicycle or choose to kayak through mangrove forests glimpsing rare manatees and dolphins on your travels. One of the best ways to cover much of the park is via luxury airboat. Hire one for a few hours to learn about this fascinating eco-system from a qualified guide. You’re likely to see deer, panthers, snakes and over 300 bird species during your airboat adventure, so don’t forget your camera!

Charter a Boat to Bimini Island, Bahamas

You need an escape from the hustle and bustle of Miami, but where to go next? How about Bimini Island in the Bahamas? You can reach Bimini in 2 hours via ferry from Miami, you can charter a boat and crew, or if you are qualified, even drive the boat yourself! The beautiful Caribbean island is just 46 miles from the Port of Miami, therefore accessible for you to navigate solo. The 7 mile-long, 700 feet wide island is easy to explore on foot, and the perfect place for scuba, snorkelling and fishing. However, if you wish to remain on dry land, head for Resort World Bimini. The luxury resort owned by Genting Group boasts a 10,000 square foot casino complete with high roller poker and blackjack tables tempting you to try your luck. If you prefer to focus on local cuisine, 5-star restaurants serve delicious conch salad, ceviche and jerk chicken in the hotel. If one night on the ocean wave isn’t enough, extend your trip to Nassau. With fishing rods, jet-skis and enough food and drink to throw a party for friends on your boat, it’s the perfect getaway.

Explore the Universe at Kennedy Space Centre

If you’ve ever wondered what lies behind the gates of Kennedy Space Centre you can now find out. Nestled on Florida’s eastern shores, a few miles north of Cocoa Beach and 50 minute’s east of Orlando, Kennedy Space Centre has long been a fascination for adults and children alike. There are several tours available so you can choose one which aligns with your interests the most. You may decide to join NASA insider Mike Leinbach – launch director of the Space Shuttle Atlantis and discover what preparation goes into a space mission. You’ll enjoy a guided tour of the shuttle itself before putting yourself in an astronaut’s shoes and blasting off into orbit during a simulated Shuttle Launch Experience! You can discover where America’s space programme all began in the 1950s visiting early launch sites of Cape Canaveral or for those who prefer a more exclusive tour, join a veteran astronaut to tour the entirety of Kennedy Space Centre!

Shop, Dine and Dance in West Palm Beach

Little over an hour north of Miami lies the exclusive coastal town of West Palm Beach. With sun-kissed beaches, clear blue skies and myriad outdoor and cultural pursuits, it’s the perfect spot for a leisurely day trip. You can shop like a local at CityPlace - a 600,000 square foot retail and dining space with open-air plaza, arts theatre and more. It has the vibe of a typical Mediterranean village with decorative fountains, alfresco dining and palm lined boulevards. Alternatively, historic Clematis Street houses some of the best boutiques, galleries and antique stores, not to mention dynamic nightlife and live music venues. If you enjoy picking up a bargain, Palm Beach Outlets showcase 130 plus stores including Saks Fifth Avenue, DKNY, Tommy Hilfiger, Polo Ralph Lauren and more. Dining in West Palm Beach is also a treat. Aioli serves delicious vegetarian, vegan and gluten free soups, sandwiches and salads – the perfect stop for a light bite, or if you prefer something more substantial try elegant Table 26° Palm Beach where executive chef Martha Encarnación produces flavoursome global cuisine with creative flair and aplomb.

Discover Rare Wildlife at Marco Island

Heading out west on Florida’s I-41 takes you through Everglades National Park to pretty Marco Island. It’s the largest of Florida’s Ten Thousand Islands with a powdery sand beach and labyrinth waterways perfect for wildlife spotting. One of the best ways to view the areas natural beauty is via kayak. There are 189 species of bird, bottle-nosed dolphins, West Indian Manatees and Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles to spot, so be ready with binoculars, snorkels and cameras! Once back on dry land, pay a visit to Marco Island Historical Society. The building displays 3,000-year-old exhibits from which you can learn about Florida’s indigenous people and early pioneers of the state.

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