Florida is called the 'Sunshine State' for a reason. Miami in particular is beloved for its broad, white sandy beaches as well as its Latin culture — you can easily get a taste of Cuba here. Art Deco buildings and vintage cars are reminiscent of illustrious times past, while Miami's contemporary art scene, fabulous shopping, and trendy bars are as stylish as any you'll find in Manhattan or London. The year-round sunshine makes a flight to Miami outstanding no matter when you choose to visit. Even the winter months don't preclude travellers from lazy morning on the beach and afternoons spent exploring the mysterious, natural Everglades or hitting the boutiques that line South Beach.
What to Know Before Visiting Miami
Located in southern Florida, both English and Spanish are widely spoken in Miami — the culture is heavily influenced by nearby Cuba. Passengers arriving on city breaks in Miami will land at the large international airport, about 12km. from downtown.
You'll need US dollars to spend on a weekend in Miami, of course. Florida is four hours behind the United Kingdom. British passport holders don't require a formal visa to enter the United States for the purposes of tourism but an online visa waiver, the ESTA application, must be completed online at least 72 hours before you travel (leaving more time is recommended).
When Is the Best Time to Visit Miami?
March, April, and May are ideal months in which to book a flight and hotel for Miami. The temperatures during this period are typically pleasant, averaging in the high 20s. Precipitation is also minimal during this time. While rain is more common during the summer and the temperatures rise, great bargains on package holidays to Miami can be secured then, so consider booking that flight from Cork to Miami when it's hot, hot, hot. Do keep in mind, however, that late summer through mid-fall can be quite pleasant, but this is also hurricane season in this part of the world.
The peak travel period spans the winter months when both Americans living farther north as well as a European contingent flock to the city to enjoy some winter sun. It's an excellent time to visit from a weather perspective, but it is also usually the busiest period for travel.
What Is There to Do In Miami?
Naturally, the clear blue water and white sands are the principal draw for visitors on a weekend Miami excursion. Watersports and boat trips are popular pasttimes, and there are also plenty of gyms and sports facilities in this fitness-minded city. For a mix of shopping and dining in a relaxed atmosphere, head to the pedestrian street Lincoln Road.
The streets adjacent to South Beach's beachfront strip are packed with boutiques and high-street stores. In the often overlooked downtown area, Collins Avenue has a range of facilities to satisfy all budgets. Jungle Island is an excellent water park, while Miami Seaquarium hosts sea life-themed displays, like a dolphin ride and a children's playground. The Seaquarium is a great activity for family city breaks in Miami.
What Places Should I Visit In Miami?
Step away from the beach and discover a wealth of culture and heritage in the Sunshine State. The European inspired Vizcaya Museum & Gardens, the inspiring Frost Museum of Science, and the elegant Tropical Botanical Garden are just a few highlights. In addition, don't miss:
Calle Ocho in Little Havana: A small but charming district of Miami that evokes the spirit of Cuba, this neighbourhood is packed with Mediterranean architecture and cigar stores.
Wynwood Arts District: This is another must-see neighbourhood. Beer gardens and craft breweries adorn the quirky streets, along with the many galleries, and offer a delightful alternative to the more polished bars of South Beach.
Perez Art Museum: Art lovers will enjoy a trip to this institution, home to an excellent modern and contemporary art collection. If you're travelling with children, you might also enjoy their family-friendly program offerings.
Bayfront Park: This 32-acre public park is right on Biscayne Bay in downtown Miami. Besides green lawns and playgrounds, there are also yoga classes and a trapeze school.
Everglades National Park: Miami is close to this ecological wonder. Take an airboat ride, and perhaps you'll even spot an alligator lurking in the swamps.
Venetian Pool: This massive public pool from 1924 can be found in nearby Coral Gables.
What to Bring Home From Miami
For a local memento to bring home from Miami package holidays, head to the Lincoln Road Farmer’s Market, held every Sunday. You'll find local jams, honey, and more. Art Deco design is synonymous with the city, particularly South Beach, and there are plenty of vintage posters to purchase which will evoke memories of your trip. Most of the shops along Collins Avenue or Ocean Drive sell the prints for a few dollars but if you want something a little more unique, the Art Deco Gift Shop has a wonderful collection.