11 Best Self-Drive Day Trips From Miami

When you visit Miami, you’ll find that your days spent in the city are brimming with opportunity. That kind of potential, however, can quickly grow overwhelming. If you feel like you need to escape Miami’s hustle and bustle, you might consider taking a day trip away from the area. But what’s near Miami that you can visit in a single day?

11 Best Self-Drive Day Trips From MiamiMore attractions than you might think. Spend a day visiting any of the following nearby locales, and you’ll find that there’s more to a Florida vacation than just time on the beach:

  • Everglades National Park (inc. Shark Valley)
  • Homestead
  • The Redland Region
  • Biscayne National Park
  • Bimini, Bahamas
  • Palm Beach
  • The Coral Castle
  • Key Largo
  • Naples
  • Delray Beach
  • Marco Island

All of these locations will let you drive from Miami and back in a single day – meaning that there’s no need to book another hotel. You can take a break from the go-go-go of the city and wind down while still exploring the secrets and excitement that Florida has to offer.

Why Take A Day Trip Outside Of Miami?

Miami is one of the most beautiful cities in Florida – and one of the most active. Pop culture has imbued the city with a sense of elegance and mystery, highlighting its Cuban connections alongside its urban atmosphere. You can spend a whole day on the beach or exploring downtown – either way, you’ll have used your time in the area well.

Why, though, if there’s so much to do, would you want to leave the area?

If you have kids, you may find Miami a little overwhelming – as may they. Leaving the city for a day can provide them with continued entertainment while also helping them cool down from all of the local excitement. Alternatively, you may need a break, yourself.

There are also dozens of places outside of Miami that are more than worth your time. Whether you’re looking to relax or just diversify your vacation, a day trip can’t hurt.

Days Trips Around Miami

With that in mind, what kind of day trips can you take while using Miami as your base of operations? Do note that some of these trips are longer than others, so make sure to plan your drive times (or available drivers) accordingly.

Everglades National Park

The Everglades is the best known natural attraction in Florida – not to mention one of the most important. This stretch of nationally-protected land not only serves as a tourist attraction, but it provides a home for many of the endangered species living in Florida. The right season for visiting the park is the dry winter season, or anytime between November and May, between December and March, you have the best chance of seeing the most wildlife.

If you want to spend a day trying to spot these and other critters for yourself, you can drive one hour out of Miami to find the Everglades waiting for you. In a single day, you can actually drive all the way to the Flamingo area, the most southern point a paved road will take you in the park.

Shark Valley

You don’t have to go very deep into Everglades National Park to see the gators. Shark Valley is fairly close to Miami. You can go over there to take an airboat ride and be back for an afternoon back in the city. You don’t have to take the airboat though. You can also rent a bike and ride along the bicycle loop. This 15-mile trek will let you stretch your legs while catching a glimpse of some of the wildlife living in the park, especially if you visit during winter time. At the valley’s halfway point, you’ll find a visitor’s center and a concrete lookout tower that you can climb at your leisure.

You can read more about the layout of this national park and how to plan your Miami day trip to this area in our detailed guide for Everglades National Park. Between Flamingo and Shark Valley, there’s enough here for two separate day trips from Miami!

Homestead

For visitors that want Cuban flavor without the Miami hustle, there’s Homestead, Florida. The gateway to the Everglades, this city sits 45 minutes away from Miami and is a great place to escape to. Here, you can settle in to spend a day at the national park or explore the many NASCAR-related attractions that the area prides itself on.

Adult visitors can spend the day sipping on wine made out of avocados and mangoes courtesy of Schnebly Redlands Winery & Brewery. Alternatively, you can take the kids to Alligator Farm, where they’ll be able to get safely up close and personal with Florida’s alligators and turtles. For dinner, you can readily stop at any of the Cuban-inspired restaurants in the city, all of which will provide you with generous portions free of Miami’s rush.

Each attraction in Homestead operates on its own hours. While the prices here won’t be as expensive as they are in Miami, do take care to budget for your day trip to the area. For more information about this Florida location, you can visit this website.

The Redland Region

Homestead is part of the larger Redland Region, within which the Everglades National Park resides. If you don’t want to spend your whole day touring Florida’s jungle or just in Homestead, you can branch out to see what the whole of the surrounding county has to offer you. 45 minutes away from Miami, several of the local farms are open to visitors and will sell you not only local fruits but a variety of baked goods. You’ll also be able to visit the wineries operating in the area, many of which specialize in selling unconventional wines made of, for example, lychee and passion fruit.

For those of you interested in non-alcoholic treats, you can visit Robert Is Here, a local fruit stand parked near the Everglades National Park. Robert Is Here will provide you with snacks for your drive back to Miami or a shake to help you cool off from a hot day of adventure.

The hours of Redland Region’s attractions vary by season and location. For more information about this Florida county, you can visit this website.

Biscayne National Park

Roughly an hour away from Miami, you’ll find Biscayne National Park. This national park is considered part of the Florida Key chain and is, in that regard, the northern-most part of the Keys that you can visit. But why make the trek out to this island?

Because, much like Venice in Italy, Biscayne National Park prides itself on its relationship with the water. The national park is, in fact, 95 percent water. You’ll have to navigate the park by kayak or guide boat tour, stopping over at barrier islands and mangrove forests as you go.

The island itself doesn’t offer many amenities, but it is rich in possibility. Take a boat out for the day, go snorkeling, or try your hand at Florida fishing. Costs will vary, based on the gear you need to rent, but a day spent in Biscayne is affordable and fun for all. For more information about this Florida location, you can visit this website.

