Miami, who doesn't know this city anyway? You will often have seen the environment in films, series, video clips and games. A great holiday destination for many people from the United States and beyond, because it's sunny and the people beautiful! And because there is so much to do here, we have made this place a wonderful free travel guide with all the must-sees, various travel tips, tricks to keep your budget in check. This is our ultimate Miami travel guide packed with info and tips for an unforgettable vacation!
Table of contents
The ultimate tour of North America
This article is part of a large one-year tour the United States en Canada in 2022, with a Dutch 4×4 camper that we shipped ourselves… It is a bucket list worthy and an once in a lifetime experience that will never be forgotten.
We wrote almost 100 articles about this ultimate tour. Below is a handy overview in 5 expandable categories.
2. Highlights & Itineraries
3. Cities & places of interest (AZ)
- Tour America | Amelia City
- Tour America | Amelia Island
- Tour America | Annapolis
- Tour America | Ice Lake Trail
- Tour America | Kennedy Space Centre
- Tour America | KeyWest
- Tour America | Miami
- Tour America | New York City
- Tour America | Ouray
- Tour America | Salt Lake City
- Tour America | Savannah
- Tour America | Seattle
- Tour America | Silverton
- Tour America | St Augustine
- Tour America | Starbase SpaceX complex in Texas
- Tour America | Washington DC
- Tour America | Wynwood
4. National Parks & Monuments (AZ)
- Tour America | All National Parks (list)
- Tour America | Black Canyon of the Gunnison
- Tour America | Death Valley
- Tour America | Dinosaur
- Tour America | Everglades
- Tour America | Glacier
- Tour America | Grand Canyon (helicopter tour)
- Tour America | Grand Teton
- Tour America | Great Sand Dunes
- Tour America | Mesa Verde
- Tour America | Rock Mountain
- Tour America | Yellowstone
- Tour America | Yosemite
5. Plan your vacation to America here
- Itineraries compare | TUI, Americaplus, sawadee en Djoser.
- Motorhome rental companies compare | WorldWideCampers.com
- Fly & drives compare | Americaplus.
- Cruises and city trips compare | Travel deal.
- Flight tickets compare | Skyscanner, TUI, KLM. as KAYAK.
- Rental cars compare | Sunnycars, Alamo en rental cars.
- Tours and Activities compare | GetYourGuide.
- Campsites reservation| RECREATION.gov
- Hotels & Resorts reservation | Booking.com.
- SIM cards order | USAsim en International sim.
- Parking at airport | Parkos, Central parking of park care.
- travel items (suitcases, world plugs, etc.) | Bol.com.
This is not the first time that we (Chris and Malou – owners of Wereldreizigers.nl), ended up in Miami. A few years ago we already spent a week in Miami with a great muscle-car rental car, rented through Sunnycars.
This time we spent another two weeks in and around the city. Family visited us this time during our journey through America and we stayed with them for two weeks in a house in Fort Lauderdale. One day we were enjoying the pool and beach, the next we were out and about. We've been trying to discover every corner of Miami in these two weeks and have a lot to say about it.
Miami is located in southeastern Florida on the river of the same name. The city, together with the adjacent small towns (think Fort Lauderdale and Pompano Beach), has about 5,5 million inhabitants! Most of the inhabitants are Hispanic or Latino, especially from countries such as Cuba and Mexico.
- The tropical climate Florida isn't nicknamed for nothing The Sunshine State† Located at the tip of this state, Miami is a sun-drenched city, where you can enjoy it in different ways!
- Colorful – With the Central and South American influences and the sun, you are surrounded by color in Miami.
- The endless possibilities – You will read it below; there are countless sights and activities. There is something to do for every type of traveler.
Why avoid Miami?
- the crowds – It is a big city and it is therefore obviously busy. You are certainly not alone on the road.
- The price – You will have to do your very best to stay within your budget. Everything costs you good money and you quickly incur unforeseen costs. This is partly due to the fierce inflation of the past two years…
Top 5 things to see and do in Miami
Let's start the Miami travel guide with a top 5. Miami is big and the possibilities are endless. It's just where your heart is! You can easily spend your days on the beach or by the pool, but getting more active is certainly no problem either. Below we will share our top 5 with you. Take your pick!
