Florida : Safety by City
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Homestead, Florida, is one of the best-kept secrets in the Sunshine State.
It’s nestled in between Miami to the north, Everglades National Park to the west, the Florida Keys to the south, and Key Biscayne National Park to the east.
This city is a suburb of the Miami metropolitan area but doesn’t have a big-city vibe at all.
While there are so many bigger attractions in the South Florida area, I urge you not to overlook Homestead.
There’s a castle built in secrecy as a tribute to unrequited love.
A shopping square that takes you back in time to “Old Florida.”
A place where you can buy a train car if you are so inclined.
The city offers a free trolley to the neighborhood national parks, and the downtown area is being revitalized while still keeping a strong dose of Florida history intact.
You can take a self-guided hometown tour that gives you a look at the past and present.
This is the hometown feel you need when you are away from home with plenty of Florida excitement just a few miles down any road.
Warnings & Dangers in Homestead
OVERALL RISK: MEDIUM
There's a medium overall risk in Homestead. One safe city website ranked it as the 45th Most Dangerous City in America. The weather risks of hurricanes exist 6 months of the year, June - November, but other than that, it's a tropical destination where you'll rarely need a jacket.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK: LOW
All taxis and public transportation are governed by city and state laws, so there's a low risk as long as your ride can show proof of licensing. Since many places tourists want to visit are outside of Homestead, it makes sense to have a car so you can venture away but still come back to this quaint community for a good night's sleep.
PICKPOCKETS RISK: MEDIUM
There's a one in 59 chance of being a theft victim, so we'll call it a medium risk. While it's not nearly as risky as other metro areas, there's a clear line in Homestead between who is a local and who is a tourist, so thieves might be on the lookout. Just keep your belongings close and guarded and you should be fine.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK: MEDIUM
Hurricanes are the biggest risk here. They can be dangerous enough to give this area a medium risk. Plus, Florida is the lightning capital of North America, so it's advised to stay indoors when thunder roars.
MUGGING RISK: MEDIUM
There's a medium risk of being mugged with robbery rates at one in 377. Violent crime overall comes with a one in 132 chance.
TERRORISM RISK: MEDIUM
There's a medium risk in Homestead. The Turkey Point Nuclear Generating Station is in Homestead. There's also the Homestead Air Reserve Base. Nuclear and military targets can be terror targets, so that's why this comes with a little higher risk. On top of that, it's in the Miami area, which is a large metropolitan center. Those are always possible terror targets too.
SCAMS RISK: LOW
There's a low risk of being scammed in Homestead, but the same can't always be said about the surrounding areas. Keep your wits about you and don't fall for a deal that is too good to be true. When you are talking with other tourists on excursions, be sure not to give out too much personal information.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK: LOW
There's a low risk for women in Homestead with its hometown vibe and culture of historic preservation. There just aren't many dangerous areas to get into, since there's no big party scene or huge tourist draw to put women at risk. As with any city, don't go walking around strange areas at night and always stay under the street lights.
TAP WATER RISK: LOW
There's low risk with tap water here. It meets or exceeds state and federal guidelines.
Safest Places to Visit in Homestead
In a city that’s only 4 miles wide, the line between safe and unsafe is very blurred.
The good news is, the city errs on the side of being very safe.
I’m a sucker for a love story, so we’re going to start with the Coral Castle Museum.
Edward Leeskalnin was 26 years old when he fell in love with Agnes, who was 10 years younger than him.
He called her his “Sweet Sixteen.”
They were to be married.
The day before the wedding, Agnes got cold feet and called it off.
Ed was heartbroken.
He built this castle as his tribute of undying love for the woman who got away (and didn’t want to come back).
The secrecy behind those castle walls gives it even more charm.
Ed was a petite man, yet somehow managed to organize and install all these massive rocks and sculptures with locals hardly seeing any work being done.
Cauley Square is a shopping and eatery location that takes you back to the olden days of Florida.
The charm of this quaint village setting and canopies of tropical plant and tree treasures make it so relaxing for a nice stroll.
Be sure to grab a Cuban sandwich at the Latin Corner gazebo.
The Gold Coast Trail Railroad Museum is rail history at its finest.
There are three trains you can ride and rail cars to tour that brings you back to the era of train travel as a luxurious way to get around.
Places to Avoid in Homestead
Homestead isn’t an upper-class community.
The 2020 census shows the average income of Homestead residents is $47,000, about 15% lower than the state average.
There are some parts of the community that look run down, mostly because homeowners don’t follow the property rules for maintaining lawns and not leaving junk around.
