In the mood for a private island escape, waterfall diving, or a reason to explore the jungle? We have a few ideas.
MIAMI — Ditch the city for a three-day weekend adventure. Tropical bungalows, alligator-viewing, and homemade key lime pie are just a few hours south from Miami.
If you're in the mood for: A romanic getaway on a secluded tropical island.
Route to take: It's a straight shot down Route 1 in a car.
Your agenda: Book a room at Casa Morada, Islamorada's laid-back minimalist hotel. Spend your days lounging on a sunbed overlooking the Gulf of Mexico, or take advantage of the many hotel activities, including morning yoga, paddleboarding, and kayaking. Considered the sport fishing capital of the world, Robbie's Marina of Islamorada can help you secure a charter boat. For dinner, explore the local dining scene. Go to Chef Michael's for elegant dining, Green Turtle Inn for authentic Keys cooking, and Morada Bay Beach Cafe for casual waterside fare.
Avoid the Sunday blues: On your way back to Miami, make a pit stop in Key Largo for a slice of homemade Key lime pie at Mrs. Mac's Kitchen.
EVERGLADES NATIONAL PARK
If you're in the mood for: A camping excursion with plenty of wildlife spottings.
Route to take: Drive one-and-a-half-hours down the Florida Turnpike until it merges with U.S. 1 in Florida City. Follow signs to the park's southern entrance in Homestead (40001 State Rd. 9336).
Your agenda: There are no hotels inside the park, so you'll need an RV or camping gear to spend the night at one of two drive-in campgrounds. Made up of 1.5 million acres of marshes, mangroves, and wetlands, there is plenty to see and do. Stop by Florida's oldest alligator farm, meet the Miccosukee Indians, or book a guided airboat tour through the marshes. For food, your best bet is to plan ahead and pack a cooler with your favorite eats, but make sure you save room for local fare like fresh alligator, fish, stone crab, frogs' legs, and Florida lobster.
Avoid the Sunday blues: For the best photo op, head to scenic Mahogany Hammock Trail, where you can also catch a glimpse of the the largest living mahogany tree in the country.
If you’re in the mood for: An Instagram-worthy beach vacation at a charming island resort.
Route to take: Hop a two-hour flight from Miami International Airport (MIA) to Gregorio Luperón International Airport (POP), then drive one-and-a-half-hours through several small towns, including Cabarete, an international kite-surfing village
Your agenda: Check-into Playa Grande Beach Club, a gorgeous pastel-hued retreat on the island’s North Coast. Designed by Celerie Kemble, the six one-bedroom and three triple-bedroom bungalows are decked out in Palm Beach-inspired vintage finds. Suit up and hit the waves with a surfing or body boarding lesson from an instructor at Playa Grande Surf Shack. Adjacent to the hotel, you’ll find an expansive national nature preserve. Book a guide to learn about the area’s flowers and plants (all proceeds go to a local community organization).
Avoid the Sunday blues: Twenty miles from the hotel, tucked amidst the hills in Cabrera, a beautiful waterfall flows. Cool off with a dip in the crystal blue waters or climb to the top to dive into the pool below.