In America/ Travels

Miami and Orlando: a taste of Florida with children, in one week

We have a one-week vacation (in the spring) and we are unsure about the destination. On one hand, we would like to visit a city but on the other hand we would like to spend a few days by the sea… so where shall we go? Out are all the places we have already been to, out all those destinations with the less-than-perfect climate for the season, out are all those places who are too far for a single week. In the end, what was left was Miami. So off we are, to Miami with children

Miami with children

Miami is just like I imagined it, the same in the movies. It is a ultre-modern city, fashionable, lively, a place where North Americans mingle with South Americans (you will people speaking Spanish than English!). It is a city where contemporary art is very present, as well as palms trees among skyscrapers. Miami is alive, it’s Latin, there’s the Ocean, there’s a bustiling city and lots of things to do, even with kids.

With only a week (and wanting to go to Orlando to visit the parks at all costs), we could not see everything we had planned. I would therefore recommend to stay longer, you want to visit the surrounding area (so do plan your stay carefully!)

Miami beach

Miami Beach is an island linked to Miami Town thanks to a series of bridges.We were lucky to stay in an apartment in Miami Beach owned by an acquaintance, so we either walked or used Uber. There are many restaurants in the area and you are a stone’s throw from the beach. The Ocean is clean, the sea is lovely and warm and the beach very long.

There are beach clubs with a cover charge, which also offer sunbeds and beach umbrellas. The temperature of the Ocean in Miami varies between 22 and 30 degrees Celsius, so you can swim all year round.

 South Point, right on the tip of Miami Beach, is the most peaceful and family-friendly area. The seafront promenade that runs along the beach is perfect for children because it is pedestrian, there are outdoor gyms, parks, and you can rent bicycles or other means of transport.

Another very quiet and family-friendly area is the island of Key Biscayne, south of Downtown Miami and north of Coconut Grove. Bill Baggs beach (with beach loungers and sun umbrellas) is stunning and once there you can see a pretty and old lighthouse. In this place, people say, you can often see iguanas, over 1 meter long.

Art Déco Disrict – Ocean drive in Miami Beach

This district, one of the most famous in Miami, attracts tourists from all over the world. Both kids and adults will love the pastel-colored houses. There are approximately 800 Art Deco buildings in this district, all built between 1923 and 1943; nowhere else in the world will you find such a high concentration of Art Deco architecture.

Ocean Drive is the major thoroughfare in South Beach and runs parallel to the sea. It is very crowded day and night; there are bars, restaurants, hotels and people who dance to Latin music. You have not been to South Beach if you don’t stop at a bar and have a drink, watching people go by. What you will see is strange means of transport, people dressed up in a funny way, rappers  who play their music very loud, as they drive past in their convertible cars… Well, Ocean Drive is like being inside an American Movie, with all the clichés.

 Lincoln Road in Miami Beach

If you want to do some shopping (you can’t go to the States and not shop!), Lincoln Road is a convenient pedestrian street with various shops, bars and restaurants. It is like a large open air mall.

For “more aggressive shopping”, like big brands at affordable prices, I recommend going to the Dolphin Mall, the largest outlet mall in Miami (open every day from 10 AM to 9.30 PM). It is only 5 miles from Miami Airport and has more than 240 stores and eateries.

Wynwood Wall – Miami town

Wynwood is Miami’s art district. Its incredible murales (walls) will make you want to see all of them. Do not go before 11.00 galleries, shops and bars will still be closed. Get a street map because it’s easy to get lost. Free maps are available in front of the Wynwood kitchen bar and Restaurant, a great Latin American restaurant serving delicious tapas. I highly recommend it for lunch or an aperitif.

There are many other interesting attractions to visit with children in Miami. We did not have a lot of time, because we preferred to spend 2 days on the beach. Next time we will be in Miami we plan to spend a few days visiting the sawgrass marshes of Everglades NP and Key West (in the Florida Keys).

Orlando

Orlando is about 4 hours drive from Miami. At the beginning we thought about renting a car but at the end we found a Uber guy who took us to Orlando at a good price. I did not like the city at all, but if you are reading this post, it is most likely that you have children who are dreaming to go to Disneyland or visit the amusement parks. Here are some practical survival tips (which we learned from our mistakes), so as to make your visit easier and hassle-free:

Disney World and Universal Studios in Orlando: 7 practical tips to survive them

 

 

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