A key activity in Miami is people-watching – whether lying on the beach, lounging on a terrace or enjoying a cocktail in a cool nightspot. But there are many other areas to explore and things to do whilst in Miami – here is just a taster.
Art Deco Historic District
You can either just stroll around admiring the fabulous Art Deco architecture and soaking up the atmosphere. Or you can take an organised walking tour to be entertained and learn more about this historic district. The tours take around an hour and a half and are well recommended.
A good place to spend an afternoon and/or evening, with an assortment of restaurants and shops around a lively marina. There is live music in the bandstand and a good mix of entertainment for kids, teens and adults. There are also boat rides with guided tours of the Miami waterways, including tours which take in the mansions of the rich and famous.
Miami’s beaches are the main attraction, offering watersports and lounge chair/umbrella rental. Between 1st and 5th streets the beach is popular with surfers. North at 79th Street is the North Shore Open Space Park, voted the best beach in Miami for its greenery and open spaces. Further north is Sunny Isles Beach, where it is quiet and picturesque.
If you are visiting Miami with young children, then you might like to visit either Crandon Park on Key Biscayne or Matheson Hammock which is on the southern end of the mainland. Crandon Park is three miles long and has lifeguards on duty, a playground area, picnic tables, and shower and toilet facilities. Matheson Hammock in on the lagoon, has walking paths and you can watch the boats around the marina.
The boardwalk running along Miami beach is a brilliant place to stroll, jog, run and cycle. Early morning, in the heat of the day or during the evening, it’s a lovely place to admire the view – whether it’s the natural beauty of the ocean or the man-made fun of the hotels.
Everglades National Park
Just a short drive from Miami is the Everglades, a network of wetlands and the largest mangrove eco-system in the western hemisphere.
Covering over 2,000 square miles, the best way to see the Everglades is by airboat, which is a great day trip from Miami. There are many attractions throughout the Everglades offering airboat rides such as the Everglades Alligator Farm and the Everglades Safari Park.
A great place for kids, teens and adults to spend a few hours getting up close to the animals and birds, with shows, petting areas and a range of unusual exhibits giving great photo opportunities.
This is the spirited Cuban neighbourhood of Miami, where you can sample a traditional Cuban meal or grab a “sandwich Cubano”. Also worth watching are the highly skilled cigar makers.
Miami Children’s Museum
A great place to visit with under 12’s, particularly if rain is forecast., featuring lots of interactive activities and a play area.
A small version of SeaWorld, this 38 acre park has great shows with killer whales, dolphins and sea lions, exhibits such as the shark channel and tropical reef, plus dolphin encounters.
Despite a distinctly hedonistic theme to Miami, it is still a great place to holiday as a family. If you can persuade the family to leave the pool or the beach, there are masses of things to do for all ages. The Zoo is a popular place to spend a day, and you can hire 4-6 seater bikes with a canopy to help you get around.
The extent of the shopping in Miami is enough to test the stamina of even the most committed shoppers. In the South Beach area there is the lovely Espanola Way – a historic Spanish village featuring unique boutiques and restaurants, and around the corner Washington Avenue is the destination for designer jeans and the latest club wear. Lincoln Road is a pedestrianized road with a massive range of designer and brand name shops, plus lots of restaurants with indoor and outdoor seating where you can watch the world go by. Collins Avenue is where you will find Armani and Versace, and along Ocean Drive the boutiques are funky and fashionable.
If you prefer the air-conditioning of a mall, then head to Aventura Mall featuring Bloomindales, Sears and JCPenney, alongside hundreds of shops and a 24 screen movie theatre. Dadeland Mall boasts the largest Macys in Florida alongside brands such as Abercrombie and Fitch. And if you’re after a bargain, then the Dolphin Mall is where you will find the factory outlets.
Tours from Miami
If you want to experience Miami but also take in some of the fabulous Florida coast, then take a look at our “Self Drive Sunsational Florida” tour. Beginning and ending in Miami, this itinerary takes you up to the Gold Coast to visit Spanish Colonial St Augustine, then over to the Gulf Coast to enjoy a couple of days in St Pete’s and Naples, and then driving right along the Highway 1 causeway through the Keys to Key West.