What To Do With One Day In South Florida

October 5, 2013 8:00 AM

There is so much to see and do in South Florida, how could you possibly get a true taste of the area in just one day? From beaches and lighthouses to café con leche and fish sandwiches, putting together a top list of must-dos wasn’t easy. But finally, after polling a group of Miami natives and South Florida locals, here are the results of the most iconic, most scenic and most flavorful spots to experience if you only had 24 hours.

South Beach Art Deco District

1001 Ocean Drive
Miami Beach, FL 33139
(305) 763-8026

Begin your journey at the Art Deco Welcome Center where you can pick up maps and pamphlets, or sign up for a guided tour. It is open daily from 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. and the Center is run by the Miami Design Preservation League. You can always just do a drive-by of these historic Art Deco-style buildings, too. You’ll find them along three parallel streets, Ocean Drive, Collins Avenue and Washington Avenue, from 6th Street to 23rd Street. This exuberant style of architecture was popularized in the 1930s and is distinguished by its bright colors, bold geometric shapes and ornamentation. South Beach (SoBe as it’s called by locals) claims to have the largest Art Deco Streamline architecture collection in the world.

Lincoln Road Pedestrian Mall

Lincoln Road
Miami Beach, FL 33139

Between 16th Street and 17th Street on Miami Beach is where you’ll find this famous see-and-be-seen pedestrian-only promenade lined with fabulous shopping, bars, galleries and outdoor cafes. It’s the ideal spot to grab a seat and people watch as it’s known as the epicenter of what’s happening on South Beach. Whether you’re in the area for brunch or a late-night bite (and anything and everything in between), you will find whatever you crave on Lincoln Road. For burgers, duck into the Shake Shack. For sushi, it’s Sushi Samba. Breakfast? Van Dyke Café. German food? Hofbrau Munchen Beer Hall. Happy Hour? Doraku or the Meat Market. Rooftop brunch? Juvia. It’s all good and something is always happening on Lincoln Road.

Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park

1200 S. Crandon Blvd.
Key Biscayne, FL 33149
(305) 361-5811

This state park is home to the oldest standing structure in Miami-Dade County, the historic lighthouse. Even if you just get out of the car for a few minutes, take a walk and get some sand between your toes on this one-mile-long stretch of beach. For an even better experience, put on your swimsuit and get in the water. This is a great place to swim and snorkel. You can also take a guided tour of the lighthouse any Thursday through Monday. You’ll get a bird’s eye view of this currently ranked Number 10 beach in the entire nation and it will be an experience you won’t soon forget. If you’ve worked up an appetite, have lunch at either the Lighthouse Café or the Boater’s Grill. Both offer an authentic taste of Cuban cuisine, served waterfront.

Related: Best Spots For A In South Florida

Coconut Grove

Main Highway
Coconut Grove, FL 33133

It’s Miami’s original art district, the oldest continually occupied neighborhood in the Miami area, and it offers a variety of shopping, dining and outdoor experiences. Day or night, Coconut Grove is just plain fun. In addition to the CocoWalk entertainment and shopping area with chain stores and restaurants, the Grove is filled with off-the-beaten-path venues and boutiques like Romana LaRue by Arianne. For the best fish sandwich, try Barracuda’s Raw Bar and Grill. The locale itself isn’t much to write home about, but order up a grilled or fried snapper sandwich and you’ll be happy you came. For fancier dishes and drinks, try the Panorama Restaurant and Sky Lounge at The Sonesta Bayfront Hotel. Monty’s on the water is always a great time with live music and marina views.

Everglades Alligator Farm

40351 S.W. 192 Ave.
Homestead, FL 33034
(305) 247-2628

Airboat rides and alligators – it’s quintessential South Florida. Near the main entrance of Everglades National Park is where you can glide over the River of Grass known as the Everglades in an airboat. Your expert guide will show you gators, birds and other wildlife as you effortlessly glide over the water. The scenery alone is worth the drive. You can also hold a baby gator, catch a gator show or just try fried gator bites. On your drive here, you’ll pass right by Robert Is Here, a legendary fruit stand with live music each weekend and all kinds of fresh fruits and vegetables. Stop by for a key lime-strawberry milkshake.

Related: Best Places For Airboat Rides

Jill Martin is a family travel expert, appearing on numerous television and radio shows. She spent five years as the VISIT FLORIDA Family Insider, has penned children’s books, and is the creator of Sunshine Brain Games – trivia cards about Florida. A Miami native, Jill resides in Redland. Her work can be found on Examiner.com. https://miami.cbslocal.com/top-lists/best-places-in-south-florida-to-take-an-airboat-ride/