Located in Miami-Dade County, South Florida, Palmetto Bay is a small city of only 23,000 people in the largest metropolitan area in the state with more than 6 million residents.
During Hurricane Andrew in the summer of 1992, Palmetto Bay was one of the hardest hit areas on the coast. Entire neighborhoods and business districts were destroyed.
Rebuilding has been slow, and more than 25 years later there are still signs of an epic storm.
Palm Cove is ideally located for easy access to natural, historical and cultural attractions. Here are 15 of the most popular things to do in town.
1. Coral Reef Park
The coral reef park at Palmetto Bay spans over 50 acres and is a popular attraction for locals and tourists alike, but don’t be fooled by the name—it’s an inland park.
Perhaps the name was a clever marketing ploy by overzealous city planners, but despite not being on the ocean, the park is a beautiful oasis for walkers, cyclists and picnickers.
Due to its popularity, some recent visitors have noticed that it is becoming more commercial than they would like, and there is often loud music and relatively loud activity.
If this is a scenario you want to avoid, consider visiting on a weekday or in the morning when the park first opens.
2. Deering Manor
Charles Deering was an American industrialist who founded the International Harvester Company, which made everything from bulldozers and tractors to road trucks and combines.
Set on over 400 acres of scenic coastal land, the property was once a winter retreat for Deering and his family and includes numerous cottages, a main house and extensive grounds and gardens.
Located in the city’s Cutler neighborhood, the estate is home to one of the most extensive surviving tropical hardwoods in the county.
While you’re unlikely to see Don Johnson, the estate has been featured in projects like the Miami Vice in Florida over the years, and it’s relatively inexpensive to visit.
3. Pisco and Nazca
Although it’s technically located in nearby Doral, Pisco y Nazca is often referred to as ceviche. Its main dishes come from Peru.
For those unfamiliar with ceviche, this is an easy fresh seafood and vegetable dish cooked not with heat but with the acid from the lime juice.
It’s healthy, full of bold and vibrant flavors, and is popular with those interested in venturing off the path of stale cooking. The restaurant serves other Peruvian dishes, as well as a full beer, wine and cocktail menu.
Previous guests have described the restaurant as stylish, unique and comfortable.
4. Palmetto Golf Course
There are so many golf courses in South Florida that it can be frustrating when deciding which ones are worth your precious time and money.
Located on SW 152nd Street, Palmetto Golf Course is a par 70 course spread over 100+ acres of scenic South Florida land.
Built in the late 1950s, the 18-hole championship course was originally private, but has been a municipal facility since the 1960s.
It’s known for its well-manicured greens and fairways and its abundance of sand and water hazards that are plentiful but not excessive, making things challenging.
It is wise to book your tee time before your visit.
5. Mystery, Chaos and Sin Crime Bus Tour
From Miami Vice to Scarface, South Florida has a unique film and television history that tends to focus on the more backward side of the region. For those looking to do it all as part of a professional guide, there’s no better way than a Mystery, Chaos and Sin Bus Tour.
The tour also touches on unique and lesser-known parts of Florida’s history, such as Al Capone spending most of his time in the Sunshine State, and the shocking 1997 murder of international fashion mogul Gianni Versace.
Tours are seasonal, so check online before making a special tour.
6. Brickell Bay Terrace
Biscayne Bay and the Inland Waterway offer southern Florida visitors some of the most stunning views they’ll ever see anywhere. Terrace by Brickell Bay on SW 13th Street in Miami is the perfect spot for afternoon drinks and breathtaking views.
While the community itself is exclusive and often restricted, the terraces are open to the public, and many TV shows and movies have featured these views.
Dolphin sightings are common in the bays and waterways, so don’t forget to bring your camera, and for sunset lovers, there’s no better place to capture a true Florida masterpiece.
7. Biltmore Hotel Walking Tour
Florida has always attracted Hollywood’s luxury types, but in the years leading up to World War II, it attracted the beauty and wealth that rivaled Southern California.
The Biltmore Hotel on Anastasia Boulevard in Coral Gables has a long history of hosting movie stars, heads of state and business tycoons. For ordinary people who want to learn about the lifestyles of celebrities and the super-rich, guided tours are the way to do it.
