If you’ve seen the name Homestead while visiting South Florida, chances are you glimpsed it on a road sign somewhere between Miami and the Florida Keys. Tucked between the glitzy mecca of beaches and malls to the north and the laid-back, margarita-drenched tourist haven to the south, Homestead seems meek and anonymous when compared to its famous neighbors. It does have attractions of its own, although most of them are of the natural, organic variety—sights that rarely earn the glowing adjectives bestowed by guidebooks. But while few would choose the town as their prime vacation destination, passing through Homestead without stopping would be a crime. Like that fascinating little gift shop in the airport terminal, Homestead is a fun and worthwhile distraction while you’re traveling from point A to point B.
One of the area’s top draws is the Fruit and Spice Park, a 37-acre paradise which is unique because of its tropical climate. Over 500 types of fruits, vegetables, and others growing goodies are on display here, including 75 varieties of bananas and a whopping 150 varieties of mangoes. Visitors aren’t allowed to pick the fruit themselves, but guides will happily pluck samples for you to taste and the park’s gift shop has a tasting table set up as well. Guests are also free to eat any fruit that has fallen from the tree on its own, so bring a few napkins and prepare to end the day with a full stomach and a juicy grin on your face. And don’t miss the park’s lovely fountains and streams, which showcase even more beautiful flowers and plants.
If your craving for fresh tropical fruit hasn’t been satiated, head to the nearby Robert is Here fruit stand just a few miles south. This legendary market sells everything from popular favorites like mangoes, papayas, and passion fruit to exotic treats like sugar apples and witch finger grapes. Be sure to browse the huge selection of jams, honey, and other condiments made with local ingredients, and don’t even think about leaving without a delicious fresh fruit milkshake in hand.
Afterward, you might want to walk off that full tummy feeling at Homestead Bayfront Park. You’ll find a boardwalk and several trails that meander beside the water, along with plenty of benches perfect for sitting back and contemplating the vast expanse of blue ocean before you. Bring a picnic lunch or a book if you want, because you might have a hard time tearing yourself away from the serene setting. There are no fees to enter the park Monday through Friday, adding extra incentive for a mid-week getaway.
|Relax and enjoy the ride at the Fruit and Spice Park|
|The feast of fruit at Robert is Here|