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Free (and almost free) Sensible Miami Day Trips

The day trip list from Miami can be as endless as the options of things to do in Miami.  Should you dare to want to spend time at a little slower pace, there are adventures in every direction.

If you want a taste of the Keys, you can head South and find hiking, beaches, watering holes, key lime pies, and blazing sunsets in under 90 minutes.

West will take you into the Everglades or maybe even onto the Big Cypress Reservation to learn more about the Seminole tribe at the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum.

Head North and in under 60 minutes, you might find quiet nature centers, unspoiled treasures, world-class shopping, and less crowded beaches.

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Key Largo Beaches

When visiting Miami, I always use it as an excuse to head to the Keys and explore something new.  One of the most popular stops you’ll find for diving in Key Largo is John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, also great for snorkeling tours, kayaks, and the glass bottom boat tour. You can also camp, fish (saltwater fishing license required), and swim to an early Spanish shipwreck.

All visitors are required to pay an entrance fee:

  • $8.00* per vehicle. Limit 2-8 people per vehicle.
  • $2.00* Pedestrians, bicyclists, extra passengers, passengers in vehicle with holder of Annual Individual Entrance Pass.
  • $4.00* Single-occupant vehicle or motorcycle.
  • *Plus $.50 per person Monroe County Surcharge. Tours are priced separately and require reservations.

More places to visit:

Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park – free park featuring a nice nature walking loop.

Rowell’s Waterfront Park

– FREE park to launch a kayak, have a picnic, swim, or watch the sunset.

free (and almost free) sensible day trip ideas near miami when i wander

Florida Keys History & Discovery Center

The Keys History & Discovery Center is open Wednesdays through Sundays, 10 a.m.–5 p.m., and is located at 82100 Overseas Highway, MM 82, on the property of the Islander Resort.

  • General Admission: $15
  • Seniors: $12.50
  • Students: $6
  • Children under 6: free
  • Active Duty Military and Veterans: free
  • Museums for All rate*: $3

Rain Barrel Village

***Instagrammable Stop – photo opp with Betsy the Lobster.  Stroll the tropical gardens and Keys style cottages surrounded by indoor and outdoor art installations. Enjoy conch fritters or a toasted Cuban sandwich at the Lobster Shack.  Browse handmade crafts, artwork, beachwear, and Florida Keys inspired items to bring home.

Eating in Islamorada? Try local cuisine favorites like Mangrove Mike’s Café or Lazy Days.

Windley Key Fossil Reef Geological State Park

– $2.50 Admission

Pace yourself along 8-foot quarry walls that exhibit the ancient coral and Key Largo limestone that once built Henry Flagler’s Overseas Railroad in the early 1900’s. You will also find preserved quarry machinery amongst the educational exhibits.  The park is closed Monday through Wednesday so, if you find yourself there early on a Thursday morning, just know, that you’ll be clearing the spiderweb trails for everyone else.  Speaking from experience, so, pick up a stick and try to carefully displace the webby houses before you crash through them.  Unless you like being covered in webs, if so, enjoy!

*Accessibility* – They have an Action Track chair available at the education center that makes it possible for those with disabilities to enjoy the trails too!

North of Miami – Hollywood Florida

If you’d like to head in the other direction (North) from Miami, try Hollywood.  For picturesque swaying palm trees and beach breezes, there’s a 2.5 mile pedestrian promenade at the Hollywood Beach Broadwalk.  Dive Hollywood’s Coral Reefs or just learn more about them and helping in the fight to protect them.  Hollywood has more than 3 miles of Atlantic coast that is home to over 20 artificial and natural reef sites for diving. 

Tips to help protect the reefs even from ashore:

Do not throw trash or food into the water. Dispose and recycle properly.

Do not touch, harass or disturb marine life.

Follow proper USCG and FWC boating and fishing regulations.

Use environmentally friendly sun protection and cleaning products on boating equipment.

Art and Culture Center

– tour exhibits, take a class, summer camp for the kids, free family days, and even distance learning.  Check out the Broward Art Calendar for more arts happenings in South Florida. 

ArtsPark at Young Circle

– offers visual and performing arts activities and events with an Amphitheater, Playground, Butterfly Sculpture and Visual Arts Pavilion.  This is also one of the few places in the United States where you can see 5 Baobab trees. These African native trees are enormous!  The second widest species of tree in the world.How to get a FREE ride around town: Flag down one of the Sun Shuttles that operate weekdays from 10am to 9pm (weekends 10am to 10pm).  If you download the free “Ride Circuit” app – you can request a ride for $1 per person/per ride.  Get 3 free rides with the promo in the app alert.

Downtown Hollywood Mural Project

28 locations of beautiful murals painted by amazing artists.

Weekend Exploring and looking for green living, seasonal fresh foods, and true artisans?  Make the Yellow Green Farmer’s Market a stop on your travel plans.  First hour of parking is FREE.

Anne Kolb Nature Center

– FREE 1500-acre nature center with walking paths, bike trails, outdoor classroom, picnic areas, boat tours, and accessible elevator to the top of the observation tower.

Happy Wandering!

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