Adventures in Miami?
June 21, 2007 6:40 PM   Subscribe

Non-touristy, offbeat or interesting things to do in Miami/South Florida next week?

I'm going to Miami (June 27th to July 4th) for a week to see my boyfriend. We're both relatively poor college kids, and we've seen the standard tourist attractions: Vizcaya, the Science Museum, Fairchild Gardens, Bayside, Key Biscayne (briefly), South Beach (briefly) and the like. We're looking for things to do, rather than see. Any interesting day trips? Areas to explore? Cheap-ish places to rent jetskis, go parasailing or do something equally active? Great camping spots? Music? We're willing to go elsewhere in South Florida, too.
posted by qz to Travel & Transportation around Miami, FL (8 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
It's only about an hour down to Key Largo and Pennekamp State Park where's there's pretty awesome snorkeling. You're also close to the Everglades, which is completely different than most things I've seen and really neat. What about an airboat trip to see some alligators?
posted by mosessis at 8:18 PM on June 21, 2007

And this might just be me, but I really like driving through Big Sugar land between Miami and Lake Okeechobee. Miles and miles of cane as far as the eye can see plus a really interesting mix of old Florida cowboy culture and Mexican/Central American culture (and food!).

One caution about camping: I try to avoid camping near water in Southern Florida this time of year. There are swarms of mosquitoes dense enough to use as a blanket and big enough to carry away your car. I've heard stories of people spending the entire night fully submerged in Lake Okeechobee with a drinking straw for a snorkel just so they could get away from them (native Floridians are also fans of the tall tale, but it's not really all that far from the truth in this case).
posted by mosessis at 8:26 PM on June 21, 2007

As a poor grad student in Miami, I loved riding my bicycle around the Coral Gables/Coconut Grove area - it was beautiful, flat, and free.

There are lovely bike trails that run from the Vizacaya/Science Museum area (a good place to park if you don't live in the area) to Key Biscayne (the Rickenbacker Causeway will work your tail, but the beaches on Key Biscayne are worth it), the marina at Coconut Grove, and to jungles of Coral Gables along Red Road.

I also biked through Shark Valley in the Everglades a couple of times. I would recommend camping out in the Everglades during the winter months--in the summer the skeeters will fly off with you. Hearing hundreds of gators croaking around you at night is really something...

How about an afternoon of swimming at the beautiful Venetian Pools in Coral Gables?

Florida Keys:

A drive to Key West would make a memorable overnight trip. It is really pushing it to do the round trip drive (about a 280 miles) in a day, though I have done it and the day trip was enough for me.

Also, I took several overnight trips to Key Largo in the summer when the motel rates are cheaper. There might be some inexpensive campgrounds in Key Largo, but I am not familiar with them. Oh, there is a decent restaurant called Sundowners that has a gorgeous view of the sunset on the Gulf of Mexico that would make a great close to an afternoon in Key Largo. A sunset dinner there is magical...
posted by cinemafiend at 8:31 PM on June 21, 2007

Drive the 25 miles to Ft. Lauderdale and go to The Mai Kai! It isn't cheap, but it's an American icon, and one of the last remaining true Polynesia revues/restaurants. (It just celebrated it's 50th birthday). Very romantic!
posted by Brittanie at 9:23 PM on June 21, 2007 [1 favorite]

I recommend South Beach Kayak. Here's their info: Phone - 305-673-2845. Address - South Beach Kayak 1771 Purdy Ave. Miami Beach. Email - You can have a guide, or just paddle around the islands with their crazy mansions. There's also an island - Monument Island - that you can hang out on. If you do a moonlight kayak trip you'll probably grill there on Monument Island. There's other kayaking in Miami, but so far I like South Beach Kayak the best. Affordable.

There's parasailing at Sailboards Miami on the causeway to Key Biscayne. I've only been kayaking there (and didn't love it), but people seemed to be having fun parasailing.

Windsurfing Sailboards Miami
1 Rickenbacker Cswy
Key Biscayne, FL 33149
(305) 892-8992
posted by Amizu at 5:52 AM on June 22, 2007

Also go to see jai alai - maybe at Dania Beach, but there's also jai alai in miami too.

Versailles is super-touristy, but worth doing because it is so Miami-Cuban. And cheap. Tap Tap Haitian - same goes. Every Haitian I've mentioned Tap Tap to has raved about it. (And I eat there all the time and consistently love it. It's cheap too.) Brunch at Big Pink on South Beach - full of locals, cheap, delicious. Or Pita Hut in Miami Beach - on Arthur Godfrey. Delicious Israeli food. Dogma (hot dogs, including veg) and Lime Fresh (tacos, etc.) are great, super-cheap eats on South Beach.

Go to the World Erotic Art Museum in South Beach.

Go to Bingo night at the Standard Hotel in Miami Beach. Free to play and you get to use the pool too.
posted by Amizu at 6:08 AM on June 22, 2007 [1 favorite]

It's June, unless you have a deep and abiding love for mosquito related pain and paraphenelia, please avoid camping here this time of year. If you are driving down the keys I highly recommend stopping in at Bahia Honda on Ohio Key. A room in Key West for even one night will be ungodly expensive and possibly hard to find. There has been a lot of condo conversion this past year. Attempting to sleep on the beach is a bad idea for a number of reasons. The police being probably the worst. Likelihood of getting your stuff stolen coming in a close second.

The Spam Allstars (This page plays their music automatically) play at Hoy Como Ayer at 10:30 on the 28th in Little Havana. Ladies in free until 11 or 1130.

Books and Books in Coral Gables is an awesome bookstore, independent. They will have some readings while you're in town.

Haulover Beach is clothing optional, if you're into that experience.

We're up here in Hollywood, FL and we don't do a whole lot, but if you're up this way, Beefeater on Hollywood Blvd is a great Argentinian steak place. They have empanadas, too. Mauro's on the same block for a very nice thin slice of pizza (only $2.25!) and PRL in between for a great beer.

The Morikami Museum is a bit of a hike north from you (maybe an hour+) but I'm told they have lovely gardens.

Finally, I will leave you with the question I asked on this very topic last year. Email is in my profile if you have any more questions.
posted by bilabial at 6:49 AM on June 22, 2007

If either of you are under 23 years of age you are eligible for STEEPLY discounted tickets to events, plays, and museums in Miami... You mentioned you have gone to the tourist spots already, but take a look at and see if you missed any... I just came across this site the other day and all their tickets are under $5.00...
posted by MrBCID at 8:11 AM on June 24, 2007

« Older Hotel bathroom light switches outside the bathroom...   |   Describe the technology of a society with... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.