Miami can be a lot to handle year-round—like, a lot. Sadly, there’s not always the time or, frankly, the money to truly get away on a weeks-long cross-country trip or lavish itinerary abroad. But the cultural, culinary and geographical sights you’ll find on our list of amazing weekend trips from Miami might just do the trick. In Cocoa Beach, you’ll revel in the magic that is bird watching at the local maritime forest, for example. The eclectic St. Petersburg delivers a top art attraction, the Salvador Dalí Museum, and a ton of fishing and boating activities. And for lovers of beauty in nature, the Bahamas aren’t too far away. After all, as amazing as Miami is, there are just so many days we can spend at the best beaches, hiking spots and parks in town.
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Weekend trips from Miami
1. Bimini, Bahamas
This cluster of islands comprises the closest point in the Bahamas to the mainland United States. If that cool factoid doesn’t convince you to visit, this might: The trip from Miami to Bimini is about 50 miles and will take you around two hours by boat. You can even go for the day, if you really don’t want to spend an entire weekend booking excursions to see dolphins and sharks, playing water sports, going hiking or biking amid indigenous animals and plants. Don’t forget to visit one of the most popular snorkeling destinations on the island: the SS Sapona shipwreck, a former cargo steamer that didn’t survive a 1926 hurricane.
2. Key West, Florida
Replete with historic nooks, fresh seafood and perfect sunset perches, Key West is a no-brainer choice for a quick Miami getaway. While away days sipping tropical cocktails and noshing on conch fritters in between checking out gems like the Hemingway Home and Museum and taking in live music on Duval Street. Cap everything off with dinner on the water at longtime locals’ gem Louie’s Backyard.
3. Cocoa Beach, Florida
If you’re looking for a weekend of all genres, Cocoa Beach is for you. There are plenty of eateries and shops to visit, but bird lovers will find happiness around the birdlife that calls the maritime forest at Lori Wilson Park home. There’s more: a true surf town, the city takes pride in the local Florida Surf Museum, which traces the history of the sport on both a regional and national level. Finally, space aficionados are likely aware that the city functions as a gateway to the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, where you can gaze at amazing rockets and much more.
4. Sarasota, Florida
Top sights in Sarasota—a three-and-a-half hour drive from Miami—include the John and Mable Ringing Museum of Art (now the official state art museum for Florida), the Jungle Gardens, home to bird and animal shows, and the 15-acre Marie Selby Botanical Gardens. Beach lovers, worry not: the famous Siesta Key Beach, made of 99% quartz, is right around here, as is the always beautiful Lido Key Beach.
5. Havana, Cuba
Do you really need a reason to go to Cuba? How do endless amounts of delicious local rum (on the cheap) sound? If that’s not your thing, you’ll revel in beautiful architecture with a side of history, plus exciting food and walkable attractions. Sure, there are no truly accessible beaches in town, but who needs those when you’re just an hour away from Miami by plane? (Visiting as a tourist is currently banned, but educational travel has been reinstated. Make sure you do your research before booking.)
6. Mount Dora, Florida
Antiquity is the name of the game at Mount Dora: at the Museum of Speed, check out a stunning replica of a 1940s gas station or peruse through historical artifacts at the Mounta Dora History Museum, which is housed in a fire station that dates back to 1923. The soothing local lake, annual festivals and the antique shops that line the town’s streets make the four-hour drive from Miami worth it.
7. Nassau, Bahamas
Board a flight from Miami and land in the beautiful capital of the Bahamas only an hour later. What to do while in town? After spending your days at the beach, admiring coral reefs and snorkeling, go walk around and notice the super photogenic, pastel-colored British colonial buildings that pepper the city. Make sure to include the Government House in your walking tour. The official residence of the Governor of the Bahamas, the ten-acre estate is also defined by the statue of Christopher Columbus up front, which was added to the property during a round of renovations in 1830.
8. Delray Beach, Florida
This small city less than an hour away from Miami is mostly known for its dedication to art, as seen through the public art and galleries that make the Pineapple Grove Arts District so unique. But, we promise, there’s more: at the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens, you can partake in exciting tea ceremonies and calligraphy workshops; at the Wakodahatchee Wetlands, you’ll walk on the raised boardwalk to look at the turtles and alligators down below; and, if it’s only water that is on your mind, book a trip with one of the many available cruise companies.
9. Islamorada, Florida Keys
If you’re escaping Miami to delve into more water-based activities, consider taking a one-and-half-hour drive to Islamorada. Here, visit the Theater of the Sea, a marine mammal park where you get to swim with sharks, sea lions, dolphins and more. You might also want to buy some bait and go feed the tarpon from the dock at Robbie’s Marina but if it’s a bit of history that you’re craving, take a short canoe or kayak trip to the 11-acre Indian Key Historic State Park to gaze in wonder at the remains of a shipwreck salvage community from the 1830s.
10. St. Petersburg, Florida
Golfing! Fishing! Beaches! Boating! There is oh-so-much-to-do in this beautiful Gulf coast city four hours away from Miami. If there is one thing that all visitors are keen to explore, it’s the Dalí. Not only is it home to the largest collection of the artist Salvador Dalí’s work outside of Europe, but the building itself is a piece of architectural art. Also make sure to visit the visually stunning Chihuly Collection, a museum filled with glass sculptures, the historical Sunken Gardens and the often-discussed Bob Graham Sunshine Skyway Bridge (well, you can’t actually visit the bridge, but it’s certainly something to experience via car).
11. Naples, Florida
Miami residents can drive across Florida to Naples in a relatively short two hours. How convenient. Here are a few reasons to head here for the weekend: fishing off the historic Naples Pier (only partially open since being damaged by Hurricane Ian), the white-sand Naples Beach, the Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens and 5th Avenue South, the street from downtown to the beach that will tickle all of your dining and shopping-related senses.
12. Tampa, Florida
There’s no culture shock or sudden change of weather to get used to when visiting this central Florida destination. With a thriving Latin population (Tampa is home to the original Cuban sandwich, after all), a balmy year-round climate and a buzzy nightlife scene to rival South Beach, Tampa is the city for Miamians who want to get away but don’t care to stray too far from the comforts of home. Spend some time learning about the area’s storied past either on a walking tour through Ybor City or by paying a visit to the Tampa Bay History Center, which you can access via streetcar for a bonus dose of antiquity.
13. Savannah, Georgia
A seven-hour drive or 1.5-hour flight up Florida’s east coast will get you to the magical Southern city of Savannah, Georgia. Home to a buzzing art scene along with cobblestoned squares, Spanish moss-covered oaks and Gothic-Revival architecture, this coastal destination offers a welcomed change of pace. The Perry Lane Hotel strikes a dreamy blend of old and new. Book a ghost tour and peruse the centuries-old City Market for local eateries and trinkets to take home.