Find adventure in your backyard—or at a nearby farm or ranch

Find adventure in your backyard—or at a nearby farm or ranch

Photos by Brittney Bomnin Garcia/University Communications

By Brittney Bomnin Garcia

Photos by Brittney Bomnin Garcia/University Communications

Find adventure in your backyard—or at a nearby farm or ranch

By Brittney Bomnin Garcia
Whether you’re seeking local produce; unique, handmade goods; or a spot to relax outdoors, dive into our guide to help plan your next South Florida outing.

Drive down south and—before you make it to the Florida Keys—you’ll find a treasure trove of fresh eats and unique treats. From local produce to handmade goods, we explored Miami-Dade County from Homestead to Goulds and met small business owners who are engaged in agrotourism and carving a homegrown niche in South Florida.

Click the geolocation icon on the bottom left of the map to see the park closest to you. 

First stop—Visit Robert.

The sweet smell of ready-to-eat mangoes hits the moment you walk into the open air market at Robert is Here, a family-owned business in Homestead. The shop’s owner and namesake is at the register servicing customers carrying plastic baskets filled with tantalizing seasonal produce carefully picked from the stands that line the market on a balmy July morning. Known for featuring local and exotic fruits, vegetables, and groceries, the spot is among the farthest south in Miami-Dade County, a quick stop before entering the northernmost Florida Keys. 

Whether you’re a tourist visiting for the first time or a frequent shopper checking off that grocery list, be sure to scan the shelves and taste some fruit samples on the ledge by the register. Known for their made-to-order fresh fruit milkshakes, scan the menu closely and order your frozen treat—or build your own. Flavors include the usual suspects—strawberry, banana, and orange—and unique flavors like mamey, guanabana, and papaya. 

Walk through the market and, out back, visitors will find a spacious enclosed area, which is home to a flock of chickens, a raft of ducks, a creep of tortoises, and a tribe of goats, among others. The sound of birds chirping and the crow of several roosters invite you to approach the gated space, equipped with a stack of limestone blocks—a throne for sunbathing goats. Pro tip: purchase a head of lettuce and enjoy having the active residents follow you around the farm in the hopes of snagging a snack. Find out more about the shop on Instagram at @robertisherefruitstandandfarm.

Spice it up at the park.

Located on 37 acres in Homestead, the Preston B. Bird and Mary Heinlein Fruit and Spice Park is a tropical botanic garden containing more than 500 varieties of fruit, vegetables, spices, herbs, and nuts from around the world. Part of the Miami-Dade County Parks, Recreation, and Open Spaces Department, the Fruit and Spice Park is credited to the vision of Mary Heinlein—whose family settled in the area—who created a showcase for the rich agricultural bounty and heritage of the area known as Redland. 

An entry fee allows visitors to explore and indulge their senses walking the paths that wind their way through the park. Participate in guided tours—offered daily, weather permitting—or workshops throughout the year. Browse the park’s calendar of events, which includes farmers markets and festivals. Whether you have an hour or an entire day to spend, bring your walking shoes and sunscreen and stay hydrated. Just note, fruit on the tree must stay there, but visitors can indulge in some fallen fruit along the way, if they can identify it. Get more information on Instagram at @fruitandspicepark.

Explore the great outdoors with help from an expert adventurer.

Have fun on the ranch.

Leave the city behind to find Redland Ranch, a family-run business that offers local goods, fresh-made smoothies and juices, and a space to unwind and enjoy the outdoors. Decorated with hammocks, pallet swings, string lights, and old bicycles hung from trees, the ranch has a laid-back, country feel that adds to the charm of the space. Driving in you’ll feel as if you're entering someone’s backyard—one littered with avocado, lychee, dragon fruit, and sapodilla trees. 

It’s worth the trip whether you’re looking for a quick bite, want to shop for goodies—including local honey, seasonings, jams, spreads, and sauces—or you’re planning to spend the evening on a spacious farm under the stars. Pancho the parrot will greet you at the shop entrance along with several friendly chickens that enjoy roaming the property. Three food trucks offer guests Mexican, Argentine, and Peruvian fare from Friday through Sunday, which are the ranch’s busiest days. Grab a bite and choose a spot at a table or hammock to relax under a canopy of shade. Visit @redlandranch on Instagram.

Explore a bit of history.

Find a glimpse of South Florida history at Cauley Square Historic Railroad Village, a 10-acre area off US-1 surrounded by cultivated tropical gardens, birds, fountains, sculptures, private patios, and a labyrinth of antique and specialty shops. Declared a historical site in 1994, Cauley Square offers visitors several hours of exploration and relaxation al fresco. Browse through a number of unique shops that are housed in small, handcrafted pioneer houses from the surrounding Redland, which were all transplanted to Cauley Square for preservation and restored following Hurricane Andrew in 1992. Choose indoor or outdoor seating for a meal at the Village Chalet Restaurant or the Tea Room, which opened in 1974. Among the 25 restored structures on the property, visitors can find a small chapel—a place to stop for quiet reflection—and experience the salt cave, a therapeutic space for meditation that provides various health benefits. View photos of Cauley Square on Instagram at @cauleysquare.


Know a spot that’s missing on our map? Let us know by sending a message to lifeattheu@miami.edu or @LifeAtTheU on Instagram. 

Protect yourself and others from COVID-19 by following CDC and state-issued guidelines. Before you visit, plan ahead and check online for updated hours of operation and policies, as well as guidelines for experience level requirements. Learn more at coronavirus.miami.edu.