Bimini, Bahamas

If you don’t feel up to driving, but you still want to take a day trip, then the rolling waves of Bimini await. You can’t drive to Bimini. Instead, you’ll need to take a two-hour boat ride out of Miami to reach its white shores. Once you’ve arrived, you can spend the day snorkeling, diving with sharks, or hiking to your heart’s content. Alternatively, you can head over to the Hilton Resort, where you’ll be able to get a massage like no other.

There are also a plethora of restaurants and shops on the island. You’ll find Alice Town and the King’s Highway on North Bimini. Do make an effort, though, to explore all three islands that comprise Bimini – when you do, you’re guaranteed to find attractions that you’d never dreamed of before.

A round trip by boat to Bimini leaves at 9 AM and comes back to the mainland at 8 PM. A round-trip ticket runs you roughly $120. That ticket also provides you with unlimited access to the Hilton Resort and the Hilton Resort’s beach. For more information about this Florida location, you can visit this website.

Palm Beach

If you’re looking for a beach-and-city trip that doesn’t take quite so long, you can leave Miami behind for Palm Beach. Palm Beach is home to dozens of miles of striking architecture, courtesy of the homes of the rich and famous. While you can spend your time in the area trying to spot celebrities, you can also spend it kayaking, hiking, or sunbathing on the beach.

The mainland will also provide you with plenty of opportunities to eat and drink cuisine unique to the area. However, should you choose to head out to Peanut Island, you’ll find that there are more secrets in Palm Beach than you might imagine. Kennedy Bunker resides on Peanut Island, and once served as a top-secret location for the United State’s Navy to operate out of. While it is now open to the public, you can still dive in and see what about this base made it such a compelling secret.

For more information about this Florida location, you can visit this website.

The Coral Castle

The Coral Castle and its affiliated museum are only a few miles outside of main Miami, but the spot is still worth a visit. Here, you’ll find one of the strangest and largest coral sculptures ever to be made and displayed.

Ed Leedskalnin created – or, at the least, transported – 1,100 tons of coral from the bottom of the sea, intrigued by the figure’s iconic shape. Where once visitors were able to get inside the castle, those individuals who now care for it – the affiliates of the Coral Castle Museum – have thus far been unable to make the back door of the castle open to visitors. Even so, the museum holds ghost tours and standard day tours for any and all visitors who choose to visit.

The museum is open to the public between the hours of 9 AM and 6 PM between Sunday and Thursday. On Fridays and Saturdays, visitors are able to stay until 7 PM. The cost of admission breaks down as follows:

  • Adults (ages 13 – 64): $18.00
  • Seniors (ages 65+): $16.00
  • Children (ages 7 – 12): $8.00
  • Children (under age 6): Free

For more information about this Florida location, you can visit this website.

Key Largo

If you want to get further into the Keys that Biscayne allows, you can! Key Largo is less than an hour and a half away from Miami courtesy of the Overseas Highway – an expansive bridge that will delight drivers new and old. If you don’t want to make the drive yourself, you can use the shuttle that leaves from Miami International to make your way south.

Once you arrive in Key Largo, you’ll be able to spend the day doing as you please at a much slower pace than you would in Miami. Here, you can explore John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park or undertake any number of local water sports. There are several island services that will allow you to rent the gear you need to explore your wild side – safely, of course.

For more information about this Key Largo and its attractions, you can visit this website.

Naples

Two hours away from Miami rests Naples, considered by many to be the jewel of Florida. While the nightlife in Naples can’t hold a candle to Miami, the gentle lull of the city can be appealing after a few days back east. In Naples, you’ll be able to rent a bike and spend your day exploring the city and its many trails. Stop by downtown for a place to eat and enjoy the sun on your face while you taste local treats. Golfers can spend time on pristine courses, while kids and families can explore the Naples’ Pier. There are several attractions in this city that will appeal to visitors of all ages, so you can explore as you please without feeling the need to rush.

Do note, though, that Naples’ shops shut down fairly early in the evening, with most closing their doors around 5 PM. If you notice traffic starting to lighten, it may be time for you to head back to Miami – that is if you want to keep exploring. If you want to rest during your visit to Naples, know that the beaches are open until the sun goes down, and even for a little while after.

For more information about this Florida location, you can visit this website.

Delray Beach

Do you want to enjoy the urban energy of Miami without the stress? Then Delray Beach is going to be the perfect spot for you. Delray Beach and its popular Atlantic Avenue marry city hustle with beach relaxation beautifully. You can spend your day trip with your feet buried in the sand. Then, as night comes on, you’ll be able to head to Atlantic Avenue to enjoy fantastic restaurants and energetic clubs, like Salt.

Roughly an hour north of Miami, Delray specializes in providing couples with an exceptional visit. That said, families may want to move back towards Miami as night comes on, just to avoid some of the more enthusiastic visitors. But even kids will be able to enjoy the live music coming from every corner of the city, be it day time or night time.

For more information about this Florida location, you can visit this website.

Marco Island

Want to push your day trip a little further south? Then you’ll want to plan to spend a day out on Marco Island. Two hours away from Miami, this island breaks off from Florida and offers you access to white, sandy beaches that come with half the crowd size. You’ll find the barrier island just off the coast of Naples. While it doesn’t house too many attractions for thrill-seekers, you’ll still find a plethora of things to do in the area. If you’re looking to spend a day relaxing, though, this is the place to do it.

Head over to Tiger Tail Beach, where the kids will be able to enjoy time on the playground while you soak up the sun. You can alternatively make your way over to Sand Dollar Island, a tidal lagoon that you can walk to from Marco, thanks to the shallow water.

As is the case with most of the city destinations on this list, Marco Island’s attractions and parking will vary, based on those which you choose to visit. Be sure to budget your day with care. For more information about this Florida location, you can visit this website.

11 Best Self-Drive Day Trips From Miami

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