Posted on 19 Mar
From sun-drenched beaches to prehistoric caves, cultural attractions to coral reefs, South Florida is home to an incredible array of destinations primed for exploration, adventure and relaxation. Below are our picks of not-to-be-missed day trips to enjoy in South Florida.
EVERGLADES NATIONAL PARK - If you haven’t yet made your way to Everglades National Park, this day trip is a must. Not only is it the largest subtropical wilderness in the United States, it’s an international treasure, a World Heritage Site and an International Biosphere Reserve, home to countless rare and endangered species, including the manatee, crocodile and Florida panther. Three entrances lead to more than 1.5 million acres of wetland, with highlights including the 65-foot observation tower above Shark Valley, miles of pineland bike trails, tour boat rides over Florida Bay and paddling amongst the mangroves on Nine-Mile pond.
JOHN PENNEKAMP CORAL REEF STATE PARK - The first undersea park in the U.S. covers approximately 178 nautical square miles of reefs, seagrass beds and mangrove swamps off Key Largo. Adjacent to Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, the park extends three miles into the Atlantic Ocean, containing a wide variety of marine life, tropical vegetation and shore birds. The park offers fantastic snorkeling, scuba diving and glass bottom boat tours, oceanfront campsites, fishing, kayak, canoe and paddle board rentals, perfect for exploring the 50 miles of natural mangrove wilderness.
DEVIL’S DEN SPRING - A trip to Devil’s Den Spring, Florida’s premier prehistoric spring, is like taking a trip back in time. A natural wonder and one of North America’s most prehistoric places, the underground spring is located inside a dry cave, which is home to extinct animal fossils dating back ages. With a surface diameter of 120 feet and a year-round water temperature of 72 degrees, the spring reaches 54 feet in depth, perfect for snorkeling or scuba diving. You have to be doing one or the other to enter the spring, which is located at the end of a scenic drive to Williston in Central Florida.
MARCO ISLAND - The largest and only developed island of Florida’s Ten Thousand Islands, Marco Island is situated in the Gulf of Mexico in Southwest Florida. Long, tranquil beaches capture endless sunshine and views of frolicking dolphins from the shore. Lush tropical foliage and over 200 species of birds, including the American Bald Eagle, flock to the island, which offers fantastic fishing, world-class golf, dolphin excursions, boat tours and a vibrant culinary scene.
SALVADOR DALI MUSEUM - A day would go by quickly at The Dali Museum, which features the largest collection of paintings by Salvador Dali outside of Spain. The St. Petersburg museum’s collection includes more than 2,100 works, including oil paintings, original drawings, prints, sculptures and photography. Explore the museum inside, then step out onto the Tampa Bay waterfront to the museum’s Avant-garden, inspired by local flora and Dali’s fascination with duality, art and nature. A destination in itself, the museum’s Cafa Gala, named for the artist’s wife Gala, offers a culinary experience, introducing visitors to Spanish food and history.
RAPIDS WATER PARK - There’s no better way to escape the Florida summer heat than with a trip to Rapids Water Park, South Florida’s largest water park, situated in Riviera Beach. Among the 42 rides are adrenaline-fueled thrill rides, more than 35 water slides and family-friendly rides geared for the younger adventurers. Spend the day cooling off, floating, rafting, surfing, bodyboarding and sliding your way through the park, which also features a host of restaurants, bars and cafes for all ages.