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By: Shayne Benowitz

Surrounded by the Everglades to the west, Biscayne Bay to the east and the bustling city to the north, South Dade is where Miami finds a more relaxed pace. Often called Miami’s heartland, South Dade is home to farms that produce exotic fruits, fresh vegetables and a noted local winery. There’s lots to do in South Dade, from a NASCAR championship racetrack to cultural arts centers and animal attractions. Explore a different side of Miami with our South Dade insider’s guide.

Deering's butterfly walk
Explore nature trails & butterfly walks at Deering Estate

Deering Estate

The Deering Estate is home to the 1920s mansion of industrialist Charles Deering. Tour the art collection in the main house, but don’t miss the outdoor adventures in this 444-acre park along Biscayne Bay. Enjoy hiking, nature trails, eco-tours and bird walks, and a nature preserve that includes the Cutler Burial Mound. Deering Estate is also the departure point for a guided cruise to Stiltsville.

The historical and archaeological record at the Deering Estate – now on the National Register of Historic Places – goes back 50,000 years with fossils and bones revealing evidence of Paleo-Indians, Tequestas, Seminoles and Afro-Bahamians. The estate is maintained and operated by the Miami-Dade County Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department on behalf of the State of Florida (16701 SW 72nd Ave., Palmetto Bay, FL 33157)

Robert tropical fruit
Find a tropical fruit paradise at Robert Is Here

Farms and Fruit Stands

South Dade is known for its sprawling farms and open countryside. Look for farms that are open to the public seasonally.

Farm stands:

  • Robert is Here Fruit Stand is a family-owned fruit stand in Homestead that specializes in rare and exotic fruits and vegetables. This roadside attraction with a small farm, petting zoo and splash park is a local landmark. You’ll find the freshest and most unusual tropical fruit here – look for dragon fruit, lychees, mangos, passion fruit and more. Cool off on a warm afternoon with one of their frothy frozen shakes or smoothies made with fresh fruit. (19200 SW 344th St., Homestead, FL 33034)

Strawberry fields: These two farms are home to acres of strawberry fields where you can pick your own strawberries. They also specialize in sweet treats such as strawberry milkshakes and shortcakes.

  • The Berry Farm is a third-generation family farm in Redland. Come for hay rides, sunflower fields, seasonal festivals and barbecue. (13720 SW 216th St., Miami, FL 33170)
  • Knaus Berry Farm is another longtime family operation near Homestead. Their not-to-be-missed cinnamon buns have a cult following that prompts an annual pilgrimage by Miami city folks. (15980 SW 248th St., Homestead, FL 33031)
Homestead
Feel the adrenaline rush at Homestead Miami Speedway

Homestead Miami Speedway

The Homestead Miami Speedway hosts the NASCAR Championships in November during NASCAR Dixie Vodka 400 Weekend, but the racetrack in South Dade is an action-packed venue year-round. Fast Lane Fridays is legal drag racing on an eighth-mile straightaway. The event is open to anyone 18 years and older with a valid driver’s license and proof of registration and insurance. The track also hosts high-performance driver education and coaching, concerts and other fun events. (One Ralph Sanchez Speedway Blvd., Homestead, FL 33035)

Schnebly
Try native tropical fruit wines at Schnebly

Schnebly Redland’s Winery & Brewery

Schnebly Redland’s Winery & Brewery is the southernmost winery in the Continental U.S. Instead of producing wines with grapes, Peter Schnebly, the farmer and packager who founded the winery in 2004, creates wines out of native tropical fruit such as mangos, lychee, passion fruit, guava, star fruit, coconut and even avocado. In 2012, he added brewmaster to his list of accomplishments when he founded Miami Brewing Company. Today, you can enjoy the lush grounds, the taproom, tasting room and tours of the winery and brewery, and meals at the Redlander Restaurant. Schnebly hosts parties on the weekend with live music. The 5,000-square-foot building and extensive grounds are also used for weddings and corporate retreats. (30205 SW 217th Ave., Homestead, FL 33030)

SMDCAC
Celebrate the arts at The Moss Center

The Moss Center

In 2011, The Moss Center opened its doors, bringing an emphasis on arts and culture to South Dade. The state-of-the-art venue is home to a 961-seat main stage theater, as well as a black box theater, lab theater and backyard concert lawn. Dedicated to multi-disciplinary cultural arts, the center stages everything from opera to film, musicals, live music, dance and stand-up comedy, while also acting as a community gathering place with education and outreach at the core of its mission. Check the calendar for your next visit to South Dade and join in the fun. (10950 SW 211th St., Cutler Bay, FL 33189)

Taqueria Morelia

Taqueria Morelia is a hidden gem tucked away in a strip mall in South Dade, and it serves up some of the most delicious tacos this side of Mexico City. The dining room may be no-frills, but the tastes here are authentic. Burritos, quesadillas and other specialties are on the menu, but it’s all about the tacos here. Choose from shredded pork, beef, chorizo, chicken and more served inside warm, homemade corn tortillas. There’s also a bar for toppings including diced onion, salsa, jalapeños and fresh lime. (1871 NE 8th St., Homestead, FL 33033)

Zoo giraffe feeding
Interact with the animals at Zoo Miami

Zoo Miami

Spanning 750 acres in South Dade with more than 3,000 animals on view, Zoo Miami is a wildly fun attraction. Open-air exhibitions are dedicated to animal habitats from around the world. You’ll watch amphibians, birds, mammals and reptiles from Florida’s Everglades, the Amazon, Africa, Australia and Asia roam freely in a habitat that mimics their native lands. Feed the animals, watch a wildlife show and ride through the zoo on a tram. It’s a wonderful way for a family to spend an afternoon in South Dade. (12400 SW 152nd St., Miami, FL 33177)

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