The beaches simply cannot be missed in a Miami travel guide. It is no coincidence that this one is at the top of the list. It doesn't really matter which beach you choose, they are all beautiful. In addition, Florida ensures that the beaches are tidy and that there are sufficient facilities available. You never have to search long for a toilet or shower. Most beaches also have a boulevard that you can browse for souvenirs or to people watch. Colorful people cycle and skate past you.
Do you want to taste the atmosphere on the different beaches as much as possible? Then drive on Ocean Drive from north to south or vice versa and visit several beaches in one day. During the ride you will be treated to the splendor of Miami; palms, houses, boats and luxury hotels. Below are two beaches with an impression of the atmosphere.
South Pointe Beach
South Pointe Beach is located at the very tip of Miami and is the beach to visit. The beautiful park that is located directly next to it is also worth a visit. More on that later in the article.
Las Olas Beach
Las Olas beach is also a nice place to visit. The long boulevard is fun to walk along, you will be amazed! From poo-brown retirees to rollerblading babes in ini-mini bikinis, everything is here.
Sunny Isles Beach
A little further north is Sunny Isles Beach. It is actually in between Miami Beach and Hollywood Beach. This is a beautiful white beach where it is generally a lot quieter compared to the other beaches. If you want to relax a bit more and have fewer children around you, this is the place to be.
Wynwood is a hip part of town where young people like to go out. Numerous beautiful outdoor Street Art creations can also be admired here. The whole neighborhood is an open air museum! At Wynwood Walls (click) you can see the typical Wynwood-style walls, which are decorated with beautiful Street Art artworks by artists from the neighborhood. We took countless beautiful photos in this neighborhood! Read in detail about the district in the article below.
3. Everglades national park
East of Miami are the Everglades. It is a subtropical swamp landscape, where people mainly go to spot alligators. Via route 41 you drive past various providers of Airboat tours. Check the websites in advance to see which provider suits your needs and whether they are open. When we were there, most were closed because the water was too low. We could have avoided this if we had followed our own tips.
However, you don't have to use an airboat to see the alligators. You can already see them from the road. For road safety it is useful to spot them from Walk Road Scenic Drive† On this gravel road you do have the opportunity to drive slowly or to stop for a while and don't worry: you will see enough here!
You can also stop at Big Cypress Oasis Visitor Center to get a good look at the Alligators. It is also nice to stop for a walk. There are many places where you can stop for a bathroom break, picnic and therefore a walk. There are so-called landscaped hiking trails, where you walk through the wetland by means of a path. A good example of this is the Kirby Storter Boardwalk.
4. Attend a sports game
Baseball, basketball, ice hockey and American football are the most popular sports in Miami. There are several competitions on and around the weekend. Think of the famous NBA basketball team Miami Heat, the baseball team Miami Marlins, the Florida Panthers (ice hockey) and the Miami Dolphins. All to be seen in their home-town.
With seatgeek you can see what sporting events are going on when you are there. You can also order tickets via the site, but that is often also possible via the website of the team itself. It depends on the popularity of the match what it costs.
We went to the on a Sunday afternoon Marlins park, where the Miami Marlins played against the Seattle Mariners for about USD 27 per person. Even if you don't know much about the sport, it is still nice to see the locals enjoying their favorite team and watching all the spectacle around it.
From cheerleading to singing the national anthem, it doesn't get more American than this.
5. Shooting at Lock & Load Miami
In our Lock & Load Machine Gun Experience & Range, you can fire automatic weapons. What makes Lock & Load Miami so unique is that it is only one of only two places in the United States where as a tourist you can shoot with fully automatic weapons† The other place is in Las Vegas.
You can choose between different packages. Each pack has a different composition of weapons from light to heavy caliber. You can also add pistols and/or revolvers to your package. So you can choose your favorite weapons.
Chris chose the package ´machine gun express´ from 169 USD. He chose this one over the black widow package, because he was also allowed to fire an M4 with a heavier caliber. He finally added a heavy revolver (for USD 39) to his package.
Strangely enough, Chris's nephew was not allowed to fire this revolver, because he is underage. That while he was allowed to use the fully automatic weapons! Do you still get it?
