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Miami Beach gets the reputation as being the playground for the rich and famous, but that doesn't mean that you need to pay exorbitant prices to live lavishly. Look for hotels that are within walking distance to the beach, but not necessarily directly on the beach, for the biggest savings. Collins Avenue has numerous affordable hotels.
A great option is the South Beach Plaza Hotel, located right in the heart of the historic Art Deco District Miami Beach. If seeking something on the romantic side, Red South Beach Hotel is a great option with its dramatic red theme throughout the hotel. The Clinton Hotel offers modern luxury at an affordable price. Further north is the Collins Hotel, which offers a quieter atmosphere, perfect for families, but with all the amenities of the hotels in the south. For the single traveler, the Bikini Hostel in South Beach is a great option. Meet travelers from around the world while enjoying the high life at Miami Beach.
Flying into Miami Beach, you have two options: Miami International Airport (MIA), or Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL). Miami International is the largest airport in the area, and a major hub connecting the United States with Latin America and the Caribbean. With over 90 airlines to Miami Beach flying from over 140 destinations around the world, MIA is one of the busiest airports in the world in passenger traffic. For the best connections and direct flights, fly with American Airlines. Expect long lines, especially when flying internationally, for check in and when going through security. To skip the line, curb check your luggage. For a few extra dollars you can avoid the long lines and extra headaches.
Less than an hour away, is the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, where domestic routes and low-cost carriers fly. The lower traffic at this airport makes customs, security checks, and overall flight process easier. However, keep in mind the airlines that fly here. Southwest Airlines and JetBlue have the strongest presence at this airport.
Many hotels in Miami Beach offer complimentary shuttle service from the airport. It's one option if trying to cut costs. The Super Shuttle can get you from airport to beach easily and quickly in 30 minutes. Otherwise, getting a taxi at the airport is simple, and there are plenty of options for car rentals.
Miami's public transportation is affordable and easy to navigate. It connects to both airports to the downtown area, and there is direct access to Miami Beach from Miami International. The Miami Beach Airport Flyer Bus Route 150, which takes you directly to Miami Beach, is the cheapest option.
Miami Beach stretches nine miles along a barrier island between Biscayne Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. The island separates into three areas: South Beach, Mid Beach and North Beach. South Beach is the center of activity in Miami Beach. Head north for a quieter beach experience away from the parties. Relaxing at Miami Beach is a day spent in the sun and water, followed by wandering the promenade, and dining at an alfresco restaurant.
Travel up and down Miami Beach with the free Miami Beach Trolley, which runs everyday at 10-minute intervals. The trolley travels from Fifth Street to Lincoln Road, along Alton Road and West Avenue, with 20 stops along the way. Alternatively, the South Beach local bus can take you to all the main areas in Miami Beach for a nominal fee.
Walking among the colorful pastel art deco buildings of Miami Beach, one could easily mistake it for the set of "Miami Vice." The Miami Beach Architectural District, the area's official name, is the largest concentration of art deco buildings in the world with 800 historical buildings. Erected between 1923 and 1943, people considered these buildings as modern. Today, locals and visitors alike consider them retro-fabulous with their whimsical motifs and soft-hued colors.
At night, Miami Beach's iconic buildings come to life, lit by South Beach's iconic, antique neon lights. Inside, you can rub shoulders with the rich and famous. It's not unheard of to run into Hollywood A-listers when out enjoying the nightlife at Miami Beach.
Take a break from the beaches and explore some of the other neighborhoods of Miami. Head to Little Havana, home to immigrants from Cuba and other Central and South American countries, for a taste of Latin America. Grab a traditional Cuban meal like Arroz con Pollo, a Cuban sandwich, or pastelitos. Knowing the basics of Spanish, even if it's only a little, will get you a long way. With entertaining street performers, colorful street murals, and delicious smells, Hispanic culture is alive and well in the streets of Little Havana.
Get out of Miami entirely and go for a day trip to the Everglades National Park. Located at the southern tip of Florida, the Everglades are an hour and a half from Miami. With 1900 square kilometers of tropical wetland to explore, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is home to 14 rare and endangered species, including the American Crocodile, the Florida Panther and the West Indian Manatee. Explore the Everglades on foot, on bicycle or by boat. Be sure to bring plenty of water, snacks, a hat, insect repellent, and some sunscreen!
The whole family can enjoy a vacation at Miami Beach. Oceanfront properties allow easy access to the beach so the kids can play in the sand to their hearts' content. Some hotels even provide amenities specifically for kids, ranging from organized activities at the hotel to fun water sports like snorkeling.
Beyond the beach, Miami is full of interesting zoos and animal activities catered to kids. Visit the Zoo Miami, and get close to exotic animals like the Komodo dragon, white tigers, and meerkats. Exhibits are cageless and animals roam in their natural environment, allowing them to coexist as they would in the wild. Another option is Jungle Island, where visitors may interact with various tropical birds. Parrots, flamingos, and macaws are in abundance. There is also a liger (a tiger and a lion mix). If primates are more of interest, visit Monkey Jungle where over 400 primates run free throughout the reserve. As you wander through the park, the 30 species of primates swing and run above your head.
Miami Beach never closes and hotels, restaurants, and beaches are open year round. Peak tourist season at Miami Beach is from January to April. Book hotels and flights well ahead of time to increase savings. Midweek visits also offer the most savings.
The summer months are the best time to find cheap accommodation options along Miami Beach. However, be ready for the heat and humidity. Being along the Atlantic Ocean, Miami Beach is also subject to hurricane season, which runs from June to November. Travel insurance is a must, and keep an eye on changing weather patterns during this season.
Regardless of the time of the year, expect warm and sunny weather in Miami Beach. Even on overcast days, sunscreen is highly recommended to prevent sunburn. June is historically the rainiest month of the year, and any travel during hurricane season means packing an umbrella.
Miami Beach's temperate weather, beautiful beaches, and vibrant life has attracted many events to the area for their annual festivals and shows. For food lovers, the South Beach Food and Wine Festival, held annually in February is phenomenal. Enjoy superb food and wine while rubbing shoulders with the world's most renowned chefs. Art Basel, the world's premier contemporary and modern art show, occurs every December in Miami Beach. This event brings together works from acclaimed artists to showcase their talents, and attracts the world's leading galleries and art collectors.
A city literally built along the water, Miami Beach's palm tree-lined streets, Art Deco District, Latin culture, and 24-hour lifestyle is sure to delight visitors young and old. A year-round paradise, Miami Beach is a great place to escape ordinary life.
© 2016 Hipmunk, Inc. Hipmunk is a trademark of Hipmunk, Inc.
© 2016 Hipmunk, Inc. Hipmunk is a trademark of Hipmunk, Inc.