Welcome To Miami! Ahh yes, we all know the Will Smith song that gets stuck in your head anytime you think of Miami. Well, what you don’t necessarily think of is RVing in Miami. It’s known as a beach town with a hopping night life.
When we were in South Florida, we planned a week in Miami to see if we can change that thought and I think we did a pretty good job of that.
First off, where to stay when RVing near Miami? We found a great place called Miami Everglades RV Resort, which is part of the Encore system. There are tons of RV sites ranging from pull-through’s big enough for the biggest rigs down all the way down to tent sites. They also have cabins on the property as well for those who don’t have an RV. www.rvonthego.com/florida/miami-everglades-rv-resort
We really liked the amenities they offered at the park. It was spacious and had everything from a huge pool with hot tub, professional looking shuffleboard courts, a nice sized playground, a dog park and one of the best miniature golf courses I’ve ever played.
The RV park is about 50 minutes from downtown Miami, but that’s just about as close as you’ll be able to get to the city as far as RV parks go.
The park is right in the heart of the Redlands agricultural region, so you have quite a few options to find fresh, locally grown fruit. You’ll see road side stands set up as well as several farm stands through out the area.
Knaus Berry Farm
One we visited was the Knaus Berry Farm. You can hand pick strawberries at this farm, but that was not why we came. We got word that they have an amazing bakery that has the best cinnamon rolls. We’re more of a donut family, but who can resist a cinnamon roll?
We got there early since we heard they sell out most days and bought a dozen. They come in a sheet and looked amazing on the wax paper. That was only outdone by the way they tasted. They were absolutely delicious.
Definitely look this place up and make a point to get breakfast there. You will not regret it, although your waistline just might.
For more information on Knaus Berry Farm and their hours of operation (which is only open during farming season), check out www.knausberryfarm.com.
Now that you got your accommodations set, let’s talk about what to do.
Miami is a very diverse city. On one hand you have possibly the most unique ecosystem in the country with the Everglades just a short ride from the city, then you have Little Havana with it’s Cuban roots on display all up and down Calle Ocho to the up and coming art district of Wynwood.
We visited quite a few places in and around the city and here are our recommendations to check out when you’re in Miami.
Number 1 on the list has to be the Everglades. If you are reading an RV website then you have at least a little part of you that yearns for the outdoors and connecting with nature. For me, I’ve always enjoyed hiking in the mountains or being out on the ocean, but the Everglades is a total different feel.
When we pulled in to the park, I could somehow feel everything in the park was reliant on each other. The park’s ecosystem was so apparent it was weird.
We visited the Shark Valley which is at the north end of the park. There is a visitor center there that shows a video on the park as well has having some displays to check out to learn about the park and animals that live in it.
Our kids took the opportunity to do their Junior Ranger program which is a great way for them to learn about the park itself and what they can do to help protect the park and animals that live there.
The main reason we went to Shark Valley was because they have a 15-mile paved bike trail that goes through the Everglades. We thought that would be a great way to really see what the park is all about, by actually getting out there and seeing it in person.
We jumped on our bikes and hit the trail. They also have a tram that runs several times a day along the bike path, which is a good option if you don’t have bikes with you or if 15 miles is a bit out of your range.
Riding on the path, which is very flat and smooth, we saw a bunch of gators. I’m not talking about gators swimming off in the distance, I’m talking about laying a foot off the 4-foot wide bike path! They were a couple so close, I could have run over their tails if I wasn’t paying attention to where I was riding. Talk about a rush!
The gators seemed very docile and content, so we never felt threatened, but our hearts were definitely pounding when we’d ride past and our feet peddled a little faster.
After making it back to the visitor center, we were definitely spent. Both from the physical task of biking the 15 miles as well as the emotional toll the gators put on us. Needless to say, we were ready to head home to relax.
For more information on Shark Valley and other visitor centers in the Everglades, check out their website www.nps.gov/ever/index.htm.
After seeing the alligators, and maybe even a python, in the Everglades, check out the Miami Seaquarium to see several other marine life creatures.
The star of the place is Flipper the dolphin. And, yes, I mean the real deal Flipper. You know, King of the Sea? He’s still got it for pushing 60. Watch him jump out of the water soaring over a rope he was challenged to jump over.
Another cool tidbit is that the Miami Seaquarium is actually the film location of the show Flipper. We had fun watching all the animal shows and learning more about each one. For more information on the Miami Seaquarium, visit www.miamiseaquarium.com.
A visit to Miami wouldn’t be complete without visiting South Beach. I mean, they created a diet based on this beach! We took a drive out to Miami Beach and up A1A to see what all the fuss was about.
It was pretty interesting. There were very physically fit men and women all up and down the beach, most dressed scantily clad. The other very interesting thing is that there were several outdoor restaurants with women dancing up on the tables. It was wild. And it was only noon! How are you supposed to eat a club sandwich with all that going on?
We couldn’t find a parking spot for our family truckster with all the Ferraris and Corvettes parked up and down the street, so we felt it was best to move along. I’m sure the night life there is crazy!
I was really excited to visit Little Havana. I wanted to see the Cuban culture up close. I also got hooked on Cuban Coffee while spending time in the Keys, so that was high on my list as well.
We drove down Calle Ocho and saw the vibrant latin life. The sights, sounds and smells all made Little Havana live up to its name.
We were on a mission for coffee and ice cream. We heard of a great little ice cream shop called the Azucar Ice Cream Company. We stopped in and loved all the flavors they offered as well as hot Cuban Coffee! Score!
This is definitely a place to stop for a cold treat. The ice cream was delicious and the atmosphere was really cool as well. Check out their website for more info on their delicious desserts at www.azucaricecream.com.
After leaving Little Havana, we headed toward the Wynwood neighborhood. This is known as an up and coming art district for Miami.
In what used to be a warehouse district, you can now find blocks and blocks of very uniquely painted buildings along with sculptures and other art displays, this was a very unique place to visit. We parked our car to take a self-guided walking tour through the streets and displays. There was some pretty amazing art and it attracted a pretty large crowd.
If you are interested in art and local culture, definitely add a stop to the Wynwood neighborhood to your list.
While hanging out at the Miami Everglades RV Resort one day, we quickly became friends with another family staying in the park. Our kids were similar ages and they became best friends in the span of an afternoon.
The next day the family asked if we’d be interested in going to Jungle Island as they new of some extra tickets through a large group that was going. We’re suckers for free tickets, so we said yes, even though Jungle Island was on our list to visit anyway. Another score!
Jungle Island is a zoo and their unique attraction is a habitat you can enter where monkeys, turtles, iguanas and birds roam and fly free with you. More on that later.
It turned out the day we were visiting, the park was hosting a Fun & Fit as a Family day. This meant they had several healthy food tastings set up along with cooking demonstrations. This was a pretty neat thing to experience. We got to see a few Food Network chefs preparing healthy meals and educating us on better choices when in the kitchen.
The park itself had quite a few animal displays that were very neat to walk around and look at. The best though was the Manu Encounter, which was the habitat we entered and were up close and personal with squirrel monkeys, macaws, iguanas and turtles.
The little monkeys were very cute and not shy. They stayed pretty close and we fought the undeniable urge to scoop one up and cuddle the little guy.
Jungle Island is a unique zoo that is definitely worth checking out. For more information, check out their website atwww.jungleisland.com.
After checking out Miami for a few days I can without a doubt say it is worth visiting for us RVing folks. There were so many things going on that gave the city such a great energy.
So crank up Will Smith and sing along when you make your visit “Welcome to Miami!”