In my last post, I explained why we picked Florida as a destination and today I’m going to talk about our first stop: Miami. It was my third time there (the first one was a business trip and the second one, as I mentioned on the previous post, took place when Inés was five months old). I never thought I would grow so fond of a city which, at first sight, doesn’t seem so special.
The truth is it was love at first sight. Miami is the perfect blend between the American and Latin (Caribbean) culture. It has all the things a typical American city has: impressive skyscrapers, huge malls and wide variety of (day and night) services I wish we had in Europe. At the same time, Florida has fantastic weather as it’s really close to the Caribbean, amazing beaches and a very Latin atmosphere. From the moment I set foot in the city, I understood why Julio Iglesias has lived there for such a long time 😉
Where to stay
The offer of hotels is huge. I recommend you stay in Miami Beach and, if your budget allows it, by the beach. Hotels there are perfectly situated not only to enjoy the beach, but also to visit Miami’s famous Art Deco buildings and stroll down bustling and busy Lincoln road, both places being in walking distance.
This time we found a very interesting offer at booking.com for the Nautilus hotel which we liked a lot. It’s a very well decorated design hotel, with a beautiful swimming-pool, and is located directly on the beach. It has rooms with two queen beds which are perfect for a family of four. The rooms are not huge, but it’s what it takes to be so close to the beach. Don’t forget that the price you see on booking.com is not final; you’ll need to add taxes and in most of the hotels breakfast is not included.
Two other hotels I stayed at during my previous stays and which I highly recommend are: The Loews, a design hotel very similar to the Nautilus (but a little more expensive, I think) and the Betsy, my favourite. It’s a beautiful boutique hotel located in the heart of the Art Deco district. We loved its architecture, decoration and restaurant. The reason we didn’t stay there this time was that rooms are small (it was ok staying there with Inés, but rooms are too small for two kids) and the swimming-pool is not that good. Even though, have a look at its website because it’s gorgeous.
If hotels are too expensive for your budget or you feel more comfortable at your own appartment, there are very good rental options in the same area. Actually, some Miami Beach hotels offer apartments to rent. My friend Anna (@floritismo) recommended two places where she’d stayed and which look very nice: the Drexel Suites and the First Sofi, both in Miami Beach.
Regarding how long to stay in Miami, all depends on what you want to do there. The first time we went, we stayed four nights and it wasn’t enough. This time we did six nights and we were happier, as we had the impression we had enough time to do all we wanted to do.
Things to do
As previously mentioned, we had to reduce the number of activities with Théo but where still able to do everything we had planned:
- Enjoy the beach, not only to swim and sunbathe but also to take pictures 😉
- Visit the Art Deco district in the evening, when its colourful neon lights are on.
- Go on a boat tour to see Miami from the sea. You can also admire the beautiful celebrities’ mansions from there.
- Visit the Miami Seaquarium, which is the biggest aquarium in the US. It’s perfect for kids as it’s outdoors, has a wide variety of fish, turtles and even crocodiles, and there are shows.
- Go shopping. If you go to Miami, you definitely need to go to one of its impressive malls. This time we went to The Falls. We loved the fact that it’s outdoors and the malls’ choice is big. Miami’s outlets are also very well known, such as the Aventura Mall.
- Go out for dinner in the Lincoln road area and experience Miami’s vibe, which is what I like most about this city. It’s lively, there’s music everywhere, concerts at the hotels, bustle everywhere. This isn’t always ideal with kids, but we’ve come to the conclusion that holidays are for all the family, so it’s important they’re fun not only for the children, but also for the parents.
- Go out dancing. This time we didn’t manage to find a babysitter that was available, but during our first stay we had gone out to a place my friend Severine had recommended us, the Baoli. It was just amazing. It’s a restaurant-club, which means you eat in a club. The music and the atmosphere were so good and so different from the places we usually go to that we had lots of fun.
How to move around Miami
I recommend you rent a car if you want to visit places around Miami, such as Palm Beach (an hour and a half from Miami, we loved it) or the Everglades national park (crocodiles everywhere – it’s great with kids and only a couple of hours from the city). We rented a car two days before heading to the Keys in order to attend my mentoring session with Twyla Jones, who lives two hours from Miami, but I’ll tell you more about this another time as it’s worth a special post.
To conclude today’s post, I must say Miami is so amazing it’s worth the journey.
Stay tune for the next episode, which will be about the Keys 😉