What Makes Miami an Amazing Beach Destination?

Happy Tuesday! Ben and I spent this past weekend in Portland (follow us on Instagram to see photos from trips!). We’ll have a post up soon recapping our weekend, but in the meantime, check out some of our favorites things to do in Miami! 

Ok, let’s be real – I love basically all beaches. But having been to Miami twice in the past year or so, it has definitely become one of my favorite beach destinations in the US! It offers a little something for everyone – sun & water, clubs/parties, culture, shopping, outdoor activities, and great food.

Based on what I had heard, I assumed that Miami was going to be one large, expensive party. And while it can definitely be that, there’s a lot more to do and explore than I expected! Keep reading for our tips on where to stay, what to do and where to eat and drink.

Miami Beach

Sleep

Hotels are pricey in Miami Beach, and which area you stay in can have a large impact on how much you pay for a room and how much shut-eye you can expect to get – I’ve heard some hotels hand out ear plugs when you check in… South Beach is the main neighborhood for entertainment and nightlife and runs from the southern part of Miami Beach up to 24th street.

We’ve stayed in two hotels right around 23rd street:

  1. W South Beach – With a trendy pool scene, easy beach access and balconies in many rooms, the W South Beach is one of my favorite hotels. Rooms start around $450-500 / night, so it’s definitely not your cheapest option (we used SPG points to book our stay).
  2. Aloft South Beach – Basically across the street is another SPG property, Aloft South Beach. Starting at $150 / night, it’s a much more affordable option with a nice pool and an easy walk to the beach.
South Beach
The view from our room at the W

I love the area around these hotels – it’s close enough to walk or bike to many of the main entertainment and nightlife areas, but far enough away you don’t have to listen to club music all night. If you prefer to be closer to nightlife, look for a hotel further south along Collins Avenue or Ocean Drive.  If price is more of a concern, try north of 24th street but know that you’ll be further away from a lot of the main attractions.

Do

Obviously you’re probably heading to Miami to spend some time in the sun, but the city has a lot more to offer. Here’s a list of some of our favorite things we’ve done (in no particular order).

  • Bike around South Beach. Both hotels I’ve stayed at offered free bikes to guests. South Beach isn’t the most bike-friendly area I’ve been to, but we definitely enjoyed biking along the boardwalk and around the area.
  • Go for a walk or run along the Boardwalk. The Boardwalk runs along the beach for ~4 miles – you’ll find lots of bikes, walkers and joggers out during the day!
  • Check out Cultural Friday in Little Havana. On the last Friday of every month, you’ll find music, dance, art exhibits and food in Little Havana. Located on Calle Ocho between 13th and 17th avenues, it’s about a 20 minute cab ride from South Beach. Even if you’re not there during the event, it’s a great area to check out for some delicious Cuban food!
  • Do some shopping at Lincoln Mall, an outdoor strip mall with many stores and restaurants.
  • Take a road trip to the Everglades. Located a little over an hour from South Beach, we did some hiking, saw a lot of alligators and crocodiles, and rented a canoe. Don’t forget water, sunscreen and food when you go – there aren’t a lot of options in the park. I’d also highly recommend stopping at Robert is Here on your way home for milkshakes, tropical fruit and some farm animals. We had no idea what it was when we stopped, but it ended up being a highlight of our weekend!

Everglades

Eat & Drink

  • Under the Mango Tree – Amazing acai bowls
  • Yardbird – Southern comfort food and a good brunch
  • La Sandwicherie – Great sandwiches for an easy lunch
  • Moreno’s Cuba – Decent Cuban food with a great shaded patio
  • NaiYaRa – Delicious Thai food, a little off the beaten path (there was an Italian restaurant called La Moderna next door that also looked delicious)
  • Pane e Vino – Handmade pasta (you can watch them make it!) – if the Cappeletti verdi Tartufati is still on the menu, order it immediately!
  • Havana 1957 – Good Cuban food
  • Versailles Restaurant – Cuban family restaurant in Little Havana
  • Ball & Chain – Bar in Little Havana with live music and dancing

I haven’t been to many clubs in Miami (too $$$ for me!). Ben and I checked out Liv Night Club on one trip and Mango’s Tropical Cafe is a touristy, but fun bar with music and live dancing performances.

Miami Beach

So if you’re in need of a getaway this year, Miami is a great option with great beaches and lots more to do! Have you been to Miami? What’s your favorite beach in the US?

4 thoughts on “What Makes Miami an Amazing Beach Destination?

  1. Love love love Miami! Its my favorite beach destination in the USA (mostly because I LOVE Cuban food). I haven’t been to the everglades yet, I always end up getting stuck in the city. I will have to check them out next time!

    • Agreed – Cuban food is amazing! We actually ended up deciding to go to the Everglades because the weather wasn’t great along the beach – it was fairly cold! But I’m so glad we did! It was a great way to spend the day.

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