Miami Beach: The Road Less Traveled
Each year millions of visitors flock to Miami Beach for sun worship and bar-hopping, beautiful beaches and notorious nightlife, but there is a hidden side to the City that only those in the know get to see. Miami Beach is a place of lush, sexy gardens, Bayfront bike paths, night-time kayaking, “take away” stone crabs and Haitian mojitos. It's also a place where visitors can watch the sun set and the moon rise while enjoying balmy breezes and a strong, sweet cocktail at a luxury rooftop bar in the midst of a Historic Preservation district. There is so much more to Miami Beach than meets the eye.
“Miami Beach is like a beautiful woman with deep secrets behind her eyes,” says Jeff Lehman, Chair, the Miami Beach Visitor and Convention Authority. “This is an international city with a wealth of activities, events and culture right in front of you, but explore a little deeper and you'll find a destination with secrets and treasures that have yet to be tapped by most. For that reason, Miami Beach is ideal for the curious traveler.”
The following serves as a guide to some of the most enticing places and off-the-beaten path activities worthy of exploration while visiting Miami Beach. Whether here for 48 hours or for four days, try any one (or more) of these recommended experiences to get the most out of Miami Beach.
Miami Beach Botanical Garden
This 2.6-acre urban green space at the heart of South Beach was transformed in 2011 with a $1.2 million landscape renovation designed by South Florida landscape architect Raymond Jungles. The landscape showcases plants and trees native to Florida, relaxing water gardens and cascading fountains, a welcoming entrance plaza, enhanced lighting, winding pathways and an expanded Great Lawn for corporate and social events.
The Venetian Causeway crosses Biscayne Bay connecting Miami and Miami Beach. A popular exercise path with locals, the spot offers visitors a great view of the Miami mainland and the Port of Miami as well as a safe space for bicycling and jogging.
Julia Tuttle Bay Walk
The south side of the I-95 off-ramp which leads drivers from Miami to South Beach is undergoing a renovation that includes plenty of room for pedestrians and cyclists who wish to explore this breezy inlet on Biscayne Bay. Previously, many of the most scenic areas along the Causeway in Miami Beach were off-limits due to safety concerns, but the City of Miami Beach has invested in a wide swath of green space along the shore at the south side of the Causeway so cyclists and pedestrians can play safely by the bay.
For travelers who love the night time, but not necessarily the nightlife, embark on a moonlit kayak excursion with South Beach Kayak. Tucked away on the bay just north of Venetian Causeway, the company caters to families, large groups, first-time kayakers, experienced kayakers, couples, corporations, and just about anyone who wants a view of Miami Beach like no other!
Miami Beach Marina Walkway to South Point Park
The magic of Miami Beach is especially apparent when walking the path from the Miami Beach Marina to South Point Park. Start at the Marina, located adjacent to Government Cut, and head southeast to gawk at the yachts and take in the fishing, sailing and cruising vessels that populate the waters surrounding Miami Beach.
Joes Stone Crab Take Away
For years, it was a Miami Beach local's secret that you could get Joe's Stone Crabs "to go," if you knocked at the back door. But today, they are more readily available thanks to Joe's Take Away. Avoid long lines to get into the restaurant for lunch and dinner and enjoy all the popular items from the restaurant menu that are available at the Take Away including stone crabs with mustard sauce or melted butter, hash brown potatoes or cottage fried sweets, and key lime and apple pies. The Take Away also sells its own specialties such as grilled chicken and fish sandwiches, conch ceviche and outstanding bread pudding.
Out-of-towners, families and off-islanders tap into this Fifth Street South Beach treasure for delectable Haitian fare that's hard to find anywhere else outside of Haiti; the drinks (including the signature mojito) are sweet and strong, but it's the colorful murals, delicious bites, inviting vibe and the down-to-earth staff that makes this place a must for repeat visits.
Pine Tree Drive & the Bark Park
The lush stretch is home to some of the nicest dwellings in Miami Beach and is lined with shady trees on either side. Tucked along the tranquil walk is the Pine Tree Bark Park adjacent to Indian Creek, perfect for those traveling with Fido. This dog park was recently re-sodded and features two double gated dog runs, which allow owners to unleash their pets in a holding area before releasing them into the play areas. Other amenities include benches, drinking fountains with doggie water spigots, biodegradable doggie bag stations, and trash receptacles.
In the fall of 1984, a small group of Holocaust survivors formed a committee dedicated to building a permanent memorial in honor of the six million Jewish victims of the Holocaust. The memorial was constructed in 1990 and was intended to express the enormity of this tragedy. The memorial is made up of many parts with significant symbolism including the eye catching Sculpture of Love and Anguish which stands several stories high and depicts a giant outstretched arm, tattooed with a number from Auschwitz, rising out of the earth surrounded by the memorial water lily garden.
Beats After Sunset
In an effort to create community through collaborative cultural programming at its unique Miami Beach location, the Bass Museum has instituted Beats After Sunset, the museum's monthly happy hour that takes place the first Friday of every month and is an opportunity for people interested in art, music, and culture to mingle and enjoy art under the stars. Entry gets you access to whatever's showing in the museum with new DJ's and beverages each month.
Enjoy spectacular 360° views of Miami Beach while relaxing by the Dream Hotel's HighBar. This high design oasis located above Ocean Drive's Historic Preservation District is the perfect place for daytime sun, a snack in the Pagoda Bar, or a quiet conversation in one of the secluded seating areas under the moonlit Miami Beach sky. Each week, HighBar is home to a collection of events and hosted parties.
About Miami Beach
With an average year-round temperature of 75 degrees, Miami Beach has an unrivaled reputation for culinary offerings, nightlife, culture, fashion, and luxurious hotels. Also a popular destination among travelers, Miami Beach was recently ranked by Trip Advisor as number one on its Top Winter Sun Vacation Rental Getaway Destinations for 2011 list and was included on both the Top 25 Beaches in the World and Top 25 Destinations in the U.S. lists. Boasting seven miles of breathtaking beaches, Miami Beach is easily accessible from the Port of Miami and Miami International Airport. The City of Miami Beach has just been named one of the top cities worldwide for 'walkability' and is equally easy to navigate by bike or by boat. Home to unique museums, to the New World Symphony and Miami City Ballet, to over 17,000 luxury, boutique and resort hotel rooms, 12 public parks and to the Miami Beach Convention Center, Miami Beach is a destination for all seasons. Miami Beach is like no other place in the world!
For Miami Beach Visitor and Convention Authority
Hill + Knowlton Strategies
Lindsey Norris, 305-443-5454