A city best known for palm trees, teeny tiny bikinis and of course the Miami Heat, Miami is truly the city down south that never sleeps.
Although it is practically summer here year-round (except for the three weeks of bone-chilling 40 degree “winter” we suffer through every February), Miami has and will continue to be one of the most popular destinations to consider when planning a summer vacation.
During my years living in Miami, I’ve witnessed far too many tourists get sucked into the hustle and bustle of South Beach and never venture past the neon lights of 8th and Ocean. However, there is much more to Miami than initially meets the eye. So if you’re thinking about taking a trip to the 305 this summer, consider doing it the local way. Here is a list of some of my favorite summertime things to do and see while in Miami.
1. Vizcaya and the Venetian Pool
Hidden behind a sweeping thicket of overgrown trees and shrubs in South Miami, you’ll find Vizcaya Museum and Gardens. Built in 1910, this historic estate is not only a popular venue for weddings and Quinceneara photo shoots (I guarantee you’ll run into someone taking professional photographs during your visit), but it’s a perfect location for a lazy summer day stroll through the garden mazes. Keep driving south on US1 from Vizcaya and you’ll run right into the Venetian Pool, a historic freshwater pool located right in the heart of Coral Gables that is perfect for swimming and taking in the Florida sunshine. Located only 10 minutes from each other (without traffic, yes, traffic is a huge thing in Miami) a day spent at Vizcaya and the Venetian Pool is guaranteed to be a day well spent!
2. Take a Weekend Cruise to Bimini, Bahamas
Don’t forget to pack your passport when you head down to Miami for your summer vacation! One perk of being located at the southernmost tip of Florida is that Miami is a mere hop and a skip away from numerous island destinations including the Bahamas, the Cayman Islands and Jamaica. With cruises departing daily from the Port of Miami and Port Everglades in nearby Fort Lauderdale, for as little as $88 per person (if you happen to be a Florida resident the deals are even better), you can take a two- or three-night island getaway cruise and be frolicking on the pristine white sands of Bimini in just over two hours.
3. Brunch, brunch, and more brunch!
No summertime vacation to Miami is complete without a “Sunday Funday” well spent brunching throughout the city. No matter your tastes, I guarantee you that Miami has the perfect brunch spot to fit your needs. Here are a few of my favorites.
Versailles Restaurant: No trip to Miami is complete without a taste of the city’s delectable Cuban cuisine, so why not stop by Miami and perhaps the world’s most famous Cuban restaurant, Versailles? For just $8.75 per person, you can enjoy a huge assortment of traditional Cuban breakfast foods including pastelitos, croquetas and platanos. If Cuban food just isn’t your thing, don’t worry—they have scrambled eggs, cereals and bacon as well. The buffet is only available on Sundays until 11am, so try get there early because there is always a wait.
The Biltmore, Coral Gables: If you’re in the mood to splurge then I recommend you head down to Coral Gables for the #1 rated brunch in South Florida. Complete with sushi, caviar, carved meats and pretty much any and every breakfast food you could possibly dream of, the Biltmore rolls out the red carpet for their Sunday brunches. While the cost is a little steep at $85 per person, just the experience alone is worth every penny. Reservations are recommended as seats fill up quickly.
Read the full post on The College Tourist.