‘Welcome to Miami, bienvenido a Miami’. Hip America celebrates a holiday in the city that Will Smith celebrated in 1998 with a world hit. Not surprising: the metropolis has white beaches, beautiful people and a cozy Spanish vibe.
Travelers from all corners of the world settle in Miami and the adjacent Miami Beach. The metropolis on the Atlantic Ocean, with five million inhabitants, is one of the densely populated areas of the United States. You dance the salsa in Little Havana, shop in the shopping malls and enjoy the sun on the beaches.
In Miami you can take a dive at one of the beautiful beaches, stroll along the Ocean Drive, dance the salsa in Little Havana and shop at Coconut Grove, Bayside Marketplace and the Wynwood Art District. These are the 10 must see sights of Miami!
Calle Ocho, or 8th Street, is Miami’s Little Havana. And that’s it. Even though many of the people who fled from Cuba now live nicely in the suburbs, Little Havana is a permanent stop for visitors to Miami.
Not that there is so much to see. The buses all stop at the covered chess place where the old men who break the day with superior ease ignore the tourists. You can drink a cup of strong Cuban coffee. But nowadays it is just as easy to find pupils from El Salvador or pastelitos from Nicaragua.
Miami Beach & Ocean Drive
Miami Beach never sleeps! The nightlife of South Beach is notorious. But even if you’re looking for more than just sun, beach and parties, the sun-drenched place in Florida is a must.
During Spring Break the beaches of Miami Beach are filled with young people. The rest of the year attract many celebrities to the popular seaside resort for wild parties in the latest clubs. Bars take off with ingenious cocktails and beautiful people push for the entrance of the chic Nikki Beach Club.
Beaches at Miami Beach
After a wild evening, you can relax on one of the white beaches. Relax under a parasol, play volleyball on the beach or stroll along the boulevard.
For some cooling you take a refreshing dip in the clear blue water. Are you in for action you can always try wakeboarding or parasailing.
Take a ride on Ocean Drive
But even if you are looking for more than just sun, beach and parties, this sun-drenched city is a must. In the Art Deco District you shoot colorful pictures. Like on the one and a half kilometer long Ocean Drive. The figurehead of the city. A ride on this boulevard is definitely recommended.
Salsa, mojitos and beautiful people. With more than 150 night clubs and bars, South Beach is not to be missed at night. But the Miami Beach district also has its charms during the day. In the art deco district you can admire the colorful architecture.
Since 1870, the street scene of South Beach has completely changed. From uncultivated agricultural land it grew into a neighborhood with modest single-family homes and pensionado’s. But nothing has happened since the sixties.
Clubs in South Beach
SoBe as the locals call it, has high tower blocks, famous hotels and beautiful art deco buildings. Rich and famous America celebrates holidays in the setting that is known by films like Scarface and series like Miami Vice.
The trendy tents change and vary throughout the year. And those who want to mix between the stars must keep their ears open. Although the clubs Nikki Beach, Pearl Beach, The Mansion and Mango’s classics remain.
Situated between Bayfront Park, the Miamarina and the Miami County Dade Seaport cruise ship terminal, the Bayside Marketplace is a hub for tourists who want to shop, dine and people watch.
It’s a one stop shop to grab all sorts of Miami souvenirs, and with more than 120 shops and eateries, there’s something for everyone. The Marketplace also features live music from local bands every afternoon and evening,
While it’s free to people watch and to walk around, be prepared to pay for parking on-site if you can’t find metered parking on the nearby Biscayne Boulevard. Recent visitors also warned during peak season it can get crowded and that lines for the public restrooms can be long.
Bayside Marketplace is open Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and open til 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Hours are a littler shorter on Sunday when the marketplace is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
You may need more than one day in Coconut Grove. It could be said this is the real center of Miami: the bohemian neighborhood is Miami’s oldest and home of Miami City Hall. But what really separates Coconut Grove from most of Miami is how walkable it is. It feels as if you’re constantly under a canopy of trees, and its proximity to the ocean makes for deliciously cool ocean breezes, even on summer’s hottest day.
The Venetian Pool is one of the most beautiful public swimming pools in the world. The bath was built in 1923 in a coral rock quarry where a large hole had been created because of the carving of large quantities of stone. They decided to cover everything with mosaic and to make a pool out of it, with this nice result.
