In the far southern corner of the continental United States is a bustling metropolis quite unlike anywhere else in the lower 48: Miami. Home to towering surfside hotels, Little Havana, never-ending nightlife and palm-lined beaches blanketed in the tropical sun, nowhere else comes close to replicating Miami’s unique vibrancy.
But, just as sometimes a book is better than a surround-sound movie, sometimes paradise sounds better as a serene setting than a thrilling adventure. If you’re looking for a pause from the city’s liveliness, consider these serene havens in Miami hidden in plain sight of the city’s bustle.
For a romantically peaceful setting with a peculiar history, you’ll want to seek out the grounds of St. Bernard de Clairvaux Church. Originally a Cistercian monastery constructed between 1133 and 1141 in Spain, the structure was bought and shipped to America, stone by stone, by the infamous William Randolph Hearst.
After Hearst suffered financial setbacks and the 11,000 crates sat in Brooklyn for over 25 years, they were ultimately purchased and assembled at the site of a small plant nursery in Florida. Today, you can stroll the reconstructed remnants of medieval Spain just a half-hour outside of downtown Miami. The scenic gardens and regal archways provide a prime setting for quiet contemplation.
While much of Florida could elicit the description of “oasis,” the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden does so with a certain pristine flair. Established in 1936, the 83-acre botanic garden has been cultivating and conserving rare tropical fauna for nearly a century—not to mention the extensive collection of worldly butterflies that call the “Wings of the Tropics” butterfly exhibit home. Whether you’re taking a horticulture class or just strolling the grounds, the kaleidoscope of colors on display is certain to take your breath away in this one of many havens in Miami.
It doesn’t take a seaplane ride deep into the Caribbean to find beautiful underwater ecosystems to float amongst—the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park is only an hour drive south of Miami. Tucked into Key Largo, the nation’s first underwater park harbors seemingly infinite sights to behold within the 178 nautical square miles of coral reef, seagrass bed and mangrove swamp. Equally endless are they ways in which you can enjoy it: kayaks, paddleboards and glass-bottom-boat tours are available, but for truly immersive moments, snorkeling or scuba-diving tours are absolute-musts for seeing tropical fish up close.
With all that Miami has to offer, both vibrant and tranquil, it’s easy to be perpetually wowed discovering this city. But, why stop there? Many cruises either start or end at this port, meaning Miami could be the city that sets the tone for your vacation, or the grand finale. Either way, it’s a win-win for your next trip!
Ready to start counting down the days until you can discover the havens in Miami? Talk with one of our travel agents. Their knowledge, expertise, and close relationships with leading cruise companies like Norwegian Cruise Lines gives you the freedom to focus on the fun of travel, rather than the task of planning.