As champions of Miami, sometimes even we get energetically exhausted by the bustle that comes with it. Every city, no matter how great, can get tiring for its own reasons whether tourist or local related. Miami, being young and somewhat still unsure of what it wants to be, can have many faults but we also know it has even more wonderful attributes. Whenever you get tired of the surface-oriented town, here are some not so “Miami” escapes to recharge:
Many locals (or fans of the moving There’s Something About Mary) know this place for its mini lagoon and water sport access. We love Matheson Hammock for its perfect balance of natural habitat and magical exploring. You can spend a whole day in its oak-filled entrance alone or frolic through the bike paths along the mangroves. Or even better still, watch the Miami you just escaped from along its Biscayne Bay views.
We’ve spoken about Plymouth Congregational Church in our Coconut Grove itinerary, but we must continue to express its wonder. The limestone structure, towering over some of the Grove’s most verdant streets, seems entirely from another period in time. It’s a perfect representation of the neighborhood’s inimitable quiet and its uncanny way of making you feel like you’ve escaped civilization altogether.
Photo by Miami Discount Tours
Neighboring the Matheson Hammock Park is one of our absolute favorite place in Miami: the 83-acre Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, a testament to the natural discoveries of Dr. David Fairchild, the man responsible for bringing over 500,000 plant species to the country including D.C.’s picturesque cherry blossoms. It seems to go on for miles. No matter what season you go to visit the garden, it’s always magnificent.
You might actually have seen this magical oasis on some feeds, or as the location for a friend’s Pocahontas homage while kayaking (“Just Around the Riverbeeeeend”), but we love it for the luscious bike trails which are considered some of the best in the country. If you’re not down to make the drive all the way to the Everglades, Florida’s largest urban park is so naturally wild that you’ll feel transported to the National Park instantly.
Photo by Miami and The Beaches
Few locations in Miami offer as unobstructed a view of Biscayne Bay as the historical landmark down south. In the distance, a colossal and pristine Royal Palm promenade guides you toward the water. The crown jewel of the estate, its three-story wood and stone house, is the anchor to it all. When Charles Deering purchased the 444-acre property in 1916, the estate house was then Richmond Cottage. At one point, the inn was the southernmost hostelry in the continental United States and a frequent stay for many of Miami’s earliest founders.
You might head to the Gables to eat or shop but first things first, we must always pay our respects to those that came before us. Seeing the magnificent Biltmore Hotel for the first time is pretty life-changing, especially knowing that it went from war hospital to gangster den to lying abandoned before re-birthing in all its glory. Swing by the Merrick House on Coral Way to tip your hat off to one of Miami’s innovative founders and the man behind Coral Gables. Or take your little friends to Venetian Pool for a historical, Italian plunge.
Photo by Hotels.com
Take a break from South Beach and drive the extra few miles to Key Biscayne for a change of scenery and some quiet ocean hangs. If you trek all the way to the very end of the key, you’ll find yourself at Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park where Miami’s oldest building stands tall: Cape Florida Light(house). You can take up a gazebo, laze on the natural beach, grab a cafecito at the Lighthouse Café or Boater’s Grill, and even rent some bikes to sway around the paths.
Cover photo by Miami and The Beaches.