How well do you know Miami? If you’ve spent time swimming in the Miami beaches, visiting the best museums in Miami or sampling Cuban food in Little Havana, you’ve gotten a taste of what the Magic City has to offer. But there’s still so much more to experience. Consider one of these best Miami tours as a fun way to delve deeper into the local culture, try authentic Latin cuisine and see a side of Art Deco Miami you never knew existed.
Best Miami tours
Stiltsville and Key Biscayne sunset cruise
No matter how jaded locals get about Miami’s waterfront, they never tire of Stiltsville, the group of wood stilt houses at the edge of Biscayne Bay. Part of the novelty is how difficult they are to get to, but HistoryMiami is changing that with their monthly Stiltsville and Key Biscayne sunset cruises. Unlike other tours that navigate the same waters, the museum’s resident historian Dr. Paul George, who really delves into the history of each site, leads this one. He’ll narrate the trip as it takes you past the Cape Florida Lighthouse, where you may even catch a glimpse of dolphins and other wildlife. Stiltsville and Key Biscayne sunset cruise, monthly $55–$65, 305-375-1621, historymiami.org.
Miami Culinary Tours
If you’re the type who researches a city’s food scene before booking travel, Miami Culinary Tours will keep you from spending precious hours Googling away. The various gastronomic journeys, comprising groups of up to 16 people, set off daily through Little Havana, Wynwood, the Design District or South Beach, making five stops along each of Miami’s most popular neighborhoods. Taste an authentic Cuban sandwich in Little Havana, sample Caribbean cooking in Wynwood and indulge in a traditional Latin American empanada in South Beach. Miami Culinary Tours, daily $49–$69, 786-942-8856, miamiculinarytours.com.
Ghost tour of Coconut Grove
For more than a decade, Sandy Walker has been taking fans of the supernatural on a two-hour walking tour of Coconut Grove, which she considers a hotbed for paranormal activity. The tour starts at the abandoned Coconut Grove Playhouse building, and patrons are encouraged to bring their cell phones to snap photos and hunt for ghosts using any of the popular electromagnetic field apps on the market. More than just a spooky walk through the neighborhood and its cemeteries, the ghost tour is a fun way to learn the fascinating history of Miami-Dade’s oldest community. Walker took a brief sabbatical in 2017 but returns with more spooky adventures in October. Ghost tour of Coconut Grove, Fri & Sat $26, 786-236-9979, ghostgrove.com.
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Phillip Pessar
Duck Tours South Beach
Few tours will take a Pitbull dance break at a red light, but Duck Tours South Beach is unlike any other tour you’ll take in Miami. You’ll ride an amphibious truck, meaning it can travel on land and on water, through the streets of Miami Beach and downtown Miami, past Bayside Marketplace and into Biscayne Bay for a truly 360-degree view of the city. Guides are informative but also really fun, so expect to hear the “#SELFIE” song when your peers start wielding their selfie sticks. Duck Tours South Beach, daily $19–$35, 305-673-2217, ducktourssouthbeach.com.
Art Deco walking tour
More than showing you where The Birdcage was filmed, Art Deco walking tours, led by the Miami Design Preservation League, are a fun, interactive way to learn all about South Beach’s historic architecture—without ever needing to refer to your guide book. You’ll learn to distinguish Mediterranean Revival from Miami Modern and be able to tell all your friends back home you were inside an actual Art Deco structure. Art Deco walking tour, daily $20–$25, mdpl.org/tours/guided-walking-tours.
Florida Everglades kayak and hiking tour
Everglades National Park is not for the indoctrinated, but those willing to brave the elements for an up-close glimpse of South Florida’s most impressive landscape should opt for an amphibian experience. Start with a walk on an elevated walkway above the wetlands before moving on to a kayak tour through the various waterways. You’ll see crocodiles and alligators (the Everglades is among the few places in the world where the two species cohabitate), as well as all sorts of other wildlife, many of which are endangered. Florida Everglades kayak and hiking tour, $500 per couple, 305-395-0355, marathonkayak.com.
Coral Gables bike tour
The fastest way to learn why Coral Gables was nicknamed the City Beautiful is on one of its family friendly bike tours, presented by the Coral Gables Museum and Bike Walk Coral Gables. You’ll ride down tree-lined boulevards, around historic fountains and past picturesque homes built in the grand Mediterranean Revival architectural style. The route changes monthly to include different neighborhoods and bike rentals are available. Coral Gables bike tour, third Sunday of the month $10, $5 for members, 220 Aragon Ave, 305-603-8067, coralgablesmuseum.org/tours.
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Phillip Pessar
Wynwood graffiti buggy tour
Cover more ground while exploring Wynwood’s myriad murals on a graffiti buggy tour. You’ll hop on the golf cart for a one-hour ride through the colorful arts district, learning about the popular street art and the artists who created it. The fast-paced route brings you past more than 50 of the area’s galleries and murals. Wynwood graffiti buggy tour, Sat $39, wynwoodartwalk.com.
Key Biscayne kayak adventure
Key Biscayne is not one for attracting sunbathers and swimmers, though it is popular with sports enthusiasts. Join the crowds breaking a sweat as you embark on a tour through the natural shorelines of Key Biscayne, spotting birds and marine life along the way. Key Biscayne kayak adventure, Sat–Sun $30, 6747 Crandon Blvd, Key Biscayne, 305-666-5885, miamidade.gov.
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/David Berkowitz
Gay and Lesbian Walking Tour
Celebrate the fabulous contributions gays and lesbians have made to the city of Miami Beach on a walking tour past gay hotspots and public works the local LGBTQ community has fostered and preserved. The leisurely outing is both educational and saucy, intermingling stops at architectural gems as well as stalwarts of SoBe nightlife. Gay and Lesbian Walking Tour, second Saturday of the month $20–$25, mdpl.org/tours/guided-walking-tours.
Millionaire’s Row Cruise
Hop aboard the double-decker Island Queen for the ultimate Miami-kitsch experience. On this 90-minute tour along Biscayne Bay, you’ll sail past the port of Miami and around Palm and Star Islands, both of which are swarming with celebrities. Your guide will point out who lives where, but don’t be surprised if the information doesn’t align with your favorite tabloid magazine. These cruises have been going on long before social media came into play. Island Queen Cruises, daily $20–$28, 305-374-3344 islandqueencruises.com.
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Smart Destinations
Big Bus Miami Hop-On Hop-Off Tour
What’s a sightseeing tour throughout Miami without a little traffic? Not an authentic one, that's for sure. If you're bound to get stuck beyond the wheel, it’s best you leave the driving to someone else so that you can spend the afternoon gawking out the window, taking in the city’s fabulous architecture and those stunning ocean views. Plus, each bus has its own tour guide to point out and the explain the sites. Another perk of riding the Big Bus? You'll never have to deal yet another Miami transportation struggle: parking. Big Bus Miami Hop-On Hop-Off Tour, daily $32–$40.50.
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Joan Nova