Atlantic Coast

One of the most diverting stops between Miami and the Florida Keys has to be the Coral Castle Museum (28655 S. Dixie Hwy., 305/248-6345, daily, $18 adults), an amazing house hand-carved out of huge blocks of oolitic coral from 1923 to 1951. Located right along the highway, two miles north of Homestead, the house is filled with furniture also carved from stone—a 3,000-pound sofa and a 500-pound rocking chair—and no one has figured how its enigmatic creator, Ed Leedskalnin, did it all without help or the use of any heavy machinery.

Homestead, along with neighboring Florida City farther south, forms the main gateway to Everglades National Park, and there are tons of reasonably priced motels hereabouts. All the usual suspects line up here along US-1, including the nice Best Western Gateway to the Keys (305/246-5100, $66 and up).

Florida’s other big national park, Biscayne National Park, stretches east of Homestead from near Miami to the top of the Florida Keys, but it is almost completely underwater. Privately run snorkeling and diving tours ($129 per person) leave from behind the main Convoy Point visitors center (305/230-7275), nine miles east of US-1 at the end of 328th Street—near the huge Homestead-Miami Speedway (and a nuclear power plant).