Day Tour From South Beach: The Everglades

If you do one tour from Miami, it should be the Everglades. A sprawling stretch of wilderness between the Miami beaches and the Key West coastline, the Everglades is the country’s largest tropical wilderness. It brings in over 1 million visitors each year, which is no surprise given the park is easily one of the top highlights of any trip to Florida.

This network of wetlands and forests is home to one of America’s most fragile ecosystems, replete with the region’s trademark alligators, not to mention an astounding variety of birds and fish. If you’re lucky, you might also catch a glimpse of the elusive Florida panther, of which there are less than 200 left in the wild.

From Miami, it’s fairly easy to organize a day trip to the Everglades. Most tour operators offer full or half day trips, including transport and a guide. Many of the mid range (and up) operators also throw in a meal, usually of local fare. Here are some of the best tour operators, plus at the end there’s a few details on how you can visit the Everglades on your own.

everglades tour south beach

Gator Park Airboat Tours

Airboats are deeply controversial in Florida. Some people say they’re easily the best way to see the Everglades, while others argue they damage the environment and scare away the animals. Either way, Gator Park Airboat Tours offers good value for money. For $20-$25, you get park entry, an airboat tour and an alligator wrestling show. Alligator wrestling might not sound like everyone’s cup of tea, but it can certainly be quite a show.

Buffalo Tiger’s Airboat Tours

A slightly more expensive option than Gator Park, Buffalo Tiger’s has more of a focus on getting up close and personal with gators. They also have a pretty intriguing on site restaurant, specializing in local, indigenous cuisine. The gator nuggets are highly recommended.

Airboat USA

The most expensive airboat option here, Airboat USA offers private tours of the Everglades. If you want to escape the crowds and have a personalized, deeper Everglades experience, then this is your answer. Their rides are usually over two hours long, and you can expect knowledgeable guides with unparalleled experience with the area.

Everglades Area Tours Guided Kayak Tours

As previously mentioned, airboats are frowned upon my many environmentalists, despite remaining an extremely popular way of seeing the Everglades. For anyone looking for a more peaceful alternative, a kayak tour can provide a much more serene experience. Kayak enthusiasts also say you’ll have a better chance of seeing native animals like dolphins and manatees. Prices are up to $150 per person though.

Clyde Butcher’s Eco-Swamp Walk

If you’d rather get out of the water altogether, you might want to consider a hike. Clyde Butcher’s hiking tours are highly recommended, and take visitors through the heart of the Big Cypress National Preserve. Bring some solid boots – the higher, the better.

DIY

Finally, if you’d rather skip the tour totally, it’s very possible to visit the Everglades on your own. The Everglades National Park is just a stone’s throw from South Beach. To enter, you’ll need to purchase a $25 vehicle pass. Doing it yourself can mean more freedom than taking a tour, but just be aware of the environment, and respect the Everglades.

South Beach Events July 2017

We’ve got a hot summer ahead here in Miami, with some seriously hot events coming down the pipeline. Cool off with a cold beer at one of two major drinking events, or enjoy some tropical fruit at the annual mango festival. Then there’s Independence Day, which is sure to be the highlight of the month.

4 july

Wynwood Yard Craft Beer Mini Festival

It’s gonna get hot out, so what better way to relax than with an ice cold beer?  On July 1, the Wynwood Yard is hosting a mini craft beer fest. Only the best craft beers of Miami are on offer, with tickets costing $40. To accompany these classy brews, they’ll also be throwing in an art exhibition featuring works from local artists. Doors open at 7pm, with the festival running until late. More information here.

 

Florida Supercon

Bring out your inner nerd from July 1 to 4, when Supercon gears up in Miami. Supercon is easily one of the country’s largest comic and video game events. Expect special film screenings, celebrity appearances and plenty of after parties. It’s all good fun, with single day tickets starting at $30. More details are available at the official website.