Pink turrets and Venetian poles in candy colors, waterfalls, two historic watchtowers and caves surround the crystal clear spring water.
Spend the day in this 60-acre, not-for-profit botanical garden and wildlife sanctuary featuring thousands of rare, exotic and native plants, some of Florida’s largest and oldest trees, and over 90 species of Florida native animals.
Visit alligators, eagles, otters, panthers, bobcats, a black bear and of course, flamingos. Step back in time at the historic 1930s Wray Home Museum.
Open 9:30am-5pm seven days a week. Closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day.
Everglades Holiday Park – Airboat Tour
A thrilling airboat adventure at Everglades Holiday Park is entertaining and enlightening for visitors of all ages.
On a 60-minute ride through the River of Grass, you’ll see the sights and hear the sounds of one of the world’s most diverse ecosystems. Be on the lookout for alligators, snakes, wild birds and various flora and fauna as your expert captain leads the way.
At times, your airboat will reach speeds up to 60 miles per hour, adding some additional thrill to the tour.
Afterward, see gators up close at the Gator Show, where Florida’s most famous creatures perform tricks in the “Gator Pit”.
Key West Day Trip
You depart Miami and the sprawling high rises south along highway 1, into the Keys. A series of islands that stretch out into the ocean separating the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico.
You cross over multiple bridges and Islands including the 7 mile bridge which has been used for numerous Hollywood films before arriving in Key West.
They start their tour of the town passing by Ernest Hemingway house, Mallory Square and the beach which is the closest point in the USA to Cuba (90 miles) we end the tour on the world famous Duval Street, renowned for its restaurants, bars and festive atmosphere. (Please note the tour of Key West will be a walking tour).
After the tour enjoy free time to explore on your own or partake in one of the many activities available in the area. In the late afternoon you depart north for an evening arrival in Miami.
Kennedy Space Center
What is happening in space? How do you build a rocket? What do astronauts eat? You will receive an answer to all these questions with a visit to the Kennedy Space Center. You might even encounter a real astronaut!
It is the home of America’s space travel program NASA. The Kennedy Space Center is located on Merrit Island, a short hour from Orlando. The island is 55 kilometers long and ten kilometers wide. The remote location is ideal for launching rockets and space shuttles.
The name of the Space Center is a tribute to President John F. Kennedy. The visitors’ center contains display cases full of spacesuits and space souvenirs. A meter-high rocket hangs from the ceiling. Tired of walking through the endless halls? Watch the film about the universe in the special IMAX theater.
And a Bonus Tips, because we can not forget this Two
‘Let dreams come true,’ Walt Disney wanted with his Walt Disney World Resort. And it worked! You meet Mickey Mouse, yell the lungs out of your body in the Rock ‘n Roller Coaster and slide off high slides. Welcome to the happiest place on earth!
Disney World in Orlando consists of four amusement parks, two water parks and dozens of holiday resorts. The Magic Kingdom Park, the original amusement park from 1971, still attracts the most visitors. To experience all the attractions and visit all the parks, you can spend a few days to a week on your vacation in Disney World.
It is a 3.5 hour drive from Miami, but if you are on holiday in Florida it is really worthwhile to visit Disney World
Florida has another large amusement park in addition to Disney World. Orlando is also Universal Resort Orlando. This area consists of two parts: Universal Studios Florida and Universal Island of Adventures.
The studios of Universal Pictures have been in Los Angeles since 1914, but also in Florida. Many successful films have been recorded here, including blockbusters like King Kong, Back to the Future and Jaws. The most successful films from Universal are Jurassic Park and E.T. Because of the success of this film producer, the two theme parks have been built.
It is a 3.5 hour drive from Miami, but if you are on holiday in Florida it is really worthwhile to visit Universal Studios
How to explore the city
If you are counting on exploring the city, even to a modest degree, a car is essential. Miami’s restaurants, hotels, and attractions are far from one another, so any other form of transportation is relatively impractical. You won’t need a car, however, if you are spending your entire vacation at a resort, are traveling directly to the Port of Miami for a cruise, or are here for a short stay centered on one area of the city, such as South Beach, where everything is within walking distance and parking is a costly nightmare.
When driving across a causeway or through downtown, allow extra time to reach your destination because of frequent drawbridge openings. Some bridges open about every half-hour for large sailing vessels to make their way through the wide bays and canals that crisscross the city, stalling traffic for several minutes.
