Must see sites of South Florida

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I have compiled a list of the most important sites every tourist and local alike must see while in South Florida.  And while most people will insist on the obvious like South Beach and the water taxi tours,  my list is a lot more eclectic, cultural, local, and different.  Here is my list in order of importance and how much time you will need to visit each.  Keep in mind that all are my opinions only and there are many other places and attractions, but these are the ones that I feel are off the beaten path and a little less congested with tourists. It also gives you a chance to give back to the local business community.  I have since added to this blog two more sites well worth a visit.

 

Wynwood Art DistrictWynwood of Miami

  •  Wynwood Art District in Miami.  Approximately two hours, but add one or two more if you want to include a meal and drinks.  

 

  • Vizcaya of Miami.  This is an all morning or all afternoon museum visit that is worth its weight in gold.  The house alone is less than an hour.  It's the gardens that take so long to view all because of its sheer size and beauty. 

Vizcaya Coral Gables

  • Ford and Edison Estates in Fort Myers.  This is an all day excursion as the drive from Miami or Fort Lauderdale is about 1/1.5 hours.  Two homes, a museum, and lab are on the property so be inclined to stay awhile to take it all in.  There truly is nothing like this as both men were visionaries in their fields.

Ford Estate       Edison Estate

  • MIracle Mile of Coral Gables.  This lovely area of Coral Gables is a beautiful walk on both sides of the street and includes all kinds of shops and restaurants.  However, don't be surprised to see many a brides to be modeling their gowns on the street.  It's quite a spectical.  This is an afternoon or early evening with time for dinner.  

 

  • Cuban Crafters of Miami.  This surely is what you would be looking for if you want a real taste of how a fine cigar is made.  Local craftsmen dot the premises making cigars by hand right in front of you.  Feel free to sample what you like, partake in a cup of Cuban coffee, and even get a straight razor shave while there.  If you do it all, about an hour.  

 

  • Billie Swamp Safari.  This is probably the best toured Everglades experience you will have.  It's pricey, but worth it as you will not only be a passenger on an airboat ride, but on a buggy ride as well where you will see all kinds of native wildlife.  This is an entire afternoon experience.  While you are there it's a good idea to check out the native Indian art and crafts for purchase.  

 

  • Lincoln Road of Miami Beach.  This is literally an outdoor shopping mall in the heart of Miami Beach.  The area boasts all kinds of local foods and retail shops.  While all of the local retail stores have all but gone because of high rents, it is still a wonderful place for a stroll and dinner as the architecture is completely art deco. This takes an early evening as the day is quite hot.  Be prepared to spend a least two to three hours there.  

 

  • Las Olas Blvd. and downtown Fort Lauderdale.  I'm going to lump these two together even though they are separated by a river.  This is a fabulous area to walk, dine, and enjoy a fine local meal.  The summers can be quite dreadful during the day, but evenings and winter hours are fabulous.  Parking is a bit of a problem, so get there early.  Best bet is to have dinner and a stroll on Las Olas and then catch a ride to the other side of the river to downtown and go bar hopping.  

 

  • Stranahan and Bonnet houses of Fort Lauderdale.  A couple of hours in each will do, but why rush?  Although both of these homes are in the same city, and quite close to each other,  they were built by different families and offer visitors a very different perspective on early 20th century life.  Both can be viewed on the same day in just a few hours.  It is a good idea to visit these before they disappear too as both are pretty much swallowed up by hotels and high rises all around and rest on prime real estate.  As a matter of fact, you can't see either from the street.  Stranahan is Broward County’s oldest surviving structure and was built in 1901 by Fort Lauderdale’s founding father, Frank Stranahan.  Bonnet house, on the other hand, was built in 1920 as a retreat for Frederic and Helen Bartlet.  The sheer location of the home is evidence of how well thought out its location is.  The grounds encompass one of the last examples in South Florida of a native barrier island habitat. Five distinct ecosystems can be found on the property including the Atlantic Ocean beach and primary dune, a fresh water slough, the secondary dune which includes the house site, mangrove wetlands, and a maritime forest.  There is also a beautiful orchid showroom with flowers that  are rotated regularly.  Bonnet HouseStranahan House

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Warsaw Coffee, The Alchemist, and Funky Buddha of Fort Lauderdale.  I am also going to lump these three together because they are all in the same city and close to each other.  If you are a lover of fine, locally brewed coffee then the first two are amazing.  I like the iced coffee in both.  However, Warsaw's iced coffee is cold brewed and the Alchemist's is not.  It is served with coffee ice cubes instead.  Funky Buddha is a local beer brewery and offers all kinds of local craft beers and tours.  You can spend all day at the three if you really want to, so it is totally up to you.  Or, go to one for coffee in the morning, Buddha for some beer, and then back to the other coffee bar for a refresher.  

 

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Morris Massre
https://about.me/mmassre
 

 

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Fred Griffin Tallahassee Real Estate
Fred Griffin Real Estate - Tallahassee, FL
Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker

Great list, Morris!

     As a native Floridian, may I add:  

     Go for a swim in the Venetian Pool in Coral Gables.  When you drive back across the 'Glades and pass Naples, be sure to stop for another swim at Warm Mineral Springs near Port Charlotte.

Jul 06, 2015 11:52 AM #1
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Anna Valencia Tillery
White Glove Moving, Storage & Delivery - Vero Beach, FL
"Moving Made Easy at Prices that Make it Possible"

Wonderful outline; I will be sure to visit these hot spots. Helping people know their way around in a new area is vital in our industries (moving/real estate); I am happy to see you share such great info.

Jul 07, 2015 12:26 AM #2
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Morris Massre

Real Estate Instructor Broward County Florida
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