9 Miami Travel Tips: What to Know Before You Go on Vacation
Rich with beauty, culture and diversity, Miami welcomes over 15 million visitors per year and racks up travel accolades from the world’s largest sites. The city’s location on the southern tip of Florida makes it a must for beach lovers, and its art deco district adds extra flair. For those considering their first trip or if it’s been awhile, we’ve rounded up some Miami travel tips to help plan. Here’s what vacationers need to know before they go:
Top 9 Miami Travel Tips for a Memorable Vacation
Start with Accommodations
Miami houses some of the top hotels in the U.S., known for their amenities, resorts and picturesque views. As stunning as some hotels are, they can also charge some hefty nightly fees. This is especially true during high-tourist seasons and festival times. As with any popular destination, planning ahead helps avoid high rates and increase availability.
Those who don’t want to compete for a hotel room may want to consider a vacation rental in Miami. Vacation rentals typically cost one-third of the price of a hotel and offer the same – if not better – amenities as hotels. In addition, they offer more location flexibility. Visitors will find rentals in downtown Miami to South Beach in nearby Coral Gables, Coconut Grove and upscale Fisher Island.
Before booking an accommodation, think about what you’ll need and want during the vacation. Consider kitchen and dining options, laundry facilities, pools, privacy, security, location access and pricing. All of these will help decide if a hotel or rental works best.
Transportation: How to Get Around
For those in south Florida, Miami may not be too far of a drive. For example, those living in Fort Myers, Orlando, Palm Beach and Key Largo should expect drives to last from 2 to 4 hours, depending on the area.
Most visiting Miami will have to fly to Miami International Airport. Again, planning is key here. Check for flight deals and travel during non-peak seasons for the best rates. Once in Miami, guests can rent a car, bike, scooter or segway. Public transportation options include train, bus and trolley, and taxis, Uber and Lyft are also available.
Consider the location of the accommodation and its proximity to what activities are nearby. Many condos, hotels and houses are located in the city center near the beaches, plenty of restaurants, and fun things to do.
What’s the Weather Like?
Due to its sunny Florida location, Miami features a warm climate with winter lows around 60 degrees and summer highs around 90. The city also has a subtropical climate that’s warm and sometimes rainy in the afternoons. From March to May, high temperatures range in the high 70s and low 80s, with the occasional daily shower. It’s coastal location also lends itself to tropical storms, and hurricane season runs from June to November.
What to Pack
With a coastal climate and warm temperatures, visitors should pack for both comfort and style. Miami features millions of beautiful people who love sporting the latest fashions and hottest looks.
Before heading out, make sure to pack: flip flops, comfortable walking shoes, multiple stylish swimsuits, cocktail dresses and heels if visiting clubs.
As with any beach vacation, sun protection is a must. Don’t forget a sun hat, lots of sunscreen, fashionable sunglasses, loose and airy clothing, lip balm with sunscreen, swimsuit coverups, beach bag, and a good book.
For everyday activities and sightseeing, pack a pair of jeans, shorts, tank tops/T-shirts, sweatshirts or light jackets for cooler nights. Don’t forget the toiletries and medications you may need.
Miami Alcohol Laws
Miami is a hot spot for parties and entertainment. Regardless of who you are or where you’re staying, no one under the age of 21 is allowed to drink alcohol in the U.S. If over the age of 21, Miami welcomes guests to enjoy the bar scene until 5 a.m., and there’s a section in Miami that sells alcohol 24-hours a day. However, guests are not permitted to drink alcohol at the beach or on the streets.
Miami Beach Laws
In an order to keep everyone safe, Miami has some specific beach laws that visitors should note. Here are the top ones to keep in mind when spending time on the beach:
- Beaches are closed from midnight to 5 a.m.
- Lifeguards are on duty from 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
- Not allowed on Miami beaches: fireworks, firearms, alcohol, glass containers, fires, vehicles, pets (unless service animals), disturbing wildlife, walking on dunes, etc. View a full list of Miami Beach laws and best practices.
Buy a Go Miami Card
Want to save on Miami’s top attractions? Buy a Go Miami card to save on the bus tour, Miami Seaquarium, Zoo Miami, sightseeing cruises and tons more. The card helps guests save on 25-plus attractions, available from one to five-day passes. In addition, visitors can select a Miami and Florida Keys pass or build their own for a custom experience.
Prepare to Eat
Those who try to diet on vacation will miss out on one of the top dining destinations in the U.S. The Miami area houses more than 6,000 restaurants, many with chefs that infuse cuisines with Caribbean and Latin flavors. In top tourists seasons, many restaurants also offer extended hours, but schedules may change due to the season.
If vacationing in August and September, plan to participate in Miami Spice. For two months area restaurants offer a three-course meals at reduced prices. Reservations are also recommended and check out the list of Miami Spice restaurants.
Know the Customs
Each city showcases their culture and has customs that first-timers should know. One of the top Miami travel tips is what to expect here that vacationers may not find elsewhere. With its diverse culture and large population, these are the top customs:
- When meeting a new person in Miami, lip-to-cheek contact is a common custom.
- Don’t double-tip! Many attractions and restaurants add gratuity on bills instead of having the patron do it. Pay special attention when dining on the beach, as there may be a gratuity and beach tax added to the bill.
- Drivers and walkers take caution. While driving, visitors may see cars traveling at normal speeds and ones going below the speed limit. Also, Lincoln Road is 100% pedestrian-friendly, with no cars, buses or trolleys allowed.
Looking for fun things to do? Check out the top South Miami attractions.