9+ Unusual Things to Do in South Florida

Unveiling Blowing Rocks Preserve secrets, we stumbled upon a sight so breathtaking—could this be South Florida's hidden gem? Discover…
Date Published
March 8, 2024

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Are you really going to laze on another generic beach when the wild and wonder-stuffed South Florida is at your very flip-flops? Pssst, I've got a secret stash of sites that'll have your Instagram feed bursting with heart-eyed emojis faster than you can say 'sun-kissed'! In the land where the Atlantic's blue kiss meets a kaleidoscope of culture, South Florida is a treasure trove of unique vibes and vibrant thrills. Think of it — you could be skipping heartbeats over the craggy cliffs at Blowing Rocks Preserve, getting all kinds of green-thumb envy at The Kampong Botanical Garden, or coming face-to-face with history at the stately Deering Estate.

Let me be your local guide to the most buzz-worthy spots — the ones that bring you the best beaches, secret trails, and conversations with colorful parrots (really, it's a thing here). Get ready to cram your itinerary with adventures that'll turn your mates greener than the lush trails of Oleta River State Park. Chill, you'll thank me later — right after we talk about why South Florida is the open secret that travel blogs whisper about and why your wanderlust is about to hit a whole new level!

Discover the Secluded Blowing Rocks Preserve

Imagine a hidden paradise where the Atlantic's wild waves clash spectacularly against limestone rocks, shooting sea spray sky-high. Welcome to Blowing Rocks Preserve, one of the best beaches in South Florida. Here's precisely what you need to do: grab your sun hat, slip on comfortable shoes, and don't forget your camera because Mother Nature's performance at this preserve is an epic show you won't want to miss.

This is not your usual stretch of sand and surf—it's a symphony orchestrated by the ocean, creating music that dances in your ears and mesmerizing sights that stick in your memory. Blowing Rocks is an under-the-radar gem treasured by those who've let their curiosity guide them off the beaten path. It's perfect for adventurers, families, and anyone in between. If you're all about unique geological wonders instead of snoozing under a sun umbrella, this nature preserve is your kind of haven.

You may wonder how long you should linger in this coastal sanctuary. Well, time has a way of slipping away when you're lost in the beauty of the place, so allocate at least a couple of hours to explore the trails, sit on the benches soaking in the views, or stroll along the beach—jaw dropped in amazement as the waves put on quite the dramatic performance, especially at high tide.

And who does this place cater to? If you and your crew love wildlife watching, rocky shorelines, and a hint of mystery the sea brings, this is a winner. There's something for everyone, with nearby hiking opportunities and the chance to spot anything from colorful butterflies to ospreys.

To experience the marvels of Blowing Rocks Preserve firsthand and support their conservation efforts, simply follow the ocean's call and let this extraordinary seaside spectacle sweep you off your feet. It's South Florida at its most unexpected and unforgettable, proving you don’t need loud crowds or gimmicky attractions to create memories—you just need nature's raw, unscripted beauty. And here, you've got it in spades.

Bask in Serenity at The Kampong Botanical Garden

Imagine escaping the hustle and bustle of everyday life and stepping into a tranquil paradise that is The Kampong Botanical Garden. Wondering which South Florida botanical gardens have that 'tropical heaven on Earth' vibe? The Kampong is your answer, and it's where you say hello to serenity and goodbye to stress.

Tucked away in the heart of South Florida, The Kampong offers lush landscapes filled with a striking array of tropical fruits, palm trees, and flowering plants. Stroll through pathways surrounded by the sweet scents and vibrant colors that abound in every corner. Here's what makes this oasis unique:

  • Rare Plant Species: The Kampong is part of the National Tropical Botanical Garden and preserves a collection of rare and exotic plants. So, you're literally walking amidst living history, and some plants here are the sole representatives of their species in the United States.
  • Breathtaking Views: Whether it's the view of Biscayne Bay as the backdrop or the whimsical arrangement of flora that cradle you in nature's embrace, every snapshot is postcard-perfect.
  • Historic Touches: Once the home of plant explorer Dr. David Fairchild, his touches are still felt, making the blend of history with horticulture fascinating.

