These weekend trips from Miami are sure to provide an unforgettable experience. There’s plenty to do just outside Miami that makes interesting road trips when you’re in the mood to get behind the wheel, turn up the tunes, and embark on an adventure. 

    Just a short drive and you can be enjoying some of the best snorkelling, if not the best, in the continental US. You might swim with dolphins, stare back at a toothy gator, enjoy thrills at an amusement park, collect beautiful shells, or indulge in some high-end shopping that’s a bit different than what you’ll find in the “Magic City.” 

    1

    Key Largo

    Some of the country’s best snorkelling and beaches

    Key Largo proves you don’t have to travel all the way to the Caribbean to enjoy snorkelling among tropical fish. Head to this sandy strip, just 75 minutes south of Miami, and you can explore the underwater world at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park without getting your passport stamped. It’s arguably the best you’ll find in the continental US as the park preserves and protects the country’s only living coral reef. Key Largo makes a fantastic weekend getaway from Miami.

    Linked with the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, there are a total of more than 178 nautical square miles to snorkel, dive, or take a glass-bottom boat tour. Bird lovers can get up close to herons, pelicans, ospreys, hawks, and other birds at the Wild Bird Rehabilitation Center just a short drive away.

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    2

    Everglades National Park

    A lush, wildlife enthusiast’s dream

    Everglades National Park is spread over 1.5 million acres and it’s less than an hour from Miami. Travelling the Shark Valley-to-Everglades City route via the Tamiami Trail, you’ll get a magnificent, uninterrupted view of the lush, natural wilderness.

    At Shark Valley, hop on a tram to take a tour that includes the park’s largest creatures: alligators. There are many here, including males that can be as large as 14 ft in length and weigh up to 1,000 pounds. A mile past the Flamingo Visitor Center where you can rent canoes to paddle into nearby Snake Bight, you’ll find Eco Pond, ideal for viewing wading birds, alligators, and a host of freshwater wildlife.

    Teléfono: +1 305-242-7700

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    3

    West Palm Beach

    A combination of shopping and culture

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    • Ir de compras
    • Historia

    Just over an hour north of Miami, West Palm Beach offers a lot more than beaches and palm trees. Located along the Atlantic coast, it’s an ideal destination for cultural attractions and shopping.

    You can check out the distinguished collection of works at the North Museum of Art, which features 19th- and 20th-century masterpieces by American and European artists, along with bronze artefacts and Chinese jade that are considered among the world’s best. The Kravis Center for the Performing Arts is a great place to catch a show, while the city’s famous Antique Row offers over 50 antique stores, speciality shops, and art galleries that are all within walking distance.

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    4

    Lake Okeechobee

    Gleaming skyscrapers and stunning bay views

    Lake Okeechobee is Florida's largest lake at 730 square miles, within a couple of hours’ drive from Miami. You can be fishing at the lake depending on which section of shoreline you head to. A prime destination for bass fishing, with trophy-size largemouth bass regularly hooked, it’s also a fabulous place to watch wildlife, including egrets, osprey, alligators, manatees, deer, wild hogs, bobcats, and more.

    The Lake Okeechobee Scenic Trail, an approximately 110-mile route that encircles the lake, is popular for hiking, biking, and horseback riding.

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    5

    Orlando

    Where to find the big thrills

    Orlando is world-renowned for its amusement parks, with 6 different parks at Walt Disney Resort alone and another 3 at Universal Orlando. As it’s a little over a 3-hour drive from Miami, you’ll want to spend a weekend here to take advantage of the heart-pounding experiences.

    Disney’s Magic Kingdom is the classic, with Space Mountain the most thrilling ride, but at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Expedition Everest isn’t for the faint of heart with a train that runs back to an 80-ft drop. At Universal Orlando, you can ride the Incredible Hulk Coaster which reaches speeds of up to 64 mph with 7 inversions.

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    6

    Marco Island

    Pristine white sand, emerald waters and manatees

    Marco Island sits along the Gulf of Mexico and is the largest barrier island within Florida’s Ten Thousand Islands area. A 2-hour drive west of Miami, it’s surrounded by brilliant emerald waters and soft white sands, with more than 6 miles of beaches within just 24 square miles.

    Marco Island is a popular spot for a relaxing getaway with its laid-back vibe, lots of water-based activities like kayaking and fishing, and restaurants serving fresh seafood. It also provides access to many undeveloped islands that can be reached by boat tour. It's home to abundant wildlife as part of the Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge, including Atlantic loggerhead turtles and the Florida manatee.

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    7

    Fort Myers

    Come for the art and stay for the live music

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    • Aventuras

    Fort Myers is an outdoor adventurer’s paradise playground, but it also boasts a top-notch art and music scene. A 2.5-hour road trip in early February brings the chance to attend ArtFest right along the waterfront, but you can enjoy gallery-hopping any time of the year. Check out the Arts for ACT Gallery in the heart of historic downtown that includes 75 co-op artists.

    In the River District, you’ll discover a wealth of galleries within walking distance mixed in with antique shops, boutiques, cafes, and restaurants. Stick around to enjoy live music at spots like The Cottage where it’s hosted every night of the week until the early hours of the morning, right on the beach.

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    8

    Sanibel Island

    Enhance your collection in the ‘Shelling Capital of the World’

    Sanibel is a Gulf Coast barrier island known as the ‘Shelling Capital of the World.’ It offers stunning beauty that draws visitors from across the globe, around 2 hours and 40 minutes from downtown Miami. Spend a weekend, a week or more here, it’s the perfect stress-melting escape.

    The unique shape of the island makes it a dream for beachcombers who can search for the more than 250 shell species that arrive from the Caribbean. There are 15 miles of sands where you can find everything from colourful coquinas and conches to sand dollars. Check the tide tables first as you’ll want to be here within 2 hours of low tide to gather the best treasures.

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    9

    Islamorada

    Get up close to marine life, including dolphins and sea lions

    Reach Islamorada by travelling the spectacular Overseas Highway south from Miami for 85 miles. During a stay at this weekend getaway, you’ll be treated to one of the country’s most scenic drives, as well as swim with dolphins and enjoy all sorts of other marine life encounters at The Theater of the Sea.

    There’s enough to spend a full day here – participate in turtle feedings, interact with sea lions, watch animal shows, take a glass-bottom boat tour, and enjoy a private beach for sunbathing and swimming. Islamorada is also the departure point for Cheeca Rocks, a top spot for snorkelling among sea turtles, angelfish, parrotfish, and more.

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    10

    Fort Lauderdale

    Millionaire’s Row, world-class shopping and tranquil, sugary sands

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    • Ir de compras
    • Aventuras
    • Lujo

    Fort Lauderdale is an easy day trip from Miami that’s jam-packed with things to do. The ‘Venice of America,’ sits along the Atlantic coast and is renowned for its shopping venues. But if you’re looking to enjoy a more tranquil stretch of sand, you’ll find the same clear turquoise waters and powder sugar-like sands without the big party crowds.

    Hugh Taylor Birch State Park offers an oasis with freshwater lagoons, nature trails, picnic areas, and beach access. You can also ogle the glitzy yachts and multimillion-dollar mansions that belong to big-name celebrities and billionaire CEOs along Millionaire’s Row, for a glimpse at how the upper crust lives.

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    K.C. Dermody | Colaborador/a habitual

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