According to Megan, Homestead is considered America’s fruit basket, and once you see the miles of produce and farms, you’ll understand why. Homestead was the first city built outside Miami, and the Hotel Redland was one of the first buildings constructed. You can still visit it today to view antiques, vintage furniture, and photographs. There’s also a ton of food and drink options in the area, plus fun outdoor activities such as strawberry picking and vineyard tours that add a different taste to the flavor of South Florida.
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What do you get when you combine a fruit stand, farm, animal area, picnic vicinity, and splash park? A must-stop shop that’s become a destination in itself for locals and tourists in the know. First established by farmer Robert Moehling in 1959, there’s an amazing selection of tropical fruit including lychee, Asian guavas, jackfruit, dragon fruit, and tamarind, plus dips, jams, and spreads. Try visiting on the weekend to catch live music for the full RIH experience.
Always wanted to be surrounded by monkeys in the only semi-natural tropical rainforest in North America? Look no further than Monkey Jungle, which was established by animal behaviorist Joseph DuMond in 1936. It covers more than 30 acres and is home to over 300 primates, and also features jungle trails and exhibits to bring you up-close and personal with the animals without having to travel to far-off lands.
In 1956, brothers Ray and Russell Knaus started raising strawberries. They’ve since created a large berry business along with offering banging baked goods (among them the addictive cinnamon rolls), vegetables, and ice cream. For those who want to get their hands dirty, there’s also a “U-pick” option, which allows you to stock up on as many berries as you can handle.
Schnebly Redland’s Winery & Brewery
For more than 25 years, owners Peter and Denisse Schnebly have been dedicated their farms in Redland to agrotourism. In 2003, they started experimenting with making wines from exotic and tropical fruit like lychee and mango. From there it was only natural to get into brewing beer with the birth of Miami Brewing Company, as well as a restaurant, making Schnebly’s a dream for foodies and those who like their alcohol to be anything but normal.
Cauley Square Historic Railroad Village
Known as a place that “refuses to die,” Cauley Square Historical Railroad Village was built in 1903 by the pioneer family of WIlliam H. Cauley. It’s a quaint village found in a surprising spot off of U.S.1, consisting of about a dozen cottages, restaurants, shops, galleries, and gardens. It’s the perfect place to escape from the often hectic nature of Miami, with whimsical offerings like an aromatherapy shop, a crystal boutique, and an old-fashioned tearoom.
Started in 2011 by Peter and Denisse Schnebly, who wanted to provide their wine-averse friends with a hoppy alternative to the good times. They strive to use The Magic City as inspiration for their brews with the help of fruits, spices, and herbs -- it doesn't get much more 305 than options like Little Havana Cafe Con Leche Milk Stout, Miami Vice IPA, and Shark Bait Mango Wheat Ale. And although they’re located in Homestead, you can find their products all over Miami bars and restaurants, as well as online.
Zoo Miami doesn’t only have a ton of animals, it’s also the largest and oldest zoological garden in Florida and the only subtropical zoo in the continental United States. The zoo, built in 1948, originally was known as the Crandon Park Zoo on Key Biscayne. From 48 acres it’s grown to more than 750, which means your best bet is to make a day of it. Check the calendar often for special events like light shows and monster masquerades.
Opened in 1948, Fruit & Spice Park is a tropical botanical park with more than 500 varieties of extoic fruits, spices, herbs, and nuts. Each November they host the Redland Fish Fry & Seafood Festival, perfect for those who want a fresh and fried local seafood bash. Take a tour and get to know some of the quirkier but edible items like Black Sapote, Snake FIngers, and Wax Jambu, or try your hand at a fruit safari.
What could inspire one man to build a castle by himself? We may never know, but you can still have fun checking it out. Over the course of 1923 to 1951, Edward Leedskalnin secretly carved over 1,100 tons of coral rock, now known as the Coral Castle Museum. To this day, nobody knows how the Latvia native did it -- according to him, he knew “the secret of the pyramids” -- which is part of the fun. More than just a sculpture garden, it features a 9-ton gate that moves with the touch of a finger, functioning rocking chairs, and a Polaris telescope made of stone.
Puerto Rico-born chef Jodrick I. Ujaque opened Chefs on the Run Assorted Cuisine in Homestead in 2011, offering up a blend of Caribbean, Asian fusion, and new American cuisine. Seating about 30 people, it’s an intimate space to gather with friends and family, and even buy some local art if you’re into culture with your food. Much has been written about the restaurant’s Habanero burger, but it also features healthy options like fattoush and vegetarian mofongo.