Exploring South Florida: A Guide for First-Timers

SOUTH FLORIDA – South Florida is often associated with Miami. Although it’s a major tourist destination, there are many other places worth a visit. Pristine beaches, secluded islands, exotic gardens, interesting museums, and unique attractions – all this you’ll find in the cities of South Florida.

Miami Attractions

The list of the best beaches recommended by will be provided later, so now let’s focus on things to do and see in Miami.

Villa Vizcaya

Want a piece of Europe in Miami? On Biscayne Bay, there sits a beautiful 100-year house built in the Italian Renaissance style. It’s a popular spot for wedding and romantic photo sessions. The interior is not less impressive than the façade. Today, it’s a museum that exhibits European antiques and art in more than 70 rooms.

Wynwood Walls

If you’re an art lover, you’ll be flabbergasted by Wynwood Walls and won’t miss an opportunity to take a picture of it for your Instagram to boast. This is an outdoor gallery of graffiti art. Once dull warehouse walls, today they are canvases for many street artists and muralists who come here to implement their new ideas. The look of the neighborhood is ever-changing, as new murals appear constantly. If you are lucky enough, you can happen to visit the Wynwood Walls when the artists are in the middle of painting new murals.

Exploring South Florida: A Guide for First-Timers includes Wynwood Walls
Wyndood Wall
Little Havana

This is the neighborhood of Latino community.  The Cuban spirit is in the air here. It’s definitely one of the must-see attractions in Miami. You don’t need to travel to Cuba because Cuba is on Calle Ocho (SW 8th St). Authentic houses, colorful murals, clicks of domino, the smell of tobacco, a plethora of restaurants and bakeries, and unique ice-cream – be ready to experience all this. Eat the Cubano at Versailles, an authentic Cuban diner.

Art Deco District

What do you conjure up when you hear the word “Miami”? Most probably your imagination draws the pictures of stylish pastel buildings in Miami Beach. There are more than 800 Art Deco buildings in this area, so take a walk to explore the neighborhood and enjoy the architecture. As you stroll in the district, don’t miss the Bass Museum of Art. Enjoy its exterior and check out what’s inside.

Miami Beach Boardwalk

A perfect way to start the day is to go for a walk along the coast of Miami Beach. The boardwalk runs parallel to the water and beaches, so during your stroll (or run) you’ll be able to contemplate what Miami beaches have to offer.

Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden

If nature you see around is not enough for you, then set off for Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden located in Coral Gables, just south of Miami. It’s a real paradise for nature lovers. The garden can boast a rich and impressive collection of tropical plants. There are tram tours available to make your exploration process more comfortable. Don’t miss the chance to visit the butterfly conservatory. If you are interested in gardening, check out the Edible Garden. After a long walk, relax in the placid Moos Sunken Garden.

Miami Seaquarium

If you travel with a kid, then this is the place for you. It’s said to be one of the oldest oceanariums in the US. The Seaquarium is a quite legendary place, as Flipper was filmed here. The world’s oldest orca Lolita is kept here since 1970. The dolphin show is a favorite attraction for both children and adults. There are the splash zone seats for those who want to be part of the performance and refresh a bit.

Miami is a vibrant and diverse city where every tourist will find something to their own taste: from nightclubs and world-class beaches to enticing architecture and art objects.

There are many attractions outside Miami too.


Islamorada is the name for a group of islands in the Florida Keys. It has two titles: it is the sport-fishing capital and one of the most romantic places in the USA. The latter is probably due to the purple sunsets one can watch here. For the fans of dolphins, there is Theater of the Sea, where you can view dolphin and sea lion shows.

Coral Castle, Homestead

It’s hard to believe that everything you see in Coral Castle was allegedly carved by one man who knew the technique of building the pyramids. Whether it’s true or not, you should visit the Coral Castle Museum to move a 9-ton gate with a touch of your finger, see a Polaris telescope, and sit in a rocking chair – all made of stone.

Everglades Alligator Farm

If you came to Homestead to visit the Coral Castle, don’t miss the chance to explore South Florida’s oldest alligator farm. There are more than 2,000 alligators living here. Take an airboat tour to glide across the territory, see how the staff feeds alligators, enjoy alligator and snake shows performed hourly.

Still, the main attraction in South Florida is its beaches that are competing for tourists’ and locals’ attention. Some people choose mainstream beach destinations while some want to explore the wild unspoiled beaches.

The 5 Best Beaches in South Florida
  • Key West, Florida Keys

The Florida Keys is the long chain of 1,700 islands. Key West is the southernmost point in the continental USA. Picturesque landscapes and mild climate make it an attractive spot. Getting to Key West is a real pleasure since it runs across one of the most beautiful in the US roads US 1. It runs between the islands, across the bridges, so you are driving a long way over the water.

When you arrive, rent a golf-car or a bicycle to explore the island on your own. Make sure to visit Key West bike rentals to pick the best vehicle for exploring this area. Visit the Hemingway house and pet the six-toed cats; go fishing; rent a boat and go on a small cruise. If your main purpose is swimming and sunbathing, Key West beaches are perfect for it.

  • Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park, Key Biscayne

Key Biscayne is the island located only a bridge away from Miami. Among the beaches it hosts, the one on the southern tip of the island is the best option if you appreciate peace and romance. There is the oldest structure in South Florida – the Cape Florida Lighthouse.

Exploring South Florida includes Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park, Key Biscayne
Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park, Key Biscayne
  • Sanibel Island

Shell collectors will definitely find some treasures for their collections on this beach. Sanibel Island is a holiday destination both for families and couples. It has everything to be considered one of the best places for a beach holiday: a relaxing small-town ambiance, beautiful natural landscapes, clear water, and white-sand beaches.

  • Siesta Beach, Sarasota

This is one of the most famous beaches in Florida that has been recognized as the best beach in America many times. It’s said you won’t find another beach with the sand as white as it is here. Also, quartz sand stays cool even when the temperatures go high. There are all possible attractions to keep you entertained.

  • Naples

If you’re looking for those perfect beaches where you don’t need a blanket because sand is so soft that it feels like a feather bed, you’ll find them in Naples. Barefoot Beach, Lowdermilk Park, 3rd Avenue Beach should be on your list.  One of the things you shouldn’t miss is the Naples Pier.

South Florida Caribbean News

The Team provides news and information for the Caribbean-American community in South Florida and beyond.

Related Articles

Back to top button