PARTY IN THE CITY WHERE THE HEAT IS ON. Or something. While the heat is most definitely NOT on here in blustery ol’ Blighty, I thought I’d share some musings on my visit to Miami back in August. Mostly to remind myself that the sun does indeed exist and will one day hopefully return to my life.
Miami, to me, doesn’t really feel like a ‘doing things’ city – and packing in as much as possible is kinda my holiday style. To be honest, the main draw for most visitors are the amazing beaches and buzzing nightlife. And those are probably my least important things when I’m travelling. I mean, don’t get me wrong, there are things to do – if you have money. Which alas, I definitely did not. Unable to scrape together the cash to even get out to Little Havana, I spent the last of my funds on a burger and a couple of Mang-o-Ritas. I almost regret nothing.
But, regardless of my initial thoughts, such a famous city deserves a visit, and it was definitely somewhere I’m glad I got to check out. We had a day and a half to spend in the city, and to be honest, when I arrived I wasn’t feeling in a ‘going out’ kinda mood. So instead, I mostly had a pretty laid back first evening after walking around and getting a feel for the South Beach area, where our hotel was located.
My first thoughts on my first hours in Miami were pretty mixed ones, if I’m telling the truth. Compared to some of the other, wonderful places I’d been, it fell kinda flat for me on first glances. We went out for a very average dinner, and the attitude we recieved in the restaurant and in stores as we browsed was very brusque – far from the warm hospitality we’d encountered in the Deep South. I didn’t feel as comfortable walking the streets as I had in Nashville or San Francisco. Perhaps it might have been different if I’d visited a different area of Miami, such as Little Havana, but my first impressions of the South Beach area is that it didn’t particularly impress me at all.
The next day, feeling refreshed and resisting the urge to have a binge-watching Supernatural session (the new season on US Netflix was basically my first evening sorted…) to explore a bit more.
And, y’know, be a bit of a beach bum. Because duh. Who goes to Miami and doesn’t go to the beach? We stayed at the Clay Hotel, a short walk from the vast stretch of soft, lovely-on-the-feet white sand. As part of our stay, we got our own sun loungers and towels reserved. Neat.
After grabbing a couple of ‘Mango-Ritas‘ – which are seriously perfect for beach drinking, FYI – we took a perch on our loungers and basically chatted away and watched the world go by. I didn’t even move to go swimming. Just. That. Chilled. I couldn’t have done it for longer than an afternoon, but it was actually nice to rediscover that I do know how to relax. Sometimes.
The Art Deco buildings along Ocean Drive, just moments from South Beach, are pretty cool to just walk around and drink in. History time: it was actually the first 20th-century neighbourhood to be recognised by the National Register of Historic Places, and the quirky, pastel buildings with original features are definitely super awesome to check out.
With a doubt one of the coolest things I did on my trip was hopping on board a jet ski and whizzing around on the open sea. On our second day in Miami, after chilling at the beach, we headed to one of the local jet ski hire vendors (there are plenty around along Ocean Drive) and hopped in a taxi to the bay for some high-adrenaline fun. I couldn’t actually afford it myself, and was originally just going to chill and watch.
But when I was offered the chance to jump aboard as a passenger, hanging on for dear life? I jumped at the chance, obviously. I’ve always wanted to jet ski, and oh boy, was it fun. And fast. So fast, in fact, that when we got back to the jetty, another couple who were out with us actually commented on how speedy we were. HA. The jet skiing cost around $60 for half an hour – which is definitely pricey, but SO worth it for the views and how stupidly fun it was.
After getting back on dry land, we’d definitely worked up an appetite. Earlier in the day, a little diner had caught my eye, so we went to check it out. 11th Street Diner is an all-American classic diner…in an old railroad car. Which is pretty ace from the outset, but inside, the food was just as awesome. A big loaded burger with all the trimmings and some crispy chips down, it was a pretty decent ending to our day in Miami. (you can read more about it from my post about the best meals I’ve had in America…)
Oh, and we also strolled past Miami Ink and I fangirled a bit. Ha. Finally, it was time to head to the airport, so we did what all the locals seem to do – jumped in an Uber. As we had quite a bit of time to get there, we decided to go with UberPool to make it a bit cheaper. And as a result, we ended up doing a lot of driving around picking up other passengers and hearing a little insight into their lives.
So my honest thoughts on Miami? There were some fun things to do, but it’s maybe not the best city to visit on a budget. And after my two week trip, I was definitely on a budget. It didn’t feel as friendly or welcoming as other cities I’d visited, but the beach was a good place to relax and people-watch (FYI, there are some v. good looking people to be seen on South Beach).
I probably wouldn’t go back as it’s just…not my vibe. But I’m still glad I went, and if you like beaches, shopping and nightlife, it’s a good shout for a laid back holiday experience.
Previously on my East Coast USA trip: It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia | Sightseeing on Two Wheels in Washington, D.C. | Falling in Love With Nashville | An Hour in Nashville’s Country Music Hall of Fame | Exploring New Orleans | Universal Studios and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter
Check out the full TrekAmerica Atlantic Dream itinerary.