If you’re heading to Homestead, Florida, to catch a race at Homestead-Miami Speedway, make the most of your trip and visit these local favorites.
Whether you’re heading to the small town of Homestead, Florida, for an upcoming race at Homestead-Miami Speedway, or you’re just planning a trip to spend some time in nature at the nearby national parks, you’ll have plenty of activities to keep you entertained in this small town near the Florida Keys. Get ready for a trip filled with stunning and diverse natural scenery, delicious Cuban food, impressive architecture, and of course, adrenaline-fueled races. Say hello to your new favorite vacation destination: Homestead, Florida.
The first stop on the itinerary is the reason you’re (most likely) visiting this part of the world: Homestead-Miami Speedway, of course. This cherished and innovative speedway was originally created to help the community of Homestead rebuild in the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew, thanks to the efforts of Miami sports promoter Ralph Sanchez. The groundbreaking occurred in August 1993, exactly one year after the hurricane hit. The racetrack quickly rose in popularity due to its structure, location, and colorful design. Homestead-Miami Speedway is a rectangular-oval track 2.4 km long with four turns. If you’re in town for an event like the NASCAR Ford EcoBoost 400, be sure to take advantage of another unique aspect of this racetrack, the manmade lakes on the speedway’s property — some of which you can even fish in!
Venture into a mangrove preserve Homestead is one of the few places in the country where you are close to not one, but two national parks, making it the ideal getaway for those who love spending time in nature. A definite must on your Homestead to-do list should be to go exploring in the mangrove preserve at Biscayne National Park. This preserve will have you feeling like you’ve just stepped foot into a wild jungle, with the mangrove forest areas providing a green habitat for both tarpon (huge flying fish) and manatees alike.
Havana’s Bakery Café
Ready to refuel after exploring the jungle habitat near Homestead? Head to where the locals have been flocking for years: Havana’s Bakery Café. This mom and pop shop is for best known for its baked goods, epic homemade breakfasts, and sweet drinks — with genuine Cubano flair. The best part is, Havana’s menu is just as affordable as it is delicious (all items are under $10). No matter what you’re craving, whether it be a Ham Croqueta, Guava Pastry, a breakfast sandwich on Cuban bread, or just a simple (and perfectly made) Café con Leche (Cuban coffee with milk), this local bakery is sure to satisfy your breakfast and snack cravings.
Take a tour of the famous Coral Castle
Ever heard of the famous and mysterious architect, Edward Leedskalnin? He’s the figure behind one of Homestead’s most famous attractions: The Coral Castle. According to the official website, the story of the castle’s creation goes like this, “From 1923 to 1951, Ed single-handedly and secretly carved over 1,100 tons of coral rock, and his unknown process has created one of the world’s most mysterious accomplishments. Since it is documented that no one ever witnessed Ed’s labor in building his beloved Coral Castle, some have said he had supernatural powers.” Intrigued? This castle is open for tours every day of the year, welcoming visitors to see firsthand the magnificence of this architectural accomplishment – including stunning features like a nine-ton gate that moves with just a touch of the finger, a Polaris telescope and functioning rocking chairs, and more – all made entirely of stone.
Another round of nature in Seminole Wayside Park
You can’t spend time in Homestead without seizing the opportunity to soak up even more of the gorgeous nature it encompasses. Seminole Wayside Park is one of the oldest parks acquired in Miami-Dade County and is made up of 27.7 acres of unique beauty. Over 20 acres of the land in this park are pine rocklands, a type of habitat that can only be found in Florida and the Bahamas. Spend an hour or two exploring the green trails in this park, and afterward, enjoy even more activities nearby. If you’re interested in cycling or skateboarding, hop on the South Dade Trail. Opportunities for other outdoor adventures like kayaking, fishing, and canoeing are also possible on the nearby canal.
Take a pit stop at Mario’s Family Restaurant
When you’re ready for a fantastic dinner in the Homestead area, head on over to Mario’s Family Restaurant. Locals and tourists alike just can’t stop raving about the atmosphere and food at this small, family-run restaurant that offers a delicious fusion of Spanish, African, and Caribbean cuisine. Whatever you order off of the menu, whether it’s the Cubano Especial, Vaca Frita, or just the Fried Yucca, be prepared for generous portions, reasonable prices, and flavors that will make you feel like you’re on a Caribbean vacation. Mario’s also offers a delicious breakfast and lunch menu, so no matter what time of day you head to this restaurant, you’ll leave feeling satisfied.
Get wild with a visit to Everglades Alligator Farm
A Homestead getaway just wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the other nearby national park – Everglades National Park. There may not be a better way to experience the beauty and wilderness of this area than with an airboat tour through the swampy waters, led by a guide that knows this land like it’s their home (because it is). The Everglades Alligator Farm is the oldest alligator farm in South Florida, contains more than 2,000 alligators, and is located near the entrance of Everglades National Park. Here’s what you can expect when you take a trip to this alligator farm: an exciting airboat tour, alligator show, snake show, and even an alligator feeding demonstration. Now, that sounds like a vacation activity you won’t soon forget.
Cool off with something sweet from Sandoval’s Delights
Once you’ve had your fill of exploring the great outdoors in and around Homestead, you might be looking for something sweet to help you cool off. Luckily, a new business in town has just what you are looking for. Say hello to Sandoval’s Delights, a family owned and operated ice cream shop that opened to rave reviews in late 2017 – but don’t let the phrase “ice cream shop” fool you into thinking that that’s all you’ll find here. Expect a dessert menu with unique offerings and flavors like s’mores ice cream rolls, strawberry banana bubble waffles, raspados (snow cones), fruit cups, and more.
Florida Keys Outlet Marketplace
Everyone loves a good shopping outing when on vacation – and it’s even more enjoyable if you know you’ll be getting great specials. If you’re in search of a mall that offers deals on fantastic items, as well as an easy parking and clean shopping experience, head to the Florida Keys Outlet Marketplace. This bustling open-air mall with Spanish-style buildings offers brand-name outlet stores and a large, delicious food court. Some of the many stores you can find here include Nike, Oshkosh, Guess, Coach, Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein, Under Armour, Van Heusen and more.
Once your trip to Homestead has come to an end, you’ll have experienced a truly vibrant and unique getaway. Did this guide help you to find all the best spots in Homestead, or did we miss something? Let us know by commenting on our Facebook page. And if you’re looking for more itinerary ideas for trips to other cities across the sunshine state, be sure to check out our other Florida blog posts.