I tend to joke that I'm a walking travel agent. Actually, not really joking. The amount of time I spend researching places around the world (that are on my "I Want To Go To There" list) is slightly concerning, but at the same time very helpful, when it comes to planning a trip, um essentially, anywhere.
In all travel agent jokes aside, I'm finally presenting my Miami travel guide. You've seen the outfits, the vlog, and the views, so it's finally time to close up this party. Let this be a resource to anyone and everyone who is visiting the 3-0-5. Bookmark, screenshot, take notes, whatever floats your boat.
Hands down, one the best parts about sailing is that you travel to beautiful and coastal areas- a la Miami. I always try to squeeze in a day or two off, so it worked out to a T, since we had some time before the regatta started. Upon arrival in Miami, we were off to bumpy start with some hotel issues- briefly touched upon in this post- but sorted it all out once switching hotels closer to the venue. For both of "days-off"- one of the being Christmas day, we went down to South Beach.
I did cover a fair amount of territory when off the water; Coconut Grove, Brickell, and Miami Beach, so I have garnered a fair amount of eateries and things to do. Personally, Miami can become a little… intense… especially over ten days, so I’d recommend exploring other areas other than the crowded beach. When it comes to beach environments in general, I’m all about finding the balance between a chilled-out natural vibe and some form of stimulation.
Oh, and before I forget, here is a general tip for Miami. Random rain showers. Prepare for them.
My mom and I flew out of Westchester County Airport on JetBlue into Ft. Lauderdale, then proceeded to drive to Miami. This is simply the way we've always gone, as we like to avoid major airports during the holidays and it makes lugging sailing gear through security seamless. My dad actually drove down, as all other flights were cancelled on the 23rd and 24th due to weather. Something about having your own car with you, makes life much easier. And of course, I dear god hope you can predict where I'm going with this. Oh yes. After the regatta we drove BACK home to CT. Still scarred from that road trip.
We've stayed in several different hotels over the multiple trips to Miami. If you'd prefer downtown, I'd recommend either the EPIC or the Viceroy. Both are different and the same- rooftop pools, great dining, plenty of people watching, and only a river apart location wise. For Miami/South Beach, there are COUNTLESS options to choose from. Not kidding, you can change hotels every damn night if you please. My top three favorites are 1 Hotels, Mondrian SoBe, and The Raleigh. Of course, there is always the big players like the W and Fontainebleau, but if you are looking for more of an oasis (that still has the Miami pace), these are the best. At 1 Hotels, you'll find an eco-haven that is not only gorgeous, but the food and the atmosphere will blow your sandals off. [Editor's note: I was going to go with socks, but you would be wearing socks at the beach, right?] The Mondrian is sleek and modern- similar to it's NYC property. Due note though, that the Mondrian isn't right on the beach, but still has killer views of downtown and the bay. Lastly, the Raleigh has plenty of old-school charm that brings you back in time.
If you are going to Miami, you're silly if you aren't going to head to the beach. But, don't skip downtown either. The area has improved like crazy the past few years with awesome restaurants, shops, and hotels. If you are looking for something less "MIAMI", head to Coconut Grove. It's a relaxed environment that sits right on Biscayne Bay. Also, be sure to drive/bike/walk over to Grove Isle for a look at beautiful mission style houses and views of the bay. If you're more a water baby like me, rent a boat for the day or drive down to the Keys for a stacked day of adventure. Scuba, snorkeling, skydiving? Does any of that spark your interest? For something more laid-back, the Vizcaya Gardens are a favourite. I've personally never been because I've always been sailing, but my parents love walking the grounds.
You won't go hungry in Miami. Don't worry. There is a plentiful of delicious restaurants in every neighborhood ranging from Italian, Cuban, American to Spanish. All the restaurants we ate at were extremely accommodating to my vegan lifestyle. On Christmas, 1 Hotels made me killer vegan tacos that I left begging for them to add it to the menu. Fingers crossed. I also made several trips to JugoFresh whilst in Brickell and Coconut Grove. I have a fair share of juice bars under my belt, and JugoFresh is high up on the list. Their mash up bowls and chia parfaits were the best post sailing fuel and the mini donuts.... dear god, heaven in my mouth. If you are big foodie, Zuma (located at the EPIC) is the best of the best. It's on the pricier side, but from what I remember, it's worth it 110%. For more eateries, visit my travel guide.