These tours are free, run for a few hours, and are available on Sundays at 2pm. Due to their popularity, it is wise to show up early.
8. Wolfson Museum
The Wolfson Museum, located on the Florida International University campus in Miami Beach, isn’t as well known as other museums in southern Florida, but previous guests have noticed and were pleasantly surprised by its extensive display.
The collection focuses on contemporary art and design, and also has a lot of international influences throughout.
The museum is located in Miami’s Art Deco District, so if you like this aesthetic of architecture, it’s worth considering taking a guided tour along with the museum.
9. Elaine Gordon Park in the Enchanted Forest
Enchanted Forest Elaine Gordon Park is a 20-plus-acre oasis in the middle of Florida’s largest urban center, and most guests believe it lives up to its name.
The entrance to the park is at NE 135th Street in North Miami and is open every day of the year.
Tree-lined areas, creeks and shady paths are perfect for a variety of activities. For those traveling with young children who need something special, cheap pony rides are offered in the afternoon.
Open from sunrise to sunset, the park can get very busy during peak hours, so consider visiting in the morning to avoid crowds.
10. Little Havana
Miami’s Little Havana is the epicenter of all Cuban culture in the state, and one of those neighborhoods filled with guides for food, culture and history lovers.
Much of Little Havana is located on Called Ocho, or 8th Street in English, and is full of authentic restaurants and coffee shops, galleries, artist studios, and many tobacco shops.
While the community is predominantly Cuban, there are many other Latin and South American influences as well. It’s a great place to enjoy a relaxing happy hour with island music, delicious food, chilled mojitos and Cuba Liberty.
11. Venice Pool
Comprising hundreds of thousands of gallons of natural water, the Venetian Pool at nearby Coral Gables is one of those unique attractions you won’t find anywhere else, the perfect beach break after a long day.
The pool has been around since the ’20s, and the grounds include several waterfalls, caves, man-made islands, and grottoes, offering shaded areas perfect for relaxing in the sweltering Florida sun.
Pools are relatively cheap, but do get crowded during peak hours, so plan accordingly.
12. FIU – Biscayne Bay Butterfly Garden and Nature Walk
Located on NE 151st Street in North Miami, Florida International University’s Biscayne Bay campus has a fantastic butterfly garden and nature trails that take guests through some surprisingly unspoiled natural habitats.
The venue spans over 10 acres, and while the butterfly garden is the centerpiece, it’s just one of many outdoor and nature-related activities, including bird watching, hiking, and wildlife photography.
Several staff guided tours are also available. For those who want to show themselves at their own pace, the trails are free to visit and open to the public every day.
13. Everglades Safari Park
The Everglades is Florida’s most iconic natural attraction, and while the vastness of the Everglades can be overwhelming, you can get all the highlights at the Everglades Safari Park in a relatively short amount of time.
From alligator and airboat tours to world-class fishing and swamp buggy excursions, there’s nothing you can’t do in the park. For many guests, this is their best chance to get up close and personal with some of the amazing animals that call the area home.
Part zoo, part theme park, part natural history museum; this is one of those places that previous guests agree really shouldn’t be missed.
14. Adrienne Arsht Performing Arts Centre
If you’ve ever marveled at Kuala Lumpur’s stunning Petronas Twin Towers, then you’ve admired the striking buildings known as the Adrian Asht Performing Arts Centre because they were designed by the same man.
While the jury is still out on what the performing arts center will look like, it’s undeniable that it’s home to some of the best productions in the region, including Latin dance festivals, opera and jazz concerts, and performances that absolutely can’t be categorized, so Listed as “experimental.”
The centre offers a variety of activities suitable for children and also has a restaurant.
15. Miami-Dade County Youth Fair
Since 1952, the Miami-Dade County Youth Fair has been a popular family attraction, held each year in late spring.
Much of what you’ll see is similar to what you’ll see at county fairs across the country, but youth fairs are more centered on children and young adults. It includes races and activities related to cattle and farms, arts and crafts, carnival-style rides and games, and delicious food—from funnel cakes and marshmallows to corn dogs and ice cream.
Where to Stay: Best Hotels in Palm Bay, FL, FL
Lowest price guaranteed.