I was drawn to Miami by the lure of art-deco buildings, and sun-kissed beaches. So I had to fit a stop to Florida as part of my Caribbean/North American trip last year.
My first recommendation would be hire a car if you can, it gives you freedom to explore and it’s America; cars ( big ones!) part of the culture.
We drove out to the Everglades to seek out some Alligators and I had my first glide in a airboat. We picked Buffalo Airboat Tours which is owned and run by the Miccosukee family.
Airboats slide across even the shallowest parts of the water and sometimes (to my surprise!) straight through tall reeds and over patches of fauna. The trip I was on included a short stop at an abandoned native american camp and our guide shared stories of life before the river was so polluted. It was a bit muddy so I suggest slightly more durable/water ready footwear than my flip flops!
On the tour, an alligator soon approached our boat. Our guide fed her with small pieces of bread, giving us mouth side seats of her 80 teeth. The guide did get worryingly close to her mouth thouh! I spent half of the demo worried he would lose a hand. I am sure he does it everyday but mistakes happen!
We saw some baby alligators too, not the cutest as baby things go but fun to see all the same.
It rained the rest of the day, that humid tropical rain that bounces off the road onto to your windscreen. No matter how many times I am caught in a tropical storm like that my Scottish skin is always surprised that rain that heavy is warm or at least does not burn the cold into my bones.
To avoid the rain we decided to embrace our inner consumer and hit the shops. I do love shopping in America, I know it is not very cultured traveller but I challenge anyone to not find something they want in an American hyper-mall.
I won’t bore you with the details except to say, Hobby Lobby is amazing, if you are like me and love a bit of scrapbooking or DIY greeting cards you will be in heaven. It was so good that even my boyfriend enjoyed it! It was totally, small town mouse meets Big town craft store.
When the rain stopped and sun went down we hit the cocktail bars around our hotel at Miami Beach. I love the laid back Florida vibe. I won’t pretend to be an expert of the shakin’ bar scene in Miami, however I have collected some cool pictures and informative article to inspire your own Miami cocktail quest on my Pinterest board.
After a night on the town you will no doubt need of a hearty brunch and Yardbird is my recommendation. It was immense, I wish I could eat there now. Chicken and waffles, a killer southern combo. The portion is generous even for America and is topped off with a side of watermelon. I washed it down with a Blackberry Bourbon Lemonade.
This bright space with massive windows and smiley waiters was the place for lunch for local police officers, so popular for locals as well as tourists.
We stayed at El Paseo Hotel an easy walk to the beach and valet parking which is handy as parking tricky.
To summarize my top tips are
Hire a car
Take an airboat to see an alligator
Eat at Yardbird
Have cocktails in Miami Beach
- If u like crafts go to HobbyLobby (could be done anywhere in USA)
Have you been to Miami? Leave your top tip in the comments below.
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