From the sun-soaked sands of Biscayne Bay to the critter-filled waters of the Everglades, the colorful Art Deco glamour of South Beach to the Cuban music and cuisine of Little Havana, it’s no surprise that sultry, alluring Miami is nicknamed the Magic City.
1. Experience the Everglades: Alligators, flamingos, and turtles—oh my! Head into the everglades for an up-close look at the wild animals that call this murky habitat home. Zip between marshes on an airboat, tackle the wetlands with a private guide, or take a quieter approach with a photography tour guaranteed to get you up close to everything from manatees to exotic birds.
2. Kick back in Key West: Immerse yourself in the Caribbean flair of the southernmost tip of the continental US with a trip to Key West, exploring the pocket of paradise that has enticed famous figures like Ernest Hemingway to its quirky, tropical shores since colonial times. Focus on the shops and sights, or opt to combine your outing with a fun aquatic activity like a glass-bottom boat tour, snorkeling excursion above a coral reef, or a high-flying parasailing ride.
3. Party in the city where the heat is on: Miami’s nightlife scene is about as vibrant as they come, so put on your dancing duds and head out after dark to sip on minty mojitos and get down at the hottest clubs in town.
4. Vizcaya Museum & Gardens: With its Italianate gardens, rambling mansion, and setting right on the waters of Biscayne Bay, this beautifully maintained, early-1900s estate is well worth a visit. Go at sunset for extra-opulent photo opportunities at this Coconut Grove landmark.
5. Take a zoo safari at Jungle Island: With tropical trails winding through monkey-filled forests, a waterfront serpentarium, and creatures from cotton-top tamarins to penguins, Jungle Island is an animal-packed attraction that visitors of all ages can enjoy. For an extra-special experience, spring for the VIP tour, which gets you behind the scenes for a private safari, or interact with bright-eyed lemurs with a hands-on encounter.
6. Hit up Little Havana: Dive into Miami’s Cuban culture with a visit to this zealously vibrant neighborhood, famed for its flavor-packed food, warm atmosphere, and lively music and dance scene. You can roll a cigar, sip a café cubano, or play a round of dominoes with the locals as you absorb the Latin rhythms of this colorful enclave.
7. Get active: Take advantage of sunny skies and balmy temps to get outdoors, exploring the city and getting some exercise at the same time. Rent a bike (or an electric bike) to pedal around town, get your adrenaline pumping with exciting watersports like wakeboarding or inner-tubing, or take a mellower approach by heading out on a paddleboard, a kayak, a sailboat, or even a guided fishing charter.
8. Dine around town: From the Cuban flavors of Little Havana to the ritzy restaurants of South Beach and the seafood restaurants along the shore, there’s no shortage of delicious dishes and must-try eateries in Miami. Take a tour through South Beach to sample everything from empanadas to ceviche, try famous menu items at some of Miami’s most beloved local restaurants, or round out an art-filled walk through Wynwood with tasty tapas at hip cafes.
9. Discover the Art Deco District: Pastel-hued, geometric edifices line Ocean Drive in South Beach. A designated US historic district, this colorful ‘hood was the first 20th-century neighborhood to earn that distinction, and boasts the world’s largest concentration of whimsical ‘20s and ‘30s architecture. Cruise by periwinkle mansions and sherbet-shaded hotels on a guided bike tour, or hop on a Segway for a fittingly futuristic way to see these retro-fabulous designs.
10. Stop and smell the roses: Three acres of flower-filled serenity at the Miami Beach Botanical Garden are at your fingertips, offering a serene escape from the go-go-go vibe of the city and its beaches. A little further out, the historic horticultural wonder of the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden goes on for miles and features one of the world’s most extensive collections of palms.