You wouldn’t have a reason as a tourist to be in those neighborhoods, but it’s just good to know this isn’t a pristine Florida town sparkling with all-new buildings.
It’s an older community and with that comes great history and a little bit of blight.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Homestead
- There are a lot of alligators in this area, so don’t be surprised if you see one. It’s near the Everglades, which are loaded with creatures. If you see one, go the other way. Report it to Florida Fish and Wildlife and they’ll come to corral it.
- It might make you a little uneasy to be staying so close to the Turkey Point Nuclear Power Plant. There is a safety plan in place. Should an accident happen, the 10-mile zone around the plant would hear warning sirens and get emergency information. However, the plant is built to withstand hurricanes, is immune to Florida’s flash flooding, and is in the lowest seismic zone possible in the United States.
- It helps to know Spanish if you visit Homestead or any South Florida community, but it’s not required. Homestead has a 26% Hispanic population rate.
- Don’t rent a vacation home here unless the owner can provide proof they have a permit from the state. There are a lot of rental scams in Florida, and that permit helps you confirm the space is legitimate. Never wire transfer money to reserve a rental home.
- If you plan on visiting the Homestead Miami Speedway, check their website for a list of items you can’t bring in. Things like coolers, umbrellas, air horns, and selfie sticks are not allowed. Make sure you only bring what won’t get confiscated.
- If your trip is planned during hurricane season and there’s a system forming in the tropics, you might want to put the trip on hold. Airports can shut down and interstates become so traffic-jammed it’s hard to get out. Don’t risk it. Hurricanes can be very unpredictable, so don’t wait until the last minute to cancel. Above all, trust your gut.
- Wear good walking shoes. There are a lot of places to visit in and around Homestead. It’s tempting to put on flip-flops when visiting a tropical location, but nobody wants blisters at the end of an adventurous day.
- You’ll need to wear sunscreen here, even when it’s cloudy. The intense sun can cause sunburn in just a few minutes if the skin isn’t protected. Sunburn can quickly ruin a fun getaway and put you at a higher risk of skin cancer.
- There are plenty of places in and around Homestead to get spices and fruit. Check with your airline or the mail service if you want to send some of these goodies home to make sure it’s legal to transport them. Generally, the mail won’t send something perishable.
- There’s an outlet mall in Homestead, making for a great chance to find bargains. Since Homestead is right off a major interstate, it could be a great in-and-out option for thieves. If you go to the Florida Keys Outlet Marketplace, don’t carry a large bag or wear expensive jewelry. You don’t want to bring any attention to yourself.
So... How Safe Is Homestead Really?
Homestead is considered to be one of the most dangerous cities in America, but I don’t think the crime statistics necessarily back that up.
80,000 people live there and it’s a lower-to-middle-class community.
It’s not your typical Florida destination city.
If you are staying here it’s either because it’s close to great attractions or because you are there for business or to visit family.
The chances of being a victim of a crime are as follows:
- Violent Crime: 1 in 132
- Property Crime: 1 in 47 (but you don’t own property there, so….)
- Aggravated Assult: 1 in 222
- Robbery: 1 in 377
- Theft: 1 in 1376
If you stay out of the local neighborhoods where you have no business being anyway, you should be fine.
Some neighborhoods do look very run-down and unkempt.
If it looks like a bad neighborhood, keep driving.
Don’t go walking around strange neighborhoods.
Stay in the tourist attractions and lock your car with no personal belongings in plain view when you do.
How Does Homestead Compare?
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The port of entry or airport will take care of the Visa requirements. You'll need an ID for some of the attractions or to get alcohol. You don't need a passport or any special ID if you plan on going to the Florida Keys.
You'll use U.S. Dollar currency for all activities and spending in Florida. There are plenty of banks and ATMs around, but never take out cash alone at night. It's safer to go inside the bank and make a withdrawal.
The average temperature here year-round is 75°(F). Get ready for high humidity, as it's very sticky here. You'll need to either find a good laundry service or bring enough clothes that you can change a couple of times a day if you get too sweaty. Summer storms are common daily, and the city gets 60" of rain a year, so rain gear is needed.
Homestead is 34 miles from the Miami International Airport, and 65 miles from the Fort Lauderdale airport. Traffic can get very backed up in the Miami area, so leave yourself plenty of time to get to and from the airport of your choice.
While Florida's weather draws in many people each year, it can also be the #1 reason a flight gets canceled or delayed. Be sure to get travel insurance for your trip to Homestead, Florida.
Homestead Weather Averages (Temperatures)
Average High/Low Temperature
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