Japanese gardens. Sprawling beaches. Thrilling rocket launches. South Florida has no shortage of eye candy within driving distance. And, hey, who doesn’t love a good road trip? (Cue Thelma & Louise.) Here, our picks for the best getaways we took this year, all within three hours of your Miami home base.
Bahia Honda State Park (2 Hours and 35 Minutes from Miami)
Don’t have enough time to squeeze in a vacay to the Keys? Head to Bahia Honda instead. This beachside park—covering more than 500 acres and with a view of an abandoned historic bridge—is perfect for a day of snorkeling, kayaking, tanning (with SPF) and boating. We suggest waking up early to give yourself four to five hours of sun and surf before driving home.
Everglades National Park (1.5 Hours from Miami)
One of the world’s most diverse ecosystems is hidden in plain sight inside Florida’s swamplands. Scope out alligators, manatees and panthers on an hour-long airboat ride, which begins and ends at Everglades National Park. You’ll journey deep inside the area’s tree-canopied landscapes, stopping every few minutes to spot wildlife and get some history from your local tour guide.
Port St. Lucie (2 Hours from Miami)
When was the last time you woke up to the sound of birds chirping? It’s probably been too long—so make haste to Sandpiper in Port St. Lucie, where an affluent, attractive and super-sporty population vacations in a natural paradise rivaling those early scenes in The Lorax. Plus, we’ve figured out the best ways to take advantage of this quaint small town. All you’ve got to do is get there. (Psst. It involves a rocket launch.)
Homestead/Redlands (45 Minutes from Miami)
Just a bit south, this agricultural district is replete with activities. Think: fruit picking and cinnamon rolls at Knaus Berry Farm, wine and beer tasting tours at Schnebly Redland’s Winery, drool-worthy fruit smoothies at Robert Is Here and an alligator show at the Everglades Alligator Farm.
The Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens (1 Hour from Miami)
This Delray Beach museum, dedicated to Japanese culture, is one of the most peaceful places in South Florida. Reminiscent of an expansive Asian-inspired villa, the property has six sprawling gardens, teahouses and museum buildings with permanent and rotating exhibitions.