The whole gun law, the many shootings and all the craziness surrounding it in politics, we don't understand anything about it anyway… It's nice to be able to shoot somewhere for fun in a controlled environment. But, when you consider that many Americans have these enormously powerful weapons at home, it is quite scary…
I recently wrote a good article about it, see below:
Other things to see and do
1.South Pointe Park
This is the place to be at sunset. Bring a blanket and pack some cheeses, olives and a bottle of red wine. The locals come here to do the same before and during sunset. Enjoy the (sporty) people around you and watch the huge cruise ships pass by while the sun slowly falls in the distance behind the buildings.
Tip:: Curious what I shoot with? More information about the camera I use can be found in the display below:
The Fujifilm X-T4 with 16-80 is the ultimate all-round world travel camera† This camera has been declared several times by both the consumer association and Tweakers.net the best system camera you can buy.
Even on the automatic mode you suddenly feel like a professional photographer! You can effortlessly shoot the most beautiful photos, and thanks to the versatile zoom range of the 16-80 lens, you can easily get closer to the action anywhere in the world.
- The best tested camera
- Fantastic photos
- 4k video at 60 fps
- IBIS image stabilization
- 5 year warranty
- Get used to it, many options!
The park itself is also beautiful to see. It is perfectly maintained with lots of greenery and some fountains that are nicely lit in the evening. You can walk around here and enjoy all the beauty that you see.
Are you traveling with children? Then visit the playground and of course the water playground where the children can cool off.
2. The Florida Keys
South of Miami and at the very bottom of Florida, are the Florida Keys. An archipelago of about 1700 small islands. There's a way Route 1 from Key Largo, the most northerly island, to 'the last' island of Key West in the south-west. The route takes at least 2,5 hours and is a beautiful route to drive! Our advice is to take it easy and stop occasionally during the ride on one of the islands. This is possible in a day trip, but it is also nice to stay there for a few days.
At several islands they have parks on the water, where you can walk, cycle, snorkel and swim. It is advisable to choose a few places in advance and sleep on Google Maps where you want to stop. Below are some recommendations:
- At Islamorada you can Robbie's find. It is a place where you can eat, shop and do various activities. From the pier we saw Nurse sharks, tarpon fish and manatees!
- Bahia State Park has a beautiful beach and a view point from the old Railroad Bridge. You pay a small entrance fee to enter the park.
- Visit in Key West the Old Town, Southernmost Point, take a stroll down Duval Street and Mallory Square. Enjoy the sunset at Sunset Pier or visit the Shipwreck Museum.
We also recommend that you set aside a part of the day for a snorkel and dolphin tour! Many different tours are offered. Honest Eco is the best in our opinion! They take you on an electric boat to spot dolphins and have a marine biologist on board to tell you about the behavior of sea animals and answer all your questions about the sea!
In the Design District you will find all Designer brands. The district is beautiful because of the layout of the various shops and works of art. In addition, there are large shopping malls to find. The most popular are Dolphin Mall, Bal Harbor Shops and Aventura Mall. Aventura Mall is the 5th largest mall in the United States with total square feet of retail space and the largest mall in Florida. The anchor stores are Bloomingdale's, Nordstrom, 2 Macy's stores and JCPenney.
4. Lummus Park
Lummus Park is a park in Miami Beach and is located east of Ocean Drive between 5th and 15th Streets. The park consists of lawns, palm trees and sports fields. A boardwalk runs through the park that turns into a boardwalk on both sides. Nice to see is "Muscle Beach" where many beautiful people come together every day to train. Nowadays this is the area where many videos for Instagram or TikTok are recorded.
5. Vizcaya Museums and Gardens
No visit to Miami is complete without a stop at this historic 50-acre estate. This mansion European-style offers a glimpse into life in South Florida at the turn of the century. Built by industrialist James Deering as a way to display his wealth to all his friends, it is filled to the brim with Renaissance furniture, artwork and tapestries. The 10-acre formal gardens are built to resemble the French Versailles, but with palm trees, rare orchids and Cuban limestone. Admission is USD 25 and tickets are available online.
