After my weekend in Key West, Aly picked me up and we headed to Miami. I have been to Miami three times before, all for New Years (so the memories are rough). I thought New Years was a big weekend in Miami, but Memorial Day weekend proved to be the largest beach party I had ever seen. I was getting to spend a week with my best friend Aly and we had a lot planned (most of it involving avoiding tourists and crazy, overcrowded beaches).
The thing I like most about Miami is that it feels like going to a different country without leaving the US. There’s such a deep-rooted Cuban culture that at my favorite breakfast place I have to figure out how to order in Spanish (5 years of high school Spanish later, at least I know huevos). It can be seen in the 50s Art Deco architecture, the Cuban sandwiches, the very, very strong Cuban coffee, the people, the beaches, everywhere. It’s unique to any other “beach town” I’ve been to in the US.
The main beach you hear about any time you hear about Miami is South Beach. It is a neighborhood in the city of Miami Beach. The part of South Beach that I went to is Lummus Park right off of the well-known Ocean Drive. The park consists of rows of beautiful tall palm trees leading to large white sandy beaches. I would say from experience this is the most popular beach area in Miami. Which can be good and bad, depending on the time. During the day the scene is mainly families on vacation, but at around 4pm the scene starts to change as locals get off work the area becomes a bit rowdy and not as family friendly. It still remains one of my favorite spots in Miami, but you most likely won’t see me there past 4.
For a lot of my time in Miami, we hung out on Key Biscayne, which is a popular spot for locals to go to the beach and put their boats in the water. The beaches are much smaller, but much more family friendly and less touristy. We were mainly there to put the boat in the water. We decided to avoid the crazy crowds on the beach and enjoy the weekend on the boat instead.
Miami has a lot of cool places you can anchor your boat and hang out. The first day we anchored at the sandbar at Elliot Key. The water was perfectly clear and not too deep so you could still see the bottom. This was the perfect spot for me because I’m deathly afraid of the ocean so I found some comfort in being able to see that there were no sharks. Some people had a few boats tied together and were set to stay there for the weekend.
The next day our boating adventures took us to Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park. There is a little inlet where you can anchor your boat and even a dock with a restaurant (most importantly a bathroom) on it. The inlet is beautiful of course, but I can’t say I was a fan of not being able to see what was in the water. I held on to the ladder of the boat for my life the entire time. But, loved it none the less.
At the end of our last day on the boat, we drove around all of Miami on the boat. The city is gorgeous on land, but seeing it from the water was an amazing experience. We also got to see some things from the water that you can’t see from the land. We got to take the boat around the gated neighborhood of Star Island and pick out houses we would buy when we win the lottery.
The thing that makes Miami different than most “beach towns” is that it isn’t a small town on a beach. It’s a huge city and a ton of beaches. It’s got everything you could want from both city life and vacation life. And like any cool city, it has an art district.
If you follow my Instagram you know I would never pass up an opportunity to get pictures of art walls. Miami has one of the coolest art districts I have ever been to. The Wynwood Art District is a huge neighborhood of more art on walls and sidewalks than I have ever seen.
It, of course, includes the famous Wynwood Walls, a kind of free park of art walls. But, the whole area is covered. What was once abounded industrial buildings, have now become cool restaurants and shops and these amazing art walls have drawn people and business to this area.
Miami will always be one of my favorite places to vacation. The city always has different events going on and a lot to offer. My next goal is to make it down for Miami Music Week.