Miami’s Not Just for the Cool Twenty-Somethings! Family Fun in the Magic City
By Vianessa Castanos
Miami has become one of the most sought-after global vacation destinations for a reason so we teamed up with Expedia.com to highlight ways to make the most of this bustling destination.
Sure, it’s home to some of the best beaches in the U.S., has a burgeoning art scene, and plays host to some of the biggest social events of the year – but did you know it’s the ideal place for family fun?
And to top it off, it happens to also be home to a plethora of exceptional vacation rentals to accommodate the entire family.
From water activities to museums, Miami has something for families and kids of all ages.
Pick Strawberries at Knaus Berry Farm
Nestled in the Miami suburb of Homestead, Knaus Berry Farm is a must-visit for any family that enjoys spending time outdoors and eating delicious treats.
While they’re known for their assorted jams, jellies and baked goods, the real draw here is being able to pick your own fresh strawberries, direct from the vine, every Monday through Saturday.
Become One With Nature in The Everglades
If spending time in nature is how you envision spending your next family vacation, then a stop at Everglades National Park should top your list. The Everglades is a protected area that’s home to some of the rarest endangered species in Florida including manatees and the Florida panther.
For a truly memorable experience, head over to Sawgrass Recreation Park where admission will get you a 30-minute airboat tour through the Everglades and grant you access to exhibits featuring turtles, iguanas, and alligators.
If you’re visiting in the winter, set a day or two aside to go backcountry camping in the park to truly enjoy the Florida wilderness.
The city of Miami is home to some pretty amazing museums. The Frost Science Museum and The Miami Children’s Museum are usually the first to come to mind when visiting the Magic City, but there is another, equally engaging locale to add to your list: The HistoryMiami Museum.
HistoryMiami is the only Smithsonian affiliated museum in the city that’s dedicated to telling the history of Miami’s people and landmarks. And on the second Saturday of every month, they host a free family fun day from 10 am – 5 pm, each of which offers interactive activities centered on a different theme – for example, exploring Colombian culture or holiday traditions.
Some of the best features of HistoryMiami, however, are their city tours. You can book a guided tour for you and your family to learn the secrets of some of Miami’s most historic neighborhoods while getting the inside scoop on the people who’ve shaped it to what it is today.
Explore the Wynwood Walls
The Miami art scene has really taken off over the past few years with international events like Art Basel and with the development of the Wynwood Art District. But it’s the Wynwood Walls that keep visitors coming back.
The Wynwood neighborhood of Miami was a desolate few blocks dotted with abandoned warehouses until when in 2009 a man named Tony Goldman saw the potential of those warehouse walls as blank canvases.
Now those once-stark walls have been graced by some of the world’s greatest street and graffiti artists; artists like Shepard Fairey, Invader, Clare Rojas and many more.
Since its inception, the Wynwood Walls program has seen over 50 artists from 16 countries whose art have covered over 80,000 square feet of walls. The neighborhood has become a must-see international destination and an absolute must for your next family vacation.
Catch a Show at Adrienne Arsht Center
The performing arts are alive and well in Miami, and the Arscht Center is the place to go to watch the latest concerts, ballets, and theatrical performances. But the fun isn’t limited to just adults, Arscht Center is host to Family Fest, a series of free indoor family-friendly performances by award-winning musicians and acclaimed performing artists.
And be sure to stop by the Market Mondays farmers market which features live music on the second Monday of every month.
Admire the Architecture
The beautiful weather and scenery of south Florida are what make visiting such a memorable experience, but it’s not all beaches; Miami has some of the most impressive architecture of any major city and you can learn all about it during one of the walking art deco tours.
South Beach during the 1920 and 1930s saw a boom in new construction, and many of those old buildings still stand.
During this two hour tour, you and your family can learn all about Art Deco, Mediterranean Revival and Miami Modern styles (the latter of which can’t be found anywhere else in the world) that give so many Miami hotels and Restaurants their postcard-perfect facades. While the guided tours cost $25 per person, you could do a self-guided tour for absolutely free.
But also make sure you check out some of the architecture away from South Beach, namely, the stunning Vizcaya Museum & Gardens.
The Vizcaya house itself is a historically significant mansion turned museum built between 1914 – 1922 that is not only an architectural marvel but also houses European antiquities, American art, and centuries-old plants.
The European-inspired garden is one of the most famous in the United States and makes for an inviting place to spend an afternoon with kids.
Go For a Dip in the Venetian Pool
Forget water parks, the Venetian Pool in Coral Gables is unlike any other water facility in the country. This public pool has been around since the 1920s was created from a rock quarry and is fed with fresh spring water from an underground aquifer. Here you’ll find two waterfalls, hidden grottos, and even two lookout towers.
It’s not free to enter, costing between $10-$20 per person depending on what time of year you visit, but they do offer a family membership which is a great deal if your vacations take you to Miami a few times a year.
Be warned: children under three years old are not admitted to the facility, so make sure you have proof of age on hand in order to enter.
Visit Santa’s Enchanted Forest
The only seasonal item on this list, Santa’s Enchanted Forest should be on any winter vacation itinerary. Running from Nov. 1 through the first week in January, it is the world’s largest holiday theme park and carnival, and it’s right here in Miami!
But this isn’t just any merry-go-round, bumper cars having a carnival, oh no, this amusement park has roller coasters, death drops, and kiddie rides (appropriate for all ages) all set to the backdrop of a winter wonderland.
Plus they have an assortment of live shows including magicians, acrobats, and freestyle motocross. And you can even stop by the North Pole to visit Santa’s workshop and take family photos with the jolly man himself.
If you’re thinking of planning a Miami vacation, remember that this city offers so much more than just fun in the sun. With tons of art, natural vistas and with a history all its own, the Magic City is the perfect destination for any memorable family holiday.
Vianessa Castaños is a scriptwriter and producer in Miami who moonlights as a travel and culture journalist. She’s also the editor and founder of Hustle Juice, an online resource for location-independent professionals and travel junkies.