Miami Travel Information For Tourists
Need a warm weather and warm water beach getaway? Then travel to Miami. But what if you also want to lay-back in a warm, lush, sophisticated, and cosmopolitan cultural center? Then consider this:
Each of Miami’s 18 city neighborhoods and their environs has distinctive offerings, flavors, and personalities. From the celebrity soaked South Beach, to Spanish Monastery dominated North Miami Beach, to Cuban infused Little Havana, you will find top notch entertainment, world class shopping, museums, nature preserves, exquisite cuisine and music, and a vibrant mix of international tourists and long-time multicultural residents in an exotic tropical setting of constant sunshine and ocean breezes. If it sounds like paradise–it is.
Let’s get you started on your visit.
Planning your travel to Miami
Costs–If you are traveling from abroad or have never been to Florida there are a few costs you should bear in mind. Miami is not cheap and hotel rooms will run you $120–$1,000 a night depending on the season and the type of hotel you prefer. Visitors from outside the country should budget in the mid-range and should carry traveler’s checks or US Dollars aside from credit cards.
Food is so plentiful and enticing that setting a little extra aside to sample the wide variety of cuisines is a good idea—dinner can cost, per person, from $10 and up for simple eats to over $25 for a single entrée, excluding drinks and tip. Most family attractions, particularly in high season, also have substantial costs involved from $5 per person for a museum ticket to over $100 for options such as live music, sporting events or a Seaquarium ticket.
Similarly, if you plan on driving while there you have to budget at least $250 a week for a mid-sized car rental and gas in the off season. Hotel and restaurant information, including some bargains, is available at: http://www.expedia.com/Miami-Hotels.d178286.Travel-Guide-Hotels and http://www.frommers.com/destinations/miami/17_inddin.html.
Health–For physician referrals 24/7, contact the Visitor’s Medical Line (305-674-2222) and for a local clinic try the Miami Beach Community Health Center (305-538-8835; 7am-3:30pm Mon-Fri). If you need dental attention, try 800-DENTIST (800-336-8478). As always, dialing 911 will get you emergency assistance and an ambulance ride to the nearest hospital emergency room. For drugstores, Eckerd (305-538-1571) and Walgreens (305-261-2213), have some 24/7 stores.
When you travel to Miami, you can arrive as most international visitors do at Miami International Airport (www.miami-mia.com), which is just 6 miles west of the city’s downtown area, or you can come in at the less costly and busy Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (www.broward.org/airport), which is 30 miles north of the city but a short drive down I-95. By the way, driving to Miami is as simple as hooking up to I-95 from any other major interstate highway in the country and driving south—I-95 will take you straight to the center of the city.
As the cruise capital of the world, many people travel to Miami via cruise ships and arrive at the Port of Miami (www.miamidade.gov/portofmiami) which is just outside downtown and in the middle of a hub of taxis, buses, and car rental agencies. Another popular way to arrive is by train. The main city terminal (www.amtrak.com) connects Miami to the rest of the continent’s tracks, to a slew of local and regional train travel options, and puts you into the seats of the local Metromover (www.miamidade.gov/transit) which is the city’s free people mover, via bus, train and monorail.
Once in Miami
You have countless tourist attractions to choose from in Miami, from the famous Miracle Mile for shopping to the Metrozoo, one of the finest wild animal parks in America, to the Seaquarium (a 38-acre complex of saltwater pools, with killer whales, dolphins, sea lions, and manatees). Beach lovers will have over two dozen miles of white sand and warm water to indulge in and nature lovers are less than an hour ride away from an Air boat tour of the swamps and marshes of Everglades National Park.
The South Beach area offers art galleries, stylish diners, over 800 stylish Art Deco buildings, and many top nightclubs. The quieter Central Miami is home to a number of excellent golf courses. Little Havana is home to Miami’s large Cuban population and has miles of stores, restaurants and tourist shops along wide boulevards bordered by stunning buildings with Spanish and Italian architecture. The famous Coconut Grove district is one of the most fashionable in Miami and is often full of celebrities and their followers—paparazzi and fans.
If you want to do it all try: http://www.miamibeach411.com/news/101-fun-attractions-in-miami.htm.
But what really makes your choice to travel to Miami extra special is the city’s tropical culture. Everyone seems to be enjoying the weather in their own particular way. One can spend the entire adult day outdoors from early morning walks along the beach, via walk-and-shop stints that end with lunch at an outdoor café, to evenings that begin with a stroll along a boulevard of exceptional architecture with stops for tapas at myriad watering holes and culminate with dancing at an outdoor, live-music, all-night beach club.
Similarly, a family day might include the same morning at the beach only with a picnic basket, followed by a visit to any of the nature-oriented offerings (parrot zoos, aquariums) and lunch at an authentic ethnic cuisine restaurant and end with an early evening dinner and watching a Jai-alai match. Additional ideas for things to do when you travel to Miami can be found at: http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attractions-g34438-Activities-Miami_Florida.html.
For Further Information
For a short and sweet guide try: http://www.miami-florida.com/ Three comprehensive travel guides with links to many attractions and hotels are: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/usa/miami, http://www.miami.world-guides.com/ and http://wikitravel.org/en/Miami. If you want to preview the experience before you travel to Miami try a virtual tour first at: http://www.virtualtourist.com/travel/North_America/United_States_of_America/Florida/Miami-763637/TravelGuide-Miami.html.