Miami, Florida is a vacationer's paradise. Beautiful beaches, lively nightlife, world-class restaurants and shopping and a wealth of cultural venues make this a highly sought-after vacation destination.
Miami is most well-known for being home to the American Riviera -- South Beach. This world famous stretch of sand is known for its Art Deco architecture, as well as shopping and nightlife. But there is much more to Miami than this lively neighborhood -- Miami is a major international financial and cultural center, with a large Hispanic population.Places to go
The beaches of Miami are just as varied as the city's residents. Some beaches are great for people watching, some are great for water sports, and some are perfect for families. South Beach is the place to see and be seen. Bring your skimpiest swimsuit, and be prepared for a show. Miami Beach North is popular with families due to its lifeguard towers, palm-shaded grassy play area, fast food restaurants and shower facilities. Miami Beach Central is popular with joggers, with a raised boardwalk and food and drink concessions.
There's more to do in Miami than lay on the beach, though. Kids will love the Miami Metro Zoo, featuring wildlife shows and keeper talks allowing visitors to get up close and personal with wildlife. At the Miami Seaquarium, check out dolphins, sharks, seals and sea lions on a 38-acre tropical paradise. Get wet at Jungle Island on their 4-story waterslide, and then enjoy one of three animal shows.
Adults can enjoy tastings at the Schnebly Redland's Winery, home of the grapeless wine. Explore the Coral Castle, an amazing feat of architecture built by a single man as a monument to his lost love. The Deering Estate at Cutler offers astonishing views of Biscayne Bay -- a perfect place for a romantic picnic or a guided nature tourThings to do
There is no shortage of things to do in this lively city. The Gulf Stream, an easy ten minute boat ride from Miami, is the perfect spot for deep sea fishing. Deep sea charter services abound. Tour the Everglades by airboat or seaplane and visit Alligator Island at the Everglades Safari Park. Take a boat cruise around Biscayne Bay and check out the celebrity beach homes. Gloria Estefan, Julio Iglesias, Jennifer Lopez and Shaquille O'Neal all call this lush piece of prime real estate home.
Need a little culture? Check out one of Miami's top-notch museums. The Bass Museum of Art, in the heart of the downtown historic Art Deco district, holds over 3,000 pieces from 500 years and four continents. The Historical Museum of Southern Florida offers a 10,000-year history of the region. The Miami Art Museum shows thought-provoking works of the 20th and 21st centuries, while the Lowe Art Museum at the University of Miami shows over 5,000 years of artwork, from classical to contemporary. The Cuban Museum of Art and Culture offers a wide spectrum of educational and cultural activities, including a small collection of important Cuban artists and lectures by renowned literary figures.Where to stay
Destination Clubs and Private Residence Clubs
Miami has a large and varied selection of destination club homes and private residence clubs that give the discerning traveler a home-away-from-home. Most are located along the beach and include both apartments and individual villas. The two-level penthouse at The Lusso Collection Trump Tower Penthouse 5505 features 10 foot floor-to-ceiling windows and a private rooftop plunge pool. The Lusso Collection at Trump Tower Penthouse 5507 is right next door and offers identical amenities.At Ultimate Resort's Miami home, visitors can revel in stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean, the Intracoastal Waterway and the glittering skyline of Miami, with more than a dozen golf courses within a few minute's drive. Residences at Quintess The Carlyle http://www.sherpareport.com/homes/quintess-the-carlyle.html are located in a prime Ocean Drive spot near the Jackie Gleason Theatre, Little Havana, art galleries and South Beach nightlife.
The Bath Club at Exclusive Resorts Miami Beach has ten high-rise residences for members to choose from, each offering spectacular views of the city and bay. Step outside your residence at Oyster Circles South Beach home and swim with dolphins in the warm waters of the south Atlantic.
For total tropical serenity, choose the Quintess Villa Patricia. Located on the private and exclusive Hibiscus Island, this home is the ultimate in luxury, featuring a heated private pool, over-the-water deck and private Jet Ski launch.
Several private residence clubs are opening in south Florida. The Ritz Carlton Club South Beach is due for completion in 2009. A full service spa and private beach cabana will offer the ultimate in relaxation. The Setai Club, and the St. Regis Residence Club Bal Harbor are two other luxury fractional to consider.
This link has a full list of the destination club, private residence club and luxury fractional homes in Miami.Other luxury accommodations
If you don't need quite so much room but still desire luxury, Miami has no shortage of top-notch hotels from which to choose. The Loews Miami Beach Hotel includes the original Art Deco St. Moritz, plus a new tower. Another Art Deco beauty is The Tides Hotel, with an exclusive 50 rooms and three penthouse suites. Enjoy five star luxury and a private beach at the Mandarin Oriental.Other Activities
If you came to Miami to shop, you won't be disappointed. Lincoln Road http://www.lincolnroad.org/ has boutiques, cafes, galleries, book stores, cigar bars, and much more, all located in a ten-block outdoor pedestrian mall. Bal Harbor Shops http://www.balharbourshops.com features stores like Tiffany and Co., Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue. The Miracle Mile http://www.shopcoralgables.com hosts over 170 upscale shops and 40 gourmet restaurants.Festivals
In Miami, there's always a reason to celebrate life. Regardless of what time of year visitors come to this city, they are guaranteed to run into a street festival or other special celebration. Early January brings the Orange Bowl to Pro Player Stadium. The Homestead Motorsports Complex hosts the Miami Grand Prix each March. Carnival is celebrated a la Brazil, with a week of Latin celebrations including food, drink and dance. The Hispanic Heritage Festival lasts the entire month of October and celebrates the role Hispanics had in the development of the US.Fast Facts
Miami International Airport services nearly 50 airlines and is situated mere miles from the downtown area. West Palm Beach International Airport is approximately 70 miles from Miami, but the drive along the coast is beautiful. Rent a car and make a day of exploring the beaches along the way.Weather
Miami enjoys a subtropical climate with an average year-round temperature of 76.7 degrees F, with midsummer temperatures ranging on the high 80's. The summer is also the rainy season, so expect a shower or two when you're visiting. Hurricane season runs from the beginning of June through the end of November.Useful Websites
Official City of Miami website Featuring maps, a city directory and information on public facilities.
The Miami Herald Learn what's going on in the city before you get there.
Wow Miami A complete calendar of special events and festivals throughout the year.
Visit South Beach Online An up-to-date index of attractions, accommodations, restaurants and nightclubs in the South Beach section of Miami.
"Miami Then and Now" by Carolyn Klepser and Ava Moore Parks. A look at the history of Miami, with photographs documenting the changes throughout the decades.
"Tropical Deco: The Architecture and Design of Old Miami Beach" by Laura Cerwinske A look at the neighborhood containing the most concentrated collection of Art Deco buildings in the world.
"The Fun Seeker's Miami: The Ultimate Guide to One of the World's Hottest Cities" by Gretchen Schmidt Detailed information on the most fun ways to spend your Miami vacation, including suggested itineraries.