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By: Matt Meltzer

While lying on a beach and enjoying a tropical cocktail is a perfectly wonderful way to experience Greater Miami, some people want a little more action. The good news is that we have plenty to offer adventurers, from trying your hand at a ninja warrior course to air boating through the Everglades. Read on to see how to get the most thrills from a short visit to one of the world’s most exciting destinations.

Locals ordering at the Versailles window
Order a Cuban coffee at walk-up window

Day One

Nothing kicks off a Miami adventure better than a hot, eye-opening cup of Cuban coffee. Start your first day at one of our famous ventanitas along Calle Ocho in Little Havana, and order a cafecito to supercharge your morning. Pair it with a croqueta or guava pastelito to round out your breakfast and brace yourself for a few hours of wide-eyed energy.

From Calle Ocho, it’s a relatively short drive up I-95 to Dezerland Park, an epic indoor adventure center in North Miami. See how you stack up to the contestants on American Ninja Warrior when you take on Dezerland’s Mini-Ninja course. If that’s a little too humbling, take a ride in the bumper cars or racing simulators. The park is also equipped with a climbing wall, a ropes course, and a video arcade. You can fill an entire day with fully air-conditioned excitement here.

All that action will undoubtedly make you hungry, and North Miami has plenty of authentic international food. For some of the city’s best Haitian food, hit the O’King Grill on West Dixie Highway. You can also find one of Greater Miami’s top Indian restaurants tucked into a strip mall on NE 123rd Street at Zaika.

People on a Thriller speedboat
Feel an adrenaline rush on a Thriller Miami Speedboat Adventures tour

Day Two

Begin your second day with a shot of adrenaline that doesn’t come in a little plastic cup – Thriller Miami Speedboat Adventures. You’ll careen over Biscayne Bay like a 1980s vice cop (or the nefarious smugglers they were chasing), hitting face-peeling speeds while you see the city from the water.

After your heart has calmed down a bit, head into Downtown and get your pulse going again at Axe Habits. This downtown axe-throwing lounge lets you toss axes while tossing back cold beers, and it also offers escape rooms if you want to extend the experience.

View of the Skyview Observation Wheel from the bay
Take in the views on the Skyviews Observation Wheel

When the sun starts setting, take a ride on the iconic Skyviews Observation Wheel. The bayside Ferris Wheel offers spectacular 360-degree views from 200 feet in the air. During a 15-minute ride you’ll gaze out to the Everglades, east to Miami Beach, and south to the glimmering skyline.

From there, it’s time for some pre-dinner drinks at The Wharf, Miami’s top spot for waterside cocktails. If nursing a cold beer by the Miami River makes you hungry, grab a bite from one of the onsite food stalls such as Spris Pizza, La Santa Taqueria or Sake Room Sushi. If you’d prefer a sit-down experience, head a few blocks east to Marcus Samuelsson’s Red Rooster. The Southern/Caribbean spot is set in an historic old Overtown pool hall, and has quickly made waves with entries such as the Yassa Ribeye Steak and Fried Yard Bird.

Airboats in the Everglades
Explore the River of Grass on an airboat at the Miccosukee Indian Village

Day Three

Now is your chance to get out and explore Greater Miami’s wild side in the Everglades. About half an hour west of Downtown, you’ll come across the Miccosukee Indian Village, where you can do everything from taking a high-powered airboat through the “River of Grass,” to watching live alligator wrestling shows. You’ll even have the chance to get your picture taken holding a baby alligator.

Once you’ve experienced a bit of Everglades culture, it’s time to delve into the true wilderness of Everglades National Park. The Shark Valley Visitors Center sits just a few minutes from the Miccosukee Village, and offers tram tours, bike trails and easy hikes through the mangroves and hardwood hammocks that make this wetlands park so special. To experience the eerie magic of the Everglades at night, visit Shark Valley during a full moon and see the swamp lit up in natural light.

Family picking out fruit
Robert Is Here is a fruit lover's paradise

Food isn’t hard to find near the Everglades either. If you’re visiting the park’s southern region near Homestead, be sure to stop at the Robert is Here fruit stand and experience a fruit-filled milkshake that Floridians will literally drive hours for. Your final meal in Greater Miami should be an adventure too, so hit Everglades Gator Grill and try an order of ‘gator bites. It’ll be the perfect daring dish to close out your three days in Miami and will give you one last story-worthy experience from your three-day expedition.

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