From spring breakers to snow birds, those who live outside of Miami only really know the city for one thing – the beach. It is a great beach town with warm sand and bright water (even with all the Instagram posing), but even with the great nightlife and dining right by South Beach, sometimes the beach just gets old. Sometimes you want to slip the beach crowd and finally get all the sand out from between your toes. For those times, it is time to head into the city and explore what else Miami has to offer besides its famous beaches.
Visit Little Havana
At times, Little Havana with its strong coffee, rich cigars, and its super tense games of dominoes feels like you are stepping back in time. However, while they may still have some Cold War culture here, this area of Cuban immigrants is thriving and pushing the modern boundary in art and food every day. You may come here for Cuban style cigars or to check out those Cuban sandwiches that everyone is talking about, but you will stay for the art and generally lively vibe that this section of the city has to offer at any given time.
Visit the Art Deco District
Unlike Little Havana where you go for the food and stay for the scene, you go to the Art Deco district for the scene alone. This area of Miami is near-world famous at this point for its preservation of the oft-forgotten Art Deco style of architecture. The unique shapes of this building style are accented by the pure pastel colors, glass block features, and chrome accents. Over 800 buildings make up this district, all of them built between 1923 and 1943 when Art Deco was its most popular.While taking a drive through the Art Deco is pretty charming, if you don’t want to deal with any traffic, why not look into one of the many walking tours that run through here? You won’t see it all on foot, but you will definitely see the best that the district has to offer.
Take a Dip in The Venetian Pool
Just because you decided to leave the beach behind doesn’t mean you might not be in the mood for a quick dip to cool down on a hot summer afternoon. Instead of heading to the ocean, swim in style at the Venetian Pool in Coral Gables. Constructed in 1923 from a coral rock quarry, the pool is naturally fed by its own underground aquifer. The waterfalls and palm trees accent this large swim space, but as tickets are on a first come first serve basis, if you go later in the day, you may not get in. It is definitely one of those things that even if you prefer oceans to pools that you need to experience at least once.
Head Out into the Everglades
Miami is most well known for its beaches, but it also just north of the Florida Everglades. While you probably won’t be able to explore all 1.5 million acres of this UNESCO World Heritage site, you can enjoy a lot of wetlands in any time frame.
For some, hiking is a good way to see turtles, heron, and alligators. For others, they prefer the experience of kayaking the wetlands. There is something quite special about winding through the cypress trees and encountering manatees. If you are a little gator nervous, you can also look into some of the tours and ranger-led expeditions into this area as well. One of the more unique experiences is seeing the Everglades via airboat tours.
Charter a Boat
Miami is home to a number of great marinas, and with marinas also comes a number of tour operators. You only get a small scope of the ocean when you experience from a beach, but a chartered tour can do so much more. For some, this may mean heading out to some of the most fascinating dive or scuba sites off the coast of the city. For others, chartering a boat may mean a great day of fishing instead. You can even find a lot of sightseeing tours from the water if you just want to ride on a boat, catch some sun, and not be expected to do anything as well.
Cruise the Mansions in Biscayne Bay
Want to see how the other half (or one percent) live? Biscayne Bay can show you with its huge collection of million dollar mansions. If you are looking to save a few bucks, you can definitely take your car out to Star Island and experience the glamour. However, if you want just a bit better taste of it, look into one of the many yacht tours that go around the area. You will get to see the beautiful mansions without focusing on the road, and you get to ride on a yacht. We see that as an absolute win.
Escape to the Oasis That is Oleta River State Park
If you arr on Miami Beach and just keep walking north, eventually you will hit a stretch of beach not covered in spring breakers. That belongs to this state park, and it is actually a really nice stretch of beach. However, there is more to explore here than just sand. Many find it a good place to kayak or canoe to see the mangroves or to head up the river that cuts through the park, but it also has some great biking trials within as well.
Tour the Wynwood Walls
What was once six neglected buildings has now been turned into a graffiti art park. The Wynwood Walls has become a canvas for some of the best graffiti artists and has been the catalyst for the creation of one of Miami’s more hip neighborhoods. It is completely worth it to head to this small park to see the art alone, but within walking distance is quite a collection of daring eateries and creative cocktail bars. So why not make an afternoon of it?