Last Updated on September 18, 2019 by Jeremy
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Miami lies on the south-eastern tip of Florida, and is often referred to as “the retirement capital of the United States”. but don’t let that fool you into thinking Miami is boring. Far from it- Miami is brash, colorful and a playground for Americans wanting some fun in the sun.
Since Miami is the gateway to the Caribbean, it is also the biggest cruise ship port in the world and the hub of many cruise lines.
Located close to the equator, the weather is hot and humid, making it a popular vacation spot with people looking for beaches, art deco glamor, and an energetic party scene- all considered to be among the best places to visit in Miami.
Miami has diverse neighborhoods from the South Beach celebrity scene to the Cuban community in Little Havana. Buildings range from dazzling skyscrapers in Downtown Miami to pastel-colored art deco buildings in South Beach. Miami Beach is actually a separate city and is a popular Spring Break party destination for American college students.
With a strong Latin American spirit, sexy people, palm trees, sandy beaches, clubs and parties- Miami is one of the wackiest, most amusing cities in America.
South Beach is One of the Best Places to Visit in Miami
The trendy area of South Beach is the major tourist hot spot in Miami and is packed with designer shops, restaurants, bars and clubs.
South Beach is the place to be seen- here you’ll find beautiful people strolling along the beach, surfers catching waves rolling in from the Atlantic and people flying down Ocean Drive on roller blades.
Art Deco District
Make sure you explore the colorful art deco buildings in this area. The Art Deco District contains over 800 candy-colored buildings built from the 1920s to the 1940s.
Little Havana in Miami
Pay a visit to the Cuban community of Little Havana, which is named after the capital of Cuba and is the largest neighborhood of Cuban exiles in the world. Many Cubans fled to Miami after Fidel Castro came to power and settled in the area of Little Havana.
Here the signs are in Spanish, Latin music can be heard blaring from the shops and you can find restaurants serving authentic Cuban cuisine. The most famous landmark is the Walkway of the Stars, honoring Latin personalities and superstars.
Vizcaya Museum and Gardens
The Vizcaya Museum and Gardens is a mansion that was built for wealthy businessman James Deering on Biscayne Bay in 1916. Built in the style of a European palace, Vizcaya has been used as a film set for many movies and is a popular location for weddings.
Walking through the 50- acre estate and gardens is like walking through a magical wonderland. There are ten acres of formal gardens, a native forest and a Main house filled with treasures from around the world.
More Places to Go in Miami
For shoppers there are plenty of large shopping malls, designer stores and chic boutiques frequented by celebrities. Party goers will have no problem finding somewhere to spend a night on the town, although they might find it difficult to choose from Miami’s large array of swanky bars and nightclubs.
As well as South Beach there are plenty of other beaches to top up your tan, join in a game of volleyball or catch some waves. As an alternative to South Beach try Virginia Key Beach, Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park, or Homestead Bayfront Park and Marina. If you’re happiest in the nude, then head on over to Haulover beach, which is Miami’s only legal “clothing optional” beach.
Excursions from Miami
Travel north from Miami to the stylish city of Fort Lauderdale, where you’ll find luxury mega-yachts, waterways, riverside cafés and beaches, or head south to Key Biscayne and the Florida Keys.
Take a day trip to the Everglades, a flooded wetland area with swamps, sub-tropical forests, mangroves and a wide variety of plants and animals. The Everglades is home to several rare and endangered species including the American Alligator, the Florida panther and the Wood Stork.
With so much to do, Miami breaks the reputation of Florida for being for retirees and Disney visitors while offering something for just about everyone. The question is what are you interested in doing?
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- G Adventures for a multi-day guided tour.
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About the Author: Jeremy is a full-time travel writer based in Pittsburgh and primary author of this site. He has been to 70+ countries on five continents and seeks out new food, adventure activities, and off-the-beaten-path experiences wherever he travels.