Best Day Trip 2019 | Big Cypress National Preserve | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Miami | Miami New Times

As endearing as Miami can be, some days you just need to get the eff out of town. Luckily, anyone with a car can make the trek to Big Cypress National Preserve. Big Cypress is approximately 80 miles west of downtown Miami and an easy jaunt on U.S. 41. Big Cypress boasts more than 700,000 acres of tropical wonderland. How adventuresome you want to get is totally up to you: You can take a scenic drive and watch wading birds feed; embark on a free ranger-led swamp canoe trip (private canoe rentals are available from about late November to April for $60 to $100 per trip); give your off-road vehicle a spin ($100 per year with a proper permit); or hike miles upon miles of lush trails. If you want more than a simple day trip, Big Cypress offers eight campgrounds for $10 to $30 per night. You'll be hesitant to return to the gridlock after a day out west.

Photo by Adinayev

Party your ass off until 10 a.m. or get the party started at 10 in the morning: Both are acceptable at E11even. The 24/7 entertainment hot spot celebrated its fifth anniversary earlier this year, and it's showing absolutely no signs of slowing. On any given night, you can catch superstar DJs such as the Chainsmokers and Zedd on the decks, and celebs such as Drake and Daddy Yankee getting their party on. Throw in heaps of booze, a 20,000-square-foot space, premium bottle service, a full-service kitchen, and trapeze artists, and you're in for a good night (or day, whatever). Whether you're strolling out when the sun comes up or watching people enter the club in broad daylight, E11even is a prime people-watching spot in Miami. So kick back and enjoy the spectacle — any time of day.

Readers' choice: Lincoln Road

Jessica Gibbs

Running blows. But when you throw in sweeping views of Biscayne Bay and the epic Miami skyline, it really isn't all that bad. Located smack in the middle of downtown Miami, Maurice A. Ferré Park, formerly Museum Park, is a serene reprieve from the hustle and bustle of the city and a perfect place to jog. The 28-acre waterfront park includes winding walkways, bathrooms, benches, pedestrian access to museums, plenty of trees for shade, and a couple of sculptures for those sweaty postworkout selfies.

Jessica Gibbs

It's a good problem to live in a place with too many quality beaches. Every shore in Miami-Dade offers something unique, from party vibes to family fun. But if you're looking for a relaxing and uncrowded day on the sand, head to the peaceful oceanfront haven known as "Miami's Uptown Beachtown": Surfside. The unspoiled one-mile stretch from 88th Terrace to 96th Street is a slice of paradise that's clean and serene with a locals-only aesthetic. Rest assured, you won't see an "I'm in Miami Bitch" T-shirt here.

Readers' choice: Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park

Gary J. Wood / Flickr

Miami offers plenty of beaches, but if you're looking for a real escape, head north on I-95 for four hours and pull off at the exit for New Smyrna Beach. It's one of the few Florida beaches where you can park your car on the sand, making it easy to stake out a spot for your umbrella, chairs, and cooler. Because the surf is unquestionably better in New Smyrna than Miami Beach, take advantage with a lesson from the Jimmy Lane Surfing Academy, which offers private classes for $60 per person or classes for groups of three or more for $40 per person every Saturday from May through September. Then take a stroll along Flagler Ave, dotted with charming surf shops, ice-cream spots, and the city's famed Coronado/Mainland Shuffleboard Club. For dinner, grab a blue cheese burger from the Breakers, a casual oceanfront dining spot that's similar to the West Palm Beach resort in name only. Cap off your day by completing the Flagler Stagger, a do-it-yourself bar crawl on the main strip.

First dates can be awkward: If the conversation comes to a halt, you'll need something to talk about. Watching the sun set over Biscayne Bay is a great icebreaker, and there's no better place to do that than at the Wetlab, part of Salt Waterfront Restaurant at the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science. This campus watering hole offers spectacular views from its waterfront veranda. Head there after work on a Friday, when there's usually a live band playing until things wrap up at 9 p.m. The Wetlab deserves major kudos for its wide variety of beers, including 17 local craft brews on tap, but its best selling point is the price: For just $20, you can make a mix-and-match bucket of five craft beers. It's a spot that hits all the marks of a good first date: inexpensive, easygoing, and memorable.

Amy Dannheim

After opening less than three years ago in Miami Beach's Sunset Harbour neighborhood, Tropical Vinyasa has quickly established itself as the go-to spot for South Florida yogis. Community vibe is front-of-mind for this small but welcoming studio, which offers special events throughout the year for couples, kids, and moms-to-be. Prices start at $24 for one class, but new students can buy a three-class package for $50 or try 30 days of unlimited yoga for $79. The instructors at Tropical Vinyasa are warm, engaging, and helpful without being too corrective. And it's a great workout too: Prepare to leave the studio drenched in sweat and feeling satisfied. For an extra treat, book a class with a sound bath ($24), where you'll sink into savasana under the spell of deeply meditative noise vibrations from Tibetan singing bowls and gongs.

Readers' choice: Yoga Joint

John Webster

Not long ago, Sunset Harbour was primarily an industrial area made up mostly of gas stations and tow yards. Now it's one of Miami Beach's hippest neighborhoods, packed with restaurants, boutiques, and, of course, beloved local bar Purdy Lounge. The Sunset Harbour Yacht Club, with 125 slips for boats from 45 to 150 feet long, puts you right in the middle of it all. Set on two acres that overlook Biscayne Bay, the private club offers a fitness center, Olympic-sized pool, and barbecue area. If all of that isn't enough, it's also designated a clean marina by the state, meaning it has voluntarily implemented measures designed to protect Florida's waterways. So you can enjoy the views and feel good about tying your boat up here.

U.S. National Park Service

Taking your out-of-town friends and family to the beach is so basic. Instead, let them get up close and personal with the Sunshine State's other famous attraction: alligators. The toothy beast is the state's official reptile, but it might as well be its mascot. There are more than a million — so many that the state publishes a guide on how to coexist with them. And, of course, almost every Florida Man story includes a gator sidekick. You'll find few places that offer a closer look at the famed creatures than Shark Valley. Despite the name, there are no sharks here. But the area, which features a 15-mile paved loop inside Everglades National Park, teems with birds, turtles, and plenty of alligators that make it well worth the $30 admission per car. You can rent a bike for $9 an hour or bring your own; there's also a tram tour that costs $25 for adults, $19 for seniors, and $12.75 for children. Whatever your mode of transportation, you'll get a kick out of seeing your visitors' reactions — whether delight or terror — to Florida's favorite predator. Gators are sure to be lounging in the water alongside the loop. If you're lucky, they might even be on the loop. Just remember: Don't get too close. Park hours are 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.; the visitor center is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Readers' choice: Wynwood Walls

The beauty of a picnic is that you can have one almost anywhere. The beach? Sure! At the edge of a bike trail? Absolutely! But if you want to take your picnic to the next level, you'll want to set up somewhere with tables, grills, and restrooms. A.D. Barnes Park fits the bill. Since 1977, the 65-acre park has been an oasis for busy Miamians looking to reconnect with nature. Located on the corner of Bird Road and SW 72nd Avenue, the park includes a nature trail through a pine forest, a pond for fishing, a children's playground, and, of course, multiple picnic areas. Picnic tables are available for free on a first-come, first-served basis, but if you'd like to reserve a pavilion for your group, you can do that too. All-day rates for picnic shelters range from $100 for a 50-person pavilion to $225 for the largest, which can accommodate up to 200 people. The only thing left to decide is what you'll pack in your picnic basket.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®