 

Bacon and Beer Crawl

Still feeling hung over from Wynwood? Well, do we have the hangover cure of the century ready for you. Two words: bacon and beer. That’s right, on July 2, Blue Martini is hosting a bacon and beer crawl. Hair of the dog, plus some sizzling rashers of bacon should be enough to keep even the least responsible of drinkers going for one more night. Tickets start at $30, and you can find more information here.

 

Bluegrass Festival

Bacon, beer and comics might not seem like the classiest way to start the month; luckily we’ve got a bit of culture for you. On July 3, the annual Bluegrass Festival will fill Greynolds Park with the sounds of the south. Hosted by the South Florida Bluegrass Association, this music festival starts around midday, with tickets costing a reasonable $7. More details here.

 

4th of July

Celebrate this 4th of July in downtown Miami, where the place to be is Bayfront Park. There’s a free kids area, plus a Budweiser beer garden that opens at midday. Don’t miss the 9pm fireworks show. Best of all, entry is free!

 

International Mango Festival

If you like mangoes, then you’ll love the International Mango Festival. Over two days from July 9 to 10, Miami will host the world’s largest celebration of that sweet, juicy fruit. The festival is hosted by the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden. Garden members get free entry, while the cost for everyone else is $25 per head. More details can be found here.

 

Overtown Music and Arts Festival

On July 23, head over to the historic area of Overtown, where the community will be celebrating its annual music and arts festival. The festival is a celebration of local culture. Admission is free, making this the perfect day out. Find out more at the event website.

 

 

Best Indian Restaurants in South Beach Miami

We all hanker over a decent curry every so often, and luckily, South Beach delivers. Here, we’ve put together a list of some of the best Indian restaurants in and around South Beach. They’re in no particular order, with all of them guaranteed to spice up your day.

india food

Bombay Grill Miami

A classic among locals, Bombay Grill Miami is easily among the best established Indian restaurants anywhere in Miami. It’s one of the crown jewels of the South Beach culinary scene, with an amazing variety of Indian staples on offer. They’re particularly good with vegetarian and Jain food. The only one gripe to have is with that music they put on, which can be a little loud. Having said that, the service is second to none, and the décor is as tasteful as the food on your plate.

 

Bombay Darbar

The recently relocated Bombay Darbar is yet another Miami classic. The new location is much larger than the old place, meaning it’s much easier to get a seat. Their prices are extremely reasonable given the quality, with some of the most popular dishes including their vegetarian biryani and fantastic chicken vindaloo. Be warned though: many of their dishes are pretty spicy. If you’re not up for some serious sweating, then be sure to confirm with the waiter when you order. They’re always happy to tone down the spice when asked; likewise, they’re even happier to turn up the heat on request. Of course, be careful what you wish for!

 

Ayesha Saffron Indian Restaurant

Saffron has a pretty broad menu of Indian favorites, for good prices. It’s not quite the same level of amazing quality you might expect from Bombay Grill or Darbar, but it’ll hit the spot. Their tandoori is particularly good, and justifies a visit on its own.

 

Raja’s Indian Cuisine

It doesn’t look like much from the outside, but Raja’s really packs a punch. It prides itself on home-style southern Indian cuisine, and it sure does deliver. Those samosas are steaming parcels of joy, and their mango lassi is second to none. However, Raja’s really comes into its own at lunchtime, when it brings out an array of ridiculously well priced specials. Seriously, this is the place to be if you want a solid Indian lunch.

 

Taste Buds of India

Slightly further afield, Taste Buds of India is a bit of a haul from South Beach. Having said that, no discussion of Miami’s Indian foodie scene would be complete without at least mentioning this local favorite. Everyone loves Taste Buds of India. Admittedly, it’s a chain with a buffet, which may put some people off. However, once you get in, you’ll realize what you’d been missing. This place has great service, better food and some good deals. The buffet is actually genuinely good, making this place perfect for anyone with a big appetite.

 

Zaika Indian Restaurant

Not far from Taste Buds of India, you’ll find Zaika. Much like Raja’s, Zaika specializes in single, no nonsense favorites. It’s pretty cheap, and service is quick. Sometimes the portions can be on the small size though.