Miami might be popular for its beautiful beaches and lively nightlife, but there’s a part of the city that is well-hidden, mysterious, and fascinating at the same time, just begging to be explored.
The abandoned places in Miami, Florida display some charming stories about the rich history of the region.
Some people have images of packed theme parks and amazing beaches when they think of Miami, but for urban explorers like us, the main attractions are the abandoned places in Miami.
Whether you find them beautiful or scary, there is something undeniably interesting about each abandoned location I’m going to show you.
If you’re in Miami, Florida, or will be visiting sometime in the future, here are just a couple of abandoned places you should consider checking out.
Coconut Grove Playhouse
This playhouse was originally designed as a movie theater in the late 1920s. At that time, it was the second movie theater that had air conditioning and it had the third-largest Wurlitzer organ in the United States.
The theater went bankrupt following the stock market crash in 1929. This led to it being closed and then used as a school for Air Force navigators in World War II.
After years of failure, the state retook control of the theater in 2012 and had plans to demolish much of the building.
Currently, lawsuits and disputes with local opposition groups have prevented the building from being developed. Today, it is seen as one of the coolest abandoned places in Florida and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
You can find several videos on Youtube of fellow urban explorers having a look inside the building.
The Brooksville Victorian Tree-house
This incredibly thought-out 3-story miniature tree-house was built in the early 1970s and is part of a larger complex and former nursery business. It includes bathrooms, bedrooms, and even a kitchen.
This structure had sadly deteriorated over the years and is too far gone to renovate.
Pictures of the tree-house went viral in 2004, going round news outlets, websites, and blogs. It has become very popular for being such a wondrous and unique house left to rot along with the rest of the property.
The current owners of the property rare cattle and are not so happy with all the attention the house is getting.
But despite the warning of the house owners that trespassers will be arrested and charged, people have not stopped visiting the property to see the house with their very own eyes.
North Dade Detention Center
The North Dade Detention Center was opened in 1974 to serve the needs of the local community. It was closed just two years later and then leased to the State of Florida to be used by Miami Dade Corrections and Rehabilitation.
The U.S. Department of Justice closed the psychiatric ward eventually and moved the inmates to a better facility that has modern programs and facilities.
Today, the North Dade Detention Center is still one of the most common abandoned properties in Miami for urban explorers to check out.
It has been badly vandalized and damaged from storms and age. The walls are covered in graffiti and the center is very quiet. You can read more about this place here.
Deauville Beach Resort
The Deauville Beach Resort was built by Joe Elsener, a real estate investor, in 1926. During that period, the resort was a luxurious casino and beach club popular for having the largest swimming pool and the craziest parties in Florida.
In 2017 the hotel had an air conditioner fire accident as a result of faulty wiring. The guests were evacuated and relocated so that the hotel could repair the damages.
Since then, the hotel has remained closed. Hurricane Irma caused further damages to the structure, further extending the cost of the money needed to fix the resort. The abandoned building is rumored to be full of mildew, water, and remains without power.
Lately, it’s been used by squatters and homeless people seeking shelter.
Crandon Park Zoo
In 1948 Miami bought some land on Key Biscayne. In addition to the land, it acquired two black bears, three monkeys, and a goat and created the first public zoo. With time, more animals and attractions were added, including a miniature railroad that ran around the entire zoo.
Conditions at the zoo were inhumane during those times compared to today’s standards. People began to get worried about the welfare of the animals. And on Labor Day in 1965 Hurricane Betsy made landfall off the coast of Key Largo and killed about 250 animals.
Most of them drowned in their territories. This led the city to make plans for a bigger and better zoo which finally did open in 1980.
Today, the Crandon Park Zoo location is a botanical garden where visitors can view the tropical vegetation and see some of the remaining enclosures and cages from the former Crandon Park Zoo.
