Miami, Florida is a unique vacation destination where visitors can have it all - beautiful beaches, pristine nature and the excitement of a big city. One get a feeling of being in the tropics, surrounded by coconut palms, royal palms, sea grape trees, and sweet scent of jasmine in the air after dark.
Miami is comprised of a network of barrier islands, coral rock and mangrove swamps, connected by man-made bridges. To the south and west, Everglades National Park provides a 1.5 million acre play area for outdoor enthusiasts. Biscayne National Park features living coral reefs, colorful sea life and plants.
South Beach's Art Deco District, located at the southern end of Miami Beach, is home to more than 800 architecturally protected buildings from the 1930s and 1940s. South Beach offers day and night entertainment as well as numerous dining venues. Hip and whimsical Miami Beach hotels include The Tides and the Ritz-Carlton, South Beach. Then there is the ultra-luxurious The Setai South Beach, the more affordable Hotel of South Beach and the elegant SLS Hotel South Beach.
More Hotels in Miami
There are several great hotels in Miami, located close to museums, shopping and attractions. If you want to get pampered at a spa, stay at the Canyon Ranch Hotel & Spa, Mandarin Oriental Miami or the Viceroy Miami. JW Marriott Marquis Miami has a basketball arena and other unique fitness facilities. Epic Hotel Miami, TownHouse Hotel, Hyatt Regency Miami and Tempo Miami are other great options.
Also known as the American Riviera, Miami Beach is ultra hip and fun. A popular hot-spot for movie stars and fashion models, it offers wide sandy beaches, numerous restaurants and exciting nightlife. Ocean Drive is one of the busiest parts of Miami Beach. It runs parallel to the beach, from Street south to South Pointe Drive. It is famous for its Art Deco architecture.
Miami Beach in Florida features a diverse selection of beaches. Some are great for people watching and others offer a variety of watersports. Here are the beaches, arranged from north to south:
Miami Beach — North
Location: Collins Avenue from 46th Street to 78th Street
Beach Features: The beach has a palm-shaded grassy area and is near sidewalk cafes and fast-food restaurants. There are lifeguard towers, food concessions, beach chair and umbrella rentals, and shower facilities. If you are driving, there is a parking fee.
Miami Beach — Central
Location: Collins Avenue from 21st Street to 46th Street
Beach Features: Popular with joggers, this beach has a raised boardwalk over the dunes. There are lifeguard towers, food & drink concessions, beach chair & umbrella rentals, and parking fee.
Miami Beach/South Beach
Location: South Beach
Beach Features: South Beach is the place for people-watching with many sidewalk cafes nearby.
South Pointe Park
Location: Ocean Drive at 5th Street, 1 Washington Ave entrance
Beach Features: This beach is located at the southern tip of South Beach. There is a parking fee.
Museums in Miami
Miami has many museums and numerous cultural attractions, including Museum of Contemporary Art in North Miami, Vizcaya Museum and Gardens in Coconut Grove, and Bass Museum in Miami Beach.
After you've enjoyed Miami's beaches and pools, get to know Miami's many cultural attractions. While South Beach with its Art Deco Architecture is in itself a cultural icon, the area also offers the Wolfsonian Museum, home to the Mitchell Wolfson Jr. collection.
Located in the South Beach Art Deco District in a historic landmark building, Wolfsonian Museum is home to the Mitchell Wolfson Jr. collection. The collection consists of more than 70,000 artifacts including furniture, industrial-design objects, glass, ceramics, and metalwork, rare books, periodicals, ephemera, works on paper, paintings, textiles, and medals primarily of North American and European origin. The works date from 1885-1945.
The Jewish Museum of Florida
In Miami Beach, you can also visit the Bass Museum and the Jewish Museum of Florida. The Jewish Museum of Florida is housed in a beautifully restored 1936 synagogue. The Museum is located at 301 Washington Avenue in the historic South Beach Art Deco District. The Jewish Museum of Florida is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm, and closed Mondays and Jewish Holidays. For more information, call the museum at 305-672-5044.
Museum of Contemporary Art (MoCa)
For contemporary art scene, the Museum of Contemporary Art in North Miami is a must-see. The museum opened to the public in February, 1996. It is housed in a 23,000 square foot structure designed by Charles Gwathmey. MoCa features provocative and innovative exhibitions, presenting 8 to 10 exhibitions annually. The permanent collection features more than 400 works by emerging and established contemporary artists.
The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 am to 5 pm, Fridays from 11 am to 5 pm, and Sundays from Noon to 5 pm. MoCa is closed on Mondays. To confirm opening times, call 305-893-6211.
Miami Art Museum (MAM)
In downtown Miami you will find Miami Art Museum and the Historical Museum of South Florida. Miami Art Museum (MAM) features a collection of Western Hemisphere works of art from 1940 to present. Founded in 1984 as a site solely for temporary exhibitions, Miami Art Museum began building its permanent collection dedicated to international art in 1996. For more information, call 305-375-3000.
The Historical Museum of Southern Florida
The Historical Museum of Southern Florida in Miami is located in downtown Miami, Florida, adjacent to Miami Art Museum. The museum is dedicated to Florida's history, featuring numerous interactive displays, fun for the whole family. The plaza where the museum is located resembles a Spanish fortress and covers an entire city block. For more information, call 305-375-1492.
Lowe Art Museum
Lowe Art Museum at the University of Miami houses priceless art ranging from Egyptian times to present. The Lowe Art Museum is located 5 miles south of Miami on the University of Miami campus in Coral Gables, Florida. The museum houses several permament collections, such as a collection of Egyptian, Greek, and Roman antiquities, Renaissance and Baroque Art, European paintings, 19th and 20th Century U.S. Art, Native American Art, Art of Ancient Americas, Asia and Africa. For more information, call 305-284-3535.
For kids and adults alike, the Miami Museum of Science and Space Transit Planetarium, features hands-on exhibits and hourly star shows. The Miami Children's Museum received its new home in 2003. Occupying 56,500 square feet on two levels makes the Miami Children's Museum one of the ten largest children's museums in the United States.
One of Miami's greatest treasures is the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens in Coconut Grove. The museum is renowned for its Italian Renaissance architecture, priceless artwork and furnishings.
Miami Beach Tours
Miami Beach Visitors Center offers morning walking tours of the historic Miami Beach Art Deco district. Tours give visitors a chance to explore the architecture, shops, cafes and museums. Other tours offered by the Visitors Center include kayaking, bus tours and cultural tours. Call 305-672-1270 or visit www.ci.miami-beach.fl.us for more information.
Best Time to Go & Getting There
Book between October and May to avoid humidity and heat of the summer months. Miami International Airport is serviced by major airlines. Taxis are available at the airport (be sure to ask for the flat rate to South Beach).