A major centre of arts, commerce, finance and entertainment, Miami in Florida is one of the most popular holiday destinations in the world. Scores of speciality museums, art galleries and an unmatched nightlife scene make Miami a favourite with a variety of travellers. Yet, Florida is a state worth exploring, and equally exciting are the options if you are looking to take short trips from the city. With bustling cities, vast natural beauty and plenty of attractions, Florida has so much more to explore if you have a a few days spare on your break in Miami. So, whether it’s a long weekend or an impromptu two-day break, there are a plethora of choices at your fingertips.
Sunsets, Golf and more in Naples
Voted USA’s healthiest and happiest city, Naples is a coastal city about 125 miles from Miami. With sprawling golf courses and bungalows, the city is a popular winter home for many in the United States. Make a stop at the city’s Visitor Centre which provides comprehensive guidance on how to explore the city. You can get one of their trolley rides which provides a hop-on hop-off tour of the main sights.
While here, visit the Naples Depot Museum with its wealth of information on the city’s history, transport, commerce and industry. The Revs Institute, a world class automobile museum and research centre, is a must visit for all automobile aficionados. Crayton Cove and Naples beach are great places to unwind while watching the sun go down. Apart from Tin City with its scores of quirky shops, boutiques, antique stores and eateries, 5th Avenue and historic Third Street are the most happening areas to dine out and spend the evening.
World class theme parks of Orlando
Orlando has rightly earned the sobriquet of ‘The Theme Park Capital of the World’. At a distance of about 235 miles from Miami, Orlando is synonymous with pulsating rides and attractions, and more notably – Walt Disney World. With four unique theme parks (the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney’s Animal Kingdom) you probably won’t have the time to see them all, let alone other parks like Universal Studios.
The endearing shows, exciting rides, impeccable displays, larger than life props and colourful parades at all the parks here will keep you occupied for hours on end and they can offer something completely different from your experience in Miami. Plus there are numerous water parks here too, as well as various other top attractions like SeaWorld Orlando – a renowned marine zoological park that is spread over 200 acres and spans eight different zones.
Get scientific at Kennedy Space Centre
If you are a science buff and a fan of astronomy, the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral is not to be missed. Located about 220 miles from Miami, this visitor centre is a true eye opener and provides valuable insights into America’s investment in space research, as well as the country’s past history, present efforts and a peek into its future endeavours. Fascinating shows, educative displays and interactive models make this place an exciting one for adults and children alike.
Attractions like the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame, the Rocket Garden and mind blowing 3D movies showcase the research, hard work and sheer brilliance that goes on behind the scenes to launch rockets and send astronauts to space. A tour of the Space Shuttle Atlantis exhibit along with the Shuttle Launch Experience and the ‘Journey to Mars’ are truly incredible experiences. The bus tour which takes visitors to the Apollo/Saturn V Center is yet another highlight. The entertaining and educative nature of this place, makes it a unique attraction that you will not forget in a hurry.
Family friendly coastline at Clearwater Beach
Clearwater is a city located about 285 miles from Miami. Ranked multiple times as the best beach in the United States, the gorgeous coastline at Clearwater is a must visit for its pristine white sands and transparent blue waters. Stretching about 2.5 miles, the beach is thronged by visitors all year round. The vicinity around the beach forms for a great entertainment centre with a multitude of activities including boating, kayaking and parasailing. Pier 60 which is at the centre of all the activity is a bustling area with plenty of shops, restaurants, live shows and recreation for children. Fishing is also a popular activity here. If you are the kind who prefers some quiet time, Clearwater is perfect for that too. It is the ideal place to soak your feet in the soft sand while watching the pelicans and dolphins go by.
A bit of everything in St. Petersburg
Known as ‘Sunshine City’, St, Petersburg is about 265 miles from Miami. Renowned for its award-winning beaches, the city is also home to some insightful museums and a vibrant art scene. With the third largest public waterfront park system in North America, the city is popular as a retirement haven for many Americans due to the low cost of living in addition to the balmy weather.
The beach at St. Petersburg is another gorgeous strip of lovely sand and clear water making it one of the most visited in the country. With plenty of activities that include kayaking, boating and paragliding, the beach is teeming with people sunbathing and playing beach volleyball. Apart from the beach, St. Petersburg is also known for its museums; they include the St. Petersburg Museum of History and the Salvador Dalí Museum. The Sundial shopping complex in the downtown area is a great option for some retail therapy, and if you’re here on a Saturday between October and May, don’t miss the Farmers’ Markets to sample the native produce and check out the talented local artists.