Perfect for both solo adventurers seeking a meditative stroll or families wanting to educate the kiddos on Mother Nature's splendor, the garden is a hit across all ages. It's got that sweet spot for both the enthusiastic botanist and the Instagram-savvy visitor, looking for a gorgeous backdrop. Spend an hour or a whole morning – your call.

And talking about nearby, after your botanical exploration, maybe grab a bite at one of the cozy eateries sprinkled around South Florida, marrying your love for the natural world with some culinary delights.

Ready to immerse yourself in this botanical wonder? Schedule your visit to the peaceful sanctuary of The Kampong Botanical Garden, close your eyes for a moment, take a deep breath, and let the natural world take you on a journey of color, fragrance, and tropical tranquility.

Uncover History at The Deering Estate

Picture this: you're stepping back in time, surrounded by the echoes of the early 20th century, walking amid serene lush grounds that spill stories of the past. Welcome to The Deering Estate, a staple of South Florida’s historic landmarks. It's not just a tranquil spot; it's a time capsule where you can literally touch history.

At this hidden gem tucked away in Palmetto Bay, you're in for an authentic voyage into the life and times of industrialist Charles Deering. How cool is that? Here are just a few reasons locals and tourists alike are drawn to this majestic place:

  • Roam majestic stone houses and gawk at antique furnishings. These aren't replicas, folks — they're the real deal!
  • Drop your jaw at the view of Biscayne Bay. Picnic anyone?
  • Revel in the environmental and archaeological preserves. This is where history meets nature!

Bring along the kiddos, a date, or your history-buff friend because this estate has wide appeal. Family-friendly? Totally! Romantic backdrop? Oh, you bet! A haven for history lovers? Without a doubt!

You could easily get lost here for a half-day, wandering from the inviting main house to the charming boat basin. What about nearby activities? It's South Florida; there's always something to do. Swing by a local café and chat up the friendly residents — or, if you're still hankering for greenery, the nearby Pinecrest Gardens is a must-see.

So whether you’re a solo adventurer or looking for an outing that the whole gang will remember, The Deering Estate should be boldly circled on your South Florida itinerary. Go ahead, dive into the past — and don't forget to snap some photos that'll make your friends green with envy!

Embark on an Eco-Adventure at Oleta River State Park

Ready to duck under mangroves and spot a manatee chilling by the riverbank? Oleta River State Park is your go-to spot for an eco-adventure that's both thrills and chills. This beauty of a park is not just another green spot in South Florida; it's the largest urban park you'll find that's packed with biking trails, kayaking paths, and more fresh air than your lungs will know what to do with.

Buckle up, because you can dive right into the south Florida state parks and trails with a mountain bike or a kayak – and let's just say, the word 'boredom' doesn't exist here. There are trails that'll make your heart race faster than seeing your crush without a shirt on, and quiet waters that are perfect for pretending you're the lone explorer of an undiscovered island.

Bring your friends, your kids, or just your fabulous self because Oleta River State Park is an all-rounder. It's got spots where toddlers can play safe and spaces for adrenaline junkies to let loose – even areas where grandpa can fish in peace. It's pretty much the Swiss Army knife of parks.

Plan on spending a full day here; there's too much to see and do for a short visit. Plus, it's nestled snugly between the bustle of Miami and the chill vibes of the beach, so once you're done adventuring, you can easily hop over to either.

Trust me, your Instagram is going to blow up with the shots you'll get here. Think glistening rivers at sunrise, wildlife that's actually wild, and selfies with a backdrop that screams 'I'm an explorer'. So go ahead, make everyone jealous. Embark on that eco-adventure at Oleta River State Park, and feel the rush of South Florida's wild side.

Enjoy a Tranquil Stroll in Pinecrest Gardens

Imagine this: You're walking along a serene path, tropical plants are caressing your senses, and every breath you take is like a refreshing gulp of clean air. Welcome to Pinecrest Gardens, the place where tranquility is your best pal.

