When you live close to truly spectacular places that people travel thousands of miles to see, it’s amazing how easy it is to never visit them yourself. If you’ve lived in a South Florida apartment for years and haven’t done much exploring of the parks, beaches, and islands at your fingertips, there’s no time like the present to start. Here are some special island and peninsular beach destinations that can be reached quickly and easily.
The closest of the major keys to Miami, Key Largo has been a household name around the world since the release of the Beach Boys’ “Kokomo.” Just an hour from AMLI Dadeland, Key Largo is a scuba divers’ paradise and retreat that offers all of the water-related activities you’d expect from a world-class island destination.
Jules’ Undersea Lodge, the world’s first underwater hotel, attracts considerable attention for the one-of-a-kind experience it affords visitors. When you’re not bumming around on the beach or getting active in the water, check out Key Largo’s vibrant Cuban food and entertainment scene.
If you’re going for a longer vacation or don’t mind a lengthier drive, get even further away from the lights, sounds, and crowds of Miami with a visit to Sunset Key. A part of the city of Key West, Sunset Key is a small, quiet island with reliably stunning sunsets. It’s a great destination for families and couples. The drive from AMLI Dadeland to Key West takes about three and a half hours. To get to Sunset Key from Key West, you have to catch a ten-minute ferry ride. If weather cooperates, you’ll have gorgeous views for your entire journey.
Once owned by the Vanderbilt family, Fisher Island is an exclusive island paradise in Miami’s backyard. An hour from AMLI Dadeland and AMLI Doral, the island still houses an ornate Vanderbilt mansion. It’s also home to the Fisher Island Club and Resort and dozens of splendid vacation homes. Epic views of the Miami skyline add to the appeal of Fisher Island.
Just three miles from downtown Miami and a 25-minute drive from AMLI Dadeland, Grove Isle is another private island Miami residents love to escape to. Tennis courts, a tiki hut, and views of Miami are highlights of this small urban paradise. The Grove Isle Hotel & Spa, the island’s main resort, has closed recently and new private residential development appears imminent. As a result, it’s smart to look for the latest information on what you can see and do on Grove Isle before making the journey.
Close to Naples, Marco Island is a hot South Florida vacation destination. A two-hour drive through the Everglades is all that separates AMLI Flagler Village in Fort Lauderdale from this Gulf Coast island paradise. Snorkeling, boating, hiking, and sightseeing opportunities abound on and around Marco Island and the nearby Rookery Bay Preserve, but it’s also the perfect place to do nothing but read and sip cocktails for a weekend.
An island by name and peninsula by definition, Singer Island is just a 20-minute drive from West Palm Beach. Pristine, lush, and ringed by beautiful reefs teeming with fish, Singer Island feels farther away than it actually is. Escape for a day or make a weekend trip to Singer Island or nearby Peanut Island the next time you’re itching for a change of scenery, but don’t want to travel far.
The foliage, wildlife, and brilliant blue waters of South Florida make it an extremely desirable place to live and visit. If you’re lucky enough to call South Florida home, don’t let your comfort zone get the best of you. Continue to explore your surroundings with day trips and weekend outings to the parks, nature reserves, and island paradises that surround you.
What’s your favorite South Florida island retreat?
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