15 things to do in Sweetwater (FL)

Sweetwater is a small city located in the wider Miami-Dade County and a great base for exploring the best of southeastern Florida.

The city is just a 20-minute drive from downtown Miami, and it’s also on the edge of the vast wetlands that form the Everglades. You can find plenty of alligators in the surrounding area, and there’s plenty to do in Sweetwater, Florida.

Visit local parks, see the city’s influence on Nicaragua at the Catholic Church, and enjoy local life in a quiet city just a short distance from Florida’s best attractions and attractions.

Here are the best things to do in Sweetwater, FL:

1. Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe

Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe Dora

Sweetwater has huge ties to Latin America. In fact, the majority of the population speaks Spanish as their first language, and the city used to be called Little Managua in recognition of its Nicaraguan heritage.

This legacy is also manifested in religion. Just minutes from Sweetwater, in Dora you can visit the local Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe, a Catholic church designed in a distinctly Latin style.

You don’t need to be religious to admire the architecture or the impressive Catholic designs and sculptures inside; it’s a wonderful cultural experience when you visit Sweetwater.

2. Patricia and Philip Frost Art Museum

Patricia and Philip Frost Art Museum

One of the best things to do in Sweetwater is to visit the Patricia and Philip Frost Art Museum. The Frost Art Museum, located within Florida International University, often referred to simply as the Frost Art Museum, is one of the state’s most prominent art institutions.

The art museum houses an incredible collection of works from around the world, but the focus is primarily on 20th-century American art, while also throwing a healthy dose of Latin American art into the creative mix.

The Frost Art Museum is often cited as the best museum in Florida. When you spend hours wandering through galleries and exhibitions admiring the eclectic collection of art, you’ll see why.

3. Dolphin Mall

Dolphin Mall

Every city in America has a mall, and Sweetwater is no exception. This one is huge, though, and for the locals, it’s the heart of the small city. In fact, Little Sweetwater is one of the largest outlet shopping and entertainment centers in Florida. Dolphin Mall is reason enough to explore the city on its own.

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With almost hundreds of stores and stores to browse, it’s easy to find yourself lost for hours in retail paradise. Here you can find brands from all over the world, including all the major international fashion and designer brands you could possibly need.

Dolphin Mall is a city in itself. In addition to the shops, you can dine in a different restaurant each day during your stay in Sweetwater, or try a new bar each evening.

4. Dora Central Park

dora central park

In neighboring Dora, you can find the wonderful Dora Central Park. This is a lovely public space built around a small lake.

The park is green and open, perfect for running, jogging or just walking around. There are benches, play areas, and most importantly, the grass around the lake is used year-round for public events that draw crowds from the local community.

5. Tropical Park

tropical park

Another great park to visit in the Sweetwater area is Tropical Park, just a 10-minute drive away. This large park is a great place to work out or do nothing. In a densely built area on the outskirts of Miami, it offers a great outdoor escape in an urban setting.

For active travelers, there are miles of walkways and running tracks through the grassy park, and there’s even an outdoor gym. In fact, it is a sports-oriented park, as there are also football fields and running tracks.

If working out isn’t your thing, there’s plenty of room to sit and relax in the Florida sun.

6. Tami Ami Park

Tamiami Park, Tennis Center

Next to Florida International University, you’ll find Tamiami Park, one of the largest parks in the Miami-Dade area. Here you’ll find the Miami Expo Expo Center, which hosts events throughout the year, as well as several local stadiums, sports facilities, and recreational areas.

Olympic-sized swimming pools are a popular spot, especially when the sun is out — almost every day of the year in Florida. Around Tamiami Park, you’ll find walking and biking trails, as well as plenty of picnic tables and benches to relax in.

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7. Coral Gables

Venetian Pool, Coral Gables

Coral Gables is a 15-minute drive from Sweetwater, a small city full of great things to do. Coral Gables is filled with classic 1920s Florida architecture, including the famous Douglas Entrance, which was built in 1924 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. There’s also the iconic Miami Biltmore Hotel.

The best place to visit, though, is Venice Pools. This large outdoor public pool, also built in 1924, is the only pool in the country on the National Register of Historic Places.

8. East Coast Buffer Water Reserve

Sweetwater is one of the last urban areas before you reach the Everglades. Right next to the city, you can visit the East Coast Buffer Water Reserve and experience this wonderful wetland wilderness.

This is a restored wetland area with a hiking and biking trail around the artificial lake. There is also plenty of wildlife returning in the area, and you may come across a few alligators in the water as you explore.

9. Everglades Safari Park

Everglades Safari Park

At Everglades Safari Park, a 20-minute drive from Sweetwater to the Everglades, you can experience the best wetlands with the help of a local guide.

The safari offers classic airboat tours through creeks and waterways, and as you travel around, you might spot alligators all day long.

10. Miccosukee Indian Village

Miccosukee Indian Village

Not far from the Everglades Safari Park, you can find the Miccosukee Indian Village, the traditional land of the Miccosukee people.

In the village, you can learn more about the traditions and history of the Miccosukee Indians at the local museum, while guides offer airboat tours through the Everglades.

11. Ernest F. Coe Visitor Center

Ernest F. Coe Visitor Center

On the edge of the Southern Everglades, a 40-mile drive from Sweetwater, you can call the top-notch Ernest Coy Visitor Center to learn about the incredible diversity of Florida’s most famous natural area.

This is southern woodland in remote wilderness, and at the visitor center you can visit storyboards and exhibits that tell the natural and human history of one of the largest wetland ecosystems in the world.

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12. Biscayne National Park

Biscayne National Park

Another beautiful national park, close to Sweetwater is Biscayne National Park. Protecting the iconic waters and islands of Biscayne Bay, despite being so close to such a huge urban area, this national park will quickly take you away with its solitude and beauty.

You can snorkel or dive in the coral reefs, canoe in the lush mangroves, or take a boat tour of the coast. True diversity can be found in this unique ecosystem, with everything from wetlands to beaches. This is one of the best day trips you can take from Sweetwater.

13. Florida Keys

Florida Keys

The Florida Keys is a chain of islands that extends far from the mainland into the depths of the Gulf of Mexico.

This chain of islands is all connected by a spectacular road; one of the best things to do in Sweetwater is all the way to Key West, the westernmost island in the chain. It’s a spectacular drive with stunning views wherever you look.

14. Fort Lauderdale

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Fort Lauderdale is a classic getaway on Florida’s southeast coast. If you’re in Sweetwater, you can easily take a day trip and return to a quieter part of Sweetwater in the evening.

There are several fascinating museums and galleries to visit, but Fort Lauderdale’s bustling and beautiful beaches are certainly the pride of the city.

15. Miami

Miami Beach

Of course, no trip to Sweetwater is complete without a trip to Miami, one of America’s most iconic cities.

You can visit beautiful Miami Beach, stroll along the endless boardwalk in the sun, or have a cocktail overlooking the ocean.

In downtown Miami, you can explore the city’s wide range of cultural attractions, from the Art Deco District to the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens. There’s so much more to do in Miami, and you can easily travel from Sweetwater to the big city for a few days.

Where to Stay: Best Hotels in Sweetwater (FL), FL
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