If you’ve got three days in Miami, then the last day is the one to get out of town and explore your surroundings. From the wetlands of the Everglades to the magic of the Florida Keys, seeing South Florida’s natural wonders is a must if you’ve got a long weekend to spend here.
Get up before sunrise and grab a light breakfast. Hit the road before rush hour and head to Key Largo and John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. It’s about an hour’s drive from the city, and all the colorful fish and underwater statues make every minute in the car worth it. The underwater sights are visible even if you’re not a certified diver.
While driving back from the Keys, veer off US-1 and take Card Sound Road back to the mainland. Stop halfway at Alabama Jack’s, a waterside seafood shack with live music and dancing that harkens back to the Florida of a century ago.
Instead of heading east to Miami on your way back from the Keys, go west on US-41 and delve deep into the Everglades. You’ll find a number of airboat rides that take you deep into mangrove forests along black water in the river of grass. You’ll see plenty of alligators, flying herons, and if you’re lucky, wild boar. Be wary of the many Miccosukee villages that offer alligator experiences (from petting to wrestling shows), as the most ethical way to experience alligators is definitely from the comfort of your airboat.
Driving back toward Miami, stop at The Pit BBQ on the east side of US-41. Though the grilled meat is stellar, get an order of fried gator bites with hot sauce. It really does taste just like chicken.
Once you’re back in the city, head to the colorful MiMo District, which is full of funky, brightly lit motels and fantastic restaurants. Get some of Miami’s best comfort food if you can brave the line at Blue Collar, or get pizza in a courtyard with pieces of the Berlin Wall at Ironside Pizza.
Just south of MiMo is midtown Miami. It’s known mostly for residential towers, but is also home to Lagniappe, which is one of the cooler wine bars in the city. Grab a bottle of wine inside, then post up on some of the mismatched patio furniture in the big backyard. There’ll likely be live jazz and a guy grilling up some of the best ribs in town.
If you’ve got the energy, end your night (or start your morning) at E11even, a 24-hour nightclub where time seems to disappear. It’s an only-in-Miami experience and, though not always a good decision, it’s always a great story.