Vizcaya Museum and Gardens is just south of Miami. The Italian-style home belonged to turn-of-the-century billionaire businessman James Deering. Now a National Historic Landmark and listed as one of America’s Most Endangered Historic Palaces, Vizcaya’s breathtaking gardens and ornate house – bursting with 19th century European art and furniture – are a sight to behold. You may have seen Vizcaya used as a location in many movies, including "Iron Man 3" and "Any Given Sunday."
Coconut Grove’s laid-back atmosphere provides the perfect antidote to downtown Miami. As the oldest continuously inhabited neighbor of Miami, the city's ornate historical monuments and 19th century parks offer a tranquil retreat from bustling Miami. Visit Barnacle Historic State Park, where you’ll find the oldest home in its original location in Miami-Dade County. It's the former home of Coconut Grove's founder, Ralph Middleton Munroe. Wander through its forest of tropical hardwood while enjoying the waterfront views over Biscayne Bay.
Fort Lauderdale is known as the "Venice of America" due to its 300 miles of inland waterways, so it’s no surprise many local attractions are water-based. Choose from gondolas, 19th century riverboats or paddle boats to ply the water, or try a Duck boat tour of Las Olas Boulevard, the town’s main stretch. On colder days, art galleries and the Sawgrass Mills Mall provide indoor shopping. As the sun goes down, follow the mile-long Riverwalk to the arts and entertainment district, where you’ll find restaurants, theatres and open-air pavilions.
A tiny part of the 1.5 million-acre Everglades, this marina is a great base to explore, get to know local people and fish for trout. If you crave bigger creatures, charter a boat from a captain and get close to the alligators that inhabit the area. As its name suggests, the island was home to American Indians for more than 1,500 years before European explorers arrived. Watch the sunset from the marina, and you’ll feel privileged you discovered Chokoloskee, too.
Explore coral reefs, ride the Conch Tour Train or enjoy the bars by taking the renowned "Duval Crawl." This lively historic seaport has something for everyone. Visit the homes of Ernest Hemingway and Harry Truman; then grab a fish quesadilla and enjoy the sunset and street performers at Mallory Square. Locals and visitors have gathered here before sundown since the 1960s, just to hang out and enjoy themselves. Don’t forget to take a photo by the Southernmost marker before you go.