Cape Romano Domes
Although it looks like the remnants of six houses, it was just one house, constructed on Cape Romano close to Marco Island in Florida. The builder of this property was an intelligent oil producer named Bob Lee. He built it in 1980 by using concrete.
Every dome had a different room, and the strange design was meant to withstand harsh weather conditions such as hurricanes. Even though it was strong, interior damage from Hurricane Andrew resulted in it being abandoned in the early 90s.
Soon after it was bought again in 2005, Hurricane Wilma struck. The water has been rising here for quite some time. Although the county asked that it should be demolished a long ago, it has been standing and has become quite the odd attraction in the area.
Miami Marine Stadium
This was the first stadium in the United States exclusively constructed for powerboat racing.
It was designed and built by Hilario Candela, a 28-year-old Cuban immigrant on land that was given to Miami by the Matheson family.
In 1992 Hurricane Andrew destroyed most of South Florida and caused damages amounting to billions of dollars.
In 2008, the stadium was listed as a historic place by Miami’s Historic Preservation and Environmental Board.
Today it sits alone, empty, and completely full of graffiti. Locals report that they see people going in and out all the time.
Old Bahia Honda Rail Bridge
This bridge is not abandoned but is more of a relic of the past. The bridge was originally constructed by Henry Flagler between 1905 and 1912 as part of the Overseas Railroad.
In 1935, the bridge was destroyed by the Labor Day Hurricane and then later bought by the State of Florida.
Rather than rebuilding it, the existing foundations were repaired and were converted to become part of the Overseas Highway in 1938 by adding a deck on top of the truss.
Today, the original bridge remains, although it has fallen into a state of disrepair and signs warning boats of falling debris. It provides a scenic overview of the area.
Opened for ten years between 1993 and 2003, this addition to the Florida theme park scene was a homage to China.
Building it costs $100,000,000 and it has handmade, tenth-scale models of Chinese landmarks, including the Great Wall and the Leshan Buddha.
After the owners of the park fell into financial problems, Splendid China finally closed its gates to the public.
Even though its sister park continues to succeed, the Florida version became a creepy wasteland, with plants covering the replicas and vandals constantly visiting. It’s become a favorite among urban explorers in Florida.
Arthur G. Dozier School Dorms
The Florida School for Boys, popularly known as the infamous Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys, was a reform school and was the biggest juvenile reform school in the country.
Since it’s opening in 1900, the school was known for beatings, rapes, torture, abuse, and even murder of students by the staff.
It was reported that boys at the school were kept in leg irons to keep them from moving around and causing damage to themselves or others.
The state decided to close the facility in 2011, due to “budgetary limitations.”
The North Campus was for blacks and behind the old campus was “Boot Hill Cemetery” where most of the boys who died were buried.
Excavations in 2014 yielded 55 bodies, twice the number of official records say were there.
Today, it sits empty and forgotten.
Parkway West Regional Medical Center
The medical center opened in 1974 after taking two years to build.
The hospital was 11 stories high with 127 rooms and more than 300 beds. It was operated until it closed in 2002.
Since then, it sits as one of the abandoned places in Miami.
Over the years its deterioration attracted scrappers, taggers, and urban explorers.
Today, the walls are covered in graffiti and mold, and large pieces of metal hang from the ceiling.
Most of the properties I listed above would not be abandoned today if the city government would have been more helpful in its revitalization efforts.
So maybe we urban explorers have them to thank for unknowingly giving us these cool abandoned places in Miami, Florida to explore.
Visiting these amazing places can give you a glimpse into the history of Florida and allow you to see what life was like 20-50+ years ago.
Miami truly does have a rich and dark history with so many abandoned properties for you to explore.
From hospitals to schools, theaters, and old zoos, there’s plenty for enthusiasts to explore in Miami.
Urban explorers in Miami, I’ve given you a list of locations you can check out. Get out there and start exploring!
Do you like these kinds of articles where I talk about abandoned places all over the world? Should I do more of these in the future? What state or city should I do next, please let me know in the comments below!