From meeting new people to experiencing new sights, sounds, and smells – is there anything more exciting or rejuvenating than a break from the day-to-day mundanity? Traveling is an excellent way to immerse yourself in a new culture, setting, or way-of-life, but the best part is this: you don’t have to venture far from home to enjoy what this world has to offer.
Whether your journey takes you across your own city, to an unexplored part of your state, or even to the other side of the world, there’s no doubt you will still learn a lot about your surroundings – and yourself – along the way.
While the culture an hour away from your home might not be drastically different from what you’re used to, you can still gain a deepened sense of appreciation for where you’ve laid your roots. Plus, traveling locally has a lot of benefits:
More cost-effective. Local travel is certainly a budget-friendly way to explore! Many activities and parks are free or have a low cost of entry. For day trips, you can also pack your own meals to save.
Eco-friendly way to travel. Travel is hard on the environment, but putzing around your area is more sustainable than air travel.
Quick trips. Getting out locally means you can do it more often! Long weekend trips are a lot easier to take when the destination is a short drive away.
Easy to plan. Preparing your itinerary for a local getaway will likely save you some time and stress.
More convenient. Especially if you have little ones, sticking close to home may be much more convenient than far-off destinations. If you forget something, have an emergency, or need to cut the trip short, being closeby definitely has its benefits.
One of the best places in the greater Miami area to call home, Homestead is rightly named — and also brimming with fun things to see, do, and explore. In this guide, we’ll help you find the local gems that even some long-time residents may miss, from dining to nightlie to outdoor adventure.
*Note: Some of the suggestions may not be doable due to coronavirus closures, but keep this list handy for when things start opening back up more! Be sure to check individual pages for specific operation details.
While south Florida might be an urban oasis, it’s also a stunningly diverse and vivid natural ecosystem. Here are just a few of the beautiful landscapes set aside in state and national parks in and around Homestead, FL.
Located at the southern tip of the island of Key Biscayne, Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park is just minutes from downtown Miami, but will transport you to an entirely different place and time. Encompassing about 400 acres of seaside landscape, offering breathtaking views and beach access, the park is also home to the historic Cape Florida Lighthouse, which has been standing sentinel here for almost 200 years.
It’s kind of hard to imagine a 172,000-acre national park nestled just minutes away from the hustle and bustle of Miami… but that’s exactly what you’ll find at Biscayne National Park. The twist? Lots of that acreage is underwater! While there are a few hiking trails for landlubbers, the real attraction here is on (and in) the water: from swimming and snorkeling to SCUBA diving and paddling, you can find it all at Biscayne (all within reach of having a cocktail at a swanky bar once you’re done for the day, no less).
A one-of-a-kind landscape of swamplands and their surroundings — or more specifically, coastal mangroves, sawgrass marshes, and pine flatwoods — Everglades National Park draws visitors from across the country and the globe, and for good reason. Glide across the surface of the water in an airboat and keep an eye out for alligator eyeballs popping up above the surface. Stay the night and be sure to find a spot free of tree cover: this area has some of the darkest night skies on the entire east coast, perfect for stargazing.
One cool thing about Florida: where most states’ state parks are primarily land (or perhaps lake acreage), some of Florida’s state parks are literally composed primarily of undersea landscapes. John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park is the first such preserved space in the country, and as its name suggests, it’s rich in Technicolor submarine gardens populated by all manner of fish, crustaceans and mollusks. There are, however, still a couple of trails to meander landside, as well as a fascinating visitors center filled with educational materials.
Both inside and outside of the state and national parks in the area, there are plenty of amazing places to take a uniquely Floridian walk. Here are some of the best hiking trails in Homestead.
Meandering a mile and a half through Everglades National Park and seeing — unsurprisingly — almost no elevation gain, Anhinga Trail is an easy and straightforward hiking option good for beginners or those bringing along their families, and also offers an unprecedented opportunity to see wildflowers, birds, and other forms of wildlife. Of course like many areas in South Florida this place is renowned for its mosquitos and can get very hot, so be sure to plan ahead and bring what you need to fully enjoy the day!
If you’re looking for something that allows for a more lengthy, leisurely stroll, the Southern Glades Trail is a good option. Winding nearly 14 miles all told — though still remaining relatively flat throughout — this trail is long, peaceful, and serene. It’s also good for trail runners and dog walkers, so long as Fido is kept on-leash the entire time.
Running about two miles out-and-back and trekking through some of the beautiful landscape of Biscayne National Park, Black Creek Canal is a relatively short and easy walk along a beautiful, mangrove-lined shore that leads to the Colonial Bird Protection Area at the end of a jetty. As such, you probably won’t be surprised to learn this trail (and the park at large) is also well-used by bird watchers, though other types of wildlife can also be spotted.
