Set sail for Biscayne National Park from this southern city.
A 45-minute drive south of Miami, Homestead makes a great base for exploring the southernmost parts of Florida. Its Coral Castle, a century-old castle complex carved of coral stone, has become one of the most popular roadside attractions in the region, in addition to Homestead Bayfront Park, home to a beach, a shallow, kid-friendly swimming area, and a marina. Homestead is also the site of the Dante Fascell Visitor Center of Biscayne National Park, and many park tours depart from its shores.
In the waters east of Homestead, Biscayne National Park attracts visitors with its boating and diving opportunities. Most visitors come here by boat, but if you don't have your own seafaring vessel, fear not: around half a dozen operators offer boating and snorkeling trips in the park. You can also camp at the most-visited island in the park, Boca Chita.
Spread out over 1.5 million acres, this UNESCO International Biosphere Reserve protects the marshes and mangroves of south Florida and the creatures who call them home. Camping options here include RV and tent camping at developed campgrounds as well as more remote sites that you can only get to by boat.
Encompassing a chain of islands around 70 miles off the coast of Key West, Dry Tortugas National Park draws in visitors who want to check in the massive, 19th-century Fort Jefferson and campers who don't mind roughing it in exchange for easy access to swimming, snorkeling, and sand. Camping is available on Garden Key on a first-come, first-served basis, but nobody will be turned away.
The best time to visit Homestead is between December and May, when the weather is pleasant but not too hot and the chances of hurricanes are at their lowest. Winter can get crowded, however, particularly around the holidays, so if you want to beat the crowds while taking advantage of great weather, opt for a spring visit. Summer and early fall are less than ideal, when temperatures and humidity soar.