Saturday, August 22, 2015

Destination Miami

Miami is world-renowned for its spectacular beaches, outrageous shopping and decadent nightlife. But did you know Miami and its environs are also home to fascinating cultural, natural, historic and recreation sites? The trip may start in Miami, but the discovery begins on America’s public lands. Learn more about visiting Miami at
American Crocodile Biscayne National Park

National Parks

Everglades National Park

Everglades National Park (Orko Sarkar)
Everglades National Park, the largest subtropical wilderness in the United States, is home to 23 federally listed threatened and endangered species including manatee, American crocodile and the rare Florida panther. It offers abundant recreational opportunities including spectacular wildlife viewing, world-class fishing, bird watching, boating, canoeing, hiking, biking and camping. Advanced reservations for the Flamingo campground are available from fall to spring. Visitors can explore short nature trails, attend ranger-led programs, or join one of the boat, tram or airboat tours of the park. Plan your visit to the Everglades.40 miles/60 minutes from Miami to the Visitor Center in Homestead, Florida.

Biscayne National Park

Biscayne Boca Chita Lighthouse (Carol McGunagle/Share the Experience)
Biscayne National Park protects a rare combination of aquamarine waters, tropical islands and fish-bejeweled coral reefs, all within sight of Miami. The park offers world-class recreational diving and boating opportunities. Concession operated boat tours are available aboard a glass bottom boat, join a snorkel tour, watch wildlife … or simply relax in a rocking chair gazing out over the bay. For more information, visit the Biscayne National Park website. 20 miles/45 minutes south of Miami.

Big Cypress National Preserve

Big Cypress National Preserve (Marc White/Share the Experience)
Big Cypress National Preserve contains a mixture of tropical and temperate plant communities that are home to a diversity of wildlife, including the elusive Florida panther. For the visitor, the Preserve provides a variety of opportunities to enjoy the outdoors – camping, hiking, canoeing or a swamp buggy tour. There are several guided tours offered by the park and you can book a campsite at any of the eight campgrounds before you go. Visit the Big Cypress National Preserve website to plan your trip. 50 miles/60 minutes west of Miami.

Dry Tortugas National Park

Dry Tortugas
Dry Tortugas National Park is 70 miles (113 km) west of Key West and consists of seven islands formed by coral reefs and sand, 100 square miles of marine waters and historic Fort Jefferson. The Park is known for its fabulous marine life and birds, its legends of pirates and sunken treasure and its military past. Camping is available on a first-come, first-serve basis. For more information, visit theDry Tortugas National Park website. 68 miles west of Key West, accessible by ferry (2.5 hours) or seaplane (45 minutes).

State and Local Parks

John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park

John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park
John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park is the first underwater park in the United States and offers boating, snorkeling, scuba diving, camping and more. 64 miles/70 minutes south of Miami.

Deering Estate at Cutler

Deering Estate at Cutler, on the edge of Biscayne Bay, is an environmental, archeological and historical preserve offering canoe tours, butterfly walks and guided nature hikes. Learn more about Deering Estate20 miles/30 minutes south of Miami.

Vizcaya Museum and Gardens

Vizcaya Museum and Gardens
Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, a National Historic Landmark, is a beautiful villa, estate and gardens open to the public. For more information, visit the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens website. Located in south Miami.

Refuges and Marine Sanctuary

Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge

Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge (Lisa Longo/Share the Experience)
Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge includes the northern remnant of the Everglades, home to abundant wildlife and many bird species. Activities include canoe and walking trails, photography and environmental education. 55 miles/70 minutes north of Miami.

Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge

Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge consists of 26,400 acres located in the heart of Big Cypress Basin. The refuge encompasses the northern origin of the Fakahatchee Strand, largest cypress strand in the Big Cypress swamp.96 miles/100 minutes west of Miami.

National Key Deer Refuge

National Key Deer Refuge (Barb Matulionis)
National Key Deer Refuge is home to 22 federally listed endangered and threatened species of plants and animals, including the barely three-foot tall key deer. Activities include walking trails, wildlife observation, photography and environmental education. Visit the National Key Deer Refuge website for more information. 140 miles/3 hours south of Miami.

Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary

Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (NOAA)
Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary protects the waters surrounding the Keys extending from Miami to the Dry Tortugas. It features coral reefs, shipwrecks, seagrass beds and fisheries and offers recreational activities, including diving, fishing and boating. Read our Spotlight article and plan your next adventure. 60 miles/1 hour south of Miami.

Great White Heron National Wildlife Refuge

Great White Heron National Wildlife Refuge (Michelle Wisniewski/USFWS)
Great White Heron National Wildlife Refuge is accessible only by boat and is located on unpopulated islands, on the north side of the lower Florida Keys and offers fishing, wildlife viewing, photography and environmental education.140 miles/3 hours south of Miami.

Tribal Lands

Miccosukee Indian Village and Cultural Center

Miccosukee Tapestry (NPS)
Miccosukee Indian Village and Cultural Center is located just 30 minutes west of the Florida Turnpike, in the heart of the enchanting Florida Everglades. Here you can enter a world rich in tradition, time-honored customs and heritage unlike any other. More than the native habitat of a proud people, the Village represents the rich culture, lifestyle and history of the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida. For details, visit the Miccosukee Indian Village and Cultural Center website. 36 miles/45 minutes west of Miami.

Big Cypress Seminole Indian Reservation

Big Cypress Seminole Indian Reservation is the largest Seminole reservation in Florida. Here visitors will find many activities to enjoy including the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum, Billie Swamp Safari’s Swamp Buggy Eco-Tours, listening to Indian folklore around the campfire or skimming across a grass-and-water world in an airboat. 80 miles/90 minutes west of Miami.
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