Pinecrest Gardens isn't just your run-of-the-mill park—it's a slice of heaven for those who love a good cultural dose with their nature walks. With over one thousand types of exotic tropical plants and palm trees, it's no wonder why this spot is a must-see among cultural sites in Miami Beach. Just snag your most comfy shoes, and take a walk on the wild (but oh so civilized) side!

But wait, there's more! This place isn't only for solo zen seekers or couples looking for some peaceful bonding. Oh no, families, you're in for a treat too! Imagine your little ones' faces lighting up at the sight of the splashy fun at the petting zoo or their minds blown by the playful art exhibits.

And let’s be real, in the hustle and bustle of South Florida, stumbling upon a quiet, contemplative space is like finding a treasure chest in your backyard. So, what's holding you back? Block out at least half a day to get the full Pinecrest experience—because trust me, once you step into this lush oasis, you won't want to leave in a hurry.

Got a thing for snapping pics that make your friends green with envy? The scenic beauty of Pinecrest Gardens provides backdrops for days! And let's not forget about all the cultural events—from concerts to festivals—this spot really knows how to throw a garden party.

So gather your flock, or fly solo, and come down to Pinecrest Gardens. Whether you're in search of a vibrant cultural experience or just some quiet time surrounded by nature's beauty, this is where you'll find it. After all, moments spent here are more than just a breath of fresh air—they're whispers of the soul.

Indulge in the Quiet Splendor of Green Cay Nature Center

In the heart of South Florida's hustle, lies a serene escape: the Green Cay Nature Center. It's a place where wildlife watching isn't just an activity, it’s an immersion into the subtropical world of South Florida's delicate ecosystems. Now, why should you tiptoe through the wetlands on a sunny afternoon? Because here, you’re not just a spectator; you're part of the scene.

At Green Cay Nature Center, you can stroll along the boardwalk, which spans a whopping 1.5 miles. You're so close to the action, you might mistake the chirping for a bird's personal greeting just for you. Bring your binoculars, my friend, because this is a wildlife watcher's nirvana.

  • Behold the vibrant array of birds - From the regal great blue heron to the dainty warbler, these feathered residents flaunt their colors.
  • Spy on scaly natives - Yep, alligators and turtles are regulars here, basking in the sun with that "what's your hurry?" attitude.
  • Flutter with the butterflies - These winged beauties have got their own garden, so be ready for a kaleidoscope cavalcade.

While you're wandering through this natural gallery, remember that every whisper of wind and water droplet is part of South Florida's wild symphony. And the best thing? This serene joyride is perfect for everyone - families, couples, solo explorers and yes, even those teeny weeny toddlers who look at everything with wide-eyed wonder.

Before you go, peek into the Nature Center itself. You'll be greeted with fascinating exhibits and a chance to delve even deeper into what makes Green Cay such a jewel in South Florida's eco-crown.

Plan at least a couple of hours for Green Cay. Trust me, once you meet those alligator eyes, you won't be in a hurry to leave. Don’t forget, it's all about taking it slow, breathing in the moments, and letting the natural beauty of South Florida wash over you.

Take a Scenic Drive Along the A1A Ocean Boulevard

Picture yourself cruising with the windows down, the sun kissing your skin, and the salty sea breeze playing with your hair. This is exactly what you get when you take a scenic drive along the iconic A1A Ocean Boulevard. It's not just a road; it's a journey that hugs the coastline, offering breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean that will have you pulling over every five minutes just to take it all in.