Very short, but not to be missed, the Pa-Hay-Okee Overlook Trail is a simple quarter-mile boardwalk offering sweeping views of the surrounding Everglades, including the famous “river of grass” the area is so well-known for. A great spot to stop with the kids, who might not be interested enough to take on a longer hike but can likely keep their attention spans together for this jaunt, this overlook is yet another great spot for bird watchers.
Another longer hike available inside Everglades National Park, Long Pine Key Trail runs more than 15 miles out and back, and although it’s flat, a hike that long should be considered moderately challenging — especially considering the heat and humidity. While the hike does venture past a lakeside, it’s important to heed posted signage and ranger warnings about wildlife; this area is home to a variety of snakes and other critters, including alligators, who aren’t always too keen to share their space with swimming humans!
Dying of the heat — and dying for a bite to eat? Fortunately, there are plenty of excellent options in Homestead. Here are some of the best restaurants in town, no matter whether you’re in the mood for something spicy, traditional, comforting, classic, or just plain good.
Looking for the best Asian restaurant in Homestead can be tricky; there are a lot of options to choose from, especially amongst Japanese and Chinese options. But if you’re inclined toward the spice and flare of Thai fare, Bangkok Cuisine is a south Florida must-visit. Along with traditional noodle and rice dishes and stir fries, they also offer sushi rolls and sashimi.
If you haven’t eaten authentic Cuban food, you haven’t really experienced south Florida. Havana Spice is the place to go in Homestead for croquetas, fried plantains, Cuban sandwiches and so much more — and the portions are both ample and affordable.
Serving up generous portions of authentic Mexican favorites, as well as the unprecedented (but flavorful and fitting) touch of fresh seafood, El Rincon de Jalisco has been a local go-to for south-of-the-border eats for years, and continues to be well-loved by reviewers. Whether you’re after tacos, fajitas, enchiladas or something else entirely, everything here is fresh and delicious… and served up with a smile.
Pizza is good. Coal-fired pizza is better. But you’ll figure that out for yourself once you visit Portofino Coal Fired Pizza, which serves up its namesake favorites as well as pasta dishes, soups, salads, flatbreads and more in a chic and inviting atmosphere (think brick-lined walls and plush booth seating). Be sure to save some room for dessert, if you can; the coal-fired s’more “dessert pizza” can certainly hold its own in the lineup.
Sometimes, the very best restaurants are also the most unassuming. Widely considered one of the best eateries of any time in Homestead, Yardie Spice serves up an array of Jamaican grub like jerked chicken, curried goat, oxtail and more, as well as offering several vegetarian and vegan options. Whether you’re plant-based or a meat eater, you’ll enjoy this authentic taste of the Homestead community.
If you’re willing to expand your palate and try out some new flavors, this place is undoubtedly one of the best wineries in South Florida, You may not have ever had fruit wine before, but you’re going to love it – the guava wine is delicious! The food offered here is just as good. Schenbly Redlands is so big and beautifully structured, overflowing with gorgeous gardens, making this a great place for a date night or get-together with friends.
A hidden gem in Homestead! You can feel the love the moment you walk in the door to this family owned business. The freshest fruit money can by is what you’ll find here, cut into bite-size pieces that make for a delicious and healthy sweet treat. If you’re looking for something more substantive, the smoothies are so good that you’ll forget they’re full of health food! Each menu item is prepared with a classic Mexican touch – I promise you won’t be disappointed.
If you're looking for a delicious local ice cream parlor with a Mexican twist, this is the spot. The staff are super friendly and the ice creams are out of this world. And in a city known for being expensive, the prices here are a treat all their own.
Once you’re well-fed and have had your fill of the great outdoors, you’ve still only started your Homestead adventure. Here are some of our top things to do and places to explore in town, for kids, families, adults, couples, solo adventurers and more.
Homestead is chock full of fun things for families and kids to do, no matter how old your little ones. Check out these wild adventures — close to the heart of town!
Want to get up close and personal with the wonderful wilderness around you? Everglades Alligator Farm offers airboat rides, shows and encounters that allow you and your family to safely explore the sometimes-fearsome reptiles that call this part of the world home, including alligator shows and feedings as well as snake shows that will obliterate your lifelong fears. Along with their entertainment factor, these events are also educational and engaging — and who can say “no” to an airboat ride?
A different kind of zoo entirely, at Monkey Jungle, it’s the humans who wander around in cages, while the monkeys and their friends are set wild and free to wander. Plus, you get the opportunity to hand-feed some of these mischievous and delightful creatures while you take your self-guided tour through their lush, green home.
Sure, there’s plenty to keep you occupied in Homestead during the daytime hours. But what about at night? Here are just a few of the fun things to keep you engaged after hours.