Always keep plenty of quarters on hand to feed hungry meters, most of which have been removed in favor of those pesky parking payment stations where you feed a machine and get a printed receipt to display on your dash. Or, on Miami Beach, stop by the chamber of commerce at 1920 Meridian Ave. or any Publix grocery store to buy a magnetic parking card in denominations of $10, $20, or $25. Parking is usually plentiful (except on South Beach and Coconut Grove), but when it’s not, be careful: Fines for illegal parking can be stiff, starting at $18 for an expired meter and going way up from there.
In addition to parking garages, valet services are commonplace and often used. Because parking is such a premium in bustling South Beach as well as in Coconut Grove, prices tend to be jacked up — especially at night and when there are special events (day or night). You can expect to pay an average of $5 to $15 for parking in these areas.
The city’s modern high-speed commuter train, is a 21-mile elevated line that travels north-south, between downtown Miami and the southern suburbs. Locals like to refer to this semiuseless rail system as Metrofail. If you are staying in Coral Gables or Coconut Grove, you can park your car at a nearby station and ride the rails downtown. However, that’s about it. There are plans to extend the system to service Miami International Airport, but until those tracks are built, these trains don’t go most places tourists go, with the exception of Vizcaya in Coconut Grove. Metrorail operates daily from about 6am to midnight. The fare is $2.
A 4 1/2-mile elevated line, circles the downtown area and connects with Metrorail at the Government Center stop. Riding on rubber tires, the single-car train winds past many of the area’s most important attractions and its shopping and business districts. You may not go very far on the Metromover, but you will get a beautiful perspective from the towering height of the suspended rails. System hours are daily from about 6am to midnight, and the ride is free.
Hop On/ Hop Off Bus
But also the tourist Hop On / Hop Off buses are a fun and easy way to reach the famous sights. You can get in and out when you want and you do not have to worry about the route to follow.
Miami is a biker’s paradise, especially on Miami Beach, where the hard-packed sand and boardwalks make it an easy and scenic route. However, unless you are a former New York City bike messenger, you won’t want to use a bicycle as your main means of transportation.
The Climate in Miami
This sunny city is located in the eastern state of Florida. There is a tropical climate in Miami: it is warm and relaxed. There are roughly two seasons to indicate: a dry season from November to April and a rainy season from May to October.
The rainy season coincides with the hurricane season that runs from the beginning of June to the end of November. Anyone who thinks that there is a lot of rain in the Netherlands will still look up in Miami. The climate in Miami ensures that there is as much rain during a heavy shower as in the Netherlands in a whole month. Fortunately, the showers are usually short and they provide the necessary cooling.
The climate in Miami causes the summer feeling temperature to rise enormously: while in reality it is rarely warmer than 34 degrees, it feels like it is far above 40 degrees. This has to do with the high humidity that occurs in the climate of Miami, making it very humid and stuffy
Hurricane season Miami
Besides the rain and dry season, there is also an hurricane season in Miami. Officially that runs from 1 June to 30 November, but also outside the hurricane season of Miami, tropical storms and hurricanes can occur. In particular, the city is hit by Cape Verde storms from August to October. But do not let this stop you from visiting the city during this period: there are enough safe places to sit out a storm if necessary.
What is Best Time to Travel for Miami?
It is difficult to establish a best travel time for Miami. Actually it’s good weather all year round, with hot summer temperatures. The high season is from December to March: it is filled with people who want to escape the winter. It is then almost every day dry and sunny with temperatures around twenty degrees. In the summer months it is a lot warmer and wetter. It is best to decide for yourself which is the best travel time for Miami.
Spend the night in or near Miami
As much a part of the landscape as the palm trees, many of Miami’s hotels are on display as if they were contestants in a beauty pageant. The city’s long-lasting status on the destination A-list has given rise to an ever-increasing number of upscale hotels, and no place in Miami has seen a greater increase in construction than Miami Beach.
If you are looking for an overnight stay in Miami and or surroundings … take a look here
Looking for a flight to Miami? Click here to search and book flight tickets.
Want to visit attractions in Miami on a cheaper way?
With The Miami Sightseeing Pass you can visit a number of attractions of your choice, the hop on-hop off bus, and several cruises in the bay. This is worth it in view of the high prices that are charged in this tourist city for individual attractions.
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