Southern Florida Tour - Miami

Donna Meredith on 06 August 2010
We decided in August 2010 that we wanted to explore the southernmost part of Florida which includes Miami, Key West, the Everglades and Marco Island.

We started our trip with a direct flight into Miami. As parking is quite expensive in Miami and there is absolutely no need for a car as everything is within walking distance, we decided on a taxi transfer from the airport to the Loews Hotel on Miami South Beach (SoBe). We picked this hotel as it suited our budget and it was located right in the heart of SoBe with a palm tree lined promenade leading into the famous cultural sector of SoBe, with its beautiful and colourful Art Deco buildings.

The Loews is a very nice five star hotel with a great pool and direct access onto the beach. We had a wonderful spacious room with a King sized bed and sofa bed for our 9 year old daughter, topped off with an amazing sea view.

On our first full day to get our bearings we booked to do the 90 minute Duck Tour in the morning, which is an amphibious bus that takes you to all the famous Miami landmarks, before a dramatic “splashdown” in beautiful Biscayne Bay for a close-up look at the many homes of the “Rich & Famous” on Star Island, Fisher Island & Millionaire Row – the humorous narrative made it even more enjoyable. We also spotted the enormous cruise liners in the harbour – wow they were impressive !!

In the afternoon, it was great then to retrace part of the route on foot to see some of the famous SoBe landmarks close up. We even stopped for a drink at The Carlisle, the same restaurant bar where they filmed “The Birdcage” starring Robin Williams.

At dusk, all the well-heeled cruise by on Ocean Drive in their gleaming open top sports cars – I’ve never seen so many Ferraris, Lamborghinis and Aston Martins together. It all added to the amazing eclectic multicultural atmosphere you find along Ocean Drive on SoBe. We then stopped to eat at the famous Johnny Rockets – great burgers!!

The next day we had a relaxing time by the pool which was not overcrowded and we found a pleasant location where we could find shade under a palm tree. The staff were great bringing everyone ice cooled flannels and frozen grapes – very refreshing.

In the evening we walked the short distance to the pedestrianised area of Lincoln Road for some window shopping and dinner. We ate at a very nice Italian restaurant with outdoor seating and I must admit we spent most of our time people watching – there were so many interesting and eccentric characters everywhere.

On our third day, the weather was a bit overcast so we decided to go shopping proper at Lincoln Road & Washington Road – great shopping!! In the evening we dined on excellent seafood.

The next day we were off to Key West. A hire car was delivered to our hotel and we set off early to get the most of the day.

See next journal…