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Deering Estate: 6 things that make this hidden getaway delightful

Last updated on July 30th, 2021 at 06:02 pm

The Deering Estate south of Miami offers a sweeping view of Biscayne Bay that is like a soothing balm on jangled urban nerves.  The view alone is worth the visit, but this Miami-Dade County park offers much more.

Located south of Miami, the Deering Estate was the home from 1922 to 1927 of Charles Deering, the wealthy industrialist who was chairman of International Harvester. His half-brother, millionaire industrialist James Deering, built Vizcaya, the Mediterranean palace and gardens also overlooking Biscayne Bay, which is far better known as a Miami landmark.

Through Aug, 31, 2021, Admission to the Deering Estate is buy-one-get-one-free, so adult admission is two for $15. Tickets must be purchased online via Eventbrite.com in advance prior to visiting the Deering Estate.

It is not as ostentatious as Vizcaya and unlike Vizcaya, it lacks its original furnishings. Yet, the Deering Estate has a magic about it, and Yelp reviews are full of people calling it a hidden gem and marveling that they had never been here before.

View of the Deering Estate's two main buildings from the water. (Photo: Bonnie Gross)
View of the Deering Estate’s two main buildings from the water. (Photo: Bonnie Gross)

What’s special about Deering Estate? Here are six things we love

1. The grounds preserve a remarkable 444-acre parcel of land, which includes pine rockland and coastal tropical hardwood hammock plus mangroves, salt marshes and a coastal dune island. In an area open only on naturalist-led tours in the winter season, you can see a 350-year-old oak tree that grows atop a Tequesta Indian Burial Mound.

Interior of the great hall at the Deering Estate in Miami. (Photo Bonnie Gross)
Interior of the great hall at the Deering Estate in Miami. (Photo Bonnie Gross)

2. The Stone House is a grand castle-like place Deering built as his home in 1922. Its design was inspired by two castles in Sitges, Spain. Without its original furnishings, the big Stone House seems hauntingly empty, but that is part of its magic. Without the period furniture, visitors are allowed to wander through the rooms on their own.

The Prohibition Era wine cellar at Deering Estate
The Prohibition Era wine cellar at Deering Estate is a don’t miss feature. (Photo: David Blasco)

3. One of my favorite spots is the wine cellar –– don’t miss it! Hidden behind a false-wall and a three-ton bank vault door in the basement is a room that housed 4,500 bottles of champagne, wine and spirits, hidden during the Prohibition. It was flooded by a 1945 hurricane and its combination lost. It remained sealed until 1985, when the Deering Estate became a public park and Deering’s new owners hired a famous safe-cracker to break in. The wine cellar has been restored to include hundreds of vintage bottles.

The Deering Estate stone house overlooks the boat turning basin, which is lined with majestic royal palms to create a memorable vistastone house overlooks the boat turning basin, which is lined with majestic royal palms to create a memorably vista. (Photo David Blasco)
The Deering Estate stone house overlooks the boat turning basin, which is lined with majestic royal palms to create a memorable vista. (Photo David Blasco)

4. The most photographed feature is the boat basin on Biscayne Bay, lined with rows of majestic royal palm trees stretching out into Biscayne Bay. Year around, it’s a spot favored by manatees. Nearby are picnic tables and open space where you can stretch out on a blanket. Visitors are struck by the feeling of isolation of the place; how far away Miami’s bustle appears. The view off Biscayne Bay is especially beautiful when viewed through the archways and windows of the castle-like Stone House.

5. The mangrove-lined shoreline. One of the remarkable things about the Deering Estate is that it is part of one of the longest continuous mangrove shorelines left in the Southeastern United States. The water is clear here and teeming with life. You can rent kayaks, including clear-bottom kayaks, to explore the Biscayne National Park seagrass beds and mangrove shore. Kayak rentals are available daily between 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., weather permitting. Full-moon kayaking tours are offered monthly.

6. Boat trips into Biscayne National Park. In recent years, the Biscayne National Park Institute has begun offering boat trips onto Biscayne Bay from the Deering Estate. Every weekend, there are two boat trips. One is a three-hour trip to captivating Boca Chita Island, where you can picnic and explore the historic site. The other cruises you by the six remaining Stiltsville homes in Biscayne Bay. There are also two special boat tours available once a month: a birding tour and a trip past the four historic lighthouses in Biscayne Bay. Here are details about boat tours from Deering Estate. Prices range from $56 per person to $70 per person and include admission to Deering Estate.

Walking tours and kayaking at Deering Estate

From October through May, Deering naturalists and volunteers offer Nature Preserve Tours (12:30 p.m.) that are filled on a first-come, first- serve basis at a limited capacity. All guests, including Deering Estate Foundation members, must sign-up at the Main Gate before the tour begins.

The stone wall around the Deering Estate is almost 100 years old and the strangler figs have become part of it. (Photo: Bonnie Gross)
The stone wall around the Deering Estate is almost 100 years old and the strangler figs have become part of it. (Photo: Bonnie Gross)

Deering Estate after Hurricane Andrew, Aug. 24, 1992
Deering Estate after Hurricane Andrew, Aug. 24, 1992. Photo courtesy NOAA.

Final Deering Estate fascinating fact 

Almost 30 years ago, on Aug. 24, 1992, Hurricane Andrew came ashore near the Deering Estate. The 170-mile-per-hour winds and the 16-foot storm surge did millions of dollars of damages to the property. Photos from the aftermath show unimaginable damage, yet it has all been lovingly restored.

Deering Estate at Cutler

16701 SW 72 Ave.
Miami FL 33157
305-235-1668

From the Editor:

The information in this article was accurate when published but can change without notice. Please confirm rates and details when planning your trip by following the links in this article.

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