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The Not-So-Touristy Spots in Miami


You’ve been to South Beach. You’ve cruised down Ocean Drive. You’ve hung out at the nightclubs and drank one too many exotic cocktails. The tourist experience in Miami is exciting and packed with fun. But when you’ve done it all — what next? Now it’s time to check out the real Miami, where the locals live and eat and play. 
Here are some of the not-so-touristy spots in Miami.

Work out like a local

Working out is a popular pastime in Miami. One of the reasons the locals look so good is exercise. (And surgery, but that’s a different story.) Whether it's the volleyball courts on South Beach, the pull-up bars and basketball court at Alice Wainwright Park, or the thousands of running routes logged by Miami’s weekend warriors, there are lots of places to work up a sweat in the South Florida sunshine.

Visit a Deserted Beach

It’s not hard to find a beach in South Florida. The trick is finding one without many tourists on it. If you want to get away from the party beaches, and spend some downtime on the shore without the crowds.  Places like Oleta River State Park are great day spots or weekend camping spots.  We recommend renting an RV, especially during the hot, humid summer.  Be sure to bring a kayak so you can paddle through the mangroves, past the high-rises, and out to empty islands and their blissfully empty beaches. 

Check Out the Native American Burial Site

This 450-acre historic preserve at the Deering Estate features guided nature hikes, canoe tours, and butterfly walks in this environmental paradise. The land was once home to Paleo, Tequesta, and Seminole Native Americans. Visit the native habitats to visit the Tequesta midden, the Cutler Burial Mound, and walk the ancient Tequesta trail. The estate also offers daily tours of the historic Stone House and Richmond Cottage.

Go Cuban

The island of Cuba is one of Miami’s biggest cultural influences, and no visit to Miami is complete without a Cuban sandwich or a cafecito. If you’ve never had a Cuban sandwich — forget the diet. This classic is a sandwich layered with ham, roast pork, Swiss cheese, mustard, pickles and grilled between two pieces of crispy Cuban bread. Follow it up with a shot of strong Cuban coffee, and you're set to explore how Cuban music, art, and aesthetics have formed the culture of Miami's Little Havana neighborhood.

Drink Like a Local

Sure, you can spend $25 for a cocktail and surround yourself with an international crowd at trendy rooftop bars in this city. But when you’re in the mood for something a little more authentic, you should drink where the locals drink. The Miami Herald, as the newspaper of record here, names the Bay Club and the Purdy Lounge as two places where the locals outnumber the visitors. 
It’s easy to see why Miami remains one of America's fast-growing cities. The same things that make it an attractive place to live are the draw for a lot of visitors, too. Who can say no to lots of sunshine, beaches, good food, and great music? But step away from the tourist attractions. You'll find a Miami that is rich in culture and has an identity separate from its international reputation. Maybe the next time you come to Miami, you will come to stay for good.
Paul Colbert is a travel blogger and nature enthusiast. He loves exploring new places and new ways to enjoy the outdoors.