What can I say about Miami that hasn’t already been covered? Miami is one of those places that if you’re into splashing the cash in a swanky bar or chilling out on the beach, then you’ve probably got it on your list of places to go. But, there’s so much more to Miami than bars and the beach. How do I know? Because we did it.
Although I wanted to visit South Beach and Little Havana, we actually didn’t even make it there in our 24-hour visit to Miami. But, even with missing the biggest tourist spots in Miami, I don’t feel like we missed out at all, in fact, I feel like we saw the real Miami. The Miami not everybody gets to discover. Plus, it gives us a reason to return and check off more on my Miami Bucket List!
Time Zone: GMT – 4
Plug Socket: USA socket, 120 V and 60 Hz
Currency: American Dollars
Language: English (American) and Spanish is widely spoken.
Climate: December until May are usually warm, dry and peak season for travelling. June to September is very hot and humid. Hurricanes are likely between June to November.
How long a stay: 2 nights if travelling around the state of Florida. You could very easily spend a week on holiday in the city of Miami with day trips to other areas of Florida.
Where to stay: Avoiding the Miami Beach area, we stayed at the Hampton Inn and Suites in Brickell. 50 SW 12th St, Miami, FL 33130, USA. Located in a beautiful area with good, free public transport to Biscayne Bay, it gives you the chance to relax at a luxury hotel which boasts a perfect rooftop pool, quality bar and exceptional breakfast offerings.
If you get the chance to stay in a suite on the Elite Levels, we stayed on floor 16, then for sure do it! You’ll live like luxury whilst you’re staying. The rooms are spacious with amazing views of Miami. You really do feel VIP when you scan your room key and have the option to press “Elite Floor” in the elevator. Plus, it means there aren’t many people wandering around on your floor, so you sleep like a baby! Speaking of which, the beds are super comfy, the bathroom is spacious and stocked with all quality Neutrogena products. There are also snacks to eat your way through in the room.
Budget: Miami is one of the most desirable places to stay in the US making it not a budget location. However, we stayed in the Hampton Inn & Suites for just over $200 for the room.
How to get there: Flights are available from all major UK airports, we chose to fly into JFK in NYC and then fly down to Fort Lauderdale where we hired our car and then drove to Miami. This worked out as we were planning to visit NYC, Orlando, Miami and Clearwater. You can fly direct into Miami International Airport. Flight time from London to Miami is 9 hours 50 minutes. Fly with Norweigan Air or British Airways if you’re after a direct flight. Peak season, flights can be around £600 return per person.
24 hours in Miami
After arriving fairly late into Miami, we checked into the swanky and modern Hampton Inn and Suites in Brickell. The hotel had a secure car park which carries an additional cost of $28 for the night, or $40 if you’re after the valet parking.
We went down to the bar to have our complimentary drink and then to the rooftop pool, which is open 24 hours a day. Surrounded by Miami high-rise buildings, you feel like you’re in the midst of the action, but watching it from a distance. Feeling so in the centre, but so far removed, the clash of sky rise buildings combining with the quiet and tranquil is such a surreal moment.
The hotel offers a shop behind the reception, and due to our late arrival, we decided to grab a microwave pizza and a mountain dew to share in the room. The reception is able to microwave the food for you, but we had a microwave in the room. The prices were as you would expect in a hotel.
We headed down for breakfast around 9:00 which is one of the busiest times. Although it was hectic, there was still a stream of tables becoming available. Breakfast was hearty with ample choice. I had a coffee and American waffles with maple sauce and fruit. They were definitely the best waffles I had whilst in the states, beating NYC and Orlando by a mile.
We took a walk around the area of Brickell and towards the Biscayne Bay area. The area has a few bars, restaurants and cafe’s scattered around so it’s worth popping into a few.
We took the free public transport to Biscayne Bay. The stop is conveniently located around 2 minutes walk to the left when you exit the hotel. Taking around 15 minutes to get to Biscayne Bay, it gets you into the heart of the action quickly.
The area is filled with bars, restaurants and excursions so get yourself settled in and book an excursion if you haven’t already.
Spend the afternoon lazying on the water taking in the sights of Miami. We booked onto a celebrity houses sightseeing boat which was both interesting and enjoyable. You’ll be on an interactive boat seeing the houses of the stars, like Justin Bieber, Will Smith, Ricky Martin and even the mansion of the infamous Al Capone, which is currently on sale for a whopping $14.9 million.
If you’re not into boat rides, why not have a go on a stand-up paddle-board or a kayak on the bay? If you prefer your feet firmly on solid ground then you’ll be pleased to know Bayside Marketplace at Biscayne Bay also boats a fabulous shopping experience. You’ll find Victoria’s Secret, Hard Rock Cafe amongst others.
We started our journey over to Orlando, so it was time for us to leave Miami. The hotel offers coffee and tea throughout the day, so be sure to get one to go when you’re jetting off.
If you’re lucky enough to have some more time, then definitely head to South Beach and Little Havana and the Wynwood walls. There are plenty of eateries available around Miami, so whether you’re looking for tapas, American cuisine or something else, you’re sure to find it.
What else can I do in Miami?
When I return to Miami, because I know for certain we’ll be back, I’ve already got a plan of what we’re going to do. In case you’re after some Miami bucket list inspiration, here’s what we’ll get up to in Miami, Florida:
- Check out the graffiti at Wynwood Walls.
- Visit Miami beach – located outside of the municipality of Miami on an island.
- Take in the sights at the Art Deco District.
- Visit The Vizcaya Museum and Gardens
- Eat dinner and soak up the Latin culture in Little Havana
- Watch Miami Heat play an NBA game
- Swim in the Venetial Pool.
We loved visiting Miami, Florida, even if it was just for a short time. It was one of my favourite places that we visited whilst in the USA this summer. I’d definitely recommend going for a couple of nights!