Where To REALLY Take Out-Of-Towners Visiting Miami (PHOTOS)

09/24/2013 09:30 am ET | Updated Oct 22, 2013

The mercury has begun to dip in South Florida (well, slightly), meaning all your Northern friends and family will soon come swooping into town for some sea breezes and sunshine.

The same snowbirds have been coming down for years though, and they're over standing in line for overpriced South Beach clubs where drinks cost as much as a cab ride from the airport.

Where to take them?

Blow their minds with the following off-the-beaten path attractions and restaurants. These hidden gems will show them the Miami beyond the thongs of South Beach: the mangroves of North Miami Beach, the sweetness of Little Havana, the salty dogs of Coconut Grove.

Here's where to REALLY take out-of-towners visiting Miami:

  • 1 Mandolin Aegean Bistro
    This Buena Vista restaurant has a gorgeous patio and delicious Mediterranean food. Try the Turkish sampler of dips as well as the Rose Sangria.
  • 2 Kayaking At Oleta River
    Take your family and friends kayaking in Oleta River State Park for some shaded paddling, a chance to see manatees up close (don't touch!), and then head over to nearby Blue Marlin Fish House Restaurant for a lobster burger.
  • 3 Joe's Take Away
    Who has the time for the long waits at Joe's Stone Crabs, a Miami culinary institution that also doesn't taken reservations? Instead head to Joe's Take Away right next door for the same coveted shellfish sans the annoying wait.
  • 4 Knaus Berry Farm
    Visit the Homestead farm for u-pick strawberries and gooey, delicious, addictive cinnamon rolls. (Open November through April.)
  • 5 Broken Shaker At The Freehand
    We loved it when was the Indian Creek Hotel and we love it as The Freehand, where Broken Shaker holds cocktail court in the alfresco bar sprinkled with string lights and vintage chairs.
  • 6 Venetian Pool
    Built in 1924 from an old coral rock quarry abandoned in 1921, the lagoon-style pool in Banyan-lined Coral Gables is as classic-Miami beautiful as it gets. The Venetian Pool's water temperature is kept at a refreshing 77 degrees.
  • 7 Mermaid Show At The Wreck Bar
    Every Friday and Saturday at 6:30 p.m., mermaids fill the tank windows at the The Wreck Bar for happy hour at The Sheraton Fort Lauderdale. The kitschy hotel used to be the Yankee Clipper in the 1950s and 60s and was known for aquatic performances.
  • 8 South Pointe Park
    Sit atop the park's many hills, watch the cruise ships come in, and gawk at the parade of tiny dogs out for a walk. Then hit up the gelato place on the corner on your way out.
  • 9 Gulfstream Park
    Head up to Hallandale Beach for a day at the racetrack, where even losing money is fun.
  • 10 Panther Coffee
    Take your guests to Panther Coffee's original location in Wynwood for insanely good coffee and a peek at Miami's art/warehouse district.
  • 11 Azucar Ice Cream
    Calle Ocho's Azucar Ice Cream has innovative Miami-themed flavors like abuela maria (guava, cookies, and cream cheese), flan, and avocado.
  • 12 Everglades Airboat Tour
    While airboating inside Everglades National Park is prohibited, check out tour companies just outside of the park's boundaries and pick one that treats the wildlife with care.
  • 13 Scotty's Landing
    Impress your guests by navigating under and around a marina and revealing this waterside seafood restaurant very popular with locals. Go soon, though; Scotty's lease is up and may be replaced by a mega chain restaurant.
  • 14 Pinecrest Gardens
    Rather than take visitors to Fairchild Tropical Botanical Gardens, head to Pinecrest Gardens, the former, lushly landscaped site of the Parrot Jungle. Each Sunday morning, one of the best farmer's markets in Miami takes over the parking lot. So grab some fresh homemade bread, ceviche, and rugalah, and head inside the tropical park for a picnic.
  • 15 Crandon Park Beach
    Take visitors yearning for the beach to Key Biscayne's Crandon Park, where cabanas are availble and affordable for day rentals, and there are other attractions like bike rentals, tiny trains, and historic lighthouses.
Suggest a correction