Where to start with mesmerising Miami? Its spectacular white beaches, where the people are as beautiful as the view? Its out-of-this-world shopping and spas? Its cutting-edge arts scene and world-class museums? Its happening nightlife and signature Floribbean food? Its unique blend of Latin flair and Caribbean culture, all wrapped up in glorious sunshine? One thing’s for sure, holidays to Miami are guaranteed to dazzle.
The beach is a way of life here and South Beach, or SoBe to its hip friends, is where it’s at. Stretch out and show off your tan; indulge in some celeb-spotting; sip a cool margarita at an Ocean Drive bar; or dive into the Art Deco district to admire the architecture. Other beaches nearby are just as good though, and Central Beach and North Beach have the same silken sands and clear, warm ocean – but come with a more laid-back vibe.
There are countless enclaves worth exploring away from the oceans’ edge, and in Little Havana, you can still watch cigars being hand-rolled before tucking into trademark Cuban dishes like picadillo. Then there’s the renowned Miami Design District, packed with galleries, exhibitions, street artists and avant-garde bars; and there’s an impressive clutch of museums to discover too, including The Museum of Art and the Miami Children’s Museum.
If shopping is your guilty pleasure, then there’s more temptation in Miami than your wallet can probably stand. There’s upmarket Bal Harbour, with the city’s most exclusive shops; there’s Lincoln Road, ‘the Fifth Avenue of the South’; there’s Coco Walk, choc-a-bloc with boutiques and chains; and there’s Dolphin Mall, where you can grab yourself a bargain. Just remember to leave yourself enough money to indulge in the city’s delicious cuisine and to hit the night-spots. Because whatever time it is in Miami, the party has only just begun.
The city’s world-class zoo is huge and has over 700 animals roaming in a cageless environment for a fantastic safari experience. You can see creatures of all kinds, including white tigers, lions, bears, kangaroos and crocodiles. You can even go eye-to-eye with a giraffe from a raised feeding platform or take a ride on a camel.
There are plenty of ways to enjoy the water. Key Biscayne and Hobie Beach are great for windsurfers, plus there’s jet skiing, sailing and parasailing. The diving and snorkelling is top-notch too, with plenty of natural and man-made reefs to explore, plus numerous underwater wrecks. Small wonder Miami is known as the ‘Wreckreational capital of the US’.
From roof-top lounges to underground clubs, the Miami night scene is buzzing. You can salsa the night away in Little Havana, mingle with the beautiful people at the mega clubs along Ocean Drive, or check out the scene Downtown. And if none of that floats your boat, there’s every type of restaurant, plus shows and cabarets galore.
A trip out of the city to experience the lush tropical wetlands of the Everglades is a must. Skim across the water in an air boat watching alligators and manatees dash for cover, whilst spoonbills and ibises stalk among the sawgrass and mangrove swamps. It’s the true beauty of nature like you’ve never seen it before.
Miami likes to keep the party going, and that means festivals aplenty. There’s the South Beach Wine & Food Festival and the Ocean Drive Winter Party Week in February; there’s the MiamiInternational Film Festival in March and the Latino Carnaval Miami; the massively popular Art Basel festival happens in December; and that’s just for starters.