Palm Bay is known in the United States for its breathtaking scenery, free beaches and picturesque natural surroundings.
Located between Orlando and Miami, Palm Bay is a quiet town known for ecotourism and water sports such as kayaking, kiteboarding and paddleboarding. Bearing in mind that we just wanted to relax and not visit too much, most of the time we stayed at the beach, especially since the weather was great, 27°-28°C.
The beaches are clean, quiet, and most offer free parking. At the exit from the beaches there are showers, toilets and kiosks with food and drinks.
One of the days I visited Turkey Creek Sanctuary. It is a small nature reserve in the city of Palm Bay. Surrounded by sand pines, oaks and dwarf palms, the sanctuary is covered with sand dunes said to be over 2,000 years old.
Turkey Creek Sanctuary is an important stopover for spring and fall migratory birds. Depending on the season, you can see woodpeckers, herons, cormorants, eagles or pelicans.
The creek was full of turtles and schools of fish and even a few alligators basking in the sun were easily seen in the clear water.
You can rent canoes for a relaxing ride or take the trails on the sand or on the wooden pontoon that crosses the marsh. They also have jogging trails and a quiet spot with picnic tables.
If you end up in the area, we highly recommend a walk through the park, especially since admission and parking are free.
After 3 days spent in Palm Bay, we continued our vacation in Miami. In August we had a short stop here, but we were only in Miami Beach (read the article about Miami Beach here), and in Miami City we were only passing through.
This time we stayed in Miami City, near the famous Little Havana. It is the most famous Cuban neighborhood in the world. The area is characterized by Cuban-specific restaurants, Cuban bakeries, colorful souvenir shops and the many festivals that take place here.
Here is the most famous Cuban restaurant in the world: Versailles Restaurant Cuban Cuisine.
In 2021, they celebrated 50 years since the inauguration. In 1971, Felipe Valls Sr., a Cuban immigrant, opened the restaurant with the idea of creating a home away from home for Cubans who left the island, where they could have a traditional meal at affordable prices.
In the meantime it has become one of the most famous and beloved restaurants. You have no chance of finding a free table if you go spontaneously. They generally wait in line for around an hour, an hour and a half, until a table becomes available. And no reservations can be made.
The only solution is to go to the restaurant, you will be written on a waiting list, then you go to visit Little Havana or other sights in the area and come back in a few hours. Or you can order online and just go pick up the food, but even though they say everything will be ready in an hour, you’ll most likely have to wait another 40-50 minutes.
Also in Little Havana is the Calle Ocho Walk of Fame, kind of Hollywood Walk of Fame, but with famous artists and Latin personalities, including Celia Cruz, Thalia and Gloria Estefan.
If you end up in Downtown Miami, stop by Bayside Marketplace. It is one of the most visited attractions in Miami, mainly due to the fact that the marina is located here.
Bayside Marketplace is a two-story outdoor mall with live music, restaurants, bars, boutiques and numerous shops.
Miami City also boasts the colorful and artsy Wynwood neighborhood. Wynwood has become a haven for aspiring painters and graffiti artists.
Just minutes from downtown, near Midtown and the Miami Design District, this thriving neighborhood centers around the Wynwood Walls. A collection of giant murals spanning six buildings make Wynwood Walls an outdoor art gallery. Admission is $12/person.
On the last day we took a trip to the Florida Keys – a 200 km long chain of islands that starts just south of Miami. The islands are connected by bridges across the Atlantic Ocean, Florida Bay, and the Gulf of Mexico.
(Palm Bay – December 2021)