In the past six months, we’ve visited several different cities, each with their own unique characteristics.
We’ve traversed landmarks and gained a lot of knowledge along the way. And to continue our streak of interesting cities to uncover and discover, join me as we take the ultimate beach vacation in Miami, Florida.
Miami: The Capital of Latin America
Ranked as the number one cruise passenger port in the world, Miami is a popular hub among tourists because of its never-ending row of beach open for everyone year-round, bright and picturesque landmarks, and gorgeous vintage architecture.
History states that the land was once inhabited by the Native American tribe Tequesta, who built a community within the area before Spain conquered and claimed the land as their own. Years later, Julia DeForest Tuttle, the owner of the land with which Miami was built upon, persuaded railroad tycoon Henry Flagler to extend his Florida East Coast Railway project to Miami, thus marking the beginning of Miami’s road to progress and development.
The area was named after the adjacent Miami River, and was officially declared a city in 1896, dubbing Julia Tuttle as the “Mother of Miami.”
The bustling city has since been known by its numerous attractions like Little Havana, a tiny slice of Cuba where you can experience Cuban cuisine, art, heritage, music, and culture. Dance the night away at Calle Ocho, or treat yourself to some cold treats at the Acuzar Ice Cream Company.
Coast through Ocean Drive which passes through most of Miami and get a feel of the salty ocean wind in your hair. Transport yourself to Europe at the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, known as Villa Vizcaya, a home built in the 1920s in the style of the Italian Renaissance and is now a museum that houses hundreds of European artifacts. For lovers of the art, head to Wynwood Walls for colorful murals that bring the district to life.
Whether you’re a first timer or a returning visitor, there’s always something new to see in Miami and these are only a few of those fascinating attractions worthy of a visit.
As the heart of the metropolis, Downtown Miami is always the first stop for travellers. Hailed as the oldest settlement in the entire city, the area is rich in recreational activities fit for any type of tourist.
First among Downtown Miami’s many landmarks is the large public area of Bayfront Park. Completed and fully functional since March 1925, the thirty-two acre park includes the Tina Hills Pavilion and the Klipsch Amphitheater, both used for big events and concerts with a seating capacity of one to ten thousand people respectively.
In fact, the park hosts a grand 4th of July celebration every year and kicks it off with a massive concert, complete with a dazzling fireworks display and stunning laser show. In addition to being a place for public gathering, the park also contains a statue of Julia Tuttle.
In front of Bayfront Park is a smaller park called the Museum Park, and was named Bicentennial Park for some time to celebrate the bi-centennial of the United States. Two acres smaller than Bayfront, the area was opened to the public in 1976.
Marine life enthusiasts will delight at the presence of the Miami Science Barge, a marine laboratory and conservatory on top of a large floating sea vessel, open every Saturday for any visitor interested in learning about sustainable agriculture.
For some serious shopping, cross over from Museum Park to get to the Bayside Marketplace, an open air shopping district where you can get a taste of various cuisines and drink expensive wines, shop for local and international products, get a hot coffee, and listen to live music all within a perfect view of the waterfront.
Sparkling jewels and dazzling diamonds populate Miami’s jewelry district where you can view and buy from a large variety of jewelry stores selling precious gems and authentic gold rings, necklaces, and earrings.
Stroll over to the Art Deco District and get a feast for the eyes with beautiful and charming pastel and neon-colored buildings, historically located in South Beach. Explore the remodeled hotels to find uniquely designed rooms that exude luxury. Popular options include the Hotel Breakwater South Beach and the National Hotel Miami Beach, so make sure to book in advance especially during peak season. The area is wildly populated with restaurants that offer extraordinary dining experiences and provide gorgeous beachside views.
The Lifestyle of a King
Touring Miami requires you to get by on foot, by ship and by plane but no matter the mode of transportation, Miami’s captivating beauty entrances any visitor who lays eyes on her.
Though it may sound difficult to manage all the travel, Miami Seaplane Tours offers a solution with a once in a lifetime experience to board their charter planes. A ride ranges from $135 to $350 per passenger, and takes the traveller to new heights and on a tour of the panoramic sceneries of Key Biscayne, Dodge Island, Star Island, Virginia Key, Miami Beach, Stiltsville, Big Cypress National Preserve, and a whole lot more.
The charter plane’s professional pilots even indulge the visitors by flying close to the sea to sneak a peek at the Atlantic’s rich marine life like stingrays, dolphins, manatees, and sharks.
Miami Seaplane Tours also offer hotel and air packages for individuals and couples who want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and hide away on a secluded private island. The package is complete with recreational activities like watersports, diving, surfing, snorkeling, and fishing for the ultimate experience and a sumptuous meal to cap off the day.
Explore Miami through Taimo Resort, Kamalame Cay, Key West, Islamorada, Cheeca Lodge, Little Palm Island, LooeKey, and Bimini Bahamas. Perfect for honeymooners, these islands offer a romantic escape with the best view of the sunset and sea of stars under the enormous sky.
Speedboat tours, on the other hand, are a thrilling experience for anyone visiting Miami. Offered by the Thriller Miami Speedboat Adventure, enjoy a 45-minute tour of the Atlantic aboard large catamarans that can seat thirty six passengers at once. Departing from the Bayside Marketplace in Downtown Miami, the cruise brings tourists to Star Island, Miami Beach, Art Deco Historic District, and Fisher Island. Prices range from $24 for kids and $38 for adults.
Moments Under the Sun
While many recreational activities are experienced within the city limits, Miami is first and foremost known for pristine waters and white sand beaches. Their most popular beach is no other than Miami Beach. Both a natural and man-made island, Miami Beach is a bay away from the Miami city proper. Surrounded by famous bodies of water like Biscayne Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, the island consists of North Miami Beach and South Beach.
Originally named after U.S. Coast Guard Captain William H. Fulford, North Miami Beach is actually not a beach. It’s an inland waterway where cruise ships pass by on a daily basis. Attractions in the area include Haulover Beach which is littered with picnic areas, tennis courts, a marina, and dog park but is famously known as a nude beach where skinny dipping is allowed.
South Beach, on the other hand, is the more visited beach among the two. Affectionately nicknamed SoBe and The Blue and Pink Beach, the area is a favorite among locals and tourists alike for its vibrant nightlife where bars, clubs, and restaurants serve until after midnight. The beachfront is also famous for being a spring break destination for teenagers and students.
The Ultimate Beach Escapade
We all miss the summer days where the hot summer sun compels us to go to the beach and swim to cool down. Now that the rainy season is upon us, it’s nice to know that there are still places where everyone can enjoy the beach and soak in the sun all year-round. Hop around from one beach to another to experience the ultimate beach escapade, all while enjoying the picturesque view of the Atlantic Ocean that can only be found in Miami, Florida.