This stretch of road is perfect if you're looking to escape the bustle without straying too far from the comforts of civilization. So why should you jot down A1A on your must-drive list? Let's break it down:

  • Scenery that's straight out of a postcard: The sparkling blue waters, swaying palm trees, and sun-soaked sands are your companions on this drive. Each turn brings a new vista that's Instagram-worthy, and the shoreline is laden with spots to soak up some vitamin sea.
  • Charming pit stops: Along the way, you'll find quaint beach towns, cozy cafes, and spots like the picturesque lighthouses that dot the coast. These towns are buzzing with local culture and cuisine, ideal for travelers who appreciate the journey as much as the destination.
  • Accessibility and variety: Whether you're a solo traveler in search of tranquility, a couple on a romantic getaway, or a family ready for a beach adventure, A1A has something for everyone. Plus, with easy access to nearby beaches and attractions, you can customize your trip to be as laid-back or as lively as you want it to be.

Plan on spending at least a couple of hours for this drive—more if you're in the mood to explore the hidden gems and local haunts. Remember, no scenic drive is complete without the perfect playlist, so queue up some tunes that match the vibe of the ocean's waves and let the road lead the way to your next South Florida memory.

Whether you're into wildlife watching or just chilling with a cold one as the sun sets, A1A Ocean Boulevard is a stretch of South Florida that promises a different kind of adventure—one that moves at the pace of a leisurely bike ride and buzzes with the energy of shoreline life. Now, if only we could find a way to bottle up that feeling of freedom you get on the open road... oh wait, that's what souvenirs are for! Cruise along and find yours on this slice of Floridian paradise.

Delve Into Art at the Lowe Art Museum

Let's paint a picture where every stroke reveals a new secret, and each gallery opens a door to a universe of color and creativity. Welcome to the Lowe Art Museum, folks! Where the canvas of South Miami gets a lot more interesting.

Step in, and your eyes will feast on one of the most mesmerizing art galleries in South Miami. This is where you leave the beach towel behind and trade palm trees for Picasso. Does art tickle your fancy? Well, then you're in the right place!

So, what's on the easel at the Lowe Art Museum? We're talking a treasure trove of European, African, Asian, and Native American art. Expect to meet the likes of Baroque and Renaissance faces staring right back at ya. And contemporary art? Yeah, it's got that modern flair that'll make you nod in respect.

Set aside a solid hour or two; you'll need it to wander through the collections and soak up the artistic sun. Trust me, your Instagram will thank you. And while you're at it, don’t forget to check out their current exhibits. It's like the cherry on top of your art sundae.

Now, let's chat crowd. Whether you're flyin' solo, hand-in-hand with your sweetheart, or leading a mini parade of kiddos, the Lowe Art Museum is an eye-opener for all. Introspective teens? They'll find something to brood over. Art-curious toddlers? There's color and shapes galore to spark that tiny imagination.

Need a little breather from the masterpieces? The area's chock-full of delightful little spots for a coffee or a bite. It's a culture sandwich, with the museum as the hearty filling!

In a nutshell: prepare to be dazzled, inspired, and maybe a little art-smarter by the time you wave goodbye. And remember, in the world of art, each step is a masterpiece waiting for your footprints. Let's create some memories, shall we?

Savor a Taste of Old Florida in Historic Cauley Square

Picture this: walking through a lush, oak-lined village, the air is filled with the sweet scent of a bygone era. Welcome to Historic Cauley Square, where old Florida charm lives and breathes in every nook and cranny. Years through the weaves of time have brought stories and an ambience you can't simply find just anywhere.

Stroll through the dappled sunlight with your besties or your fam, because this spot is a hit for all—singles, families, and even toddlers will find joy here. Snap a pic or two (or twenty) by the stunning Victorian buildings that ask you to ponder the tales they'd tell if walls could talk. Bet they'd whisper secrets of the railroad days, and how Cauley Square stood as a village as integral as the tracks that built it.

Need a little something for the 'Gram, or just wanna escape the typical tourist traps? Soak in the spirit of the tea room, embrace the antiques and the quaint shops, or just sit for a spell under a centennial tree. Got an hour or two? That's perfect to mosey around and really get a feel of the place.

And it's not just about looking and ooh-ing and aah-ing either. Your taste buds deserve a bit of adventure, and the local restaurants, brimming with scrumptious delights, are sure to give them that holiday they've been dreaming of.

