If you’re coming out to South Florida to set sail on a cruise, don’t feel like your adventure can’t begin until you’re on that boat. You can start having fun the second you arrive. There are so many cool places to go and fun things to do in the Miami area; you’d be doing yourself a disservice not to check them out. We’ve put together a list of some of our favorite family-friendly places that we think you need to see. If you’re parking at the Port of Miami, these places are right nearby so you can visit them while you’re waiting to board your ship. Any one of these destinations would be the perfect way to spend the afternoon; the first step is choosing where to go!

  1. Bayside Market Place-3 minutes away

This place has shopping, museums, and more! If your family is into history, you can check out History Miami and learn all about the locals of the past. If you’re more of an artistic family, you can swing through the Miami Museum of Art and take in some wonderful local pieces. If you’re looking to shop, you can stroll along the waterfront and enjoy the view as you shop, eat, and play!

  1. Parrot Jungle Island-6 minutes away

If anyone in your family is an animal lover, this place should be on your list. You could spend the whole day here if you had that kind of time to kill. You can explore animals from all over, including a red kangaroo, a white lion, squirrel monkeys, and African penguins! You can also enjoy one of their many shows and special exhibits, including the Everglades Habitat and Walk, the Petting Barn, and Dr. Wasabi’s Wild Adventures!

  1. Bayfront Park– 3 minutes away

This is a great place to visit for families and it’s dirt cheap so you don’t have to worry about your pre-vacation activities breaking the bank. Plus, it’s so close that you could park at the Port of Miami and walk to the park! This park has a state-of-the-art playground with sea creature themed structures that the kids will love. You might also be able to catch an outdoor concert or a free class on yoga or the art of self-defense. There are also loads of tours and mini-cruises that take off in the area, so you could check one of those out, too!

  1. LummusPark– 12 minutes away

If you have an active bunch on your hands and you want to go somewhere where they can run and burn off some of that energy, you should try this beautiful beach. The view is incredible and if you like to people watch, you will have plenty to look at here. You can also layout on one of the many sunbeds and catch some rays or a little nap. You can also check out some of the bars along the beach if you need an adult beverage to encourage the relaxation process.

  1. Miami Aqua Tours– 3 minutes away

If you’re looking for a little sea adventure to get you in the right mood for your trip, you should check out the tours this place offers. You can take a boat tour around Biscayne Bay and the Venetian Islands, and check out some celebrity homes along the way. They also have a wide variety of other tours and boat chartering options for you and the family to check out. This could be a great way to get the feel of the sea under your feet before you get on that cruise ship.

If you plan ahead, you could park at the Port of Miami a little early and have time to explore the city before you set sail! Try one, two, or all five of these places before or after your cruise to help round out your trip. Your family’s vacation should be fun all the way from beginning to end. Make sure you are using all the time you have to make the best memories possible!