Ditch the clubs and check out Miami's other nightlife—underwater


There's a lot more to Miami at night than dance clubs, sporting events and theater—not that there is anything wrong with those fine activities. Take a step back from the bright lights and streets, and you'll see a whole new side of the Magic City.

Fire plants on the water
If you happen to notice an eerie but cool blue-green light emitting from the tranquil dark water as you kayak around Virginia Key, don't worry, it's not an impending inferno of wildfire a la Game of Thrones. It's hundreds of tiny bioluminescent plankton known as dinoflagellates or "fire plants." A simple stir with a paddle and they light up like stars beneath the water. The Virginia Key Outdoor Center leads regular summer evening kayaking tours. The best time of year to witness this ethereal phenomenon is from June to September. However, plenty of people have luck catching the little guys light up just after sunset even in spring. There are upcoming sunset kayak and paddleboard tours already scheduled in March and April.

Silver kings swimming in the shadows
If simply stirring up wildlife isn't enough of a challenge, try snagging something that puts up a fight. Night fishing for tarpon around Biscayne Bay has an advantage because they hang out in greater numbers where there's food. They find plenty of it coming out with the tide and strike in the shadows just beyond the lights of the busy city. With glittering downtown Miami as a backdrop and illuminated bridges lighting the way, it's a memorable way to fish. Plus, we're already in high season for catching these suckers so you've got a good shot of landing some silver kings (or possibly princes if they're a little smaller) anytime from now through the summer. There are several charters you can rent in Miami that take people out for tarpon night fishing. Make sure you select an experienced guide that knows the area and will choose a good night based on the tides like Captain Jason Sullivan of Rising Tide Charters. A 4-to-5-hour jaunt will set you back about $500 for two fishermen.

Turtles trekking to the sea
For less of a fight and more of a warm fuzzy feeling, try a sea turtle release walk like those hosted by the Crandon Park Visitors and Nature Center in Key Biscayne. Those little loggerheads are so tiny and cute that even the most hardened of hearts will end up wishing them well on their journey to sea. The walks take place from 8 to 10 p.m. and run periodically in July and August. Note: you need to book in advance. Registration begins July 1 and all the walks are typically booked within a week of being posted.



Brenna Cuba is a Miami native and freelance journalist who has been covering lifestyle topics, including travel and food, for more than a decade. She drinks copious amounts of Cuban coffee when on deadline.