When one thinks about Miami, Florida, the image that comes to mind is usually filled with hot night spots, sophisticated urban hospitality and warm, sandy beaches. It is all of these things and much more that make Miami one of the hottest vacation spots both in Florida and in the Eastern United States.
While Miami has been a hot vacation destination for decades, the city has seen some major development during these infancy years of the new millennium.
Most of this development has taken place in downtown Miami, but its effect can be felt throughout the region. But since the numerous new buildings and skyscrapers have been built in the city's center, the famous beaches of the area have remained pretty much unchanged.
One of the main attractions of Miami is its temperate, subtropical weather which allows for year-round outdoor activities. The many beaches and waterfronts available offer varied water sports including windsurfing, sailing, kayaking and scuba diving. And if you prefer land to sea, there are just as many dry attractions to keep you occupied including golf, tennis, sunbathing, nightclubbing, fine dining and other area attractions.
South Beach is perhaps one of the most famous neighborhoods in the Miami area. The South Beach Historical District, located on the peninsular southern tip of South Beach, consists of only one square mile, but is home to numerous 1930s to 1950s style Art Deco hotels. These hotels are only a short distance away from some of the major Miami attractions and offer comfortable, off-the-beaten-path lodging.
The historic district is also home to numerous other attractions including the Holocaust Memorial, Wolfsonian Museum, The Jackie Gleason Theater of the Performing Arts and Lincoln Road Mall.
Miami is also the shopping Mecca of Florida and boasts endless premier shopping malls and boutiques. For shoppers who want a taste of the local flavor, Bayside Marketplace and Biscayne Bay have a number of boutiques and specialty shops that sell everything from plastic fruit to high-tech electronics.
The Mayfair Shops, located in the Grove, is a complex made up of boutiques and nightclubs. And Sawgrass Mills, with more than 300 shops and kiosks in a 2.4-million-square-foot facility makes even the most serious and dedicated shoppers feel like they've died and gone to the great big mall in the sky.
To get to one of the many beaches in the Miami area, you will likely find yourself on Ocean Drive. This drive extends from 5th to 15th streets and features historic hotels, shops and open-air cafés, which face the Atlantic Ocean.
Continuing on to 21st to 35th streets and again from 71st to 163rd Streets are where the most popular beaches can be found. Here visitors can enjoy a host of activities including deep-sea fishing, kite flying, sunbathing, surfing and a host of other water sports.
Visitors looking for more natural surroundings should visit the Biscayne Bay islands, just south of Miami Beach. The islands give tourists a chance to see the natural wonders that Florida has to offer. Also in this area is the Miami Seaquarium, situated on Key Biscayne. This is a terrific place for the entire family to learn about the native sea life. Visitors will get to see Flipper the dolphin and Lolita the killer whale perform high-flying stunts.
Another attraction that is a must-see for nature lovers is the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens. This museum, constructed in 1916 by James Deering, is a palatial affair which reflects the Old World style of Florida's yesteryear. Here guests can appreciate the Italian Renaissance architecture of the building while they tour the mansion and the immaculate gardens of the estate.
So, if you are looking for a hot spot with an endless array and variety of attractions, perhaps Miami, Florida is the perfect destination for your next vacation getaway. From hot night spots and fine restaurants to family attractions and endless beaches, Miami has more to offer you and your family than many other popular vacation spots.