6. Coral Castle
Coral Castle was created by Latvian native Miami native Ed Leedskalnin as a monument to his beloved. Over the course of 28 years, Ed has carved 1.1100 tons of coral rock by hand into various monuments and sculptures. It's a bit of a drive from the center, but well worth your time. Admission is USD 18.
More than 1,2 million Cuban-Americans live in Miami. Little Havana, the Cuban neighborhood of Miami, revolves around “Calle Ocho” (SW 8th Street). Eat in one of the small restaurants, stroll through the lively streets or join in salsa dancing.
8. Rocket Launch at Kennedy Space Center
The travel time depends on where you stay in Miami. It is far, at least a three-hour drive, but more than worth it! This is one of the few places in the world where you can see a rocket launch!
Since Space-X embarked on the Starlink project, there's a good chance you'll be able to see a launch while on vacation in Miami. Even without a launch, a visit to the Kennedy Space Center is worthwhile.
Read in detail about the Kennedy Space Center below and decide for yourself whether it is worth the trip there. The blog also tells you how you can find out when the launches take place.
9. Go out at a nightclub
There is a very active nightlife in Miami, and if you like clubs, Miami is one of the best places in the world to go out. There is usually an entrance fee between 20 and 30 USD and most drinks are at least 10 USD. Check out E11even, LIV Miami (the city's most famous) or Basement (complete with an ice rink and bowling alleys).
10. Fruit and Spice Park (Botanical Garden)
This tropical botanical gardenFounded in 1943, it contains 500 species of fruit trees and herb plants spread over 37 acres. The park is beautifully landscaped with lots of shaded paths. Spend some time just walking around and enjoying nature and all the wonderful smells. They also host events and festivals here, so check the website for details when you're in town. Admission is $10.
Coral Gables is one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in the United States. It is home to tree-lined boulevards and mansions. George Merrick designed the area in the 1920s and regulations ensure that all buildings still conform to the style Merrick envisioned for the community. In addition to admiring the architecture, you can stop by the Tropical Botanical Garden, the Lowe Art Museum, and the Venetian Pool.
12.Art Deco Historic District
The Art Deco Historic District is an area of Miami Beach known for its more than 800 Art Deco buildings, all within a square mile (Art Deco was a popular style of architecture from France, common between 1910-1939). Consider a walking tour that takes you past the white and pastel stucco buildings.
13. Versace Mansion
At 1116 Ocean Drive you will find Casa Casuarina, also known as Versace Mansion. In 1992, Gianni Versace bought this house and had it renovated and expanded with an extra wing and swimming pool. On July 15, 1997, the designer was murdered in front of this house. At the moment Casa Casuarina is a hotel and restaurant.
What does Miami cost?
Hotels, hostels and AirBnB
Hostel prices – A bed in a shared dorm can be found from 70 USD. A private room costs around USD 90 per night. Free Wi-Fi is usually standard.
Budget hotel prices – Budget two star hotel rooms are 110-150 USD. You can expect WiFi, TV, and an air conditioner.
AirBnB – There are plenty of Airbnb options in New York City. Private rooms cost about USD 75 per night, while a full apartment costs USD 180 per night on average. Make sure you book well in advance if you want to find a good deal, these are often fully booked and you will notice that almost nothing is available shortly in advance.
Tip:: always look carefully at the additional costs at AirBnB. Sometimes you think you are cheap, but after all the extra costs (cleaning, taxes, handling fees, etc.) you are still just as expensive or more expensive as a hotel.
Food and drink
Street food – Miami has food in many price ranges. Pizza slices can be found on the street for as little as 5 USD. There are plenty of street vendors with quick meals around 6-10 USD.
Mid range restaurants – You can eat in a mid-range restaurant for 12-20 USD per main course, including vegetarian dishes. Dinner for two with drinks usually averages around 80-100 USD.
Tip:: it Mister O1 Extraordinary Pizza restaurant is the highest rated Pizza restaurant in Miami. Recommended!
drink – A beer is about USD 8, a coffee USD 5, a bottle of water USD 2 and a glass of wine USD 15.
