Miami Beach Travel Tips
Keep in Mind...
- Not all sand is made the same Different portions of shoreline cater to different crowds. For instance, Haulover Park is the only "clothing optional" beach. Our advice: Get to the sand early to survey the scene. Then keep heading north until you discover your own niche.
- Those lounge chairs ain't free If you approach the regularly spaced-out lounge chairs, don't sit in them. They probably belong to the hotel that sits behind them, and someone will come over and try to charge you for resting your tush.
- It's going to rain, of course And so this would be the time to use that rental car, if you have it. Aside from the clubs, the beach community doesn’t have many indoor venues. Head over to Miami to check out museums and cultural attractions like the MOCA.
Will Smith once rapped, "Ain't no city in the world like this," and thousands continue to travel to Miami Beach to confirm his words. Why else would MTV have relocated its tumultuous party crew, the cast of Jersey Shore, away from their northern abode? But don't let Snooki and her friends fool you: A wide variety of people -- including waifish models, amateur architecture critics, distinguished seniors, and sun-seeking families -- enjoy the renowned shores of "America's Riviera." North Miami Beach is where you'll find the kid-friendliest beaches, the most interesting Art Deco architecture, and the most affordable restaurants and hotels. Less than 10 miles away are the galleries, museums and theaters of Greater Miami.
And then there's "SoBe," or South Beach. This popular southernmost neighborhood proves that Miami Beach is more like two cities -- a family-friendly vacation when the sun is shining and a super-chic hotspot once the evening arrives. If want to keep up with the Joneses (or Snooki, for that matter), you'll have to flash your AmEx black card at the high-end stores, schmooze at the cutting-edge fusion restaurants, dance at the energetic nightclubs and relax poolside at the Art Deco hotels. For a little less pretense, window shop at the Lincoln Road Mall, chow-down at a low-key Floribbean joint and toss back a (decidedly cheaper) cocktail at a lower key watering hole.
How To Save Money in Miami Beach
- Weekdays are cheaper Miami Beach doesn't see many business travelers. Thus, the hotel rates dip during the weekdays. On the downside, you'll have less people with you on the beach. Oh wait, isn't that usually a good thing?
- Get the early-bird special Here, this means that you should arrive at your bar or club of choice before they begin charging cover or raise it. Check the bar's website earlier that day for the specific time. Also, because of cover charges, bar hopping is a luxury that many cannot afford.
Miami Beach Culture & Customs
Miami Beach is a city of immigrants, with one of the biggest Cuban populations in the country. A huge chunk of Miamians speak Spanish as their first language and it can be heard everywhere in the city. The Cuban culture has, in turn, also influenced the city's music, architecture and food.
The city also has a thriving gay community, whose focus is in South Beach, especially between 11th and 12th Streets. If you're in town in March, be sure to stick around for the Winter Party, an event for the LGBT community that draws thousands of visitors every year.
Miami Beach Dining
The streets of Miami Beach are lined with high-end dining establishments teeming with the smells of seafood, Cuban, Caribbean, Asian and American cuisine -- sometimes all at once. What other cities call "fusion" has a name of its own in Miami Beach: Floribbean. Prepare to be impressed with its taste and its relatively cheap price. The South Beach area does have its share of moderately priced eateries, but the most affordable options are tucked away on the side streets.
To taste the best of Miami Beach and beyond, you should consider attending the South Beach Food & Wine Festival. The four-day event draws the biggest celebrity chefs with cutting-edge recipes each February.