Miami is famous as a destination for all kinds of tourists. But most of the time, visitors flock to the most popular tourist spots, not knowing that there are other epic places and activities which can make a trip to The Magic City even more magical.
Here’s a guide for a weekend escape to Miami without the typical tourist mindset.
Venture to a secret beach
Miami’s beaches are often divided into two: South Beach (SoBe) and the rest. SoBe is known the world over, but consequently, it has become overrun with tourists. For a more quiet retreat, pick a less known but equally majestic stretch of sea and sand.
For instance, there’s Haulover Beach Park accessible via Collins Ave. which, according to an article by Pure Wow, is one of the most private beaches in town.” It’s split into two sections: regular and ‘clothing-optional’. Either way, you have your own private space with Biscayne Bay in view on one side, and the mighty Atlantic on the other.
Another relatively secluded getaway is Matheson Hammock Park near Cutler Road in Coral Gables. It overlooks Biscayne Bay and is surrounded by tropical botanic gardens. As you enjoy moments of serenity, you’re treated with sceneries of lush greenery and calm waters. True to its name, you could imagine setting up a hammock here and just watching the rest of the world fly by quietly.
Other choices include Oleta River State Park in North Miami Beach, Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park in Key Biscayne, and SoBe’s neighbor, North Shore Open Space Park which is also in Miami Beach.
Indulge in lavish dining choices
Considering the touristy nature of Miami, a smorgasbord of restaurants have sprouted up across the entire area to satisfy different cravings, catering to many different cultures. But for haute dining choices, some of the premiere names are in Downtown.
DB Bistro Moderne and Zuma Miami are reportedly some of the hottest places to dine in Downtown, according to a blog post from Discover Homes. DB Bistro Moderne caters to people with a taste for French cuisine with classics like Escargots Persillade and Coq au vin; while Zuma Miami is a Japanese restaurant, which specializes in Grilled Skirt Steak and Black Cod with Miso Sauce.
Pick and prepare food DIY-style
Fancy picking your own ingredients for a fresh bowl of salad? How about strawberries for a strawberry shake? There are locations in Miami called ‘U-Pick Farms’ that welcome tourists to experience orchard living such as Burr’s Berry Farm and Sam and Philly’s. Enjoying freshly plucked crisps or fruits, while admiring the countryside ambience, is an epic way to spend a weekend in Miami, not dissimilar to a tranquil vacation in the vineyards of France.
However it’s always worth nothing that the majority of U-Pick Farms in Miami are only open from November to May. Pickyourown.org specifies this as a harvest period for the produce grown in the region.
Chill in rooftop bars
Unlike many of Miami’s clubs that blast out loud music and host masses of partygoers all night long, there are rooftop bars, which are perfect for guests that need some time to chill out and relax. Baby Jane at Brickell, for one, gives off an atypical bar vibe through its bungalow-chic design. Then there’s 1306 in Downtown, with velvet interiors and leather furniture – the place oozes class and style. The cocktails and food menu are equally impressive, with the former’s kitchen being headed by the reputable hometown chef Michael Beltran who preps specialties like Grilled Oysters and Smoked Salmon Sliders. However, make sure to dress up, as these establishments aren’t your usual casual run-of-the-mill bars.
Become a ‘turista a la Cubana’
There’s a neighborhood located west of Downtown Miami known as Little Havana, which took its name from the capital of Cuba. It gives you a taste of Cuban culture without actually crossing the Straits of Florida.
But aside from touring the popular Calle Ocho, you can head to Flagler Dog Track – a famous hangout for the region’s affluent population. The establishment, which traces its roots back to the 1930s, has greyhound racing, poker tournaments as well as pari-mutuels.
Explore the artsy side of the city
Miami is known for its vibrancy and this is reflected in the city’s art scene. Though there are museums that showcase the best local and international works, you can take a more private art appreciation session by walking along locations such as Wynwood Walls that’s lined with the best graffiti works that Miami has to offer.
Art Deco structures in Miami also reach the hundreds. Whilst options for Art Deco Tours are available, go the unconventional way by plotting your own itinerary. Destinations like The Plymouth Hotel are perfect additions to your art adventure. Better yet, you can rent Art Deco properties while you’re in Miami like in this post by Miami Curbed. No Art Deco hotel can ever replicate the experience of staying in a fully-furnished, multi-bedroom and T&B, 1930’s inspired home.
In terms of opulent activities, yachting ranks pretty high up the list. There’s a startup based in Miami, however, which gives you the chance to go sailing aboard the city’s luxury yachts and you don’t have to own one to be able to join the club.
Miami Herald relayed the YachtLife concept, which lists the local luxury yacht inventories into a centralized database. Its app allows users to check out yacht photos, specs and pricing as well as book them for a cruise on the spot.
These are all awesome alternative adventures in Miami besides visiting the common tourist spots and hangouts. Now that you have more reasons to explore The Magic City, all that’s left is to take that suitcase out of your closet and start packing. To help you out on the last part, check out our previous post about Travel Essentials for Your Weekend Getaway.
What will you be adding to your ultimate weekend guide to Miami?