So when you get a little tired of South Florida's buzzing city life, remember that a slice of serene history awaits at Cauley Square. It's a cultural capsule that promises a day of unique exploration and peaceful simplicity. It's like stepping into a different time—only this time, you're in on the secret. Go on, step back in time and treat yourself to an unforgettable experience of Old Florida's splendor.

Find Peace at The Ancient Spanish Monastery

Picture walking into a hush of tranquility that whispers tales from 12th-century Spain - yeah, that's right! You're about to step into the serene embrace of the Ancient Spanish Monastery. Tucked away in the hustle of Miami Beach, it's a cultural pivot point where history buffs and peace seekers converge.

Built in Segovia, Spain, this Gothic architecture masterpiece was dismantled and shipped to Miami in the 1920s. Now reconstructed stone by stone, it stands as one of the oldest buildings in the Western Hemisphere. It's like stepping back in time, without needing a DeLorean!

The monastery's cloisters and chapels are a haven of culture and artistry. Majestic is the word when you meander through the lush gardens, an absolute feast for the soul and the cameras. Take a break under an ancient tree, and trust me, you'll feel the world slow down around you.

Take a guided tour or explore at your own pace—either way, you'll be swept up in this serene sanctuary. Perfect for families, history aficionados, and those seeking a moment of Zen, it's an idyllic spot to recharge your batteries.

And let's not forget the nearby beaches. After soaking in the calm, dive into the vibrant Miami Beach vibe – it's like the perfect yin and yang of South Florida culture. Who knew you could be a time traveler and a beachcomber in the same day?

So, consider devoting at least half a day here; there's no rush – the monks wouldn't want it that way. Dive into the details of ancient history and emerge refreshed. And when you're ready to take this journey, check out The Ancient Spanish Monastery for all the visitor info you'll need.

Remember, this spot isn't just for quiet contemplation; it's a portal to another era. And who knows, maybe you'll find a piece of that centuries-old serenity to take with you into the buzz of the modern world.

Experience a Night of Jazz at Le Chat Noir

Imagine stepping into a space where the lights are dim, the atmosphere is electric, and the sound of smooth jazz fills the air. Welcome to Le Chat Noir, the speakeasy-style venue that offers an intimate night out unlike any other in South Florida.

Picture this: you, sinking into a cozy seat, drink in hand, as a band takes the stage. The trumpets blare, the bass slaps, and that velvety saxophone plays just for you—or so it seems. This isn't just a musical show; it's a full-on experience that whisks you away from the daily grind and lands you smack dab in the heart of the jazz era.

  • Who's this spot perfect for? Jazz aficionados, date nights, or anyone looking to jazz up their evening.
  • What's the scoop? Live jazz that's as authentic as it gets outside of New Orleans.
  • Dress code? Snazzy enough to feel fancy, comfy enough to groove.
  • Nearby attractions? Maybe a quiet stroll post show to let the music sink in?
  • Time to spare? You'll want the whole evening to soak in the vibes.

Le Chat Noir sets the stage for one of the best south Florida live music venues around, where the emphasis is on quality sound and an impressive lineup of musicians. It's the sort of place that locals might not tell you about because they want to keep the secret to themselves but trust me: it's worth the find.

So, you ready for a night that's as cool as a Miami breeze and sweet as southern sugar? Le Chat Noir rolls out the red carpet, just for you. Let your ears be the judge, but I'm telling you – this is where magic happens and memories are made, one jazz note at a time.

Explore the Rich Ecosystem of The Everglades by Bike

Picture this: you're pedaling through a lush landscape, a kaleidoscope of greenery surrounding you at every turn. Ahead, the path unwinds like an invitation to adventure. You're not just gliding on any trail; this is the Everglades, a tapestry of life that's as vibrant and dynamic as it gets. It's an ecosystem bursting with a symphony of sounds—from the chirping of birds to the whisper of the sawgrass. And the best part? You're exploring it by bike!

