I just had the pleasure to spend 10 days with some American friends in Boynton Beach, which is about an hour north of Miami. I had a very relaxing stay with everything I imagined Florida to be (sunshine, the beach, alligators, turtles, palm trees, delicious food, summer feeling and shopping). These 10 days went by very quickly and were easily filled with things in just this small area. If you are not up for a road trip or have a few days spare at the end of your trip in Miami, here are some suggestions for you.
11 hidden gems near Miami where your local friend would take you
#1 Sawgrass Mills Shopping Outlet
Wow, wow, wow, this mall is huge! And as its name says, it’s an outlet with factory stores of all the famous brands like Nike, Adidas, Kelvin Klein, Columbia etc.I had a lot of fun browsing through the stores and buying things, as the prices were very good. I should have done it like all the Hispanic tourists who literally walked through the stores with suitcases they brought or bought there 🙂 Of course there also is a food court and some restaurants outside.
#2 Green Cay Wetlands
We went to three wetland parks just in that small area but this one was my favorite. A very nice boardwalk which lets you enjoy the pretty view over the water and the trees and of course all the birds, turtles and alligators. There also is a visitor center with free information and there are free guided walks several times per week. Plus, I got to look into the eyes of the cutest thing ever; owl Oliver.
#3 Greek food at Chris’ Traverna
Amazing Greek food is not exactly what I expected to find in Florida but that’s exactly what you will be served at Chris’ Traverna at Boynton Lakes Plaza. It seems to be the favorite of all the locals as well, as it was packed and people were waiting (you can’t make reservations). First we received a free greek salad (not just a simple salad that they can offer you something free with it, no it’s a real Greek salad with all the Greek goodies. Plus, before we even ordered anything, we received freshly made pita bread with delicious tzatziki. Afterwards, I wasn’t actually hungry anymore but luckily it’s common in the US to take left-overs home and so I could enjoy the rest for lunch the next day.
#4 El Camino Mexican Restaurant in Delray
Delray is THE place to go out to watch people and be seen and just enjoy the nice atmosphere with all the good restaurants and bars. One of the places that contributes a lot to the great atmosphere is El Camino Mexican restaurant. If you are a lover of the Mexican cuisine, this restaurant will make you very happy and the prices (check out Margarita Mondays and Taco Tuesdays) too.
#5 Delray Beach
A beach with white sand lined by green palm trees and if you don’t want to bring your own chairs and umbrella, you can rent comfortable ones. In the end of April/beginning of May when I was there, the water had the perfect temperature already and was crystal clear. On the second day, I had a lot of fun boogie boarding and I also saw som surfers a little up north.
#6 Georg at Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge
If you want to see a really huge alligator, there is a big chance to see one in this park. We weren’t disappointed. Its head alone was bigger than my upper body. Although the area was very pretty and there were some other people on the water in canoes, I didn’t t feel like paddling around the swamp so close to the alligators. If it weren’t that hot, I would have enjoyed a bike ride on the bike path.
#7 Bluefin Sushi restaurant in Boca Raton
The best sushi I ever had to reasonable prices. Plus, they even had Thai tea. Do I need to say more?
#8 Sun Fest in West Palm Beach
I was very lucky to be in Florida during Sunfest and already experienced a highlight of what we can only have in summer in Switzerland: an outdoor music festival. The location at the waterfront is very nice and the concert I saw were absolutely awesome!!! Jason Derulo brought his whole dance team and Train sang all my favorite songs plus a tribute to Prince.
#9 Wakodahatchee Wetlands
This was the first park we went to. It’s free and locals come here to jog on the boardwalk but I preferred to take my time and look at nature and watch how the alligator was preying on the birds. I didn’t have enough patience to see whether he got a dinner in the end. A very nice place for a walk at any age.
#10 The Funky Biscuit in Boca Raton
Every Monday evening, there is free live music at this pub. Some very talented people go up on that stage! Plus they have good beers and ciders.
#11 Little Havanna
As soon as you step out of the car on Calle 8, you will hear Latin music playing. You can drink Cuban coffee or eat Mexican or Cuban food (Versailles really offers delicious food) and I also really liked the art galleries. I hope I can come back at some point to dance some salsa.
What are your hidden gems near Mimai or in Florida? Have you been to any of these places and what is your opinion?