Nobody talks about it, but one of the things that makes Miami and the US in general so expensive is the constant tip that is expected of you. In the USA is the minimum wage not what we are used to in The Netherlands† You simply cannot make ends meet in the hospitality industry or passenger transport and that is well known. Therefore you are expected to standard to give a 20% tip† It's kind of an unwritten rule in this country.
If you pay for something in a burger joint and you see the bill on the screen, it is standard in your image whether you want to tip 18, 20 or 23%. This is also the case with an Uber or taxi. Tipping is not the first thing that comes to mind when budgeting for a trip… In the US you should definitely do that because 20% can be quite a bite out of your budget. You need food every day and transport almost every day.
Tax not included
Another silent killer for your wallet are the taxes or VAT. This is often not included in the price that you see. In the Netherlands we are accustomed that the price in the shop, in a diner or restaurant is inclusive of VAT. In the US it is often different. Pay close attention to whether the prices you see are what you pay.
Tips to save money
Okay, now you know that Miami can destroy your wallet in a short amount of time. It's expensive and you can run out of money very, very quickly if you're not careful. It is mainly the small things that you lose more and more money than you are used to. Bottles of water, a beer, a quick bite in between, a taxi and yes, that tip and taxes-not-included are ticking everywhere… Yet there are also many ways to enjoy Miami without having your ribs ripped out of your body. costs.
Free Museums – In the Miami Design District you will find the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) where the entrance is free. However, it is wise to book a ticket online in advance. Art can also be seen around the museum. There is also free entrance to the Lowe Art Museum at Coral Gables.
Other museums select days on which they offer free admission. So check the website of your favorite museum to see when these days are.
eat cheap (and healthy) – It is very Dutch; we often just spread our own sandwiches for the afternoon. Complete packed lunches were in our bag when we hit the road again! Buy fruit, bread, cheese, chicken breast, snack peppers and snack tomatoes at the supermarkets (Walmart, Aldi, etc.) and make your own ultimate healthy sandwich.
It is not only a lot cheaper but also a lot healthier because what they say is true: almost everything you buy on the street or in a restaurant in America is fried, baked, salty, sweet and fatty.
Miami: Go City Explorer Pass (AFLIATE GET YOUR GUIDE)– With this pass you can save on various activities in and around Miami. Choose a pass for 1 to 5 days and make a selection of activities you want to do. Examples of activities include the Big Bus (hop-on, hop-off), airboat rides in the Everglades, and bicycle rentals.
couchsurf – Accommodations are expensive in Miami and there aren't many options for a budget traveler. Use a hospitality website like Couchsurfing to stay with the locals for free.
Bring a water bottle – Tap water is safe to drink in Miami, so bring a reusable water bottle to save money and reduce your plastic use. The water here has a slightly different taste than in the Netherlands with a slight hint of chlorine. If that bothers you, use a LifeStraw! Lifestraw is my favorite brand because their bottles have built-in filters to make sure your water is always clean and safe. They cost about 40 euros and are here for sale.
Transportation in Miami
Having an renting a car in Miami is pretty much essential provided you plan to hang out in and around your residence alone. Then you still have the option to occasionally take an Uber or Lyft for the rides you do want to make. There is a network of public transport, but the network is poor and getting from A to B can cost you (too) much time.
Car rental – Usually it costs about $55 USD per day for a multi-day rental. The city, like most cities in the US, is designed for cars. There are plenty of parking spaces wherever you go. Keep in mind that you will often have to pay parking fees.
Sunnycars is based in the Netherlands and is by far our favorite choice for car hire when traveling.
At Sunnycars you can rent a car carefree without having to worry about conditions and insurance.
Sunnycars only offers all inclusive car rental. This means that all prices you see include all other costs, coverage and insurance.
- All inclusive car rental
- Dutch company
- Worldwide offer
- Rent a car without worries
- Not always the cheapest
Free Trolley – In Miami Beach you can get by in the free Miami Beach Trolley† This blue trolley runs daily from 8 am to 11 pm. There are four routes that the trolley runs, namely South Beach Loop, Middle Beach Loop, North Beach Loop and Collins Express.
Bike – Miami is very bike friendly because it is flat. Cycle paths are often marked along the road. Despite the bicycle paths, it is advisable to pay close attention to your safety with the busy traffic.