Biking allows you to feel the warm South Florida breeze against your skin, smell the fresh, earthy wetlands, and move silently among the teeming wildlife. Imagine cruising beside a slow-moving stream, only to spot a lurking alligator or an elegant white ibis taking to the sky. Trust me, this isn't your average bike ride; it's an up-close and personal tour through one of nature's masterpieces.

The Everglades National Park isn't just any park. It's a World Heritage Site, a Biosphere Reserve, and a Wetland of International Importance. In other words, it's a big deal—and rightfully so! With its unique landscape and untamed wilderness, it offers everglades tours and adventures that are unparalleled.

Check this out: The park boasts miles and miles of biking trails tailored to all levels of adventurers. Whether you're a seasoned cyclist or a curious newbie, there's a trail that will fit the bill. Here’s the lowdown:

  • Shark Valley Trail: It's a 15-mile paved loop that lets you roll through the heart of the 'glades. It’s flat, it’s easy, and it’s got an observation tower halfway through for a panoramic view of the wetlands. I mean, come on, who doesn't want a selfie from the top of the world?
  • Long Pine Key Nature Trail: Prefer something more...intimate? This path might just be your jam. It's a shorter loop, but don't let that fool you—it’s teeming with pine trees and wildflowers, and it's a haven for critters of all kinds.

Make sure you plan to spend at least half a day here—you won’t want to rush this experience. Also, remember this place isn't for the loud and boisterous. It's an escape, a way to connect with nature. So, bring the family or come alone; either way, you're in for an eco-friendly treasure hunt on two wheels. Just be sure to bring plenty of water, because Florida’s got sunshine for days, and you'll need to stay hydrated.

Pack your sunscreen and your spirit of discovery, folks. The Everglades by bike is an immersive ride on the wild side, and you're going to adore every minute.

FAQ

Q: Things to do in south florida today?

A: Check out a local beach, visit a museum, or hit up some shops on Las Olas Boulevard.

Q: Things to do in South Florida for young adults?

A: Explore the Wynwood Walls, go clubbing in Miami, or enjoy water sports like jet skiing.

Q: Things to do in South Florida with kids?

A: Spend the day at Lion Country Safari, visit the Miami Seaquarium, or have fun at a water park.

Q: Things to do in south florida this weekend?

A: You could do a food tour, catch a show at the Kravis Center, or relax at Matheson Hammock Park.

Q: Fun things to do in South Florida for couples?

A: Take a sunset cruise, have a romantic dinner in Delray Beach, or stroll through the Vizcaya Gardens.

Q: Things to do in South Florida Reddit?

A: Reddit users often suggest checking out local events, farmers markets, or hidden gems like natural springs.

Q: What is South Florida best known for?

A: It's known for its vibrant nightlife, beautiful beaches, and diverse culture.

Q: Where is the prettiest place to go in Florida?

A: The Florida Keys, with their crystal-clear waters and beautiful sunsets, are often voted as the prettiest.

Q: What is the best place to live in South Florida?

A: It depends on your preferences, but places like Coral Gables and Boca Raton are popular choices.

Q: What constitutes South Florida?

A: South Florida typically includes the Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties.

Final Words

Whew, that was quite the adventure, wasn't it? We roamed through quiet gardens, got lost in history, and even biked through the wild Everglades. You've seen serene beaches, cultural treasures, and heard jazz rhythms that echo into the night. Hopefully, your bucket list is now bursting with all these things to do in South Florida.

Keep this guide handy, because these gems aren't just places, they're the backdrop for memories waiting to be made. So grab your sunscreen and a sense of wonder as you explore these awe-inspiring spots. One thing's for sure: South Florida’s warmth isn't just in its sunshine—it's in the experiences that await you.

Meet the Author
Isabella Kai
Isabella Kai, the Instagram wordsmith, crafts tales that captivate hearts worldwide. A dedicated foodie, she whips up culinary delights and pairs them with stories that make your taste buds dance. Beyond the screen, she's on a mission to visit every artisan bakery in town.
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