When most people think of Miami Beach, the images are of white sand, beautiful bodies, and nightlife. When the TV cameras or magazines focus on South Beach, it’s all about fashion and food, cocktails and craziness. In the south of Florida, however, there are plenty of other activities beyond the beaches and bikinis. Here are some of the top adventure tours from Miami Beach for exploring what lies beyond the hotel strips.
Everglades Airboat Tours
One of the United States’ biggest nature reserves is the Everglades National Park, 2,400 square miles of carefully protected marshland. The typical excursion trip to see the edge takes four-hours, with many tours picking you up at or near your hotel and takes you on an airboat through the wetlands. In some cases this is combined with Gator Park or other tourist spots where you are sure of seeing some animals. It’s not quiet or meditative, but you will get a taste of this unique biosphere.
Everglades Kayak Tours
Longer tours by kayak get deeper into the nature reserve to less crowded areas in the park where airboats aren’t allowed to go. With this quieter means of transport, you’re also more likely to see wildlife in its natural habitat, instead of in captivity. These tours are sometimes combined with a walk on islands that are dry enough to traverse or a wetter slosh through the swamp. See examples and prices at Kayak Dave’s Adventures or Miami Tours.
Biking Key Biscayne
The southernmost barrier island in the United States is near the beaches and downtown Miami. It is a mix of one-third millionaire homes and two-thirds protected nature parks.
BikeAndRoll Miami offers a bike tour of the beaches, lighthouse, and nature areas. It’s all flat here, so the tours are on comfortable cruiser bikes.
Kayaking Biscayne Bay
Many companies offer a guided kayaking trip around Miami’s Biscayne Bay, pulling up onto secluded beaches to relax and recharge. Or, if you’re an experienced kayaker and are comfortable on your own, you can head to Key Biscayne and rent a single or tandem kayak by the hour and go exploring on your own.
Miami Fishing Trips
Miami is a year-round fishing destination and with 12 months of warm weather, only storms will get in the way of a boat excursion out on the water. There’s a “party fishing” cruise that’s inexpensive, but you probably won’t catch anything. A better bet is to get a group together and charter a boat from an experienced operator. Trips can stay close to shore and still catch a wide variety through a company like Miami Bone Fishing. You can venture out further to possibly land tuna, marlin, or even a hammerhead shark with a company like Therapy IV or Outcast Sport Fishing.
Visit Another Country in One Day
It’s just a short hop to the Bahamas from Miami and, if you’re willing to leave while it’s still dark out, you can get there and back in a day on a fast ferry. Viator’s local agent will pick you up at your hotel in the wee hours and deliver you back there at night–plus you can gamble or order drinks on the ship. In the Bahamas you can hang out on the beach at Grand Lucayan resort and sample some Bahamian cuisine and rum drinks. Or you can choose another option that lets you explore for five hours on Grand Bahama Island at your leisure.
Sure, Miami’s beaches are great places to soak up the sun in an area filled with fun lovers from multiple continents. If you want to get moving and go exploring, however, it’s easy to use your Miami hotel as a base for unforgettable travel experiences.
TIP: For many of these activities you can find agencies in the heart of South Beach that will book excursions for the next day and beyond. For the deep Everglades kayaking adventures, you’re better off driving a rental car to Everglades City yourself for the launching point.
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