Looking for a unique comedy experience you can’t find anywhere else? Homestead’s Comedy Inn gives you the opportunity to enjoy belly laughs late into the night — and sleep over, if you don’t think you can quite get it together afterwards to drive home! The perfect opportunity to ditch the “designated driver” model, and, in fact, doesn’t require the “two drink minimum” many similar venues do. This place has drawn some top-tier talent over the years, so be sure to give it a shot if you could use a chuckle.
Looking for a night out with the girls that results in not just some excellent memories, but some tangible things to take home as well? Nailed It DIY Studio offers you the opportunity to hand-build wood decor for your home in a casual environment — even while sipping on your favorite adult beverage. (Of course, we don’t recommend overindulging, given the fact you may be using hammers!)
Looking for some ways to enjoy Homestead that don’t require taking out a personal loan? No problem! Here are some low-cost ways to get out and experience town.
A museum guaranteed to be unlike any other you’ve explored, the Coral Castle was originally hand built back in the 1940s by one Ed Leedskalnin, who carved and placed each piece of the more than 1,100 tons of coral rock that create this fantasy world. Although admission was initially 10 cents back in the day, these days it’s closer to $20… but given the power of such a personal-yet-public art project, we truly think you’ll find it’s worth your money.
Offering both a range of housemade retail items, including bread, fruit pies, cakes, jelly rolls and more, as well as the opportunity to pick your own berries from its fruited fields, Knaus Berry Farm is a beloved local destination for families, couples and singletons alike. Although berry-picking is only an option when the berries are in season (obviously), it’s always worth stopping by for some freshly baked treats!
The only botanical garden of its type in the U.S., Fruit & Spice Park specifically showcases fruit, vegetables, spices and herbs — more than 500 varieties of each, to be exact. Admission is just $10 for adults and includes the option to take part in private conducted tours, and the park is open seven days a week, year round, with the exception of Thanksgiving and Christmas.
It’s true: there are some incredible things to get into in Homestead and the surrounding area that are absolutely FREE. Here’s a favorite.
Aside from the gas it’ll take you to do it, driving the scenic Overseas Highway won’t cost you anything but time — and you’ll certainly get a lot back for your investment. Stretching over 110 miles from nearby Florida City to Key West, the southernmost city in the continental U.S., this drive includes the famed seven mile bridge — and is a great way to get to one of our suggested day trips (see info below!).
Everyone needs some TLC from time to time. Here are the best places to get rested, relaxed and rejuvenated in Homestead.
As its name suggests, Wonderful Touch Spa and Massage offers massage in a wide range of styles and modalities, from light-pressure Swedish massages for relaxation to more intense deep tissue, medican and lymphatic massage techniques. They’re all offered in a calm and relaxing environment that will leave you feeling rested.
From massages and facials to makeup application, waxing, nail care, hairstyling and more, you can find basically any service you require at Mary-Irma Salon & Spa — whether it’s for a big day or just for you.
Those who work out regularly know it’s about way more than what you look like. Regular sweat sessions can keep you calm, cool and collected while also making sure you’re prepared to tackle anything that comes your way. Here are our local suggestions.
Being a “brick house” is one thing — so why not take it to the next level and go for steel? At Steelhouse Fitness, you’ll find all the equipment and training you need to achieve your strength and fitness goals, no matter how lofty they may be.
Although the name might be cutesy, make no mistake about it: this place and its range of friendly and approachable classes can help you find some serious inner strength and serenity. Om-Stead Yoga Community is staffed by empathetic and dedicated professionals who know how to help you find yourself on the mat.
While there’s clearly no need to go far from Home(stead) to find fun and adventure, it’s also true that some great adventures await those who are willing to do a little bit of driving! Here are some great day trips and weekend getaways in the area.
Endless white sands, crystal-clear blue ocean, and a town full of friendly and festive folks who know how to throw a party: that’s what you’ll find when you land in Key West. It’s also worth the drive just to grab your Instagram photo beside the giant buoy that marks the southernmost point in the continental U.S. — just 90 miles to Cuba, if you’re a strong swimmer!
A different kind of island getaway, Sanibel is a beautiful and upscale key tucked onto the southwestern tip of Florida — and just a quick trip across Alligator Alley from Homestead. Enjoy the calm gulf coast beaches and boutique waiting to be discovered, not to mention a sunset that’ll put the east coast’s already-stunning version to shame.
As a final reminder, some of these activities may need to wait until businesses fully reopen from coronavirus closures. However, there is still much to see and experience in Homestead that you can enjoy today! What are your favorite spots in Homestead? Send them our way to [email protected] or by tagging us on Instagram @rvshare and using the hashtag #rvsharelocal.