Taxis – Like New York, Miami has yellow taxis. The amount for a ride starts at 2.95 and increases via the meter. You can call them or wave or yell at them on the street as they pass by.
Ride sharing – Uber, Lyft and Via are theoretically cheaper than taxis and are the best way to get around a city if you don't want to take a bus or pay for a taxi. Via, Lyft and Uber sometimes offer 'ride sharing' as an option, where you share a ride with other people. This can save money, but will also take longer. Via is the cheapest option.
Metro – There is a subway in Miami, but it is not underground and the network is not complex. To get you from A to B, you will also have to use a different type of transport. A ride on the metro will cost you 5 USD.
bus – You can take a bus ride for USD 2,25. There is a lot of driving in and around Miami and for short trips it is a great option. However, if you have to make a long drive, it can cost you a lot of time.
Best time to visit Miami
Miami has a tropical climate. It is very rare for the temperature to fall below 15 degrees Celsius. For us Dutch it is therefore always warm and hot in the summer months! In the months of May, June and October the average temperature is around 26 degrees. In the months of July, August and September 28 degrees. In addition, the perceived temperature is higher. The summer months are therefore not the most pleasant months to stay in Miami. Locals therefore advised us to leave in or after the month of May because of the heat.
Miami has a rainy season from May to October. The tropical storms and hurricanes are most common in the months of August to October.
Conclusion the best time to travel to Miami is from November to April!
Security in Miami
First things first: If something doesn't feel right or unsafe, leave. Trust your instincts.
Miami is a safe place to travel. As a tourist you will probably only encounter petty crime. Pickpockets are active on the South Beach boardwalk, so watch your belongings. There are some areas where gang violence is more common, such as Liberty City, Overtown (south of Wynwood), and Opa-Locka. Avoid these areas if you can, especially in the evening and at night.
If you are not a confident driver, avoid driving in Miami. The road is busy and the highways are complicated. If you rent a car, don't leave valuables in it overnight. Burglaries are rare, but it's always better to be on the safe side.
Where to stay in Miami
It really depends on where you want to stay and what your wishes are, because there are more than enough options when it comes to hotels! It could be cheaper to look at a travel provider for combinations of flight and hotel. These are, for example, offered by Prijsvrij (click here), sometimes they stunt prices in such a way that if you book it yourself you really pay a lot more!
Through Airbnb, houses and apartments are offered in almost all places in and around Miami. Because we were with seven people, a house was a good option for us. We found this one in a residential area in North Lauderdale. It had enough places to sleep for all of us and a swimming pool. We thought it was a plus that we were among the locals. The shops were minutes away and we had to drive half an hour for the nearest beach.
There are only a few campgrounds in the city area and they don't have the best reviews. You must also book in time and take into account at least a price of USD 50 per night.
Wild camping with a van or camper in the urban area is really only possible at the Walmart, where it is tolerated. First of all, check with yourself whether you like this. Yes, there is a lot of activity around and there are cameras, but if you don't feel safe you won't have a good night's sleep. Do you decide to stay there overnight? Make sure you check the area during the day. It is best to choose a Walmart located in one of the wealthier neighborhoods of Miami. If that is not the case, for example because you see many homeless people in the area, do not stand there.
Outside the urban area, in the east, there are plenty of opportunities for wild camping. However, that means that if you want to go to Miami, you will have some travel time.
Plan your vacation to America here
- Itineraries : TUI, Americaplus, sawadee en Djoser.
- Motorhome rental companies : WorldWideCampers.com
- Fly & drives : Americaplus en Travelworld.
- Cruises and city trips for America you book with Travel deal.
- Flight tickets for America you book with TUI, KLM, KAYAK en Skyscanner.
- Rental cars : Sunnycars, Alamo en rental cars.
- Tours and Activities in America you book via GetYourGuide.
- Campsites in National Parks you book on RECREATION.gov
- Hotels & Resorts in America you book with Booking.com.
- SIM cards : USAsim en International sim.
- Parking at the airport you can arrange via Parkos, park care of iParking.
- travel items (suitcases, bags, world plugs, etc. can be ordered at Bol.com.