By Patti Roth
Rapids Water Park, Riviera Beach
The array of splashy fun includes slides that loop, dip and twist, multiperson rafts, wave pool, body boarding in a surf simulator and a lazy river. For younger kids and toddlers, BareFootin’ Bay is an interactive play structure with a tipping bucket, slides and water activities. Cabanas are offered for rent and include TV, food and beverage service and locker. Picnic tables are on-site. Food and drinks are sold at different venues, including High Tide Tiki Bar.
6566 N. Military Trail, Riviera Beach, 561-848-6272, rapidswaterpark.com
Schnebly Redland’s Winery, Homestead
The winery and beer brewery offers wine and beer tastings, weekend tours and the Redlander Restaurant. Music performances and karaoke events are some weekends. The wines feature a distinctive tropical twist, made from fruits such as lychee, passion fruit, mango, guava and avocado. The tasting bar is a visual treat, a round structure encircled at the base by wine barrels and a treelike sculpture holding glasses overhead.
30205 S. 217th Ave., Homestead, 305-242-1224, schneblywinery.com
Murals of Lake Placid, Lake Placid
Murals painted on dozens of buildings and trash bins provide a popular attraction. The artwork, including historical scenes, landscapes and whimsical subjects, embellish the exterior of shops and restaurants on and around Main Avenue and Interlake Boulevard. A few of the paintings include sound effects. For extra information, Lake Placid Chamber of Commerce offers a video about the murals, a gallery of the renderings and a book about the murals.
Lake Placid Chamber of Commerce, 18 N. Oak Ave., Lake Placid, 863-465-4331, htn.net/lplacid/murals
The Village at Gulfstream Park, Hallandale Beach
Stroll, browse and play at an open-air shopping and entertainment venue with a generous assortment of home-design stores, restaurants and activities for kids and grown-ups. Strike 10 offers bowling lanes, pool tables, restaurant and sushi bar. Kids might venture into Cool de Sac, an indoor playground with a restaurant. For some grown-ups, the nightclubs and casino might be a draw. Other activities and classes are offered many Saturdays, including cartoon drawing at Barker Animation Art Gallery and live music Saturday nights in the outdoor plaza. The website features activities, classes and events.
501 S. Federal Highway, Hallandale Beach, 954-378-0900, thevillageatgulfstreampark.com
Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse and Museum, Jupiter
The historic lighthouse with a spiraling iron staircase features an outdoor deck that provides an ideal vantage point for savoring the natural setting of the area. The lighthouse, with 105 steps, is accessible on guided tours. Another attraction is restored WWII Naval housing that features a museum showcasing the history of the region spanning 5,000 years. The lighthouse, museum and a pioneer house are on land that earned a federal designation as an Outstanding Natural Area. A nature path offers informal hiking opportunities and occasional hiking tours. Other events include yoga, story time for kids and kayaking. A gift shop sells Lighthouse fudge homemade in Key lime and other flavors.
500 Captain Armour’s Way, Jupiter, 561-747-8380, jupiterlighthouse.org
Fruit and Spice Park, Homestead
With its distinctive tropical environment, the park accommodates more than 500 varieties of fruits, vegetables and spices from around the world. Walk or hop on a guided tram tour. Summer fruits include mango, lychee and longan. The park also includes an Asian greenhouse, a shop with a tasting table of seasonal produce, café and picnic tables.
24801 SW 187th Ave., Homestead, 305-247-5727, fruitandspicepark.org
Shark Valley, Everglades National Park
A road that loops along the sawgrass prairie of Everglades National Park provides a scenic 15-mile route for hiking, bicycles and trams. The park is home to alligators, birds, turtles, deer and other wildlife. Along the way, a structure with an elevated observation deck is accessible with a spiraling walkable ramp. Tram tours led by naturalists in open-air vehicles are about two hours. Supply your own bikes or rent them. During summer it’s wise to go early in the day to avoid afternoon rain and heat. Bring water, sunscreen, binoculars and bug repellent. Reservations for tram tours are recommended. Vending machines beverages and snacks.
36000 SW Eighth St., Miami, 305-221-8776, sharkvalleytramtours.com; nps.gov/ever
Babcock Wilderness Adventures, Punta Gorda
The Florida-owned nature preserve with roaming wildlife is a showcase of Old Florida. The open-air tour buggy ambles along land that is home to wild turkeys, deer, wild hogs, woodpeckers and cows. The property, within the Caloosahatchee River Basin, features natural Florida ecosystems, including freshwater marsh, pine flat woods and prairie. A boardwalk is on-site.
8000 State Road 31, Punta Gorda, 800-500-5583, babcockwilderness.com/info.php, babcockranchflorida.com
Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, Naples
Pack your binoculars for a walk along pristine wetlands where wild residents include hawks, alligators and wading birds. An elevated boardwalk offers a route through pine flatwoods, wet prairie and the main attraction – a bald cypress forest. The 13,000 acres of nature are owned and managed by the National Audubon Society. Amenities include a nature store, porches with rocking chairs, food and beverages for sale and shaded picnic tables. Guided tours for groups occasionally on request with a minimum of 10 people.
375 Sanctuary Road West, Naples, 239-348-9151, corkscrew.audubon.org
Clyde Butcher Big Cypress Gallery, Ochopee
The inviting black-and-white landscape photographs of Clyde Butcher are showcased in a gallery appropriately situated in Big Cypress National Preserve. Along with the famous Everglades and Florida scenes, exhibits include national parks, Cuba landscapes and photos shot with a digital camera.
Highway 41, Tamiami Trail, Mile Marker 54.5, Ochopee, 239-695-2428, clydebutcher.com
Destinations is an annual travel supplement of the Sun Sentinel, produced by City & Shore Magazine