With some frequent flyer miles saved up I decided to get my mom out of town for Mothers Day. I asked her where she wanted to go. She said warm, beach but where she could shop and be in the middle of it all.
SO….we headed to Miami beach.
Oh what an adventure. Sort of like a beachy vegas….. in a way.
I was also amazed at the number of people there from outside the US (even excluding the latin countries). Sitting on the beach you could hear german spoken on one side, french on the other, and russian behind you. We chatted with some swedish gals one evening who have been to Miami several times. I just hope they have visited other parts of the US as well.
To quickly summarize, here are the goods and the bads:
-Beach was great even when it was crowded
-If you do your research there are some really good restaurants in the mess of tourist traps
-Variety of things to do and see for all personalities
-Noise noise noise. Every place cranks different music, the constant flow of cars, intoxicated folks, it’s just endless noise
-Most restaurants on the main strips serve mediocre overpriced foods and built in gratuity means your service could be hit or miss
-Friendliness from locals and most travelers is pretty hard to find
-Not a budget friendly locale
Food wise, I stayed reasonably paleo on the trip (if you don’t count the number of adult refreshing beverages).
The hotel we stayed at included breakfast so I was able to get eggs, bacon, and some roasted potatoes each morning to start the day off (I still eat white potatoes to a degree).
We stopped at a grocery store the first day and made sure to have a fridge in our hotel room. I picked up some precut raw veggies, salami, tuna, and GF nut crackers and this is what we ate on the beach for lunch each day.
For dinners I just opted for grilled meats or seafood and veggies. I did eat some sushi rolls one night and a bit of grits (with shrimp and grits) another evening.
I definitely did not party like most of the SoBe tourists, but I did indulge in alcohol and made sure I got a few starches here and there to keep from getting in serious trouble.
If I had to do over again, I would have stayed a couple blocks off the main strip so we could rent a condo with a kitchen. Food costs there are crazy, the more you can prepare on your own the better (seems like the lower the price, the more the grains, starches and fried factor).
It was a fun trip, something new, and I can now say I have been to Miami Beach.
If you would like to watch the vlogs from the trip week, here are the direct links:
5.14.12 – Arrival at the carnival
5.15.12 – Beach time
5.16.12 – Salsa Dancing?
5.17.12 – A more quiet option
5.18.12 – Finally Sun!
Yardbird – HIGHLY recommend, must go (reservations recommended)
Doruka Sushi – Pretty good, not Sushi Den, but nice happy hour food specials
Fish Called Avalon – incredible grilled octopus appetizer, okay main dishes but I think there were better choices (reservations recommended)
Vizcaya Museum & Gardens – Really enjoyed and well priced, nice quiet place after the strip
Mangos Cafe – Amusing tourist trap, almost a must go just for the entertainment value (skip the food)
Salsa Mia (dance lessons) – Fun and we had a good time, couple of faults in their set up and layout, but makes for a fun evening if you go into it with an open mind (save 11 bucks each by buying online)
Local Shuttle – Does a circuit around South Beach and is only a quarter to ride. A nice option if you don’t get a car and want to avoid taxis
Boat Cruise – Not a bad cruise, it had a roof so we used it as a back up when it was supposed to rain. Make sure you book ahead of time so you can take the free shuttle. The cruise itself probably wasn’t our cup of tea but it was run well.
Additional photos from the trip found here.